His Excellency Bishop William Murphy, of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, conferred the sacrament of Holy Confirmation on a group of Catholics with a particular devotion to the traditional form of the liturgy.
In honor of Fr. Z’s tireless support of traditional liturgy I will bold my emphases and red my commentary.
They were not yet born — nor had their parents probably met — when the new liturgy was introduced in the 1960s, but a dozen teens and pre-teens last Sunday were happy to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in a Latin ceremony [contrary to what some bishops think about the intelligence of the laity regarding the new translation of the Pauline missal, they are able to draw spiritual sustenance despite the difficulty of the texts, and perhaps even because it attracts our attention to the mystery which it veils. These are 12 year olds].
Bishop William Murphy conferred the sacrament last Sunday at St. Agnes Cathedral here for a group of children and one adult whose families regularly attend an approved Tridentine (traditional Latin) Mass offered each Sunday at St. Matthew’s Church in Dix Hills [Summorum Pontificum reads: Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it. Bishop Murphy has clearly taken Pope Benedict's motu proprio seriously and has approached the faithful in this circumstance with genuine pastoral care].
During a June 11 rehearsal at the cathedral, the confirmation candidates practiced for the liturgy, including the singing of two hymns in English — “Come Holy Ghost” and “Holy God, We Praise thy Name” — as well as such Latin hymns as “Tantum Ergo.” [All excellent hymns which ought to be normal in celebrations in the ordinary form. And Come Holy Ghost could just as easily be done as Veni, Sancte Spiritus. The consistent emphasis of the Church-- from Sacrosanctum Concillium in Vatican II through Pope Benedict's recent apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis is that Latin and Gregorian chant ought to have a pride of place in all liturgical celebration.]
Msgr. James Pereda, diocesan judicial vicar, who celebrates a weekly diocesan Tridentine Mass at St. Pius X Residence in Uniondale, led the rehearsal. Sister of Mercy Sheila Browne, associate director of the diocesan Office of Worship, and Father Andrzej Zglejszewski, director of the Office of Worship, also participated [it's good to see Bishop Murphy getting the diocesan leaders involved].
The confirmation class and their parents seemed excited and happy that their reception of the sacrament would reflect their preference for the traditional Latin Mass.
“When my daughter, Theresa, made her first Communion at our parish, St. Francis of Assisi in Greenlawn, she prayed that she could be confirmed in a traditional Latin ceremony,” said Patricia Bissex, one of the parents [and who could have guessed that it would happen].
“The Mass is so beautiful with the Latin, such a sense of the sacred. It’s magnificent,” Theresa Bissex, 12 [!], said. “I also love the music,” Theresa added. “I started a schola (small singing group),” with about 10 girls who sing Gregorian chants and traditional Latin hymns at the first Mass each Sunday at St. Matthew’s [This girl is twelve years old. She speaks with a maturity beyond her years. I've heard the young women sing at St. Matthew's parish-- and I'm impressed that it was by her initiative that this began. If only a male counterpart of hers would get a boy's schola started as well. We men need to reclaim singing. This is getting off-topic...]
“It is cool knowing that the Mass was celebrated this way since … forever,” said Joseph Marino of Commack [Haha].
“It’s also nice to be celebrating with so many of my friends,” said Veronica Bellucci, 12, a parishioner of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church, Southampton, who attends the Tridentine Mass at St. Matthew’s on the first Sunday of the month [This is definitely important. It helps to not be in a ghetto].
“It’s wonderful that Bishop Murphy is confirming them,” said Patricia Rooney of West Hempstead, whose son, Stephen, 12, was confirmed. “He is so good with the kids, so welcoming.”
“We appreciate Bishop Murphy’s sensitivity in allowing those of us with a devotion to this traditional Latin Mass to have our children confirmed in this way,” said Heather Giambalvo of Islip Terrace. Her son, Leonard, 12, was one of the confirmandi.
“It was a very generous” application of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter, “Summorum Pontificum” last July, she added [exactly. This is a beautiful and generous pastoral action. This is how bishops ought to react to the Pope's wishes].
Pope Benedict encouraged pastors to permit celebration of a traditional Latin Mass when a stable group of parishioners requests it [it's also allowed to be done freely of the own pastor's initiative. And the pastor is not to merely to permit the mass-- he is to willingly accept it. This reform is aimed just as much at the priest as the laity!]. He also emphasized that the Mass now usually celebrated and the Tridentine Mass are not two different rites but rather different forms — “ordinary” and “extraordinary” — of the liturgy of the Church.
