How are you? I wanted to share with you my First Traditional Latin Mass experience since you were the reason why I looked into it in the first place. Thank you for the attention you give to it on your blog – I’m certain I wouldn’t have known that the TLM was still even occurring otherwise. I’m sure many of us are forever thankful.
I had always attended weekly Mass at a Novus Ordo parish with my family growing up and then attended less regularly (but still frequently) through college and after. I became much closer to God as a teenager while I attended a Jesuit high school. I know you have mixed feeling about Jesuits, but the ones at my high school and college were truly inspiring and constantly pushed us towards knowledge, intellect, faith, community service, and building your personal relationship with God. Best of all, they led by example – which is a powerful message for a young person.
My experience with the Novus Ordo Mass was positive and I always felt “soothed” after attending Mass – as if I had done something good.
Snap forward to a month ago when I found a small church offering a TLM in a rough part of LA. I had never been there before, but I expected that I would be 1 of maybe 20 people there (with the majority of attendees being 60+). I was shocked to find a totally full church packed to the rafters when I walked in. I was 15 minutes early and got one of the last available seats in a rear pew. The front right 5 rows were full of middle-school aged girls all saying the rosary aloud in unison and the front left 5 rows were full of middle-ages school boys doing the same. They must have been the kids from the parish school. The rest of the attendees were from all demographics. Young, old, Latino, Pilipino, middle eastern, white, black, families, etc. Chapel veils were everywhere :).
At my home parish, they would only put benches on the side-aisles to accommodate extra people at Christmas and Easter. However, this church had them up for a regular sunday in January and they were all full!
I absolutely loved the reverence and solemnity of it all. It was a level of solemnity that I only found when singing sacred classical music in choirs when we had the opportunity to do a requiem mass or a long format “full introit” N.O. mass.
My biggest take-away was how I felt afterwards (I know it shouldn’t matter how “I” felt since that’s a selfish reaction, but it was powerful nonetheless). Whereas with a N.O. mass I would feel “soothed” afterwards, I felt “hungry for more” after I left the Latin Mass.
I couldn’t explain it, but I find myself pursuing ever more history and information about the TLM and Catholicism in general every since. I also just finished writing to the Bishop who married my wife and I to see if I can get his outlook on the transition from the TLM to the NOM. There will be fewer and fewer priests who were raised with the TLM over the coming years, so I’d like to get their feedback on it while they’re still with us.
Long story short, thank you Ann. You have given me a new hunger for my faith.
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