Having been a high school teacher prior to my change of occupation, it was becoming evident to me that the students who were more serious about their faith, their prayer life, and their catechetical and intellectual development, were increasingly drawn to the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), or the Extraordinary Form as it is now known.
These were brilliant Catholic students and their interest in the TLM was not to go back to a time "long before they were born", but in most cases it was a reaction against the abuses and lack of reverence they saw at Masses. What the previous generations saw as "updating" the Mass, or making it more "relevant", was to these kids (the diehard Catholics of the future) actually making the Mass banal to the point of frustration. The things that older generations thought were hip and new - these kids simply think is ridiculous to the point of comedy (more along the lines of a tragedy). In the TLM they saw order, beauty, and reverence - and they were drawn to it. Whatever problems existed with the Mass before Vatican II, young people today are, in most cases, simply not aware of them. What they see today at a TLM are very devoted people , reverently attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
And from these students are coming, and will increasingly come, the vocations of the future. People can fight it or try to ignore it, but they are coming - and they will be coming in ever larger numbers.
A presenter at the National Vocations Directors Conference labeled some of these kids as rigid, and their rigidity as a potential obstacle to vocations. I couldn't disagree more. Their "rigidity" is born out of a frustration with laxity, lukewarmness, and abusive liturgical innovations. In them is a profound love of our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Mother Mary, and the Saints. Their reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is tangible. These are not weak foundations for a vocation to be built on.
Rather than see these as obstacles, I can only see them as building blocks for holy vocations. Much preferred to the numerous "faithful" Catholic students who are involved in under age drinking, premarital sex, contraception, pornography, support gay marriage, and are openly pro-abortion. I see these as far larger obstacles to vocations than I do virtuous students that are adamantly opposed to rock bands playing at Mass.
Read the article below. Read the quotes from the young people attending the TLM, like this one: The Tridentine Mass "detaches me from the world and lifts my mind, heart and soul to heavenly things," said Michael Malain, 21, of Houston.
Those are not the words of a "reactionary traditionalist". Those are words that should not be seen as obstacles to a vocation. I assure you they aren't, and we will be hearing more of the same in the years to come. Those Diocese that embrace these young people and form them in a positive way will see a marked increase in vocations. Those that don't, well, they will probably continue to see a "vocations crisis".
Mass Appeal to Latin Tradition
From the Washington Times:
October 28, 2007
By Kristi Moore
Roman Catholic churches nationwide are rushing to accommodate a surge in demand for the traditional Latin Mass, which is drawing a surprising new crowd: young people.
Since July, when a decree from Pope Benedict XVI lifted decades-old restrictions on celebrating the Tridentine Mass, seven churches in the Washington metropolitan area have added the liturgy to their weekly Sunday schedules.
"I love the Latin Mass," said Audrey Kunkel, 20, of Cincinnati. "It's amazing to think that I"m attending the same Mass that has formed saints throughout the centuries."
In contrast to the New Order Mass, which has been in use since the Second Vatican Council in 1969 and is typically celebrated in vernacular languages such as English, the Tridentine Mass is "contemplative, mysterious, sacred, transcendent, and [younger people are] drawn to it," said the Rev. Franklyn McAfee, pastor of St. John the Beloved in McLean. "Gregorian chant is the opposite of rap, and I believe this is a refreshing change for them."
Susan Gibbs, the director of communications from the Archdiocese of Washington, said the attraction demonstrated by the young adults is "very interesting."
Besides the liturgy"s rich historical content and spiritual significance, the younger generations show an interest in the old becoming new again, said Louis Tofari of the Society of St. Pius X, an order of clergy that opposed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
"People who never grew up with the traditional Mass are finding it on their own and falling in love with it."
The Tridentine Mass helps people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up in a culture that lacks stability and orthodoxy see something larger than themselves: the glory of God, said Geoffrey Coleman of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter"s Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Neb.
The Tridentine Mass "detaches me from the world and lifts my mind, heart and soul to heavenly things," said Michael Malain, 21, of Houston.
Kirk Rich, 21, of Oberlin, Ohio, remembers the first time he attended a Tridentine Mass and recalls thinking that a new religion had been invented.
"That"s certainly what it seems like when comparing the two forms of the Mass," Mr. Rich said.
The biggest difference between the two forms is that the Tridentine Mass is always celebrated in Latin, except for the homily. The priest also leads the parishioners facing east, the traditional direction of prayer. The New Order Mass can be celebrated in Latin, but usually is not. There are also differences in some of the prayers, hymns and vestments.
As a result, the overall feel of the Tridentine Mass is more solemn and serious.
"The coffee social is after the traditional Latin Mass, not in the middle of it," said Kenneth Wolfe, 34, of Alexandria. "No one can say, with a straight face, that the post-Vatican II liturgy and sacraments are more beautiful than the ones used for hundreds and hundreds of years."
Like the churchgoers now demanding the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, the priests learning the rite are usually younger as well.
The Society of St. Pius X trains priests in the liturgy of the Tridentine Mass and has received as many as 25 requests a week for instruction since July.
"The phone was ringing nonstop, and I was getting e-mail after e-mail,' Mr. Tofari said. "The response was absolutely incredible; most of the people who call are below the age of 30."
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has collaborated with Una Voce America to host workshops for clergy in Denton, Neb. Una Voce America, which promotes the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, usually teaches the rite to 12 students a session. But in September, it increased that number to 22 to meet the increased demand for training.
Many priests think the changes approved by the pope will do more than bring young people into the church. They think the celebration of the Tridentine Mass will increase the faith of many followers.
The Rev. Paul Scalia, 37, has been celebrating the Tridentine Mass at St. Rita Church in Alexandria. He said the increase in young attendance is evidence that the Mass is something living and life-giving.
"The beauty is tremendous, as it draws us to God, who is beauty Himself," Father Scalia said.
Yes, Fr. Scalia, is the son of Supreme Court Justice Scalia.
What could these young people possibly be drawn to in this centuries old form of the Mass:
After only 40 years of Masses like this: