Thursday, August 16, 2007


Once again, I should be writing my column, but I would much rather tell you about the wonderful celebration of the Rite of Blessed John XXIII last night at St. Joseph's Co-Cathedral. On an extremely humid night in Burlington, I thought we might have three or four hundred people at the Mass. St. Joseph's holds eleven hundred and I would guess that we had nearly one thousand people present. It was extraordinary: many young people, young families, a real cross-section. Bishop Matano really did well, preaching with great passion. His comment,"if this is what it takes to fill our Churches, so be it," has echoed around the Web, judging by a few sites I have visited. It was more than twenty years since I had last attended an Old Rite Mass, my first time as a priest in Choir. Apart from having extremely sore knees (good penance, as one of my priestly brethren pointed out) and sweating like a small suckling pig, I suddenly realized why the Holy Father has liberated this extraordinary rite from the artificial shackles imposed in the past. My insight is neither profound nor original, but it was powerfully experienced: the Old Rite is entirely TRANSCENDENT, "Sursum Corda - Lift up your hearts" - it is profoundly THEOCENTRIC, not anthropocentric. It is worship......I get the feeling things will never be the same!


gemoftheocean said...

I am happy for you that it was everything you wanted it to be, and more.

Karen H. -- San Diego, Ca.

Liz said...

I know that having to kneel on the floor rather than a kneeler and being vested made it less physically comfortable for you, but you did get a great view of the whole Mass. There are perks that go with those particular physical discomforts. I think you captured the spirit of it well in your post.

I didn't know how many St. Joseph's seated, but I knew that it was close to a capacity crowd. We arrived an hour early and so were able to park relatively close. Someone in front of us said that they had to park at the parking garage on Cherry St. and barely made it in time for Mass. I think you weren't the only one surprised at the size of the congregation. I, on the other hand anticipated exactly what happened (which is why we got there an hour early). Although, I must admit that the other family from our parish who told me they would be there didn't actually make it.

jefflax said...

I think that time will prove that Bp. Matano has changed the paradigm both for worship in VT and for the visibilty of the Bishop of Burlington. Historically this see was rather quiet on the national stage (I have watched 99% of the televised USCCB meetings for the last 12 years or so and not only can I not recall a Bishop from VT speaking, it's hard to even catch a glimpse of them!)
Just google what is becoming the catch phrase of tradtionalists (If this is what it takes...) and you will see. The number of hits, and our visibilty will grow exponentially. The trick will be to capture the momentum and have the people, (who only want holy and solemn worship not necessarily a solemn high tridentine mass), take their case strongly to the innovators and the resistors of tradition ( who I am sure are hunkered down deep waiting for this storm to blow over)
It wil be an interesting year or two coming here in little old Vermont.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Lovely blog!

M. Alexander said...

It was awesome!!!!! It was historical! It was magical! It was beautiful!

I saw younger people giving up their seats and standing in the bag at the beginning of Mass so I am willing to say that there were 1100 people there. And in Vermont that is huge.

Victoria said...

'sublime' is one of my favourite words - to be used only when it expresses the emotion of the moment.