The Tridentine Mass was instituted by Pope Pius V in 1570 following the Council of Trent and remained in force with minor changes, including revisions made by Pope John XXIII in 1962. Mass was offered in Latin since the third or fourth century, reflecting the language of the people of the Church.
The Second Vatican Council gradually instituted the “Novus Ordo” or new form during the 1960s. Mass was to be celebrated in the language of the people of a country rather than Latin and the priest faced the people during Mass to foster full and active lay participation [Sez who? The versus populum saw is old and worn out. It's simply not true. It's not in Vatican II, and it's not mandated by the current liturgical rubrics. In Joseph Ratzinger's own words:
"Unfortunately [active participation] was very quickly misunderstood to mean something external, entailing a need for general activity… [The true understanding is that the oratio of the Eucharist Prayer is the central action of the liturgy and thus] we must still pray for it to become our sacrifice, that we ourselves, as we said, may be transformed into the Logos, conformed to the Logos, and so be made the true Body of Christ. That is the issue, and that is what we have to pray for… In this real “action”, in this prayerful approach to participation, there is no difference between priests and laity.
And for this reason he concludes:
We should be clearly aware that external actions are quite secondary here. Doing must really stop when we come to the heart of the matter: the oratio. It must be plainly evident that the oratio is the heart of the matter, but that it is important precisely because it provides a space for the actio of God. Anyone who grasps this will easily see that it is not now a matter of looking at or toward the priest, but of looking together toward the Lord and going out to meet him (see The Spirit of the Liturgy, pgs. 171-177).
We can see that Pope Benedict clearly thinks that ad orientem is actually central to active participation, not destructive of it. As to “was to be celebrated in the language of the people” is wrong. Is permitted to be celebrated in the language of the people, and was intended to be done mostly in Latin, if we believe the documents of Vatican II.]
. The changes were formalized in the Missal of Pope Paul VI in 1970.
Celebration of the traditional Latin Mass was discouraged. In 1988, Pope John Paul II authorized diocesan bishops to allowcelebration of the Tridentine Mass under certain circumstances for those who cherished the older form.
The next year, the diocese introduced a monthly Tridentine Mass at St. Pius X Residence in Uniondale, which over the years increased to weekly. In 1992, a monthly Mass was authorized at Sacred Heart Church, Cutchogue.
Since Pope Benedict’s apostolic letter, Msgr. Pereda said, traditional Latin Masses are offered weekly in the diocese at St. Pius X in Uniondale, St. Matthew’s in Dix Hills, Sacred Heart Church in Cutchogue, and Our Lady of Lourdes in Massapequa Park.
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed the confirmation ceremony, which did not include Mass. Most of the confirmandi and their families had attended the diocesan traditional Latin Mass at St. Pius in Uniondale that morning, Msgr. Pereda said.
Before the Second Vatican Council, Sister Sheila explained, confirmations were generally conferred outside of Mass. Since then, the Church has directed that confirmation and most of the other sacraments normally be offered during Mass.
Many of the parents emphasized that they recognize the validity of the Mass established by Vatican II. “I attend a Novus Ordo Mass for daily Mass during the week,” said Patricia Rooney of West Hempstead [Since a devotion to the traditional liturgy is a good and holy thing, and because these people are pursuing their devotion through legitimate means in the Church, we ought to be careful to emphasize their faithfulness or loyalty by quizzing them on the Pauline Mass-- there's no need to suppose that a self-styled traditionalist opposes the validity of the Pauline Mass unless they indicate otherwise. Not that this was being done, just that we ought to watch out for it].
“I think that all Catholics should be aware of and appreciate all of the liturgies of the Church,” said Patricia Bissex, including Masses celebrated by eastern Catholic Churches, such as Ukrainian Byzantine or the Melkite. “There is such a richness and depth to the Church’s liturgical tradition.”
Much thanks to Bishop Murphy for this genuinely sensitive pastoral move. I hope that he continues this tradition for all people who wish to be confirmed in the extraordinary rite. He also celebrated the extraordinary form of the Mass at Msgr. Pereda’s parish recently. Long Island is a tough nut to crack, so I understand reticence over being too forcibly traditional. I think he’s doing a good job.