“We knew not….

There is a story told in the history of a Prince who wished to convert to the Christian Faith both for himself and for his nation. He sent delegations to the great Christian cities to report back to him on their worship. One delegation returned from one such city where they had witnessed a splendid celebration of the Liturgy and told their Prince that ” We knew not whether we were in Heaven or on Earth, but truly God is in that place!”

After yesterday’s celebration of the Corpus Christi Mass and Procession with its splendid music, the joyfully solemn ceremonies of the traditional Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, so many remarked on the experience in almost the same terms as above.

The magnificent music, the Gregorian chants, the polyphony, the works of Mozart, Faure, Recife; the incense, candles, the poetry, and Scripture of the 13th century Mass texts along with the old and still living  Latin Missal all transported us back to our roots. Many of us felt, I think, like we had paid a quick visit back to the “old country” from our everyday lives and there refreshed ourselves with the sights, sounds, language, and rituals of our ancestors.

I am particularly grateful to Thomas Tirino, our Music Director, the Parish Choir, all the visiting musicians, instrumentalists, schola members, seminarians, servers, and First Communion children who helped make this Mass the truly “extraordinary” Mass that it was. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bissez and Lynn Wilson did much on the “logistical” side that must be acknowledged as well.

As I mentioned in my sermon, while such rich fare cannot be our ordinary sustenance, it must be an available part of our lives as Catholics.  The traditional Latin Mass is offered here at St. Matthew’s every Sunday at 9AM in the Chapel as well as on Holy Days of Obligation at 10:30 in the church.

Also, please note that the Mass and homily in Spanish is offered every Saturday evening at 7:30 PM in the church. One need not belong to a specific “Spanish” group to attend.

I feel that the richness and variety of our liturgical life here at St. Matthew’s also will serve to prepare us for the upcoming new English texts of our “Ordinary” Masses that comprise the vast majority of the liturgical life of the Parish every day and every Sunday. This new edition of the Missal will take effect this coming Advent. We will be preparing, both clergy and laity, for that event ahead of time.

June 27, 2011

Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

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