Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Palm Sunday Mass Announcement

Our Palm Sunday 9:30 am Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) will be celebrated at the beautiful Oratory or Chapel of Elsie Gaches Villages which is under the care of the Sisters of Charity of St. Anne. This is across McDonald's along Alabang-Zapote Road before the stop light at Madrigal Avenue, Ayala Alabang. The guard will be advised of visitors coming for the TLM. Drive straight on the road past the guard until you come upon a steel gate enclosing a Spanish courtyard with a fountain. Oratory is inside. See you there!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Addressing some misconceptions on TLM

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest addresses some misconceptions:

The Classical/Traditional Latin Mass is not a product of the 16th-century Council of Trent.

The history of the Traditional Latin Mass, whose latest version dates from 1962, traces back to the beginnings of Christianity. The Mass went through organic, gradual development throughout the centuries. The first written record of the Prayers of the Latin Mass is found in a 6th-century manuscript (Leonine Sacramentary). The Roman Latin Mass was codified and made universal in the 16th century by Pope St. Pius V because of the liturgical confusion then reigning. As this codification was part of the measures taken by the Council of Trent, the Traditional Latin Mass has often been called “Tridentine Mass.” After this, as before, small, incremental changes were made to the Missal (book containing texts and prayer for Mass) in the centuries following, the latest being made by Pope John XXIII in 1962. In 1969 Pope Paul VI promulgated a new Mass (Novus Ordo Missae) designed by an appointed committee, based on the Traditional Mass but with substantial changes to it, particularly in the Offertory prayers.

The Traditional Latin Mass was not changed or replaced by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

In fact, it was the Mass celebrated during the Council. A document produced by the Second Vatican Council (Sacrosanctum Concilium) outlined certain directives for changes to the Mass. Additional directives were given in post-conciliar documents. The new Mass (Novus Ordo) was crafted after the Council by a committee and promulgated in1969 by Pope Paul VI.

The priest facing the people was not a practice introduced by Second Vatican Council.

The orientation of the priest toward the East, with the people, symbolic of all facing God together toward the same direction, is millenary. It is the norm for the Traditional Latin Rite, and in this is shared by all the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church as well as by the Orthodox Church.

The custom of the priest facing the people, instead of East with the people, was gradually introduced as an experimentation by some members of the priesthood in the 20th century. It became the unwritten practice in the Novus Ordo Mass, though there are no directives to do so in the documents issuing from the Second Vatican Council nor in the Missal of 1969. The first written mention in an official Church document of the possibility of a priest facing the people during Mass dates of the year 2000, in the General Instructions of the Roman Missal issued by the Vatican. (GIRM 299)

Mass in the vernacular (in English) was not introduced by the Second Vatican Council.

As stated above, the Novus Ordo Mass was not produced by the Second Vatican Council. In the Second Vatican Council document on the liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), mention is made of the possibility of the Mass being translated to the vernacular. However, the Council also confirmed that the official language of the Catholic Church is Latin. Accordingly, the original language of the Novus Ordo Mass of 1969 is Latin, translations then being made from this original text.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Tridentine Mass

The Tridentine Mass

By Mercedes B. Suleik

Business World - 3/18/09

Two Sundays ago, I had the extraordinary experience of going back to the past. I attended what is known as the Tridentine Mass, and it brought me back to the Masses I used to attend as a student in St. Theresa’s, oh those many years ago. Young people today — my daughters anyway — have never been exposed to this Mass, also known as the Latin or Roman rite, and have known only the liturgy promulgated by Pope Paul VI after Vatican Council II.

I learned about this Mass around the early part of this year, having seen a notice at St. Jerome’s Church in Alabang that a Tridentine Mass is celebrated every Sunday at 9:30 in the morning. This is not the usual time my husband and I go to Mass, and it was only really a sheer Lenten effort of will that I rose early, one Sunday, to hear Mass there as I have wished to, since I saw the notice. The term “Tridentine” is derived from the Latin word Tridentinus, which means “related to the city of Trent, Italy,” where the Council of Trent was held.

So what is the Tridentine Mass, and why is it no longer celebrated, or “offered” is the term we use today, at the same time that we no longer generally use “Mass” to refer to the Sacrifice, but rather we say, the “Liturgy of the Eucharist”? Had the Second Vatican Council abrogated the Latin Mass, which I understand was the Mass promulgated in 1570 by St. Pope Pius V according to a formula adopted in the Roman Missal, and made mandatory throughout the Western Church, and believed to be the rite “for all time”? Hence, when Pope Paul VI, after Vatican Council II (1962-1965) promulgated the present “ordinary” or normal form of the Roman Rite of the Mass, there was some consternation among the faithful, and even outright criticism and hostility.

Pope Paul VI promulgated the revised rite of the Mass with his Apostolic Constituion Missale Romanum on April 3, 1969, setting the first Sunday of Advent at the end of that year as the date on which it would enter into force. There were some significant changes from the previous edition of the Roman Missal, the most important of which, I believe, was the simplification of the liturgy, the proportion of the Bible being read at Mass being greatly increased, the introduction of a three-year cycle of readings on Sundays, and the addition of three alternative Eucharistic Prayers from the single Canon as well as the increase in the number of Prefaces. Also, most significantly, and which we have now gotten used to since 1969, the Mass today is said in the language of the people and the altar has been repositioned so that the priest celebrating the Eucharist now faces the congregation.

