If Mass is a sacred event when bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Christ, then why isn’t Mass celebrated in a sacred way?
I’ve attended Mass in a variety of dioceses and parishes, and too often, it is a less than serious experience. People scramble over the altar, sometimes not even bowing their head before the tabernacle. At many churches, the tabernacle isn’t on the altar, but is pushed off to the side like an afterthought.
Music is continuous, making it hard to pray or even think. Sermons avoid the hard teachings of our faith – no wonder so few of us understand them. The consecration itself may melt into the Eucharistic prayer, instead of being emphasized.
Sometimes I feel like I’m at a show, as though the purpose is to entertain the crowd. The philosophy is if we can make the Mass “modern” and “relevant,” more people will attend.
Instead, we’ve lost many Catholics. Maybe people aren’t looking for more of the “real world.” Maybe they’re searching for something more. I know I was. And I found it.
When I attended our parish’s first Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) last summer, I didn’t know what to expect. My information was limited to a) the Mass is said in Latin; and b) the priest faces away from the people.
What I learned was that these two factors are beside the point.
The TLM is a truly sacred experience because the focus is placed on God, not on the priest and not on the people. It is called Mass in the Extraordinary Form because it is out of the ordinary. You are lifted out of the mundane into the mystery of the Mass.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Consider attending this Sunday, June 3 at 1:30 pm at St. Vincent de Paul Church. This Mass meets your Sunday obligation. -- Susan M.