So I didn’t get a chance to post anything for Morning Prayer today….but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t praying….in fact, I was doing a lot of it….for two and a half hours 🙂

Today, I got the chance to attend the consecration service for two bishop-elects in the Old Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.

Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church (where I will soon be working part-time) opens up its liturgical space to a small group of priests and laity dedicated to celebrating the Mass using a slightly modified Tridentine form.

It was nothing short of amazing!!! My inner liturgical geek was going crazy 🙂

First off……I gained an immense respect for the Mass in Latin. It is a beautiful language and has a very poetic quality to it. I can certainly see why some people would have been greatly distressed when Vatican II mandated that the liturgy be switched wholesale into English.

As a former RC, it allowed me to feel more connected to my roots. To experience the Holy Eucharist in a similar manner to the way in which my ancestors would have. A chance which I am eternally grateful for 🙂

Now for the stuff that surprised me:

a) 85% of the liturgy was sung ….even the readings from Scripture. It is something that I know happenes….and continues most prominently in the Eastern Orthodox Church. But until you hear it for yourself, you don’t realize that it adds a whole new dimension to the liturgy. It feels quite literally like you are joining your voices with the Angels. Massive kudos to the choir under the musical direction of Andrew Keegan Mackriell 🙂

b) Coherency-Even though I don’t speak Latin or understand all of the words, I could follow the service. It really goes to show how manual acts (such as genuflecting, bowing, making the sign of the cross etc.) can convey meaning in and of themselves. The Holy Eucharist is truly a divine drama….played out for the faithful to see, hear, touch and taste.

c) Dedication-even though there was only a small number present….you could tell that there was a deep sense of devotion amongst those in the church. There was even a lady who wore a head covering for the service, as an act of obedience. I thought with all of the advances in women’s lib. and liturgical development, such practices were gone.

d) Incense and Intinction-Both practices have been widely abandoned in the ACC for health reasons…..but it sure was nice to see our prayers rising like smoke to God. Prior to today’s service I had also thought that the Blood of Christ was denied to the laity….not so if Intinction was indeed the practice in pre-Vatican liturgy. :). One thing that I absolutely hate in the modern RC rite is that the laity are not given access to the Blood of our Lord….except on the Feast of Corpus Christi.

e) Open Communion-I went into this morning thinking that I would not be able to receive the Host, and was delighted to find that I could indeed share in the Mass with my Catholic brothers and sisters. I’m not sure if this is the normal practice, or whether it was done out of sheer hospitality…..but it was a pleasant surprise 🙂

All in all it was a fantastic experience 🙂 and one that taught me a lot about my own heritage and the ways in which liturgy can speak to us even when we don’t understand all of the words being spoken. +

P.S. A combo post for Morning and Evening Prayer will be posted around 8:30pm EST