... I blog what I know and observe. I am no expert on the mass in the extraordinary form. I can not provide deep theological pontifications from a scholarly perspective. I also can not give you details of who was in attendance, those Catholic celebrities... I am terrible with names. This isn't that type of blog, and jokes aside, I am really not that type of Catholic. I'm from a simpler sort, and this post is from an even simpler perspective... that of a child.
The blog coverage of the Pontifical Solemn High Mass has been vast, with commentary and extraordinary photos. I took a few myself with my cell phone but the quality was poor. I wish I snapped a few shots of the children though. I regret that.
More so than all the beauty that surrounded me at that mass, within the liturgy and the church itself, was the beauty and looks of absolute wonder on the children's faces. I guess because I am mom I notice these things.
I noticed two little boys in some matching traditional Asian dress who kept peeking around the pews. They would get up and cautiously walk up as close as they could to see what was going on. The babies in their parents arms would raise their sleepy heads and look around at the sound of the chorus, as if angels had called their names. Toddlers sat in stunned awe and craned their necks to look at the ceiling mosaics or stand on their tip toes to look over the seated heads.
It was a mass that enveloped their entire senses; sight, sound and smell. I know it will leave a lasting impression. I still remember the first time I went to a Catholic mass as an unchurched child and the mark it left on me unbeknownst at the time but resurfacing almost two decades later.
It was a mass that fosters vocations... as I believe any reverently celebrated mass has the opportunity to be. Any time a child witnesses something so out of ordinary [hence "extraordinary" form] it burns itself into their memory.
It is why I am so adamantly opposed to the removal of sacred art from churches, or congregational centered worship. If we can think of it in terms of our children, our future, then we owe it to our faith to keep our churches beautiful and our masses solemn. The look of wide eyed wonder on their faces said it all.
Afterward I took my son to the blognic... yes, The Boy was in bar. Parental fail, I know. Let me justify, I would never miss a chance to have The Boy interact with clergy and seminarians. I think it is important for him to see that they are men. Normal men. Men who like to be sociable and love to laugh over a few beers enjoying the camaraderie. Too often when people think of the vocation of the priesthood the first thought is of all the things you must give up. Worldly things. Like material possessions and sex. My son needs to see that being a priest doesn't mean giving up your love of life and your desire for joy and fun. He sees them as intelligent and charismatic. Role models. Good role models. Men who are genuinely happy.
I have one rule for my family... they must never bash The Church or say anything negative about a priest or other member of a religious community in front of my son. So far they have respected my wishes. Whether my son becomes a priest or religious is between him and Christ, but I will do my damndest in the meantime to not persuade his opinion in a negative direction.
I wish I had thought to thank the seminarians and priests who talked with my son. They treated him with respect, talked to him not as a child but really conversed with him. And even now, he was still talking about the chicken fingers Fr. Z bought him and the Roy Rogers he got to drink at the bar with the young man in a cassock who was wearing glasses... I wish I could remember his name. He told The Boy he knew he wanted to be a priest when he was only nine years old.
I can't imagine the grace involved in that. I am almost 35 and still haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up.
I apologize, I ramble. I just felt like it needed to be said. I love our priests, I support our seminarians. Thank you gentlemen.