Many sources are reporting on Miami's Extraordinary Form Mass attracting younger congregations. I have to report the same. There is an attraction of mystery, choreography, reverence and piety that captures the imagination of our younger people, even those who are pre-school.
Over the years, when teenagers have attended the EF Mass here, I've had football players come up to me and say, Father, that was awesome.
Our last OF Mass celebrated like an EF Mass, that of Faure's Requiem, a young mother told me her two young daughters, pre-school and second grade were enthralled with the Mass in a way they never had been before--yes a Latin Mass!
But should we be surprised? As Pope Francis tells us over and over again (and I think he learned this also at the Synod on the Family in a way His Holiness did not expect) our God is a God of surprises.
But should people my age and older be surprised about the interest of the young and very young with the older form of the Latin Mass? No! We ourselves experienced the same thing and I know many of you could testify to this. I was fascinated with the older form of the Mass well before I entered elementary school.
While we attended mostly Low Masses back then, some of the fondest memories I have and prior to elementary school are High Masses especially at Christmas and other times. I thought these were awesome too!
I simply do not believe that the Ordinary Form of the Mass as abysmally as these are celebrated today in the majority of cases, captures the imagination of anyone's, religious imagination or otherwise.
As the testimony concerning our recent OF Mass celebrated in an EF way shows, this abysmal state could easily be changed but there is no one in most places willing to lead the way!
Here's what they are saying about the EF Mass in Miami:
Roman Catholic Mass was at one time universally celebrated in Latin, the ancient Roman language.
After the second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Mass was allowed to be celebrated in the language of the people, meaning Mass in Peru was celebrated in Spanish and Mass in the United States was celebrated in English — you get the picture.
Latin is now sometimes referred to as “the dead language,” but it is not dead in Miami.
The Mission of Saints Francis and Clare is a Roman Catholic chapel in Miami that celebrates traditional Latin Mass every Sunday. It’s one of three local churches that offer this regular service. The mission has about 20 pews facing its single stained-glass window just above the altar.
Father Joe Fishwick has been leading the traditional Latin Mass at the chapel for almost 20 years. He says he’s noticed a change in attendance recently.
“The fascinating thing is the number of young people who discover the old liturgy and who fall in love with it,” he says. “There’s indeed a thirst for a return to one’s roots.”
Father Fishwick says he has seen more and more young people at Sunday’s Latin Mass since the death of Pope John Paul II nine years ago.
“I think maybe the younger generation, which has had no experience of that, has been completely starved of it,” says 30-year-old Miamian Josue Hernandez. “They see it and they run to it because they have been so deprived.”
Hernandez attends Sunday Latin Mass at Saints Francis and Clare.
“When you go to the older Mass, you have the Latin, you have the incense, you have the priest facing the crucifix and the focus is completely off you,” he says. “All the attention is turned towards the sacrifice.”