Bishop Andrew Cozzens celebrated a Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool in the Extraordinary Form on Saturday October 11th 2014 at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Minnesota. This is the first time in over 50 years for the Traditional Latin Mass to be celebrated at the Cathedral. Prior to Mass, Bishop Cozzens confirmed about 40 or so teenagers using the Extraordinary Form rubrics. The FSSP was there as well to assist Bishop Cozzens.
The average age of those in attendance seemed to be somewhere between the ages of 35 to 45. From what I could tell, most of these people still had their natural hair color. The Traditional Latin Mass is a Mass which hasn’t been said for about 50 years. I have to ask: “how come a Mass which wasn’t said when these people grew up is gaining so much traction?” These Catholics are on fire and passionate about their faith. They just don’t go around bragging about it. On top of it, these are the Catholics who are having large families. I couldn’t tell you how many young families were there with young children, not because I couldn’t see any, but because there were so many.
Last week I went to the Rediscover Catholic Celebration the Archdiocese put on. Throughout the entire conference, it was never really mentioned at all going back to the traditions of Catholicism in order to draw people into the beauty of our faith. Archbishop Coakley did make some mention of it, but it was very subtle and if you were not paying attention you would have easily missed it. Instead, Jeff Cavins kept mentioning the new “Amazing Parish” program which is a “Rebuilt” clone. It takes the emphasis off of the Mass and the Liturgy, as well as the traditions of our faith. It looks to Protestants as models for “attracting” people. The vast majority of those at Rediscover were in their 50s to 60s. The direction we need to go in as a Church, I would argue, is passing on and practicing the traditions we have inherited from our ancestors in the faith. The parishes where the sacred traditions are kept and upheld are the healthiest of parishes, both financially and spiritually. I did not rediscover anything Catholic at last week’s conference, but I rediscovered Catholicism here.
When the organ began playing during the Te Deum, the entire Cathedral shook. One could sense the Cathedral was beginning to awaken after her 50 year slumber of not having a Latin Mass said within her walls. The sung chant and organ when combined reverberated off of the massive dome of the Cathedral. This Cathedral was built for the Solemn/Pontifical High Mass, and it is heartbreaking to think it could possibly be a number of years before another Mass of this caliber will be celebrated within her walls. By the grace of God, perhaps Bishop Cozzens would be kind enough to celebrate this beautiful Mass more often? Even if not a Solemn or Pontifical High Mass, perhaps a Low or High Mass? Maybe Archbishop Neinstedt and Bishop Piche can celebrate them too?
People were intrigued! The Cathedral is a tourist destination. I witnessed many people who were stopping in just to see what was going on. After Mass, my friend and I were approached by a woman asking what it was she had just experienced. We told her and she was interested. Non-traditional Catholics tell us the days of tradition are over in the Church because nobody cares for it, or people are turned off, or whatever excuse is popular for the day. As a convert I find these excuses lacking as it was the traditions of the Church that really drew me in. Catholicism celebrated as it has been given by Christ and His Church should draw people in with it’s beauty and pomp. Not with novelty, distractions and noise.