Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tridentine Motu Proprio Implementation

This post is an expansion on a comment I made to a post on the NLM Blog this morning.
I believe this is, in the light of the more frequent rumblings about this long-awaited document one of the most critical topics to be discussed. It appears that the pre-Vatican II mass will be freed in the immediate future. The question is - What then????

I think probably the ideal way to pursue the implementation of the motu proprio is to get at some parishes (hopefully at least one in every community) to add a traditional Latin Mass on Sunday evenings. At first, it would be something of a novelty, no doubt. Initially you'd pick up a number of people, young and old alike who (depending on your location) have been waiting for years for a chance to go. So you would start out with a small, but probably loyal core constituency. But, that having been said, that core will not be enough to sustain the Mass long term. That fact, plus the desire to share the beauty of the Rite with others requires that we "grow" the numbers wanting the Older (I think superior) Rite.

With a Sunday evening schedule, you'll get a lot of people who cannot make the usual morning masses, for whatever reason. And that "spillover" is the key to choosing this time slot - it guarantees you a certain level of "traffic". The fact is, this is really just a big sales job. And it should be approached (to some degree) like any other sales job. The first step is to simply get people in the door - the schedule will help with that. Then, once they are there, be NICE and KIND and WARM, and the product will "sell" itself. Do that and you will, little by little, convert "spillover" attendees into true devotees. BUT, you HAVE to be NICE to them. If they experience sneers or cold shoulders or sideways glances or off-putting behavior in any way - you've lost them and they will not come back.

Let me say that again ..... you HAVE to be NICE to them. These "visitors" are coming to you from a different perspective, and will at first bring that perspective with them. That means they will be there wearing shorts and sneakers, because that's what they are used to. That doesn't matter. It's not our to admonish or criticize. They are going to feel a bit out of place already, and maybe a lot dubious about being there to begin with, it won't take much to run them off.

The other thing is that they are going to be "lost" with the Rite itself. Have booklets available with the Latin / Vernacular, along with illustrations to help them follow and understand. If they are sitting next to you, help them navigate. Be nice, be helpful. Remember there is nothing as contagious as enthusiasm. Also remember that converts tend to multiply.

Imagine this scene at a local Super Market:

"Hi Michelle!"
"How have you been doing? I haven't seen you at Mass."
"I'm great. I've been going to the Latin mass on Sunday nights."
"Oh??? I've never gone. (laughing) I don't know any Latin - I'd be lost"
"Yeah, I know how you feel. That's how I felt until I had to go one time because I missed the morning mass and found that it was easier than I thought! It was so pretty that I went the next week, and I was hooked. If you'd like to come one day, just sit with me, and I'll help you out - it really is so nice. I think you'll like it."

Think about it........


Carolina Cannonball said...

No longer "Tom- from parts unknown" has a blog now. ;-P

Glad tyo find ya'.

Tom S. said...

I'm glad you found me too!!! Nice to know the neighbors, isn't it.