Monday, August 6, 2012

DO NUMBERS COUNT? DO NUMBERS LIE?

This is the only recording we have of our men's schola, which normally sings at our first Sunday of the month EF High Mass. This Mass was a normal Sunday Mass at 12:10 (Ordinary Form) for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, but celebrated extraordinarily!


Yesterday, Sunday, August 5th, we had our monthly 2:00 PM Latin High Mass. Our men's schola as usual did a wonderful job with all they chanted. I especially love how they chant the Introit, but everything else is chanted so well and I absolutely love chanting the Credo (#3) as this is the only Mass we chant the Credo. It is required so if anyone complains, I tell them, speak to the Pope.

But after Mass, as best I could, I counted those who attended. There were probably 60 people altogether. But of those 60, there were about 30 young children! Yes, that tells you something.

I'd say I was the oldest one there apart from our deacon Don Coates who is older than me but looks younger, I think he dies his hair! No not really.

The parents with all the children must have been in their late 20's and early 30's.

We had to cancel the Mass for June and July and we did not advertise very well that we would have it in August. If we had, we would have had more there, maybe up to 80 or so.

The EF Mass is simply beautiful, but one has to have actual participation in a different way than what is normally experienced in the OF Mass. One has to be swept up in contemplative ecstasy and the "rational" part of the brain has to give way to God's transcendence, the mystery being made present, the love of God and the panoply of God's eternity made nugget size in the brief span of the Mass.

In the Ordinary Form, one gets caught up on the barrage of words and the noble simplicity that obscures or obfuscates the mystery that only faith can perceive and the heart acknowledges.

7 comments:

rcg said...

I read my '62 Missal almost daily, mainly searching among the prayers that give life to my intentions. As a fan of English Literature, I am not too proud to enjoy the Latin prayers and happy to think, "I wish I had said that!" It is just simply beautiful composition.

We thirst for beauty that is fit to be in the presence of the Almighty. Those parents want their children to grow up in the atmosphere of inspired thought. I think the other folks will largely be drawn to it, too, when they regain that thirst.

John Nolan said...

Actually, they are quite good numbers for an afternoon Mass. Does your schola chant all the Propers as per the Graduale Romanum (or Liber Usualis)? If so, kudos to your cantor(s). They're not easy, even if you only do it once a month. Congregations need to be reminded that the long Graduals and Alleluias, with their elaborate melismas, are there so that they can meditate on the texts. It's a bit like an audience listening to a Beethoven string quartet. The players are putting in the hard work so that the audience can fully participate and connect with the composer's vision. It requires the utmost concentration on both sides.

Robert Kumpel said...

Like I said Father, YOUNG people. They will come. Many will come because they want to know about this mystery that has been zealously hidden from them by the Amchurch folks and modernists. Some will come just because it is different. Some will come because they actually have a Catholic education and want a deeper experience of the Mass. But YOUNG people are the biggest supporters of the "Tridentrue" Mass and they are the future of the Church. Do not be surprised. If you are going to advertise and "market" this Mass, go after them. The Geritol crowd is too busy looking for a large print edition of the Glory and Praise hymnal.

Anonymous 5 said...

If we forced the EF on people the way that the NO was forced on them (i.e., by suppressing the NO), would that get the EF numbers up? Probably, but I bet that overall Mass attendance would also go way down. The reason? People's Catholic identity has been so diluted by 40-plus years of the spirit of VII that they're no longer strongly connected to the Church either culturally or doctrinally. I bet that most of them would be turned off by the Latin (or by whatever, in light of the previous thread) and start going to the Methodist or Episcopal church down the street, because the liturgy there would be more like the familiar NO. Some people would be pleasantly surprised by the EF, but not a lot. The rest would so some place more comfortable.

If my analysis is true, then it is--valid Mass or not, traditional Mass or not--a damning indictment of the NO.

Just my $0.02 worth.

Gene said...

"The Geritol crowd is too busy looking for a large print edition of the Glory and Praise hymnal..."

LOL! Stop it, Kumpel, you're killin' me! LOL!

Joseph Johnson said...

Father,
This is the first chance I've had to look at the "extraordinarily celebrated" OF to which you have been referring. If only this could be the norm for celebrating the OF! It is so UN-Haugen'n'Haas!

As for advertising and "marketing" the EF (which I strongly support, by the way--check out the Una Voce, Quad Cities ad, "Altar your View" as an example), I may have told you before that in April, 2008, at St. Joseph, Waycross, we "advertised" (with pastoral approval) our first EF Mass time (a single weekday evening time and date) both in our bulletin and in "The Southern Cross" for weeks in advance. We had 117 people (who signed a sheet I still have) in attendance--some from other neighboring parishes (at least an hour's drive away). Subsequently, I learned that our then pastor (the celebrant) sometime later got enough grief from other priests in our deanery (Valdosta/Brunswick) that the second time we had the EF he would not again allow advance "advertising." Apparently his colleagues didn't like the word getting out to their people, (lest they ask for the EF, too?). That second unadvertised Mass (in 2009) still got about 30 people, which I think is good for the EF on a weekday evening in a little place like Waycross (200 or so families?).

As far as I'm concerned, I daily pray that that 2009 Mass will not be the last EF Mass during my lifetime at little old St. Joseph in Waycross, Georgia.

Marc said...

Anon5 - Reminds me of what someone posted recently on a forum I frequent:

"Don't you know how lacking the Church was before the New Springtime? Look at how the modern Church effectively deals with invigorating the Mass. Why, Mass attendance is only down 75%!"