Sunday, June 21, 2009

Latin? We're getting more Latin.

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A year ago or so, I wrote the following in a comment to a post I had made listing all of the Spanish language Masses that were being celebrated in the archdiocese:

Well, There are 220 parishes in our archdiocese. The vast majority of the people don't know anything about Spanish. What will Spanish-speaking Catholics do if we stop offering the Mass in Spanish?

The Church is universal. Besides English, Spanish and Latin, the Mass is also offered here in Vietnamese, Korean, Hmong, Polish and in American Sign Language.

Why can't those who want the Mass in Latin be able to do so?

Latin is beginning to expand in our archdiocese after Pope Benedict issued his Motu Proprio (personal permission) for any priest to be able to celebrated the Mass according to the form of the 1962 Roman Missal, now referred to as the Extraordinary Form (EF). The Novus Ordo English language Mass with which we are all familiar is referred to as the Ordinary Form of the Mass (OF). Permission of the bishop is not needed, but the priest must have some competence (not necessarily fluency) in Latin.

The Latin Masses currently being offered here are all being celebrated by the priest ad orientem, that is with the priest facing the crucifix and the tabernacle.

Prior to 2009, the EF Mass was authorized here by indult (special permission) only at St. Augustine’s in South St. Paul. Father J.P. Echert, pastor at St. Augustine’s and also Holy Trinity in that city, has expanded his Latin Masses to seven days a week:

St Augustine, S St Paul: 11:30 a.m. Sundays; also Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00 a.m.; 7:30 p.m. on First Fridays and Holy Days of Obligation and First Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.

Holy Trinity, S St Paul: Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. and Fridays (except First Fridays) at Noon

St. Agnes in St. Paul for many years has celebrated a Novus Ordo Latin Mass during the school year with the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale and musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra and the voices of the St. Agnes Schola at their 10:00 Sunday Mass. During the Summer, only the Schola is at the Mass.

A few months ago, Father John Ubel, pastor of St. Agnes, began to celebrate Latin Masses in accordance with the following schedule:

OF Masses:

Saturday - Gregorian Chant Responses by the Congregation

St Agnes, St Paul: 8:00 a.m.

St Agnes, St Paul: 5:15 p.m., Solemn High Mass every First Saturday; a capella Chamber Choir sings polyphonic (Renaissance) Masses


St Agnes, St Paul: Second and Fourth Sundays 10:00 a.m., Symphonic with Chorus or Schola alone; see schedule

EF Masses

St Agnes, St Paul: First, Third and Fifth Sundays 10:00 a.m., Symphonic with Chorus and/or Schola alone; see schedule

If you had a map, you would quickly note that these locations are at the extreme eastern side of the archdiocese. Hundreds of people drive a long way to get to the Latin Masses at St. Agnes, St. Augustine’s and Holy Trinity. Many come from Wisconsin and from communities such as Rochester, far outside of the archdiocese.

When gasoline was 90 cents a gallon (I won’t tell you how cheap it was when I was a lad) the travel time was the biggest problem for those Mass commuters. But now that it is approaching three dollars again, this gets to be a financial drain on some of these commuting families, many of whom bring a raft of [extremely well-behaved] children with them.

For a short time in Hennepin County an EF Mass was offered this past year in the Delano-Corcoran area.

But it has creased with the news that Father Bryan Pedersen, formerly assistant to Fr. Echert in South St. Paul was given his own parish, Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale and is now offering a Low Mass (without musical accompaniment as of yet, building it “brick by brick”) each Sunday. That could save twenty miles of driving from many living on the west side of the archdiocese.

On Saturday mornings in Northeast Minneapolis, Father Glen Solem, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua7:30 and a Marian Mass at 8:30. Father celebrates the Mass according to the Novus Ordo missal, but he is working on his Latin and says some of the Mass prayers like the Confiteor at the beginning, the Eucharistic Prayers at the Consecration and those prayers which call for Latin responses from the congregation. The readings are done in English. On the First Saturday of each month, the Mass is accompanied by a schola with Gregorian Chant accompaniment. The congregation sings the Latin responses along with the schola. parish offers a Holy Hour at

Rome wasn’t built in a day, they say, or at least they used to say that. If you would like to see more Latin, don’t expect to see it as frequently as you will be seeing Spanish in the Mass. But I would imagine that as time passes, more priests will begin to offer it in the archdiocese.

In orthodox “cafeteria Catholicism” Latin will become just another option like charismatic Masses, like the Spanish and other language Masses, contemporary music Masses, childrens’ Masses and, for those that think they can't sing, music-less Masses..

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