Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Piqua's first (mostly) Latin Mass in 30 years

The sky was not rent, the earth did not split open, as we had a Latin Mass this morning for the first time, publicly, in I'm guessing 30 to 40 years.

In fact, it's very likely this is the very first time Mass was offered this way in Piqua, as I did not offer the former usage, which is what so many think of when they hear "Latin Mass." Rather, I offered the Mass according to the current Missal, "by the book."

The Mass was actually not all in Latin: in addition to the readings being in English, I also used the English orations, mainly because the people would not have had those texts available. I did, however, do the preface in Latin; I could have done it in English (I would have sung it better). But pretty much everything else was in Latin, including the Roman Canon.

I stumbled a bit on the pronunciation, and the prayers I have memorized, in English, I don't have memorized in Latin--so I had to refer to the book in ways I found awkward, such as for the "Per Ipsum." I am using the Solemnes' Ordo Missae in Cantu book, which is beautiful, but not well laid out--the page-breaks come at awkward points in the prayers; they might as well have made it a bit thicker, and then move text to the next page for more natural breaks in the text. Plus, they didn't include everything the priest needs, so I had to switch back between that and the Sacramentary. Next time, I'll copy and paste what I need in one book, but that's a pain.

We had 20-30 people, which is a normal size for a Wednesday morning; many of our regulars, some parishioners who don't always come to daily Mass, and some new faces. Some of our others I imagine chose to go to the evening Mass instead, which is fine--that's why I did this on Wednesday, to provide a choice.

I did a longer-than-usual daily homily, on why this is worth doing, which is below.


Mara Joy said...

that is quite cool. congrats.

les said...

Well done Father. I read your homily and not to be disagreeable, but actually what you have done has been available all along, unless your Bishop specifically prohibited it.
EWTN has used Latin extensively in the ordinary form of the mass for years. As you point out, the ordinary form that we have been using was written in Latin and then translated into English.
However, the Motu Proprio has understandably given some sense of freedom to priests to use Latin more in the ordinary rite and personally, I would love to see more of that, even if we haven't the opportunity to attend the extraordinary rite.
The ordinary rite can be quite beautiful and moving and reverent, and I think the judicious use of Latin enhances that.
Once again, well done. You will get better with practice, and perhaps some of those who are resistant will find as well that they appreciate it more than they thought.

Father Martin Fox said...


Thanks for your comments.

No, I fully realize that I didn't do anything I -- or any other priest or parish -- couldn't have done a year, five years, or forty years ago. The law hasn't changed; but other things are.

In my case, I have only been a pastor for two years, and a priest for four, so my opportunity to do this is relatively new. For example, I never sought to do this as a parochial vicar, because I think the vicar should not tack differently from the pastor, even on "small" matters, unless conscience demands it. The vicar is there a short time, and the pastor needs his support. When the vicar is pastor, that's his time.

In my case, I have taken slow steps, partly because what seems slow to me isn't slow to others.

Anonymous said...

Mass was beautiful, Father! As for stumbling over pronunciation, those of us in the pews won hands down in that department. Thanks so much for doing this--keep up the good work!

Ann S.

Anonymous said...

Father, you are to be congratulated. You are displaying a pastoralness and liberality that unfortunately is not the hallmark of much of the Catholic clergy, both bishops and priests. They think they are liberal, but in fact they are religious frauds. I pray for them that their eyes might be opened. Tom

Father Martin Fox said...


I'm happy to do it.

It's simple: if folks keep coming, I'll keep doing it.

the Joneses said...

Question, and this is meant to be serious, not snarky:

The homily was a very good explanation, and I'm happy that the Mass went well. But isn't the purpose of a homily to expound on and apply the Scriptures read? I didn't see any reference to the readings, and I'm curious if it might have been better to do the homily as some sort of handout, and use the homily time to preach on the Word.

Father Martin Fox said...


I understand your question, it is a good one.

From the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, paragraph 65:

"The homily is part of the Liturgy and is strongly recommended, for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners" (emphasis added).

I agree, normally a homily is and should be related to the Scriptures. But in this case I chose to preach on the liturgy itself, which I think is legitimate from time to time and something I believe this paragraph from the GIRM envisions.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Father! One of these days, I might just drive from Montreal to Piqua for the Latin Mass. God bless you. Regards, Patricia Gonzalez

pdt said...

Father Fox -

Many congratulations for enriching you parishioners' spiritual lives. While Cicero may have winced at the Piqua accent, your congregants were hearing the Mass in tones familiar to Thomas Aquinas and Augustine. My prayers will be with you as you see how many people return bringing friends.

God bless.

Diane said...

Congrats Father. And, even though I'm already in a parish which has really championed the Latin Novus Ordo in my neck of the woods here in Detroit, I want to thank you for what you are offering, even if everyone there does not understand why you would do this.

Deo Gratias!

Bernard Brandt said...

Dear Fr. Fox:

Thank you for this kindness, and this good work. If any of the priests of whom I had requested this kindness had done so (over the ten or so years that I had requested it), I might possibly still be a Roman, rather than an Eastern, Catholic.

Anonymous said...

I had to go back to find a post on the Latin Mass.

Tonight I went to choir practice and we practiced Panis Angelicus and the Kyrie along with some other hymns in English. When I arrived for choir practice a small group was in the chapel praying the Rosary and later a group of Spanish-speaking parishioners were in the chapel. The choir director suggested that they should be asked to join us as we were very few in number in the choir. (What a great idea -- but we didn't really do it tonight.)

What a wonderful opportunity to have EVERYONE sing in Latin -- and Greek -- together! I think we have a bilingual service coming up. Hmmm...

James said...

Would I be correct in assuming that your monthly Mass in Latin will be this coming Wednesday, Oct. 3?