Monday, January 14, 2008


Yesterday, January 13, 2008, marked a great day for tradition loving catholics in North Carolina. A 1962 Rite traditional High Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Grace Church. The celebrant was Father Ferguson, for the FSSP, and in attendance (observing from the loft, I think) there the priests of the Diocese of Charlotte who are learing to celebrate the Mass of Blessed John XXIII. The church was filled to capacity, both by traditional-loving catholics from around the state, and by many many local catholics who were interested in the mass. I was there, along with my dear wife and mother-in-law. And it was awesome. Got a bit hot in there at one point and I shed my jacket, but wow. The only downside was that, in my excitement, I left my glasses at home, rendering my new Missal useless (at least to me).

Our local paper, the News & Record, has a large article and a very well done multimedia presentation. Here is some of the article:

Latin Mass fills pews By Nancy McLaughlin
Staff Writer
Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 3:00 am

The pews quickly filled at Our Lady of Grace on Sunday for this special worship service, with many women wearing head scarves for the first time in decades and the priest speaking in Latin, an ancient language not spoken routinely in Catholic congregations since the 1960s.

"It's as if your grandmother celebrated Christmas a certain way and your mother never did it the same way, and this is grandmother's way," said parishioner Janet Morrison, who was wearing a scarf for the first time since 1963, when she was a teenager. "It's bringing something back from my childhood, and it's wonderful."

Latin was the language of the church for centuries, before the Second Vatican Council of leadership suggested the liturgy of the Catholic Church be reformed to increase the participation of the people. Those reforms included a reduction of the number of blessings and prayers that were spoken, the loss of age-old customs and that Mass be celebrated in the common language of the people. More recently, Pope Benedict XVI loosened restrictions of the Latin rite, referred to as the Tridentine Mass, allowing parishes to celebrate in that way if it is the desire of the faithful. Some churches have slowly added Latin Mass as an option. Most remain in English and Spanish.

Fourteen priests from the Diocese of Charlotte, which includes Greensboro, recently studied the rituals of the prayers in Latin with the Rev. Robert Ferguson, who led the Mass at Our Lady of Grace — partly as a demonstration model for them.

Those in the pews came from across the state.

"Some of these people have been waiting for a long time," said Sister Sheila Richardson of Sacred Heart Mission Church in Wadesboro. She traveled the hour and a half drive with eight others. Some of those who showed up at Our Lady of Grace were too young to have witnessed a Mass in Latin, but said they were there to connect with the roots of their faith.

"My father sent me a videotape of a Latin Mass and it was so beautiful," said 32-year-old Jennifer Carter of Huntersville, who only five years ago joined the religion of her father. "The old prayers are so beautiful, so rich."...

To help those in the pews, ushers passed out programs containing the Latin and English versions of the Mass — even instruction on when to stand and when to kneel...

Some things were more familiar for Banks and the others, ranging from contemplative worship to the use of incense as a symbol of prayers wafting to God...

The sacred songs were in Latin but there also was Gregorian chanting.

In the more modern Mass, for example, the altar is placed in a central location in the sanctuary, allowing the priest to face the congregation during Eucharistic prayers. In the Latin Mass, the altar was placed against the wall at the back of the sanctuary, which meant the priest had to have his back to the congregation. [Actually, the original, marble high altar was used. the wooden table altar was nowhere to be seen]

Like those around her, Tina Witt of Charlotte knelt at the altar rail, which symbolized the gate to Heaven, and received communion on the tongue from the priest. Communion is given in many ways using the more modern Mass, including "by hand" to each parishioner.

"This is something we never should have gotten away from," Witt said of the customs surrounding the service.

The complete original article can be seen here.
And if you follow the link, there is a highly impressive multimedia presentation as well.

Deo Gratias!


Anonymous said...

While I am sure that this Mass was wonderful, I am starting to get a little tired of the moaning of some who complain about the lack of the TLM in the Charlotte Diocese. It is being offered every Sarurday evening as a Vigil Mass, completely permissible in the 62 Missal at a Catholic Church, not an ecumenical chapel, in Mt Airy N.C.

Tom S. said...

Well, that is wonderful news! I didn't know that. Your comment might have me on the road to Mt. Airy Saturday evening.

I was unaware that I was moaning, By the Way.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Tom, I did not mean you specifically. It was late last night and I ended with your blog after reading a couple of others where most of the "moaning" was taking place.

The Mass is said at Holy Angels Catholic Church at 6:30pm on Saturday. The Church is located on N. Main St. The pastor is Fr. Kowalski.

Carolina Cannonball said...

anon, the moaning is due in part to the fact that for the most of the Diocese (which is half of the entire state of NC) this is all we got. Many are driving over a hundred miles to attend MEF.

Most can't maintain that pace on a weekly basis for mass.

Gratitude abounds but accesibility would be ideal.

Milehimama said...

Fr. Ferguson is such a wonderful priest! I have bragging rights - my little Sebastian was the first baby he baptized (at the FSSP in Litteton, CO).
I don't have access to TLM at all here in SC. A big change from my last church that had three Tridentine masses a week (and packed to the brim ones, at that). The only one is over an hour away, on Sunday nights.