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Friday, 21 August 2009

Liturgical Restoration in Rochester

No, not that Rochester, (sorry if I got anyone's hopes up) - this one:
At 34, the Rev. Matt Fasnacht was born a decade after the Roman Catholic Church started moving away from the traditional Latin Mass that was the standard for centuries.

Today, Fasnacht is playing a role in reviving the Tridentine Mass, which recently received a boost from Pope Benedict, who in 2007 eased restrictions on them.
"It has so much mystery," Fasnacht said. "The ritual expresses an idea of, 'Hey, this is really important what's going on right now.'"

Fasnacht, of St. Bridget Parish just south of Rochester, has been hosting Latin Masses at the church for two months. While other priests have celebrated the Masses so far, Fasnacht plans to undergo training next month in which he will learn the Latin Mass's exacting language, gestures and genuflections.

After about five days of training, Fasnacht will become the fourth priest in the rotation to lead Latin at St. Bridget's.

Latin Masses were held for about five years at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Rochester before their recent move to St. Bridget's.

The move was made partly because St. Bridget's still has an altar in place from the pre-1960s era when Latin Masses, which priests celebrate with their backs to the congregation, were the norm, said Dr. Donald Hagler of Rochester, who has been a driving force behind reviving the Latin Mass in the Rochester area.

At the same time, the smaller crowds that come to the Latin Masses make St. Bridget's a better fit than St. John's, which has a relatively large sanctuary, said Monsignor Gerald Mahon of St. John's....

Fasnacht said he doesn't have a clear preference between Latin Masses and the standard Mass now celebrated by Catholics. But the Latin Mass does have a certain sense of mystery, solemnity and reverence for the Eucharist that can be lost in the modern Mass if it isn't celebrated well, he said.

At the same time, he thinks the Latin Mass resonates with at least a portion of Catholics in the area.

"I think there is a need here, that there's people who would benefit from that ritual," he said.

And that really matters, no?

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