Yes, you read the title correctly. The only time I have been at a Traditional Latin Mass since it was freed from the dungeon of the Vatican Museums, has been as a celebrant for this Mass since 7/7/07, the day of liberation.
I have not attended as an participant other than as a celebrant.
Today I attended the first Mass for the 1962 Roman Missal at Sacred Heart Church on Bull Street in Savannah, about eight blocks from the cathedral basilica where it had been for almost 15 years.
This was the first time that the 1962 Roman Missal was celebrated at Sacred Heart since the transitional Missal of 1965 which quickly morphed into the 1970 Roman Missal by 1968 or so, for all practical purposes.
As I watched the Mass and participated in it as the laity does, but in choir dress, it brought me back to my first memories of this Mass around 1957 or so in Atlanta, both at Fort McPherson’s Cantonment Chapel in Atlanta/East Point and St. Joseph Church in Augusta where I experience the Mass with great fascination as well as the transitions from 1965 to 1970 and the deformations after that time.
This is what struck me today and resonated with my childhood.
1. Fascination with the Mass from an innate, non academic or intellectual point of view. Like love, one doesn’t describe it, but experiences it and knows what it is from a mystical experience.
2. The silences of this Mass as prayers are prayed in a low voice, especially the Canon, is stunningly beautiful enabling contemplation, wonder and awe.
3. In the altar server responsible for moving the Missal from the epistle side of the altar to the Gospel side and then back again, I saw every altar boy I scrupulously watch as a child wondering if I could do what he was doing and doing it without dropping the missal and its large stand or tripping down the three stairs leading to the altar.
4. I received Holy Communion as every lay person did at this Mass today, kneeling and on the tongue and yes it brought me back to Atlanta and Augusta doing it that way.
5. Finally, while the Modern Roman Missal allows for the godawful liturgical dance added to the Mass at various points, like adding music and entertainment, the Traditional Latin Mass is itself the dance with his high choreography. It is like a minuet! Stunningly beautiful.
Pray, pray, pray, that Pope Francis experiences a conversion to the older form of the Mass and the communities who love it. He hated charismatics and thought them mentally problematic when he was archbishop in South America but then repented and embraced them. Maybe he will have a similar conversion toward the TLM and the people who love it.