Wednesday, November 07, 2007

'Great Mass, Father!'

Today St. Mary had its monthly Mass in Latin (per current Missal of Paul VI); only it was also a Mass for the schoolchildren, because they have no school on Friday.

Last week, I asked the principal if he saw a problem; he said no problem, it will be fine.

I prepared a shorter handout, since we only have about 50 booklets with all the prayers, and it would be a chore to make up another 150 more. To accommodate the children, I did the preface in English, and the Our Father and the prayers immediately afterward, but the opening rites were in Latin, as was the dialogue and the Eucharistic Prayer, and the conclusion. Right before Mass, I made sure all the children had the handouts, and I made a brief announcement explaining what we were doing. "By the way, you already know some of the Latin. Do you know how to say "Amen" in Latin? "Amen." "Alleluia"? "Alleluia." "Kyrie"? "Kyrie."

I also did a votive Mass for St. Martin de Porres, because here in the Archdiocese, the Dedication of the Cathedral takes precedence on his day (although I realize many priests don't observe that, but they should). So it's perfectly legitimate to celebrate Martin on another day, so long as there is no other saint or feast on that other day.

After Mass, two of the servers practically ambushed me in the sacristy: "Father, we loved that!" What did you like? "We liked the Latin." Why? "It really made us pay attention." And when I said, okay, we might do it again, they said: "can we serve when you do?"

A bit later, I stopped into the school office, and a boy came in. "Great Mass, Father!" Really, I said, what made it great? "The Latin; and when you did this"--he meant the Eucharistic Prayer--"I thought you were going to say the usual words, but you didn't!"

Sheesh--these kids today--what's wrong with them? Don't they know they're not supposed to like this sort of thing?

Remember, every first Wednesday, 8 am (okay, today it was 8:45), St. Mary, Piqua Ohio. Mass in Latin, for those wish to participate.


Anonymous said...

I am in my late 20's and have never actually seen a Latin mass, but I yearn to. Unfortunately, with 2 children under the age of 2 it's hard enough to make the normal mass. Anyways, I heard a nice quote from an elderly lady concerning Latin in the Mass when someone complained to her that the Church was going backwards and no one would know what was being said and going on. She said that the Latin Mass was to her like Mozart, she doesn't know what all the notes are, but she can still enjoy the beauty of the music. I think younger Catholics (I still consider myself younger but maybe I shouldn't) really yearn for an authentic Catholic faith, and the Latin Mass helps draw us closer to that experience. Of course, I'm only speaking as someone who has never actually attended a Latin Mass, but it sounds beautiful and all the complaints against it seem to me to be from liberal Catholics.

p8 said...

Ha, it's a trick..."Kyrie" is Greek! Technically, "Kyrie" in Latin is "Domine"...

Unknown said...

I need to get the bi-location thing down.

Anonymous said...

Far out Father! I'm glad you posted this. I would love for our school to at least try one Latin Mass.
Question please, Who printed the hand outs you used and where might someone get a copy?
Did you face the congregation or have you back to them?
Thanks, and I think it's wonderful
Eric Seaman

Anonymous said...

Wow..i'm impressed!

Fr Martin Fox said...


I prepared a handout, and photocopied it.

If you send me an email at, I will send a copy. That is not my regular account, so I don't check it often; so I'll keep an eye out.

(If I get a lot of requests, I may just post the text online if that would help; trouble is, the formatting all goes haywire.)

FYI, no warranties, I can't promise I didn't make a typo, it was just something "quick and dirty" as I used to say in my career.


I know; my point was that Kyrie is still Kyrie in Mass in Latin. As it was, the kids didn't stand and sit as they usually do, because things were different enough. I wanted to put them at ease.

CourageMan said...

Speaking of Kyrie ...

I wonder what percentage of Americans or US Christians or US Catholics actually know that the New Testament was written in Greek. I don't think I knew that until I was in college (admittedly I was lapsed from 12 to about 24/25).

Actually, something similar came up at a recent group meeting. What language was the Mass in at the very start of the Church? The very, very start. Under Pope Peter I. My guess was that it would have been in Greek. But someone else said Aramaic, based on the Last Supper as being the first Mass. Which may be true, except that the only accounts we have of that first Mass are themselves in Greek.

Unknown said...

"What language was the Mass in at the very start of the Church? "

Any good Greek Catholic could answer that - Church Slavonic, of course! It just took another 11 centuries for the miedieval Bulgarians to speak it!

But this is happy news Father. Spend five minutes every morning teaching the kids a little latin, by the time they "graduate" 8th grade they will have a good idea what is going on. Might even have a leg up on learning a foreign language!

The thing that gets me is that anyone who thinks they "know what is going on" fully in the Mass is (if they are not an angel) KIDDING themselves. Understanding every single word and reading along in the missallette still leaves a great deal that we just can't understand. It is the MASS!

The thing of it is for years going to Mass in grade school I thought when Father sang "Let us proclaim the mystery of Faith" he wasn't referring to what just happened, but rather it was like his que to us ("hit it!") to sing "Christ has died..."

100% vernacular without explination can be more confusing and misunderstood than most people will admit.

Anonymous said...

Please keep up the Latin Mass! I could not make it in Oct due to being out of town. Then this morning a furniture delivery we were anticipating around noon arrived at 7:40 a.m. I know! Have 20 Latin Masses ea month and everyone is sure to be able to attend at least some of them!

DG said...

This post has brightened my day. Thank you, Father.

Anonymous said...

And the reason you're linking to Ed Burns' blog is..........

Fr Martin Fox said...


I linked Father Ed Burns' site because he's a brother priest, a friend, and he linked mine.

Anonymous said...

Father, this is so great to hear. I plan on trying to get up from Cincinnati to one of your masses in the near future. Keep it up. Just curious if your parish is under the archdiocese of Cincinnati and if so, how did you get past the approval process our Bishop has imposed on Latin Mass without passing their test.

Fr Martin Fox said...


We are in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

You are confusing the two forms of the Mass in the Roman Rite, the older form, aka "Tridentine" form, and the current, post-Vatican II form of the Mass.

We are having the current, newer form of the Mass in Latin, and there is no permission needed for that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the correction Father. Are you thinking of trying to offer the Tridentine form in the future?

Fr Martin Fox said...


I have no idea. First, I need to become familiar and at home with the celebration of the Mass in the older form, and that will take time. At some point, I will take part in a training session, but I don't know when. And I will need to practice privately to be fully ready.

In the meantime, I await requests from folks here for such a Mass. Shortly after the pope's decision, I told both parishes, at Mass, that I would willingly accede to their requests for the extraordinary form of Mass when received. The only request I've received was from a parishioner that I celebrate his funeral Mass according to the former usage. I said I would do so.