Of course there was confusion and a feeling akin to tectonic shifting among those who revered the old longer rite which was said in Latin, with the priest facing the altar and turning around to face the people only a few times. On the other hand, the changes were also welcomed because the old rite really provided no sense of participation among the people, and if you didn’t have a Missal (which usually had an English translation) so you could follow what was happening up there, some people simply said their devotions, such as the rosary during the Mass.

Criticism of the new rite included the comment that there was little reverence for the Mass, such as allegations that prayers and phrases clearly presenting the Mass as a Sacrifice have been substantially removed or reduced in number, that the number of genuflections and other gestures associated with reverence for the sacred elements have been reduced, that some phrases are ambiguous, and even that changes were made in order to make the Mass acceptable to non-Catholics. It has even been said that the liturgical changes and other changes that followed the Second Vatican Council had caused a loss of faith and a drop in attendance at Mass. Loss of faith is of course disputed, as both supporters and critics of the reform have their own polls to show — supporters ascribe the drop in attendance at Mass in the Western world to the decline in religiosity in the West.

My having attended the Tridentine Mass also brought me back to the time when Sunday Mass was really a day reserved for the Lord, and reverence was clear with women coming into Mass with veils (how come we don’t cover our heads anymore?), and receiving Holy Communion on one’s knees and by mouth. I realize that among the changes is receiving Communion in the hand (which I suppose is practical), but it seems to me that proper catechesis on how to do this is sadly lacking — I see communicants popping the host in their mouth and walking away even dusting off their hands; that in lining up to receive Communion to receive it standing up, some people are actually chatting on their way to the priest or lay person distributing the Host as if they were simply queuing up for tickets to a show.

However, I think that for the modern world, the reformed rite which has the congregation participating actively in the celebration of the Eucharist, is appropriate. For one, the faithful is aware of what is going on and in the current interactive environment our times are now used to, it ought to make the Sacrifice more meaningful and relevant to their lives. As long as it is not tainted with rituals and music that remove the solemnity of the Mass and attempt to copy non-Catholic practices to make it “more palatable” to a wider audience. And as long as there is sufficient teaching to ensure that proper reverence is given to the celebration of the Eucharist.

The Tridentine Mass, in all its solemnity, should be preserved. Aspirations of the faithful attached to the ancient form and the discovery by many young people and their attraction to it as a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist is one good reason. For indeed, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has clarified and stressed in his Apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, that the two Roman Missals are “not two rites” but twofold uses of the one and the same rite.


Monday, March 16, 2009

TLM St. Jerome Emiliani Responds

Dear Ms. Suleik,

I read with great interest, and sadness, your observations regarding the Catholic Church today which I have also observed. I believe some devout Catholics feel the same way in their hearts but at the same time feel a little helpless with the existing situation. All is not lost, however. There is a “minority” within the Catholic Church that adheres to the traditional way of doing the mass as envisioned by Pope Benedict XVI: solemn, reverential, celestial.

Early last year, a trans-parochial group of parishioners approached the Parish Priest of St. Jerome Emiliani Parish in Alabang to request for the Traditional Latin Mass according to the 1962 missal. The Italian parish priest, Fr. Grato Germanetto CRS consented to the request in accordance with the Motu Propio of Pope Benedict XVI and informed his Bishop of his decision. June 29, 2008 saw the first Traditional Latin High Mass to be celebrated at St. Jerome to a large audience. It has been six months already and we are still growing in numbers every Sunday.

While I don't have any personal recollection of the traditional Latin Mass in my childhood, I discovered the rich tradition and beauty of the liturgy of Traditional Latin Mass. The ancient prayers are so profound, so beautiful and mysterious at the same time! I wondered why they shortened it so much in the New Mass (Novus Ordo). Boy, they are missing a lot! I’ve since learned how to follow the Mass sequence via the Latin-English missalette. I love watching the genuflections, the acts of reverence, the torch processions of altar servers, the ritual of the changing of the books from the Epistle to the Gospel side, the incensing, the beautiful Gregorian chant in four voices sung by a male choir (schola), listening and learning how to pronounce Latin, the silence. It's very uplifting, edifying. I feel my faith growing deeper with this kind of Mass.

There is so much to experience that I look forward to it every Sunday. Everyone inside the church is nearly quiet (except for small children) and the silence is heaven! People are busy praying or reading from their missal, or just simply watching what is going on in the altar. Oh, and I wear a dress (skirt) and a veil although not everyone does but there are quite a number of us who do and it's obvious who are the walk-ins or first timers by the way they dress. And the best part? We receive communion kneeling down and on the tongue. No one complains.

Six months ago, we (organizers) printed 500 copies of the missalette (Latin-English) and we are down to 24 copies and are re-printing another 500 copies. That's just to show you how interested devout Catholics are. TLM may not be for everyone yet but there is a growing number of Catholics who yearn for this kind of reverence, silence, and traditional liturgy. Truly, the Traditional Latin Mass is the “pambato” of the Catholic Church against the other churches like the Protestant because it has something they don’t have. Tradition as old as 2,000 years.

We invite you to come and experience the Traditional Latin Mass which happens every Sunday at 9:30 am at St. Jerome Parish in Alabang (except on Feb. 8 as it is the feast of the parish and so the Latin mass has to give way) and see for yourself that there is hope. There is hope because a group of parishioners aimed to make a difference and not wait for the Church to do its job. It's a lot of hard work and sacrifice but definitely worth it.

Thank you for your time and I hope many Catholics wake up to the real situation of the Catholic church today.

Mary Elaine Friend
TLM St. Jerome Emiliani
Organizing Committee, Treasurer