Monday, September 4, 2017
MAKING ACTUAL PARTICIPATION HAPPEN IN THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM
With the 10th anniversary date of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum on September 14, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Cross, in what ways has the celebration of the EF grown, not only in the number of these Masses, but in actual participation?
I don't think the number of these Masses has increased and if so only in a minuscule way. I know that in Macon at St. Joseph Church, I had about 130 people who were interested in this Mass out of a parish of about 1,500 households at that time.
Prior to the implementation at St. Joseph on 9/14/07, I had a class on the EF Mass and the difference between it and the normative Mass. About 80 people attended. And on 9/14/07, a Friday night, with horrible thunderstorms and a tornado watch, we had about 300 attending a low Mass at 7 PM.
Once we began the once a month High Mass on Sunday at 2 pm we averaged about 80 people, sometimes more, sometimes less. When we had solemn celebrations for our St. Joseph Feast Day or All Soul's Mass, we had about 150 to 200 attending.
Then when we moved the once a month EF Mass to our normal 12:10 PM Sunday Mass, but once a month, there would be 300 or so in attendance.
We also had a weekly Tuesday 5 PM Low Mass.
In the Diocese of Savannah in 2017 there are only two parishes that offer the EF Mass regularly, the Cathedral each Sunday at 1 PM and St. Joseph Church, once a month on Sunday.
At the Cathedral there are a couple hundred locals who attend with a many tourists as well. The locals could not form their own parish, but I think that would be a wise thing for the future but they would have to support it with their financial offerings.
So as far as the Diocese of Savannah is concerned, the EF Mass draws a minuscule number of people and is in fact a "boutique" Mass--it does not have popular appeal. But those who like it are fierce about it.
As far as actual participation, I tried hard in Macon to have the congregation chant their parts and for the most part they did and they did chant well the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei as well as the responses to the priest. At the Cathedral, not so much. They rely on the excellent schola and I think this is a weakness in actual participation at the Cathedral.
At St Joseph, we would sing a fine Catholic vernacular hymn during the procession, with it ending once the priest arrived at the foot of the altar and then the Introit was chanted and an English hymn, was sung at the recessional.
Those of you who attend the EF Mass, how many of you actually chant with the choir the parts that are yours?
Thus, I continue to recommend that parishes have priests who know both forms of the Mass and that the Ordinary Form of the Mass be improved along the lines of the ethos of reverence of the Extraordianry Form as the normative Mass is the Mass that most Catholics attend and receive their Catholic Liturgical formation for better or worse.