Sunday, August 9, 2009

Catholic Anchor Covers First Mass

Priest discusses significance of Tridentine rite Mass in Anchorage ArchdioceseOlder Latin Mass now celebrated monthly in Palmer
In July, the Anchorage Archdiocese began providing regular celebrations of the Tridentine rite Mass – also known as the extraordinary form of the Mass. The centuries-old rite – which is said in Latin – was the standard Roman Catholic liturgy before the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).
On July 18, the Tridentine Mass was celebrated at St. Michael Church in Palmer with more than 75 people attending. The Anchor asked celebrant Father Tom Brundage a few questions about the Mass and its significance for the archdiocese.

What was the most difficult aspect of preparing for this celebration as a priest?
The most difficult aspect was finding the kind of time in my schedule to adequately prepare to celebrate the Tridentine rite Mass. I really wanted to avoid only partially knowing the Mass and with the help of my server, Les Syren, as well as the training I received in Chicago, I was able to be at least adequately prepared.

What is the significance of being able to celebrate this older form of the Mass in the Anchorage Archdiocese?
To me, it is a matter of canonical rights as well as the diversity allowed in the Church for different forms of the celebration of the Eucharist.
First, on the matter of rights, Pope Benedict’s motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” put out certain criteria that must be met before the Tridentine Mass would be offered in the local church. There is a need for a stable community that asks for it was the bottom line. That standard was met, in my opinion, creating the right to this particular rite of the Mass. The tough part was not having any priest ready to say this Mass publicly.
The second note of significance is that we are a church with a lot of diversity. There are over 20 Eastern Catholic Churches all with their own particular form of celebrating the Eucharist. Why not allow for the celebration of the Tridentine rite when there already is so much diversity?

What are the hopes for what this Mass might accomplish in the long run?
My hope is that it will satisfy the hunger for the group of Catholics in the Archdiocese who find this a particularly prayerful way of celebrating Mass.

If you go
Celebrations of the Tridentine rite will take place on the following Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.: Aug. 22, Sept. 19, Oct. 24, Nov. 21 and Dec. 19. St. Michael pastor Father Thomas Brundage, JCL, will be the celebrant and the sacrament of reconciliation will be offered prior to Mass.
Why do you think people want this form of the Mass celebrated?
I think the answer to this might be, in part, generational. For older folks who grew-up with this form of the Mass, some of them sincerely miss it. For younger folks who did not grow-up with it (I put myself into this camp!), the Tridentine rite is compelling because of its great stress on the sacred nature of the Body and Blood of the Lord. This is not to deny that the ordinary rite does not have the same stress, but it is emphasized in different ways in different rites.

What does the future hold for this Mass in Alaska? What needs to happen in order for there to be a high Mass for instance?
It looks like there may be a couple other priests in the Archdiocese who will be able to celebrate the Tridentine rite Mass. I think it will continue once I return to my diocese of incardination.
For a high Mass, I need more servers trained in the Tridentine rite and a choir also trained in the form and nuances of the music of the Rite.

Will there be a Sunday celebration of this Mass?
The initial request of our parish priests was to not have the Tridentine rite of the Mass complete with the ordinary form of the Mass in our parishes on Sunday. I have been in recent discussions where this is being rethought. The issue at this point is logistical. Between the prison Mass and my Masses in Palmer, I am at four Masses on a normal Sunday weekend. Normally a priest is limited to three Sunday Masses.

What did you personally get out of the preparation and then actual celebration of this Mass? Do you have any impressions?
I believe that learning the Tridentine rite, as difficult as it was, I find that both rites complement each other. I am now much more conscious in the ordinary rite of the precision necessary to be a reverent presider. In the extraordinary rite, I am also conscious that people need to participate in the Mass, each in their own way.

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