I finally did it! I finally attended a Latin Mass – the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite – A Missa Solemnis according to the “Usus Antiquior.” Una Voce Toronto is “dedicated to the development of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the Archdiocese of Toronto.” On August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, High Solemn Mass was celebrated at a church just north of Toronto.
I thought I had died and gone to mantilla heaven! For the first time since choosing to wear a veil during Mass, I didn’t feel singled out. Many women and young girls wore a veil that evening.
My personal guide was a seminarian friend who is well acquainted with the EF Mass. Following along in his 1962 Missal and standing, sitting and kneeling when he did was a tremendous help. Although he reassured me that it was OK to take pictures, I was too scared and too mesmerized to take out my camera.
So what did I think of it?
Mysterious. Special. Elevated. Beautiful. Reverent. Majestic. Confusing.
It took some time to get used to the Latin text and having a Missal with English translations as well as being with someone who knew what he was doing certainly helped. Latin added to the air of mystery and reverence. It elevated the Mass to a celebration of uplifting richness. The music and the canting enhanced the majesty of the evening.
The main celebrant, deacon and sub-deacon were clothed in exquisite vestments that beautifully honoured our Blessed Mother on the Feast of her Assumption into Heaven. Their actions at the Altar held them apart from the congregation but clearly they were leading us in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
When the Blessed Sacrament was elevated, the faithful had no choice but to bow in adoration. How else could anyone act in the presence of such solemn beauty? Holy Communion was received on the tongue, kneeling at the communion rail. I haven’t seen a communion rail since I was a little girl but eagerly kneeling to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist was just so right.
Everything was so right.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our Catholic churches could incorporate more of the traditional elements into the Novus Urdo Mass? I’m not advocating for a complete and total change back to the Latin Mass of my parents – I think that’s unrealistic and would be too foreign for many people. But bringing back some of the older traditions – the priest facing ad orientum and kneeling at the communion rail to receive Jesus on the tongue would remind us that it is Jesus present in the Eucharist that calls us back to Mass each week. And we would remember that His actual presence in the Blessed Sacrament is the reason for the Sacrifice of Mass, not Father’s amazing jokes or the feeling of a community gathering. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?