Although many Catholics are quick to write off the Latin Mass, believing it died years ago, in Boulder Colorado, it’s experiencing something of a renaissance.
St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, nestled under the foothills on the city’s south side, will celebrate its one-year anniversary of holding the once-a-month Mass, which has drawn attendees from around Boulder and Colorado.
According to parishoner Bob Tinder, the liturgy, which is offered on the last Sunday of each month at 10:30 a.m., “is a Latin version of the Novus Ordo Mass, a format adopted in the 1970s by the Second Vatican Council and used daily in Catholic parishes worldwide.”
Fr. Hermanagild Jayachandra, the church’s pastor, said that the Latin Mass came at the suggestion of lay members of the parish.
“The request surprised me,” he said, “but I was even more surprised by the positive reaction of our parishioners…We’re a small and intimate community, and we knew right away that the people liked the Mass.”
“Older parishioners are reminded of the Mass of their childhoods,” he continued, “and younger parishioners, including college students, say the service is a special experience.”
Organizing the liturgy, Parish music director Aimee Milburn soon discovered, was to be a major undertaking. According to Tinder, she first “searched the Internet as well as published materials to find the Latin for the Novus Ordo Mass. She constructed a 16-page booklet containing the Order of the Mass in Latin and English that includes a pronunciation guide for Latin.”
Milburn realized however, that because many Latin pronunciations are difficult—especially if one has never heard them before, it became necessary for the church to form a Gregorian schola, or small choir, to assist with the liturgy, which is actually a mix of English and Latin parts.
Since its conception, the choir has now grown to include a strong mix of both male and female voices.
The parish is excited over what they have accomplished, described as “a beautiful service that authentically blends Latin into the contemporary liturgical setting.”
Fr. Jayachandra explained that many mistakenly think the Church outlawed the Latin Mass after the second Vatican Council.
“But”, he said, “Latin was never forbidden,” noting the funeral Masses for Pope John Paul II, and the installation liturgies for Benedict XVI, which were celebrated in Latin.
“It’s still the official language of the Catholic Church,” he said. “And as the world recently witnessed, Latin liturgies are both spiritually and esthetically pleasing.”
More information on St. Martin de Porres Latin Mass can be found at www.stmartindeporreschurch.org