On July 7th, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed the right of every Roman Catholic priest to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, noting that this form of the Mass was never abolished by the Church.
Father Riley Williams will offer this traditional form of the Holy Mass to the parish once per month on the third Thursday of the every month at 5:30pm. Since this Mass is celebrated on Thursday, not on Sunday, it is not obligatory. However, it is a precious gift to the parish and Catholic community from the Pope and our pastor. Not everyone may want to attend Latin Mass regularly, but everyone may desire to fulfill a curiosity about this Mass which was promulgated in the year 1570 just 18 years after the death of our patron St. Francis Xavier.
For nearly 1400 years, since around the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation the Mass we celebrated as the Latin (Tridentine) Mass. This was instituted by the Church during its own internal restoration. While some may unfortunately be critical of the return of the Traditional Latin Mass, we must remember that this Mass form was born from an optimistic response to the Protestant denigration of the sacramental mysteries which had been present in Christianity ever since the Apostolic age. The new Roman Missal which accompanied the Mass also allowed the Church to improve on its liturgical calendar. Thus this 1400 year old Mass at the time of its inception was also a new and living form that united the public worship of the Church and deepened and purified the beautiful mysteries of the faith. In this sense we can think of it as an instrument of the 16th century New Evangelization. Therefore it is appropriate even now to dust off this jewel and return it to profitable sacramental use.
Your First Latin Mass:
If you decide to attend a Latin Mass you will notice first that the priest is facing the altar during the liturgical prayer. This should not be interpreted as the priest turning his back to the people, but instead as the priest turning with the people toward the Presence of the Lord. You will also notice the priest often praying silently so that it may at first be difficult to follow. Follow along as best you can with the Latin Mass booklet provided, but be alert to the meditative quiet of the Latin form. Don’t grow tense if you lose your place in the booklet. Allow yourself the quiet contemplation of the Mass. This is usually a Low Mass, a Mass without music; the focus is on the mystery of what is being offered by the priest on your behalf. Beginners should be at ease and let their heart find peace in the reverent worship.
Please see Fr. Williams or call the parish office if you have any questions concerning the Latin Mass.