A return to tradition for campus Catholics

Here is a nice article on the Latin Mass and what is happening at the University of Maryland, College Park published in the on-line version of the Diamondback. A hat tip to Fr. Z. and his blog, "What Does the Prayer Really Say" for this article from the archives of early December.

Students at the Catholic Student Center are trying to infuse the present-day Mass with some customs from the past.

For the past two months, students at the CSC have gathered each Wednesday before the evening Mass, or the Catholic worship service, to learn prayers and portions of the service in Latin, the formal language of the Catholic Church. During the same time period, four students learned the traditional songs and chants of the church as part of the Schola Cantorum, an all-male choir with a name that means "school of song" in Latin.

The semester's work culminated in an extra Mass celebrated Nov. 30 in Latin with music provided by the schola. Approximately 25 students attended that Mass, said the center's chaplain, the Rev. Kyle Ingels.

Ingels, who taught the Latin translations for the service, said he decided to start the informal classes because he wanted the students to learn the official language of the church. Teaching the Latin traditions is also a way to diversify the activities offered at the center, he said, which helps the center reach out to a wider variety of students.

"There is a lot of interest these days in learning about some of the more traditional aspects of the faith, Latin being one of them," Ingels said. "Latin is a beautiful language, a beautiful tradition, and it is still the official language of the Catholic Church throughout the world."

The students are learning the modern Mass translated into Latin and accompanied by the traditional Gregorian chants rather than the older regimented Tridentine Mass, Ingels said. The Tridentine Mass, celebrated entirely in Latin, was discontinued in the mid-1960s after Catholics expressed concern that it had become too impersonal. Some churches have added Tridentine Masses since September, when Pope Benedict XVI decreed that they could be celebrated once more.

The schola was taught by Dominican Brother Louis Senzig, who has long had an interest in traditional music, Ingels said.

Students who learned the Mass in Latin said they have benefited from it.

"It is a return to tradition," said sophomore government and politics major Martino Choi. "It is a way to praise God in a vocal manner, which appealed to me."

Learning the ancient language is a way to separate everyday life from spiritual life, senior philosophy major Josh Guenther said.

"The saints talk about how spirituality is separate from the world, and Latin is separate from our everyday conversation, and I think that makes the Mass said in Latin all the more special," he said.

Great to see the young embracing the Mass of the ages...!