....Ever Ancient, Ever New. Yes, I'm trying to invoke Tolkien as Edmund and I were discussing the other day in anticipation of the Traditional Mass' return to our cathedral. The Raleigh News and Observer had a positive write-up in today's paper. And the picture features someone I know! Kudos to Mr. Shimron for a well-written article. And many heartfelt thanks to His Excellency, Most Reverend Michael Burbidge for his generosity in adhering to Pope Benedict's legislative act.
Roman Catholics filled Sacred Heart Cathedral to overflowing Sunday afternoon to celebrate Mass in a language not heard in that church in nearly 40 years: Latin.More
It was a historic moment for the Raleigh church, a chance to experience the Mass as it was celebrated in Catholic churches for centuries.
Worshippers arrived appropriately attired: men in suits, women wearing lace head coverings, and many clutching dusted off missals -- prayer books containing the Latin and English texts of the Mass.
They sat in the church in silence as tradition dictates, contemplating God before the priests arrived wafting incense through the sanctuary. There were some awkward moments as worshippers fumbled, not knowing when they were supposed to rise, sit and kneel. But that was to be expected. The rhythms of the ancient rite are no longer second nature to Catholics.
Last year, Pope Benedict XVI gave permission to broaden the use of the so-called Tridentine Mass. Since then, Catholic churches across the country have been gradually adding the service alongside the now common English- and Spanish-language Masses.
"It reminds us of our roots and our tradition and where we come from," said Bishop Michael Burbidge, who delivered the homily at Sunday's Mass. Burbidge said he has received 50 to 75 requests from Catholics asking for the Mass in Latin since he arrived in Raleigh about a year and a half ago.
From now on, the Latin Mass will be provided monthly at Sacred Heart and monthly or weekly at three other churches across the diocese, which spans 54 of North Carolina's eastern counties.
To prepare for the additional services, 15 of the diocese's 115 active priests will participate in a three-day seminar, beginning Tuesday, to train them in performing the Mass in Latin.
An olive branch
The addition of the Latin Mass is aimed at ending a liturgical dispute that has alienated traditional Catholics for decades.
By allowing the old rite, the church is, in effect, extending an olive branch to people who felt left out after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 conference that deliberated how the church should function in the modern world.
"I've been waiting for the Latin Mass for more than 30 years," said Barbara Padovano, 66, as she stepped into the tiny stone cathedral on Hillsborough Street.
Fans of the Latin Mass said they appreciate the sense of solemnity and pageantry in the old rite in which the priest faces the altar and chants the prayers and Scripture readings in Latin. Since 1970, when the new Mass was published in English, many traditions associated with old rite disappeared.
The "ever ancient, ever new" reference is from Augustine, as Fr. Z kindly reminded me of my oversight. Yes, it's one of my favorite quotes as well. It's what I get for posting and running without editing...I can hear my former journalism teachers clucking their tongues.