Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Tradition Latin Mass At Georgetown University

Starting Feb. 11, 2010 the traditional Latin Mass will be offered one weekday per week every other week. This will be the first time that this Mass has been offered on campus since May 2008.
The main advocate for the pre-Vatican II Mass (Mass said entirely in Latin]) Kieran Raval (COL ’13) describes the Latin Mass as a way to feel a greater connection to the long historical and religious traditions of the Catholic Church as well as to grasp a greater understanding of the Novus Ordo Mass (post-Vatican II Mass).
“I gained a sense of our Catholic spiritual and liturgical heritage by attending the traditional Latin Mass, which has helped me better understand the Novus Ordo,” Raval said.
He stressed that neither Mass is spiritually superior to the other, but that they can work in unison to enhance one’s overall religious experience. The two Masses are aesthetically different, and preference for one over the other is based upon personal choice.
In the traditional Latin Mass, the Mass is celebrated in Latin and the priest faces away from the congregation as a gesture symbolic of leading the congregation toward God. The traditional Latin Mass uses Gregorian chants as well as a more complex set of actions, gestures and postures by the priest.
Fr. Stephen Fields, S.J., the priest who celebrated the traditional Latin Mass when it was previously offered on campus, indicated that the traditional Mass is very popular among young people, possibly due to its contemplative nature.
“My assumption is that, in a world of constant [noise], [young people] find that the contemplative silence of the Extraordinary Form nourishes their lives of prayer,” Fields said.
The traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated by Fr. G. Ronald Murphy, S.J. when it resumes this week. Murphy agreed that aesthetics are an important factor underlying personal preference for either Mass. He said he believes that more important than individual preference for either Mass is the realization of what Mass itself signifies, however.
“I like any type of worship that helps people come to a realization about what they are saying,” Murphy said.
Murphy also described the difference between the two types of Masses as a shift in focus.
“The old liturgy is very much God-centered and believes, in a way, that the best way to worship is to stand together and face God. The new liturgy wants us to face God and each other,” Murphy said. 

Link (here) to the full article at the Hoya.
Photo of the Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart on the campus of Georgetown University

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