I got back from Chicago a couple of hours ago, and have been catching up on things. Sorry for no posts about the workshop on training in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, but no real Internet access at the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House (someone told me I could go into the kitchen and use a PC there, but I figured the folks in the kitchen didn't need me bothering them).
More substantive comments will have to come another day, this post will have just brief thoughts:
> The older, "Tridentine" form of the Mass is a mystery to a lot of Catholics, including a lot of priests, and it should be noted that from the perspective of history, this is "the Mass" for most of the life of the Roman segment of the Church. This form of the Mass has not changed all that much since about the time of St. Gregory the Great, in the 600s! The rubrics and ceremonial are daunting; but don't let that deter you.
> It was enlightening to tap into this great heritage. A lot of lights about the current form of the Mass turned on. On my drive home, I thought about the Holy Father's express wish that the two forms of the Mass influencing each other, and thinking through what that might look like. There are many ways the current form of the Mass could be celebrated in a way in more continuity with the Mass of the prior 1400 years: the priest and people facing the same way, or the use of Latin and chant, or greater use of silence are three examples that come readily to mind.
> But at the same time, one can see the merit of changes that came in the wake of the Council, such as restoring the intercessions and the procession of the gifts, and the change in how the readings are proclaimed. But many have the idea that such changes represent a repudiation of the classic Mass, when in fact, they are either restoring something that dropped out along the way, or were ideals imbedded in the older Mass but not often realized. A lot of people assume is the whole of the older form of the Mass--the very quiet low Mass--is but one variation of the older Missal. But the thing is, the sung and solemn forms of the older Mass were seldom experienced; in many ways, the reform after the Council aimed to make what was experience in the rare solmen Mass far more common.
> A great bunch of guys. I met several of the priests of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago, several brothers who are part of the community, and they were very helpful to the eight priests, from all over the country, who came for training. We had a lot of fun. But it was work--studying the rubrics of the classic Mass, and then attempting to apply them; our priest-instructors patiently walked us through the Mass, continually reminding us of various details we were slopping up. We made a lot of progress, although there will be no substitute for a lot more practice.
> So what next? I have to obtain a 1962 Roman Missal--they cost $500, so I'd be delighted to find one used or tucked away somewhere--and I still have things to learn.
> What does this mean for us in Piqua? Well, nothing sudden or surprising. Recall that Pope Benedict said priests should "willingly accede" to requests from the faithful for the older from of Mass, and that's what I am going to do. I've had one request so far (for a man's funeral), and I expect more will come in time; as they come, I'll deal with them.
> In the meantime, I believe this will help me appreciate the Mass even more and approach it with greater reverence. I think everyone would benefit from understanding the older form of the Mass, and experiencing it.
I'm back for a bit, then heading off for vacation after Mass on Sunday.