Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Introduction to the Tridentine Mass

The adventure continues.

This evening I dropped my boys off at the front door of our church so they could get dressed in their altar boy cassocks before Holy Mass. I then parked our van, and my daughter and I walked across the parking lot to the front doors of the church. Just as we got there, my two sons were walking back out.

There was going to be a different type of Mass tonight! I asked them if they would still be able to be altar boys, and they said yes. As we walked into the vestibule of the church, I wondered what was next. I thought we were getting a good handle on learning everything at our new parish. Recently I had even started singing, in Latin, during the Wednesday morning Latin Mass. That is, until I realized that I still don't know the words to the song. At least I was feeling more comfortable! So there we were this evening, once again facing the unfamiliar.

When we walked into the vestibule, our wonderful pastor was there. He told me that the next Mass was a Tridentine Mass and asked if we had ever been to one. I said that we had not. As my sons left to go put their cassocks on, Father said to me, "Stay right here!"

All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind at that moment. I knew something different and significant was about to happen. This year has been so unique as God continues to expand our Catholic horizons in ways I never could have imagined or thought possible. My constant companion is the feeling of being swept away by the phenomenal tide of Catholicism. What was next?

Father explained a little about the Mass and again insisted we "Stay right here!" So I asked with wonder, "We can't go into the church?" I saw that there were other people in there.

How funny. He said that yes we could go into the church. He simply did not want us to leave because we were intimidated or didn't feel comfortable. We stayed, and are richer for having experienced the Tridentine Mass.

How beautiful Catholicism is, how meaningful, how loving!

How many beautiful Catholic stories abound within our families and among our friends, encouraging stories, inspiring stories, life-changing stories, funny stories!

I'll share one more with you.

What seems like a lifetime ago, we were called to our former parish for what would be a ten year stay. One day I took my daughter, who was very little at the time, into the chapel to pray. The chapel was empty, except for us. While praying I noticed that my toddler was staring intently at the life-sized crucifix behind the altar. I remember thinking that she already had such a deep faith to be staring like that at the crucifix.

As we were leaving, Alyssa said to me, "Mama, are they going to do that to us?"

That poor little girl had probably been thinking the whole time, "What are you sitting here for, get us out of here!"

One thing she recognized correctly as she stared at an image we sometimes take for granted is the barbaric nature of the suffering and death that Jesus endured because of His tremendous love for mankind.

Make it a point to go to Holy Mass.

God is at work in you!

Crucifix at St. Andrew Catholic Church Chapel by Suzanne Young.