My first Tridentine Mass
I got up early and went to the Tridentine mass held on 8a at St. Thomas Aquinas on Saturdays. I was really nervous about going.
The altar was dressed up beautifully. The priest was wearing a very cool "fiddleback" chasuble, which I had never seen one in real life. It was very cool. There were two very young altar boys, about ages 5 and 7 I'm guessing. They were so disciplined! All the altar "people" at the Cathedral (who are girls except for one boy who I thought was a girl for three months because his hair is so long) are only responsible for carrying up the cross and the gifts. And they sit there looking very bored throughout Mass. These two little young boys were kneeling and standing and praying in Latin and kneeling and moving things and other than the youngest scratching his nose once, were the two best behaved boys I've ever seen I think. They were so reverent. They were wearing the black cassock and white thing that goes over the cassock (sorry, I don't know the names of these things). The people who were attending the mass were reverent, and most has missals that they were using to follow along. At STA, we are allowed to receive communion by going to an altar rail, and I found that very respectful as well. The altar boy held up the paten under my mouth as I took communion from the rail.
Now the down sides. The WHOLE THING is in Latin except for a few Hail Mary's at the end. No homily, no scriptures, no prayers in English at all except for the few Hail Mary's I mentioned before. Also, the only participation that was going on during Mass with the parishoners was standing/sitting/kneeling and the Hail Mary's. The Kyrie and Pater Noster and other parts of the mass were recited by the altar boys (did I mention that they absolutely blew me away???). I didn't have a missal, so I kind of had to guess what was being said. The priest kind of mumbled the Latin, so it was hard for me to follow. I actually picked up a lot of Latin going to Fr. C's Novus Ordo masses in Latin, so I know the big phrases for that mass. But I couldn't even understand the Priest. He said most everything at a level that was impossible to hear. He faced away from the people the entire mass.
I honestly didn't feel very spiritual going there at all. I can definitely see why people would be boggled by the VII changes, but on the other hand, I can also see why they were made. I like participating by praying and responding to the priest. To me, the priest is supposed to be acting in Christ's place during the mass, so it makes total sense that he face us and speak to us as if Christ is speaking to us. It brings me into the mass much better and it helps me to feel spiritual to be able to participate.
On the other hand, I absolutely loved the reverence and solemnaty of the mass. It was so reverent, and was done with such precision. I really wish that I could find a way to bring that into normal attendance at churches.
To me, an ideal mass would be one done as the Novus Ordo mass was at St. Jude, with the Adoramus hymnal so that we could sing Gregorian chant. Much of the main part of the mass would be in Latin, but they would do the scriptures, homily and prayers after the Homily in English. I would also love to see the Mass treated with such respect as that priest and those altar boys. That was an amazing site. I'd love to hear the bells ringing during the Sacrament prayers to announce that Christ has risen as they do at STA.
I don't think I'll be going to the Tridentine mass on a regular basis. I get much more spirituality out of my little daily mass at Holy Family. And I really enjoy going to St. Jude, even though it's small and doesn't have nearly the bells and whistles that the Cathedral has. I enjoy the smallness, and seeing the familiar faces, and being able to walk half a block to church on both Saturday and Sunday.