Thank you Holy Father, Pope Benedict for giving Summorum Pontificum to the Church. More than seven years ago, I never imagined that I would celebrate the Traditional Latin Rite, let alone even figure out how to celebrate it. I was daunted. Just the thought of it put fear into my bones.
Just after Pope Benedict gave all priests the right to celebrate the Extraordinary Form, I attended a Mass in my parish. I was still not convinced of the need. Yet, at that very Mass, I received an interior grace. It’s something very difficult to explain. I felt (don’t like to use that word) something in the very depth of my being. I was moved in a way that is beyond words. From that moment, I know that I had to learn to celebrate the TLM.
My journey began five years ago at on of St. John’s Cantius Latin Mass Workshops. They told us that by the end of the week, we would be able to celebrate the TLM. I was not convinced. However, at the end of the week, I knew that I could do it and just a few weeks later celebrated my first Low Mass, with almost 300 people watching on my live stream.
Since I am not able to celebrate as frequently as I would like, it took my quite a while to get the Mass perfect (as if we ever celebrate perfectly). I now have a monthly Missa Cantata in my parish and during Advent and Lent celebrate a Low Mass on Monday evenings.
Now the next step. This coming August 15th, we will have our first Solemn High Mass with Deacon and Subdeacon. I’m nervous as always, but, I know all will go well. I can now celebrate the Low Mass in my sleep, and the Missa Cantata goes off without a hitch.
A word of advice. First to my brother priests who want to learn the Extraordinary Form, go for it. Do not be disillusioned by the complexity of the rite. With time and effort you can do it. Anyway, if you wanted to do any project that is difficult, you would put your heart and mind to it, and there is nothing more important than the Mass. Secondly, to my brother priests who have no interest. The Extraordinary form is part of who we are. At least get to know it and support those who want to learn or attend it. Also, learning the TLM helps you to celebrate the Ordinary Form better. Finally, to the laity. Support your priests who are learning or already celebrate the Extraordinary Form. We already have a lot on our plates. Most of us are alone and have many responsibilities. Offer to help with setup, cleanup and the multitude of other things that go into preparing for the celebration of the TLM.
Finally, in thanksgiving to God for the gift of Summorum Pontificum, pray for our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI.
You can see video from my 20th Anniversary two years ago and the recent Pontifical Solemn High Mass in our cathedral here.