Monday, February 14, 2005

Young People Experience 1962 Mass

HAMPTON ROADS News (Printable Version): "Latin Mass attracting a younger generation of parishioners
By STEVEN G. VEGH, The Virginian-Pilot
December 21, 2003
Last updated: 7:41 PM

Yet Sunday mornings find youthful faces throughout the church. A steady trickle of newcomers in their 20s, 30s and early 40s has boosted St. Benedicts membership to about 200, leading it to add a second Sunday service and expand its building. The chapel had about 80 members when it was founded in 1992.

Many of the young newcomers were restless Catholics who have found in the Latin Mass something tried and proven. Theres a sense that the whole has been refined over centuries, said 36-year-old Ron Weber, a Chesapeake resident who grew up going to English-only Masses. It gives you the sense that God is always the same.

For the younger generation, which rarely experienced the traditions while growing up, the old practices can serve as a new way of connecting with the divine. They enable people to pray in a certain way that helps their faith, said the Rev. James Martin, who has written about the trend as associate editor of America, a Jesuit magazine.

More than 100 dioceses across the country have parishes that celebrate the Latin Mass regularly. The rite also is know as the Tridentine Mass, because it was institutionalized by Catholic Church leaders at the Council of Trent in the 16th century.

What impresses Abbaticchio about the old rite is that, apart from the sermon, priests have little opportunity to inject themselves into the service. The Mass is scripted and predictable.

For older Catholics and many baby boomers at St. Benedict, the old liturgy has almost a nostalgic feel: It is the standard with which they grew up. But for some younger Catholics raised on English-only services, the Latin Mass is oddly fresh in its return to tradition.

Compared to the old rite, some younger members said, the contemporary Mass is too unpredictable and too much like Protestant services.

To some extent, interest by some young Catholics in devotional practices reflects a wider appreciation within Catholicism for time-honored ways. Pope John Paul II declared the period from October 2002 to October 2003 as the Year of the Rosary, and last month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document describing how traditional practices can fit into Catholic life.

Additionally, he said, younger Catholics are less likely to be biased against traditional practices they haven't experienced than some older Catholics who remain glad to be rid of ways that they found stifling or outmoded.

Reach Steven G. Vegh at 446-2417 or at

© 2005

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the Bishop of San Jose would think about this?