Friday, April 10, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
April 02, 2009 01:32 pm
BY TOM LAVIS
The Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Patton, celebrates an all-Latin Mass. Queen of Peace is the only church between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg to offer the the extraordinary Mass. Submitted photo/ The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
The extraordinary Mass, also known as the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, is being reintroduced in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese.
For the first time in more than 30 years, Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Patton is providing the all-Latin Mass, the only church in the diocese to do so.
Many supporters of the traditional Tridentine Mass are convinced that it is a priceless gift that must never be forgotten.
Brian Kopp of Johnstown is proud of the love he has for the old Mass because it offers him and his family many spiritual benefits.
“After the Second Vatican Council, in the mid-1960s, the traditional Latin Mass only was permitted to be celebrated privately by priests,” Kopp said.
But in July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI set in motion an initiative allowing the traditional Latin Mass to be offered publicly. Diocesan Bishop Joseph V. Adamec gave permission to the Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB, to celebrate the extraordinary Mass at Queen of Peace on Sunday afternoons.
“We are the only parish between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh to offer the all-Latin Mass,” Kopp said.
“We have had people come from as far away as State College, Indiana, Johnstown, Somerset and even people from the Greensburg Diocese.”
Buccicone, who was ordained in 1993, is required to understand and speak Latin, as well as perform the precise hand movements.
“Not being born before Vatican II, I took it upon myself to learn, because I had a desire to learn the old way,” Buccicone said.
Since Pope Benedict offered the opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary Mass, many seminaries have reintroduced Latin into their curriculums.
Unlike the new or ordinary Mass, in the extraordinary Mass, priests face the altar, not the people. It appears as if the priest is turning his back to the congregation. But Buccicone said the purpose is for the priest to face God.
“The priest is facing liturgical east, facing toward God, and he is acting as the mediator between God and man,” Buccicone said. “It’s like a general leading his troops into battle.
“I don’t view it as turning my back on the people. I view it as leading the people to God and heaven.”
People are invited to attend the extraordinary Mass at 1 p.m. Sundays. On the first Sunday of the month, a high Mass is celebrated with Schola, or choir, singing and Gregorian chant.
On the other Sundays of the month, a low Mass is said, which is the more solemn Mass.
“Anyone desiring to experience the rich liturgical traditions of pre-Vatican II, this is an opportunity to do so,” Buccicone said.
He said priests must be qualified in both the Latin language and the rubrical (text) requirements to properly celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.
During the high Mass, Gregorian chant and other ancient sacred music and clouds of incense fill the church during the liturgy.
The extraordinary Mass is much different than the ordinary Mass in its silence and lack of response from the congregation.
Latin Masses have been reintroduced at Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church, Patton. Celebrating the extraordinary Mass is the Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB. Submitted photo
There is no singing and the congregation does not respond to the priest vocally.
“The silence is overwhelming,” Buccicone said.
“There is much more time for mediation, and it offers an opportunity for contemplation.”
About 150 people attend the extraordinary Mass. The sanctuary has a capacity of nearly 400.
The solemn Mass, which is said completely in Latin, attracts different types of people. Older Catholics enjoy it because it is the Mass of their youth; younger people, including some with families, appreciate the silence and mystery of the Mass.
“Ironically, older people started coming out of a spirit of nostalgia, but they discovered a reverence for the deep and sacred character of the old Mass,” Kopp said.
And younger families have found that the old Mass teaches the centrality of Christ in the Catholic faith.
The focus of the old Mass is God, not man.
“The new Mass is so busy with active participation that no one has time to pray,” Kopp said.
“The old Mass has a sense of mystery and awe that gives participants a time to pray silently and understand the reality of the Mass.”
Buccicone said the majority of people attending the extraordinary Masses are young and middle-aged people.
“They enjoy the solemnity of the Mass and the mysteries that are inherent in the old rite,” he said.
During Holy Communion, communicants must kneel at the rail and take Communion on their tongue.
No one is permitted to touch the host with their hands other than the priest.
The communicant also does not say “amen” after receiving the host, as is now done in the post-Vatican II era.
Instead, the priest says, “May the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, bring your soul unto everlasting life. Amen.”
Some women in the congregation have returned to the practice of wearing chapel veils, a head covering that displays reverence to the Lord and modesty.
Even the priest’s vestments and acolytes’ cassocks are in the old style.
“I have received calls from priests and convents who have offered me the old vestments that have been stored in closets,” he said. “They are beautiful with some being over 100 years old.”
Upon entering the church, the congregation has access to Latin-English missals, which display both versions.
“The Latin is on the left and English on the right, and people can follow along easily,” Kopp said.
He said the missals help people keep pace with the celebrant as he recites the Latin words. There is no need to actually learn Latin because the translation is already made for the participant.
But learning Latin pronunciation is key to the acolytes who serve the Mass.
Kopp’s 16-year-old son, Michael, said it took about three months to learn the proper Latin pronunciations verbatim.
“There are cards that we can read, but once you do it for a while it becomes natural,” Michael said.
“I would like to see a lot more churches do this because I think a lot of young people would find it gratifying. It takes people to a higher level in realizing that they are in the presence of God, and we are with him at the Mass.”
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