Letters to the Editor

Sanctity of the Mass

I thoroughly enjoyed the article by Jessica Marsala in the June 23, 2016 edition of the Southern Cross about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
It took me back to my early years (late 40s) as a student in a parochial school where we attended mass very morning. Most of us boys were servers and learned every part of the Mass and could recite all the responses in Latin. We competed with each other for the various Masses or for a preferred priest. But the most important thing we learned was the sanctity of the Mass. It wasn’t just a mandatory function but it was a place where we gathered as a community to worship God and pray to his angels and saints. And it wasn’t just the mysticism of the Latin and the ritual, but the solemnity—the holiness of the most important aspect of our Catholic Church. A feeling and an attitude described by Father Firmin in the article. 
Unfortunately, that attitude towards the Mass has been lost in many parishes with the Ordinary Form. Many of the worshipers treat it as just another social function. Their personal chatting, their indifference to Mass itself and their children’s distracting behavior gives the appearance of being at a community social event. I have even heard applause after a member of the choir gives a solo, or the lector gives a good sermon. Folks, the solo was not to entertain you; it was part of our prayers to God as a community. The sermon was not given to impress you with speaking skills like at a political rally, it was to bring to you the Word of God contained in the readings and the Gospel of the day. As an aside, I do not mean to criticize the choir members or the lecturers; the person giving the solo had a great voice and the lectors gave a great sermon.
In our catechism as well as different web sites we see descriptions of our Mass as, “the celebration of Mass is an act of the whole assembly gathered for worship; a participation of the faithful, namely in body and in mind, a participation fervent with faith, hope, and charity,” or, “it refers to a deeply spiritual, interior participation of mind and heart, filled with devotion and penetrating the very depths of the mysteries we celebrate.” Simply stated, the essence of the Mass is one of reverence and spirituality and deserves our attention and participation, expected when in the presence of the Lord and in his house.
I am not advocating the return of the Extraordinary Mass as the norm. But I am looking forward to the return of the solemnity, the holiness and spirituality of the Mass in the Ordinary Form. My concern is that with time, the Catholic Church will lose its identity as the “one, holy and apostolic church” and the Mass will become just another social function competing with the myriad of social functions occurring on any given Sunday.
George C de Baca 
Augusta, GA

Letters published do not necessarily reflect the views of the Southern Cross or of the Diocese of Savannah.

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