Rorate Caeli

Dear Fathers: An Advent challenge for you

A note and call to action for our priestly readers (and for our lay readers, send this post to your local parish priests):

We often hear from diocesan priests who either pray a private traditional Latin Mass but whose public Masses are Novus Ordo, or priests who say one TLM a week, with the rest of their Masses being the Novus Ordo. What they tell us is that they either have no room in their schedule to add the TLM, or that one TLM a week is all they can do, due to the ignorance of their Novus Ordo parishioners which would not support any or additional traditional Masses. 

Looking at this situation dispassionately (and without the blue hairs complaining vociferously in our ears, as we know you dear Fathers deal with), it all seems to boil down to fear of the unknown: Your parishioners don't know what they're missing, your schedule is already full even if the pews aren't and you don't know how to introduce them to the traditional Mass. 

Bold idea and challenge for priests: Whether you have a weekly TLM already or not, choose your highest attended Novus Ordo Sunday Mass and, the first week of Advent, make it a TLM.

This would preferably be a Sung Mass. If you can't pull together polyphony or chant, your typical choir will work. And if they can't pull off a full Missa Cantata, a "four-hymn sandwich" Low Mass will do. If you don't have servers trained in the TLM, just ask the nearest parish that offers it. They will surely part with two servers for one Sunday to spread tradition. And don't worry about the fine details. If you're missing certain things, most won't notice anyway.

Also: Do NOT announce this in advance (if you are comfortable with this). You don't need the heat from the "liturgy group" of ladies before it happens. Just make a quick announcement a couple of minutes before Mass begins. You can tell the congregation that Cardinal Sarah, "from the Vatican," asked you to celebrate Mass ad orientem in Advent, and you are expanding on his request by making it a traditional Latin Mass as well. If Pope Francis' Vatican wants it, who can complain?!

What may just happen after forcibly exposing your Catholics to true Catholicism is that your already-on-the-schedule TLM becomes more widely attended or, if you don't have a current TLM, you may just get that "stable group" of parishioners to justify starting a new Sunday TLM and ending one of the most likely numerous Novus Ordos with sparse Sunday attendance. 

Last: If you try this, please let us know! Send us an email and let us know how it went, what the response was and what your future plans are for the TLM. Feel free to write as much as you want. Send your story to athanasiuscatholic AT yahoo DOT com. If you request it, we'll keep your name and the name of your parish private.