Well, the decision is in, and after much consideration, we are now an unofficially bi-ritual family.
It all started about a year ago, when, due to a shecdule conflict, my wife attended a Sunday evening Mass at St. Paul's. I was deeeeply suspicious, because I had heard many stories about the place, and how it was one step to the left of liberal - both liturgically and doctrinally. But, she came home from that Mass happier than I had seen her in years. She began to go every Sunday evening, each time with true joy and enthusiasm. Not so much from the liturgy per se, but from the attitude of the people there. It was with further trepidation that I went there for the first time last year - as I reported here. But I too sensed both the enthusiasm and sincerity of the people and the place. Admittedly there were a few liturgical practices that were not "per spec", but it really was quite conservative compared to many of the places and things I have seen and heard.
Since that time the parish has come "under new management" being served by two really good dioscean priests (replacing the OSFS). I knew that changes were in order the first weekend when the new pastor explained that he was replacing the glass flagons, etc. with real chalices - AND he explained why in his homily! Then the next weeks bulletin featured a quote from Romano Guardini's Spirit of the Liturgy !!! And the celebration of the Mass is now Strictly "Say the Black - Do the Red". And yet, in spite of the changes (and there have been others) the place remains very joyous and beautiful. The Sunday evening Mass is LifeTeen (or so they say), but other than the music - which is VERY VERY well done - the Mass itself is very traditional, including the Priests SINGING most of the mass, beautiful vestments, and orthodox preaching. And while there are still EMHC's, they are now kept off the altar. And truth be known, the music is actually better and more meaningful lyrically than most of the drivel out there. Most of all the when-will-it-end attitude (which one sees so often) is seemingly absent from the congregation. In addition to all this, the priests' focus on, appreciation of, and outright support of our local Catholic Schools and stressing of the importance of Catholic education make the place so desirable.
Coincidentally, all of this has happened at a time when my previous home parish more or less has adopted a less than positive attitude about Catholic schools (they cost the Parish money, you see). While at the same time the Mass, preaching and music there have deteriorated somewhat. So much frittered away - it breaks my heart - after 18 years of faithful membership and support. I wanted - no NEEDED - a positive place for my children.
So as of last week, my "home" parish has changed. Of course, since we go to Mass in shifts, I won't be there all the time. But "for the record" thats were we belong - where we are appreciated.
SO THE MORAL OF THE STORY... Especially for all of the Traditional people and Priests out there is... ACT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!!! And treat people like you WANT them to be there! One smile or kind gesture will win you a "convert" - one scowl will lose you TEN......