Nov 20 2008

Settling in at St. Rose

There isn’t really much news to report (that I know of), but I thought I should write something about how it’s going, since about half my blog traffic these days is people reading the St. Rose articles. The church will have its own web site soon, and then I’ll start pointing at news there.

The furnace had gone out last week, so we had a chilly 8:00am Mass. It was fixed by the time Mass ended, but it hadn’t really built up any heat yet. It was cold enough outside that everyone was wearing coats, though, so we survived okay.

I was the one who printed up the Propers (a sheet of the prayers and readings that aren’t in the missals in the pews because they change from week to week), so I almost choked when I was following along with the reading and got to “nammer” instead of “manner.” Apparently I need to proofread those when I copy-and-paste them from a web site. There were a few other typos; I hope to have this Sunday’s mistake-free.

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about the Latin Mass since all this started. Some people are interested in attending, but they aren’t sure what they’re getting into. I was the same way the first time I went, wondering if there was anything I should learn first, so I wouldn’t goof up and look like a newbie. (Note: the following are my understanding sprinkled with my opinions, not official instructions by any means.)

Don’t worry about goofing up; no one will be watching you. Dress nice and sit about halfway back or more, so you can watch the people in front of you to know when to do what. (We regulars are still shaky on all that, so if you sit up front, you might mess the rest of us up. :) ) Missals are in the pews, and the Propers will be on a folded sheet of paper you can get at the entrance. There’s usually someone there who will be glad to make sure you have what you need if you tell them you’re a first-timer. The missal tells you what’s happening when, and shows the prayers in English and Latin. Or leave the missal closed and focus on what’s happening at the altar and pray. Trying to follow along exactly when you’re new at it all can be distracting.

Women are encouraged to wear dresses or skirts, but I’ve seen lots of slacks and some jeans so far, and no one’s been kicked out. Try not to wear something that has people asking about your Buns of Steel workout, though. Men should dress nice too. I think almost every guy has a pair of slacks and a shirt with a collar, and if you don’t wear your nice clothes to church, what are you saving them for? But if all you have are jeans and you’re really strapped for cash, don’t let that stop you from coming. (Again, my opinion.)

Many women like to wear a veil or hat, as was required a couple generations ago. I’ll save the reasons for that for another post I’m working on, but don’t feel like you’ll stand out if you don’t wear one. I’m a big fan of hats on women in general, so I hope it catches on.

Since the Mass is the 1962 Roman Rite, there’s no Communion in the hand. Communion is taken on the tongue, kneeling at the Communion rail, as it was for centuries before all the changes in the late 1960s. If a disability prevents you from kneeling or climbing the stairs to the Communion rail, sit in the front pew and I’m pretty sure Father will bring it to you, but you might want to make sure he knows your situation. By the way, Confession is available before Mass, if you didn’t arrive in a state of grace. There should be a Rosary before Mass, but I don’t know if we’re organized enough yet to make sure someone leads that every time.

I think that covers everything you really need to know. If you’ve been thinking of coming but weren’t sure what was required, I hope you’ll relax and join us. The Low Mass at 8:00 takes about an hour; and the High Mass at 11:00 takes somewhat longer. Make sure you join us in the hall behind the church after Mass and introduce yourself. (Hey, I’m known for being anti-social, but I’ll be there.) If you decide you’d like to join, you don’t have to drop out of your current parish, since St. Rose is technically a chaplaincy, not a parish, for now.

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