On May 26, 2014, we will celebrate the first anniversary of the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass at Star of the Sea Parish. After one year of regular Sunday and then even weekday Traditional Latin Masses, we remain grateful for this special gift of our Holy Mother, the Church, to us. How did it all begin?
At the time of the installation of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in October of 2012, his personal secretary Father Paul Coleman stayed with us at Star of the Sea Rectory. He agreed that our parish would be a perfect match for the Traditional Latin Mass, which has been a constant interest of Archbishop Cordileone. At that time it was well known that our archbishop, as all bishops should, supported the full implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI, which completely liberated and encouraged the restoration of the Traditional Latin liturgy. The pope explained that there is one Roman Rite with two forms, the ordinary form and the extraordinary form. There is no longer an old rite and a new rite; there is just one Roman rite with two forms. This is a significant development in the history of the liturgy. The extraordinary form and the ordinary form stand together as equally licit and approved everywhere in the Church throughout the world.
My records show that on Thursday, November 29, 2012, Archbishop Cordileone made a personal phone call to me to request that Star of the Sea Parish begin as soon as possible the regular celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. His approval was later given for the regular daily Traditional Latin Mass. We have always emphasized this point that the archbishop took this initiative for the good of souls. It was never the plan of just one priest. Equally it should be known that I have always supported and approved this initiative without any reservations whatsoever. The Oratorians, who will arrive in the parish in August, will continue with enthusiasm this desire of the archbishop without any reservations as well.
After the archbishop’s request it took many months for your pastor and the parish to prepare for the Traditional Latin Mass. First, though I had minored in classical languages in college, I needed time to learn the detailed rubrics of the extraordinary form. I set up a little altar in the dining room of the rectory and every time I had a chance I would practice the Mass. I must say that it took longer than I would like to admit to be able to confidently say the Mass in front of a congregation. Father Joseph Previtali came by every now and then to watch me and kindly encourage me and even correct me. He was a great coach. I also greatly benefitted from the guidance of Canon Olivier Meney and Abbe Kevin Kerscher from the Institute of Christ the King.
Finally, it was announced to the congregation that the first Latin Mass in the extraordinary form would be celebrated on Trinity Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. In order to instruct, inform, and answer questions, I scheduled three public meetings on May 7th, 14th, and 21st all Tuesday nights at 7:00 P.M. in the school auditorium. These meetings were well received and well attended. Many of those who attended now come regularly to the Latin Mass and have become good friends among themselves and with me. I hope that further instructions will be provided in the future.
I remember well my first official Latin Mass on May 26, 2013. I was nervous. The servers were well prepared. Missals and missalettes were purchased and available. The Stella Maris choir, under the direction of Peter Ujj, was ready to sing a Low Mass with hymns. I joked in the sacristy that I couldn’t go out to the altar because my “toe hurts”, which since then has become a line used by some of the servers and me, when we are afraid that our knowledge of the ceremonies will prove to have been rather presumptuous.
One year is not really a long time. We are still at the beginning. More needs to be done to fully celebrate and appreciate the Traditional Latin Liturgy. The Oratorians have promised the archbishop that they will continue his liturgical agenda for the ordinary and extraordinary forms. Your continued cooperation is required and appreciated. Many of you have been exceptionally generous in providing the means to make our liturgical celebrations beautiful and sacred. I am personally grateful to the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco, which has an office in the rectory, for its fine work. It is not good enough to approve the Traditional Liturgy. Workers in the vineyard are more than ever needed. Indeed, the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Pray, pray for more laborers. We sure could use some more committed volunteers to further the cause.
In Domino Dominaque,
Fr. Mark G. Mazza