Sep 3, 2008

Learning the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite Mass

The Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) has been training many priests during the past year to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite Mass. I've been wondering about the results, and found a good example. A favorite blogger and science-fiction author and new Catholic (Easter 2008), John C. Wright, identified a particularly good sermon and I was curious about the homilist:
One Fr. John De Celles [STL], speaking in Old St. Mary's Church this weekend, delivered a homily to rebuke Nancy Pelosi, who publically offered a gross distortion of the Catholic teaching on aborticide. It is, if you will, the modern version of St. John the Baptist rebuking Herod, another figure who saw nothing wrong in slaying innocent children.
Wright noted that the entire sermon given on Labor Day weekend has been posted on the web. I read it and am very impressed. So who is Fr. John De Celles whose sermons are so good that one will be picked up and reprinted by the well-respected National Review magazine?

The current Bulletin of St. Mary's Church reports that Fr. De Celles now offers the old Latin Mass in Alexandria, VA:
You may recall that last summer Father attended a week-long seminar to learn how to say this Mass. He attended another seminar this summer to both review the rubrics of the Traditional Mass and to focus on the High Mass. In addition he put a lot of time and energy into preparing for [offering the Extraordinary Form on] August 15th.

Those efforts paid off in many ways. We expected some people would attend the evening Mass on the 15th simply because it fit their schedule. We did realize a few might have had no idea this would be the Traditional Mass despite weeks of announcing that it would be. And we thought a number would attend because it was a sung High Mass.

We estimate that there were 600 people here that night. The overwhelming response was a positive one, actually an extremely positive one, which was wonderful to hear. It provided, as we hoped, an opportunity for parishioners to experience the beauty of the “Old Mass.”
The FSSP priests are seeing a lot of good results from their training other priests to offer the old Latin Mass. In addition, I've noted over the years that the best prepared homilies seem to come from priests who are favorable to the old Mass.

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