By Mary Stadnyk | News Editor
In explaining the differences between the celebration of Mass, whether in the context of the extraordinary form or in the ordinary form, Father Michael Barone makes the point that: “Mass is Mass.”
Mass is a celebration that should be “truly extraordinary” in whatever form it is offered and in whatever language it is spoken, said Father Barone. “That’s because it’s at Mass when Christ feeds his people with his most Sacred Body and his Precious Blood.”
Father Barone, who was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark in 2008, was invited by Father Brian Woodrow, diocesan liaison to the extraordinary form, to celebrate a traditional Latin Mass and offer ongoing catechesis Jan. 8 in St. Anthony Church, Hamilton.
Since the first Sunday of Advent, Masses in the extraordinary form have been celebrated in St. Anthony Church (of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton), and each week’s Mass is celebrated by a different priest who is trained in the extraordinary form. While most of the priests who will be celebrating the Mass will hail from the Diocese of Trenton, Father Barone, who has expertise in the subject matter, was brought into the diocese as a guest celebrant and speaker.
In his presentation, Father Barone explained that the Traditional Latin Mass came at the behest of Pope Benedict XVI who, in 2007, had called for that form of liturgy to be more widely used in dioceses throughout the world.
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., took to heart the Holy Father’s call to make the extraordinary form of the Mass more available to the faithful of the diocese. The bishop appointed Father Woodrow as the diocesan liaison to the extraordinary form, and it is Father Woodrow’s responsibility to introduce that form of the Mass to parts of the diocese that do not already have it available.
Reflecting on why more parishes should consider offering Mass in the extraordinary form, Father Woodrow said the Traditional Latin Mass is yet another step closer to the heart of the liturgy.
“For now the Traditional Latin Mass may seem foreign to us, but as the language of our ordinary Mass changes, we will become better acquainted with the Latin roots of our liturgical life and better suited to participate in the ‘extraordinary form,” said Father Woodrow.
Among the priests who offered perspective on the use of the extraordinary form of the Mass was Msgr. Sam Sirianni, director of the diocesan Office of Worship.
“I believe that the Holy Father is continuing what Pope John Paul II began – the desire that the extraordinary rite be allowed to be celebrated for the spiritual welfare for those who find it nourishing and helpful in their lives,” said Msgr. Sirianni.
“It also fits into Pope Benedict XVI’s vision of an organic evolution in the liturgy that the ordinary rite is not a break with tradition but an ongoing continuation of the evolution of Mass that began right after the Last Supper.”
Msgr. Sirianni gave a brief historical review of the parishes in the diocese that have continued to celebrate Mass in the extraordinary rite, especially since permission was granted by John Paul II in 1984. Initially, said Msgr. Sirianni, two parishes were given permission by Bishop John C. Reiss to celebrate Traditional Latin Masses – Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Highlands, and All Saints Parish, Burlington (which is now part of St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Burlington).
After the Traditional Latin Masses were discontinued in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, the congregants from northern Monmouth County who chose this form of worship were then invited to attend the Traditional Latin Mass that was introduced in St. Catherine Parish, Middletown.
Msgr. Sirianni said that St. Catherine Parish was the only parish in the diocese to offer the extraordinary form of the Mass for a number of years. However after the release of Pope Benedict’s 2007 apostolic letter, other parishes that introduced Traditional Latin Masses were Holy Cross, Rumson, St. Michael, West End, and as of November, Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony, Hamilton.
Whether there will be more parishes beyond the current four that will offer Traditional Latin Masses in the future, Msgr. Sirianni said he honestly didn’t know.
“What I think is most important is that where the Masses are currently being celebrated is that there are a sufficient number of priests who are trained to continue the pastoral care of this rite,” Msgr. Sirianni said, “and that the catechetical element, teaching the faithful about the rite, is also being carried out.”
Regardless of how the Mass is celebrated, whether it is in the ordinary or the extraordinary form, Msgr. Sirianni said that it is his “hope that more people will be drawn to the mysteries that we celebrate and recognize the importance they have in our lives as Catholics.”
It is nostalgia and appreciation for the Traditional Latin Mass that brought Doris and John O’Donovan to the Jan. 8 Mass in St. Anthony Church.
The O’Donovans, who are longtime members of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, said that in addition to their regular Mass attendance in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, they have also enjoyed participating in the Mass in the extraordinary form. While John O’Donovan recalled being an altar server while growing up and familiar with the Latin, his wife reflected on the “quiet and reverence of the Traditional Latin Mass.”
Father Carter, who was raised Lutheran, said that it wasn’t until he had completed his Sacraments of Initiation and became Catholic that he had his first exposure to a Mass in the extraordinary form in St. Catherine Church, Middletown, his home parish.
“My friends went to that Mass and I ended up attending every week,” said Father Carter, “and as time went on, I began to see the beauty of the traditional form.”
Father Manning said he was inspired to begin the Traditional Latin Mass in Holy Cross Parish following Pope Benedict’s 2007 apostolic letter, Summorum Pontifcum. He recalled having served “hundreds” of Traditional Latin Masses as an altar boy, and how that Mass also had an impact on his decision to wanting to become a priest.
“I had so many memories of the Traditional Latin Mass and to have the opportunity to celebrate Mass in that form was something that I wanted to do for myself, for my priesthood and my love of that old liturgy,” he said.
Reflecting on his preparation for celebrating in the extraordinary form, Father Manning said that although he was “pretty decent in being able to read Latin, to be able to pray it and say it, was really a new experience for me.”
“It was like I was learning Latin all over again,” he said.
Father Manning said it took awhile for his parishioners to develop an appreciation of the Traditional Latin Mass. Two Masses are celebrated each week, at noon on Wednesdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Sunday Masses have more people in attendance, including a significant number of young families as well as a group of young men who are either in their late teenage or young adult years.
Father Manning noted that when he celebrated a Traditional Latin Mass for the students of Holy Cross School, he was surprised to hear them remark on how much they liked “the silence and calm of the Mass.”
“That certainly was not something they were used to,” he said.
“When I started the Traditional Latin Mass, I approached it in a very, very low key manner,” Father Manning recalled, adding that he assured his parishioners that the Traditional Latin Mass was not intended to replace the regular Masses.
“I reminded them that this was an invitation from the pope and encouraged them to give the Traditional Latin Mass a try.”
Father Woodrow related how he was drawn to learning more about the “ritual and beauty and mystery of our Church’s history” through the Traditional Latin Mass.
“As I got older, I started to read more and discover more about the history of our faith. And I kept wanting to learn more about it,” he said.
Father Woodrow extended his appreciation to Bishop O’Connell for designating him with the “very unique and blessed task” of serving as the diocesan liaison to the extraordinary form.
“It’s my goal to make sure that people understand the truths about the Mass and hopefully dispel a lot of the myths that go along with it,” said Father Woodrow. “A lot of people may think traditionalism is stuffy, outdated or archaic, when in fact it is still living, it is still breathing and it is still a beautiful expression of our faith.”[[In-content Ad]]