PORTSMOUTH � Due to a decree this past summer by Pope Benedict XVI, Latin Masses may now be performed if a group of parishioners within a particular church requests it. Before the decree, permission from the local bishop had to be obtained before a Latin Mass could be performed in his diocese.
Michael Kerper, pastor of Immaculate Conception in Portsmouth, celebrated the Latin Mass at the church on Sunday according to the 1962 Roman Missal. The 1962 Missal is the standard low Mass in Latin that was sanctioned by Pope John Paul in 1962, and it became a common template for traditional Latin Masses.
It was the first time in 40 years that the traditional Latin Mass has been offered anywhere on the New Hampshire Seacoast. Approximately 400 parishioners attended, about half of the church’s communicant capacity.
“Father Kerper did a wonderful job,” parishioner Bill St. Laurent said. “It went beautifully. He had never done a traditional Mass in Latin, but he purchased a copy of the 1962 Roman Missal and worked hard for six or seven weeks learning the Latin.”
St. Laurent is president of the New Hampshire chapter of Una Voce, an international federation of associations that have been seeking to reinstate Latin Masses across the world.
Anita Seedner of York, Maine, who attends St. Christopher Parish in York, said people have “lost a sense of what it means to be a Catholic,” because the prayers were “watered down” when they were translated from Latin to English.
Still others believe that the incorporation of Latin Masses could create a sense of “us and them” � those who believe the traditional Mass to be more deeply rooted in the traditions of the Catholic Church, and those who believe that understanding the meaning of the words is essential to the Mass experience.
For supporters of the Latin Mass, it comes down to choice.
“The Latin Mass isn’t replacing the English Mass; it is just giving people an option,” St. Laurent said.
One of the better articles I have seen on the extraordinary form of Mass. Though I had to laugh at the term "communicant capacity" to describe seating capacity in the church. Though I think there is such thing as communicant capacity in that the Eucharist gives grace depending upon the capacity of the communicant.
I still can’t help but be irritated that people keep calling the extraordinary rite the “Latin Mass.” I’ve been to a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin. It was beautiful and sung in Gregorian Chant, but nevertheless, it is not the same thing.
Furthermore, twice the article referred to the Mass being “performed” rather than “celebrated.” I suppose this is a result of clown masses and liturgical dance.
“Pope John Paul in 1962”?
As a native of NH I admit total shock at the fact that no indult mass has ever been established in NH. I am joyful to see that the Motu Proprio is working, perhaps we will see a turn around there especially in vocations.
I also am a native of NH and a seminarian for the Diocese of Manchester. It is wonderful to know that so many people went to Protsmouth for the extraordinary mass. In fact on the 16th Fr. Martin Kelly celebrated the extraordinary mass (Missa Cantata) at St. Patrick’s in Nashua, NH. I know of several priests that intend to learn how to say the TLM and some of the seminarians for our diocese as well. So Fr. John, the Queen Mary is turining.
It’s good to see the Motu Proprio working :). “I guess 400 people is nobody :)”
Thanks for posting this, Jeff. Attendance at the opening Sung Mass in Nashua was even higber: 600. Since then two Low Masses have been offered for about 200 faithful.
(Anybody want to join the chant schola?)