Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Latin Mass excites traditionalists in North Jersey

~from North Jersey

The strict Catholic couple travel 30 miles each Sunday to attend church.

Paul and Margaret Papendick tried worshiping at several parishes closer to their home in Waldwick, but didn't like the changes made in the Roman Catholic Mass during the 1960s and 1970s.

"They took the Latin Mass away from us," Margaret said. "And spirituality was the first thing that left."

So the couple, now in their 70s, attend a West Orange chapel that provides a Mass in Latin and disdains modern changes -- such as altar girls.

"It was returning to the church we knew -- without all that nonsense," Margaret said.

Now, with Pope Benedict XVI easing restrictions on the Latin Mass that have been in place since 1965, Catholic traditionalists throughout North Jersey are hoping for a revival.

The Papendicks were among about 100 worshipers who showed up for the second of three Sunday Masses last week at St. Anthony of Padua Chapel -- one of three congregations in the Newark Archdiocese that offer the Latin rite.

With the women wearing lace head coverings and the faithful worshiping in silence, an Austrian-born priest stood with his back to the congregation uttering words in Latin.

"Eternity does not know fashion, but is eternally fashionable," the Rev. Andreas Hellmann later declared in English.

On the same day, more than 100 people attended the 11 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel in Pequannock -- the only location in the Paterson Diocese that celebrates the Latin rite. Longtime member William Budesheim said he sees more young families attending the chapel -- a change from decades ago, when he and other founding members worshiped at a Route 17 hotel.

"You would think by now that the Latin rite would be dead," said Budesheim, the mayor of Riverdale. "But it's not dead, and in fact we have people who never even grew up with it and are clamoring for it."

Nevertheless, church officials in North Jersey said they don't expect the pope's action to spark a greater demand for the traditional Mass.

"We're not anticipating a groundswell," said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Newark Archbishop John J. Myers. "I think the majority of the people are looking for Mass in their language."

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