I told you on Monday that Sunday's Mass was totally worth the extra drive. And it was. We arrived at the tiny, unassuming church, just off the highway, 10 minutes late. I was pretty sure we were in time for the gospel. As it turns out, we walked in as they were still singing the Gloria...in Latin! When I heard that, I knew I could relax: we were early enough, and it would be a beautiful, prayerful Mass. I'm so often distracted by the music or the improvisations of the priests, that I don't pray well.
I wish I had a picture of this pretty, little church. It was very nicely decorated inside with the tabernacle in the center, plus 6 candles & a crucifix on the altar.
Fr. Byrd sang all of the Mass. We sang our Mass parts in Latin. The Our Father, and even the Creed, was chanted, and I almost didn't recognize what was happening that time because I have NEVER heard the creed chanted. Even when we sang Latin Mass parts at our parish, we never sang the creed.
You know I love to sing, right? I've wondered, frequently, how I would feel in a parish where the congregation didn't sing much. Here they had an opening hymn, which I missed, 1 communion hymn, and a closing hymn. The little choir, or schola, chanted a communion song that went on for a long time while we recieved, and then the opportunity came for the congregation to sing the next song. I was interested to note that they didn't announce it; they just started singing. The page numbers were all on one of those hymn signs if you were inclined to sing. I like that. I don't like all the announcements about page numbers for songs and readings which distract from the beauty of the Mass.
The homily was excellent, as I fully expected it would be. Fr. Byrd has always been one to teach the faith, not just get up and speak off-the-cuff on less weighty matters.
I wish more priests were like Father. I wish they'd stop trying to improve on the Mass that the Church has given us, especially the beautifully worded prayers. I wish they would let the Mass center around the Eucharist instead of themselves. I wish they would stop trying to entertain us and just let us pray the Mass together.
I harp on the Latin issue so much, I'm sure everyone thinks I should just go to a parish that celebrates the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (which is an hour away). While I've been to quite a few of those Masses, I'm not comfortable with it. The Novus Ordo is perfectly legitimate, but, at the same time, as Roman Catholics we are all expected to know the Latin responses.
What I'm looking for in the Mass is one where Christ in the Eucharist is the highlight, not the music, not the homily, not the priest. Everything in the Mass should direct us to that end, not distract us from it.
Are you distracted by things at Mass? Besides your children? ;-) What helps you pray best?