Skip to comments.Latin Mass excites Catholic traditionalists in North Jersey
Posted on 07/16/2007 5:46:00 PM PDT by Coleus
Women wore traditional lace head coverings during the Latin Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel in Pequannock.
The strict Catholic couple travel 30 miles each Sunday to attend church. Paul and Margaret Papendick tried worshiping at several parishes closer to their home in Waldwick, but didn't like the changes made in the Roman Catholic Mass during the 1960s and 1970s. "They took the Latin Mass away from us," Margaret said. "And spirituality was the first thing that left." So the couple, now in their 70s, attend a West Orange chapel that provides a Mass in Latin and disdains modern changes -- such as altar girls. "It was returning to the church we knew -- without all that nonsense," Margaret said.
Now, with Pope Benedict XVI easing restrictions on the Latin Mass that have been in place since 1965, Catholic traditionalists throughout North Jersey are hoping for a revival. The Papendicks were among about 100 worshipers who showed up for the second of three Sunday Masses last week at St. Anthony of Padua Chapel -- one of three congregations in the Newark Archdiocese that offer the Latin rite. With the women wearing lace head coverings and the faithful worshiping in silence, an Austrian-born priest stood with his back to the congregation uttering words in Latin.
"Eternity does not know fashion, but is eternally fashionable," the Rev. Andreas Hellmann later declared in English. On the same day, more than 100 people attended the 11 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel in Pequannock -- the only location in the Paterson Diocese that celebrates the Latin rite. Longtime member William Budesheim said he sees more young families attending the chapel -- a change from decades ago, when he and other founding members worshiped at a Route 17 hotel. "You would think by now that the Latin rite would be dead," said Budesheim, the mayor of Riverdale. "But it's not dead, and in fact we have people who never even grew up with it and are clamoring for it." Nevertheless, church officials in North Jersey said they don't expect the pope's action to spark a greater demand for the traditional Mass. "We're not anticipating a groundswell," said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Newark Archbishop John J. Myers. "I think the majority of the people are looking for Mass in their language."
The Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass, was sidelined in the 1960s after the Second Vatican Council began stressing the local-language Mass as a way of getting the laity involved in church life. The Rev. Robert Stagg, pastor of Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, one of the largest in New Jersey, said the switch to English from Latin was a breakthrough moment for many American Catholics. "It was a real exciting time, because we heard the Mass in our language and we really understood it" Stagg said. "There was the sense of mystery with the Latin, but people wanted to know the hows and whys of their faith." Traditionalists, however, continued celebrating the Latin Mass where they could, seeing in it a more authentic and mysterious expression of faith. The chapels in Pequannock and West Orange are staffed by priests from out-of-state Catholic organizations devoted to celebrating the Latin Mass.
The pope's July 7 letter boosts those communities by allowing priests to celebrate in Latin without getting the permission of the bishop. In an accompanying note to bishops, the pontiff said one of his goals was to help build bridges between the church and traditionalists who believed Catholicism lost its way after Vatican II. "It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church," the pope wrote. "Looking back over the past ... one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity."
North Jersey has seen its share of such conflicts.
Budesheim and other members of the Pequannock chapel irked the Paterson Diocese several years ago by renting a billboard and displaying a sign that said: "Outside this true Catholic faith, no one can be saved." The West Orange chapel was started by the Rev. Paul Wickens, a traditionalist who was suspended in the 1980s for disobedience. Wickens died in 2004, and the chapel is now part of the archdiocese. Besides opposing the local-language Mass, traditionalists typically disdain other Vatican II reforms such as reaching out to other denominations and faiths.
"The Catholic church should not look at itself as one among equals," Budesheim said. "Any attempt to reach out should not be to have a warm, fuzzy experience but to bring [non-Catholics] into the church and get them salvation." Budesheim said he appreciated the pope's action but said the job is incomplete."It will be completed when the English Mass is banned," he quipped. Can't just wing it Newark Archdiocese officials say that may be a long time coming. Most local priests, including the archbishop, have never publicly celebrated Mass in Latin. The archdiocese plans to assess the demand and determine how much training is required before the pope's letter takes effect in September. "You cannot wing the Latin Mass," Goodness said. "It's a very stylized ritual with prescribed movements. You really have to go through a period of study so that you understand what you are saying and make all the right moves. We don't have a lot of people who can do it, because it has been 42 years since it was regularly celebrated." Video of the Latin Mass at Our Lady of Fatima
More than words
Differences between the Latin Mass and local-language Masses:
Language: The Latin Mass is celebrated completely in Latin, except the homily (sermon) and some readings. The modern Mass is celebrated in the local language.
