An extraordinary liturgy returns to campus
And a bit more:
"It's very exciting," says senior Mary Elizabeth Walter. "Had you told me three years ago we would be having the Tridentine Mass here on campus I would have said 'Yeah, right, I wish.'"
For years, pockets of Catholics have secured permission from local Church authorities to celebrate the Mass using the 1962 Missal of Blessed John XXIII. The reforms issued under Paul VI had turned the priest toward the congregation, allowed translation of the entire Mass into the vernacular, changed other important customs and prompted reactions from the faithful that ran the spectrum from elation to acceptance to devastation.
Unlike most Catholics born after Vatican II, Walter grew up with the Tridentine Mass at her family's parish in Baltimore, which she says also offers Sunday Masses in English and Lithuanian and brings all three communities together for vibrant parish functions.
Church leaders hope Walter's experience of unity in liturgical diversity is the norm. At Notre Dame, the decision to initiate Sunday celebration of the old Mass came swiftly last summer after Pope Benedict issued Summorum Pontificum, an apostolic letter affirming it as the "extraordinary form" of the Roman rite established after the Second Vatican Council.
The move also reflects the persistence of students, who have expressed their interest to Warner and his staff in person over the past few years. Recently, more than 150 students showed their support on Facebook, the social networking website, by joining a group called "I am interested in having the Tridentine Mass at Notre Dame."
For students like Walter, love for the old Mass and its reverence for God's transcendence runs deep. Some critics of the pope's letter have dismissed their preference as "nostalgia," a take that makes Walter cringe. The history and medieval studies major started exploring the Mass more critically in high school. "I wanted to check it out for myself and make sure it wasn't this irrational attachment just because my parents loved it," she says. "They're both the Mass. They're both beautiful. But there's a particular richness to the Tridentine Mass. The prayers are so much deeper there. It heightens your awareness of the sacred."Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame...!