Published ShowDateNew(“20090502002255”);May 2, 2009 | 12:22 a.m.
Kenosha News correspondent
For most local Catholics, the traditional Latin Mass is either a hazy memory or a footnote in church history.
But on Mother’s Day, May 10, the rite that was set aside more than 40 years ago in favor of a new, vastly different Mass, will be welcomed back to Kenosha thanks to a 2007 apostolic letter from Pope Benedict XVI and a group of dedicated Catholics.
St. Peter Catholic Church, 2224 30th Ave., will hold the Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass, on a monthly basis beginning with the one held at 3 p.m. on May 10. The Rev. William Hayward will attend, but the celebrant will be the Rev. Oliver Meney from the Institute of Christ the King and St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Milwaukee.
“We were approached by a group of families to have the Mass on our site,” Hayward said. “The Archdiocese encouraged it, and I am very interested and impressed with people like Kamela Gleason who have done wonderful work to get this started here in Kenosha.”
For Gleason, a member of St. James Catholic Church, bringing the Tridentine Mass to St. Peter Church has been divine providence.
“Many dedicated Catholics have been involved in its initial coordination and planning,” she said. “This journey to bring the traditional Latin Mass has unified many Catholics in our community. Supporters can be found from many different local parishes and come from all walks of life. Even young people are asking for and desiring this sacred liturgy. Catholic home-schoolers have also shown an interest. They feel that this is an educational opportunity and wonderful way for their children to appreciate and experience the fullness of the Catholic Church’s teaching.”
When the Vatican released the 2007 document in which Pope Benedict reached out to alienated traditionalists and relaxed restrictions on the use of the Latin Mass after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, priests can celebrate the Tridentine Mass without requiring authorization from their local bishop. Pope Benedict also said the priests who celebrate according to the Tridentine rite cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating the new Mass.
The old-style Mass requires the priest to face the altar and tabernacle, turning away from the congregation to demonstrate unity with the parishioners in worshiping God together. Members kneel to receive Holy Communion on their tongues, and more women and girls wear lace veils, called mantillas, on their heads. Missals with Latin on one page and English on the other allow those attending Mass to follow along.
Since his ordination in 2000, Father Oliver Meney has celebrated the traditional Latin Mass daily and has found a significant increase in interest among Catholics throughout the world.
“This Mass is a treasure of the Church,” he said. “Any time you have a chance to go into your grandparents’ attic and find old pictures or other old stuff from them you want to discover more about how they lived and what life was like before. That is similar to the interest now in the Latin Mass.”
For Meney, this nostalgia for a Mass most Catholics never have experienced is not only surprising but also joyful.
“It is really neat and excellent. I think it helps a lot to understand what is done today in remembering the past speaks a lot about the present,” he said. “Everywhere I see the same joy and unity and love, and it is becoming more obvious.”
There are six local boys already training to learn the procedures of the traditional Latin Mass. These brothers — Thomas, 16, Charlie, 15, Michael, 12, John, 11, and Joseph, 9, Maurer — and their cousin, Peter Stephens, 16, all are members of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish.
According to Charles and Donna, parents of the Maurer boys, Mass in Latin for their three oldest won’t be too difficult, as the children are all home-schooled and have been learning Latin for a few years.
“This has helped a lot,” Donna said. “They have also gone to St. Stanislaus Parish for some training in the Latin High Mass. They are all excited and think it’s pretty cool.”
For nearly 1,400 years, the Latin Mass was the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. The growing interest in it has enthused Gleason and other traditional Catholics.
“One question I have received multiple times from people in the community is, ‘Why can’t we have it at my parish?’ This tells me that there is a longing and great need for the Latin Mass. I guess it is time to start training more priests so it can be more readily available,” Gleason said. “I have personally spoken to a few local active priests who are interested in learning the old form of the Mass. These priests are not only young, but energetic. They can see its peace, serenity and beauty.”
Offering to officiate when needed, retired priest the Rev. John Richetta is happy to be part of the return to the traditional liturgy.
“We see the unbroken continuity of apostolic times from this time to the last four centuries,” he said. “We have a continuity with the past, and I think people are longing for a return to the order and dignity of the Mass, as well as a sense of the sacred.”
If you go
What: Traditional Latin MassWhen: 3 p.m. May 10, June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9Where: St. Peter Catholic Church, 2224 30th Ave.Information: There is no need to understand Latin. Missal booklets are available with Latin and English words. All are welcome.To learn more: Go to http://www.LatinMassKenosha.com