Monday, October 20, 2008


Father is back from his pilgrimage. The afternoon of his return, I was up in the choir loft practicing on the organ when I heard his characteristic footfall. I turned from the console to look over the loft rail and he waved at me saying softly, "Mass at 4:45." Then he turned back toward the altar, genuflected, and knelt to pray. There was no need for effusive greetings. That was all the greeting that I desired.

Practice time was over, but I didn't mind. Mass was in the traditional form that afternoon. All the stewing and fuming that I had done over Father Hip melted away as he began with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar...."Introibo ad altare Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam."

The weekend Masses were particularly poignant as an era has ended in our parish and a new one has begun. All-day Friday Adoration has ended to be superseded by our Adoration Chapel. After the Vigil Mass on Saturday, a Eucharistic Procession took place around our church block. The torrential rain had just ended. Father and I had had no time to plan it, but since the Family Schola was the choir, Latin hymns were naturally sung. The boys' strong baritone voices and sure Latin accompanied Jesus as he was processed in the monstrance held aloft by Father, a canopy protecting them both from the mist and stray raindrops.

The dogs in the neighborhood were unusually quiet as the boys chanted "O salutaris hostia...."

As the procession ended back in the church, the boys chanted "Adoro te devote", the incense smoke was heavy. One of the boys' friends was the thurifer facing Jesus at all times walking backwards and sending up billows of smoke with each swing of the thurible. A phalanx of altar boys in their cassocks and surplices walked in solemn pace. It was an unforgettable weekend.


frival said...

Simply beautiful. It gives me a little hope I might see the same in my lifetime.

Argent said...

I hope that you will someday, too. It's interesting that a generation of young men are being raised in this rediscovery of the sacred. What do you think it's stamping in their consciousness?

Our pastor expects precision out of the altar boys. He's not a martinet by any stretch of the imagination, just firm and corrects them in private when needed.

They're devoted to him and take a great deal of pride (in the positive sense) in what they do. I love watching them prepare for Mass as they're all in their cassocks sans surplice. They genuflect each time they cross the tabernacle and walk in an unhurried way. Their motions are all quiet.

And I wonder what it does to the congregation as a whole to see teenage boys chanting the Latin.