Mar 112009

On New Year’s Day a Mass was celebrated in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite at St. Anthony’s in Davenport. Contrary to a letter recently printed in The Catholic Messenger, this Mass was characterized by the profound participation of the faithful.

The priest did not mumble or turn his back to the people. Rather, he turned with us to the Lord and offered with us, and on our behalf, prayers that were sometimes quiet and meditative, and sometimes loud and joyful.

At times the congregation joined these prayers in silence, and at times (along with the choir) we lifted our voices in song. In short, the Mass was a perfect example of the active participation called for by Pope Pius X as well as the Second Vatican Council: a true conversion of heart and mind, body and soul, to God. During Lent the liturgy reminds us of God’s displeasure when, “in the day of [our] fast, [our] own will is found.” The same applies to worship. “Turn away thy foot from the Sabbath,” the Lord says, “from doing thy own will in my holy day” (Is. 58). The purpose of Mass is to sanctify our souls by glorifying God. The church is conscious of receiving her sacraments and traditions from the Lord, and cannot treat them as policies to be suited to the whims and fashions of the world. This Lent, may we all take the opportunity to forsake our own ways and “turn to the Lord for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving” (Is. 55).

Joe Hebert, Una Voce Quad Cities



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