July 17, 2015
Father Terry McGowan will begin celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Latin according to the Missal of St. John XXIII, promulgated in 1962, at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, at the Church of the Assumption in Nashville.
The Mass will be the first of a weekly celebration of the Extraordinary Form in Latin at 8:30 a.m. Sundays at Assumption.
Father McGowan has been appointed as chaplain to serve those in the community who want to attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Latin, often referred to as the Usus Antiquior or the Tridentine Mass.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued the apostolic letter, “Summorum Pontificum,” relaxing the restrictions on the use of the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council. In that letter, Pope Benedict wrote, “in parishes where a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition stably exists, the parish priest should willingly accede to their requests to celebrate Holy Mass according to the rite of the 1962 Roman Missal.”
Currently, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Latin is offered at 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays of the month at St. Catherine Church in Columbia and at 1:30 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month at Assumption. The weekly Mass at Assumption will replace the monthly celebration of the Extraordinary Mass there.
About 70 people attend the monthly Latin Mass at Assumption, said Paul Krog, who is helping to spread the word about the new weekly schedule. “There are a fair number of people who, although being attached to the Usus Antiquior, do not regularly attend the current monthly Mass at Assumption because of the inconvenience of the time.”
The opportunity to start celebrating the Latin Mass weekly opened up about a year ago when Assumption’s pastor, Father Jerry Strange, moved the time of the Sunday Mass there to 10 a.m. At that time, Father Strange mentioned the possibility of having a weekly celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass before the 10 a.m. Mass and a number of people approached Father Strange and Bishop David Choby about it, Krog said.
“Both Father Strange and (Bishop Choby) have been extremely gracious,” Krog said. “Indeed, most of the actual work of bringing about the weekly Mass has come from the diocese’s and parish’s end.”
Father McGowan’s appointment to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass weekly “allows individuals and families to participate in the Usus Antiquior in a habitual and customary manner, the way people generally go to Mass – by having a weekly routine that forms part of the fabric of life – rather than simply now and then,” Krog said. “That is, it will allow people to practice the faith pursuant to the old rites with a much greater degree of normalcy than was possible before.”
Father McGowan’s appointment also will make it easier to have events such as baptisms celebrated in the Extraordinary Form, Krog said.
“One enormous benefit to having the Mass according to the Usus Antiquior celebrated weekly and at a normal time is that it makes clear what Benedict XVI taught when he issued “Summorum Pontificum,” that the Usus Antiquior is not a different rite: it, and the people who participate in the sacred rites according to it, are part of the Roman Rite, just like any other Mass or any other Catholic in town,” Krog said. Having it be a regular part of the life of the Church in the diocese makes that much clearer.”
In the Extraordinary Form, only the homily is not said in Latin. Handouts with translations of the readings and other prayers will be available at the Assumption Masses, Krog said.
The use of Latin is one of the most obvious differences with the Ordinary Form of the Mass, but there are other differences in how the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is celebrated.
Under the St. John XXIII Missal, the priest faces the altar and the cross in the same direction as the congregation. At Assumption, which was built before the Civil War, the priest will use the church’s old gothic high altar, facing the cross rather than the congregation.
Other differences include:
• The Mass is generally preceded by the Asperges, or sprinkling rite.
• Rather than going to the chair after reverencing the altar, the priest says the “prayers at the foot of the altar,” which are based on Psalm 42, and the Confiteor.
• There are only two readings, the gospel and a first reading, usually from the Letters of St. Paul.
• Instead of ending with “ite missa est” as the Ordinary Form of the Mass does, the Usus Anqituior concludes with the “Last Gospel,” John 1:1–14, which the priest reads directly after the final blessing and dismissal, Krog explained. “This is somewhat incongruous at first glance, but the passage from St. John’s Gospel is there as a component of the final blessing, a parting reminder of the Incarnation and its importance in our lives,” Krog said.
After the Mass on Aug. 9, Father McGowan will give remarks and answer questions about the Usus Antiquior. The session will be in the Germantown Abbey, formerly known as the Buddeke House, across the street from Assumption. Written materials will also be available.
In his apostolic letter, Pope Benedict wrote, “what earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too.”
Celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass “reinforces the reality of the Church’s identity and the veracity of the Church’s historical claim about her divine mission and origin,” Krog said. “Having the Extraordinary Form of the Mass widely and regularly available helps reinforce the basic realities of what the Church is,” namely being the Church founded by Christ and maintained by the Apostles and their successors down through the ages, he added.
“The old rites are part of our patrimony, our inheritance as Catholics,” Krog said. “To be Catholic is to participate in the Church’s tradition, to be a member of the great communion of saints that stretches across both time and space. The older rites connect one to the Church’s past in a way that is both concrete and visceral.”