Priests: In the Latin Mass, the priest turns his back to the faithful, facing the altar. Priests celebrating the modern Mass face the congregation.
Laity: In the Latin Mass, only clerics or altar boys can participate in the Mass. Lay people in the modern Mass are involved in many ways, such as serving Communion and giving readings.
Opening prayer: The contemporary Mass begins with a greeting between the celebrant and the faithful. The Latin Mass begins with prayers at the foot of the altar recited privately by priest and server.
Biblical content: The readings available for the new Mass include 71 percent of the New Testament and 14 percent of the Old Testament. The Latin Mass readings include just 17 percent of the New Testament and 1 percent of the Old Testament.
Prayers: The Latin Mass preserves the prayer and rites of 1570, with some changes, while the new Mass simplifies prayers and rites in the light of contemporary research and understanding.
Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Sad...who in the RC congregation under the age of 60 (perhaps you fit this) is going to understand the Latin liturgy. On second thought, God forbid, the young in the laity to understand and have relationship with their Creator...after all, that is reserved exclusively for the priesthood. < /sarc > Pax vobiscum!
How about, facing God?
If Mr. Budesheim’s forcing you to attend the Tridentine Mass at gunpoint you should probably call for help. Otherwise, stop worrying about other peoples’ religious practices and go enjoy your local Sunday sing-a-long.
Not to mention facing in the same direction as the congregation. I guess it’s all in the interpretation, huh? And here I thought the “progressives” wanted the priest to be closer to the people and not some act on a stage.
There is fear in the Cafeteria!
I am in my late 30s my children range from 18 months to 15 years and we are studying Latin as a family to understand the trad mass better.
This change is not just about the old, in fact I would say the young in the Church are more excited than the old.
I wish the article had included some of the interested young people. Maybe it’s an overall reaction to the influence of the 60s radicals and boomers, but I think I’ve read that Orthodox Judaism is on the rise among adult children of reform or non-observant parents, too.
How about stands WITH the congregation, facing the Lord?
Our Latin Mass community is well under the age of 60.
My parish of 850 families, as 8 children as the average. Family buses are the mode of choice. Crunch the numbers.
Right now, as we speak, we have Latin in our liturgy. Many of us are asking for the TLM.
Even my seven year old has been singing Latin since she was four. She sings Latin and English versions of many songs. She is better at translating than I am.
We study Latin and Greek using “English from the Roots Up”. So, some Catholics may not understand it, but the young more than the boomers will get it.
Of course they are, because it makes church feel like church, and not like an interminable amateur school assembly that they have to sit through on Sunday morning.
I think it would be good if we had some kind of a rite of passage like the Jews do where the kids have to show an ability to read and speak Hebrew before they can be full members of the church.
I’m no way near sixty and I admit, I’m excited about a Latin Mass. There’s something that rings and echoes in Latin in prayer.
Can’t explain it but there’s a power in it. So I’m looking forward to it.
I’m not sure that we need it as long as the NO is the ordinary rite.
However, any parent with an ounce of brain realizes that learning Latin is a huge boost to many future studies.
I think that we should request Latin classes along with our TLM.
I hope you're in a diocese with a bishop amenable to it. I'm not unfortunately, and I'm afraid for Boston it's going to be a long wait!
Well I don’t know yet about the local Bishop but my sense is there is a strong traditional following that should and will be heard in Newark region of NJ.
your local bishop alread approved tridentine rite masses in the Newark Archdiocese and I wouldn’t be surprised if St. John’s in Orange starts in the near future.
JERSEY CITY: Holy Rosary Church, 344 Sixth St.: 10 a.m. Sunday
NEWARK: Saint Antoninus, 337 S. Orange Ave.: Sundays at varying times (call)
WEST ORANGE: St. Anthony of Padua