Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fruits of Summorum Pontificum - Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown PA (Part II)

By Brian Kopp

Our local newspaper, the Johnstown Tribune Democrat, published an article today about the TLM at Queen of Peace in Patton, PA. (They used two of the photos from our "Latin in Patton" blog):

April 02, 2009 01:32 pm

Patton church brings back all-Latin Mass



The Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Patton, celebrates an all-Latin Mass. Queen of Peace is the only church between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg to offer the the extraordinary Mass. Submitted photo/ The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

The extraordinary Mass, also known as the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, is being reintroduced in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese.

For the first time in more than 30 years, Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Patton is providing the all-Latin Mass, the only church in the diocese to do so.

Many supporters of the traditional Tridentine Mass are convinced that it is a priceless gift that must never be forgotten.

Brian Kopp of Johnstown is proud of the love he has for the old Mass because it offers him and his family many spiritual benefits.

“After the Second Vatican Council, in the mid-1960s, the traditional Latin Mass only was permitted to be celebrated privately by priests,” Kopp said.

But in July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI set in motion an initiative allowing the traditional Latin Mass to be offered publicly. Diocesan Bishop Joseph V. Adamec gave permission to the Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB, to celebrate the extraordinary Mass at Queen of Peace on Sunday afternoons.

“We are the only parish between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh to offer the all-Latin Mass,” Kopp said.

“We have had people come from as far away as State College, Indiana, Johnstown, Somerset and even people from the Greensburg Diocese.”

Buccicone, who was ordained in 1993, is required to understand and speak Latin, as well as perform the precise hand movements.

“Not being born before Vatican II, I took it upon myself to learn, because I had a desire to learn the old way,” Buccicone said.

Since Pope Benedict offered the opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary Mass, many seminaries have reintroduced Latin into their curriculums.

Unlike the new or ordinary Mass, in the extraordinary Mass, priests face the altar, not the people. It appears as if the priest is turning his back to the congregation. But Buccicone said the purpose is for the priest to face God.

“The priest is facing liturgical east, facing toward God, and he is acting as the mediator between God and man,” Buccicone said. “It’s like a general leading his troops into battle.

“I don’t view it as turning my back on the people. I view it as leading the people to God and heaven.”

People are invited to attend the extraordinary Mass at 1 p.m. Sundays. On the first Sunday of the month, a high Mass is celebrated with Schola, or choir, singing and Gregorian chant.

On the other Sundays of the month, a low Mass is said, which is the more solemn Mass.

“Anyone desiring to experience the rich liturgical traditions of pre-Vatican II, this is an opportunity to do so,” Buccicone said.

He said priests must be qualified in both the Latin language and the rubrical (text) requirements to properly celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

During the high Mass, Gregorian chant and other ancient sacred music and clouds of incense fill the church during the liturgy.

The extraordinary Mass is much different than the ordinary Mass in its silence and lack of response from the congregation.

Latin Masses have been reintroduced at Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church, Patton. Celebrating the extraordinary Mass is the Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB. Submitted photo

There is no singing and the congregation does not respond to the priest vocally.

“The silence is overwhelming,” Buccicone said.

“There is much more time for mediation, and it offers an opportunity for contemplation.”

About 150 people attend the extraordinary Mass. The sanctuary has a capacity of nearly 400.

The solemn Mass, which is said completely in Latin, attracts different types of people. Older Catholics enjoy it because it is the Mass of their youth; younger people, including some with families, appreciate the silence and mystery of the Mass.

“Ironically, older people started coming out of a spirit of nostalgia, but they discovered a reverence for the deep and sacred character of the old Mass,” Kopp said.

And younger families have found that the old Mass teaches the centrality of Christ in the Catholic faith.

The focus of the old Mass is God, not man.

“The new Mass is so busy with active participation that no one has time to pray,” Kopp said. “The old Mass has a sense of mystery and awe that gives participants a time to pray silently and understand the reality of the Mass.”

Buccicone said the majority of people attending the extraordinary Masses are young and middle-aged people.

“They enjoy the solemnity of the Mass and the mysteries that are inherent in the old rite,” he said.

During Holy Communion, communicants must kneel at the rail and take Communion on their tongue.

No one is permitted to touch the host with their hands other than the priest.

The communicant also does not say “amen” after receiving the host, as is now done in the post-Vatican II era.

Instead, the priest says, “May the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, bring your soul unto everlasting life. Amen.”

Some women in the congregation have returned to the practice of wearing chapel veils, a head covering that displays reverence to the Lord and modesty.

Even the priest’s vestments and acolytes’ cassocks are in the old style.

“I have received calls from priests and convents who have offered me the old vestments that have been stored in closets,” he said. “They are beautiful with some being over 100 years old.”

Upon entering the church, the congregation has access to Latin-English missals, which display both versions.

“The Latin is on the left and English on the right, and people can follow along easily,” Kopp said.

He said the missals help people keep pace with the celebrant as he recites the Latin words. There is no need to actually learn Latin because the translation is already made for the participant.

But learning Latin pronunciation is key to the acolytes who serve the Mass.

Kopp’s 16-year-old son, Michael, said it took about three months to learn the proper Latin pronunciations verbatim.

“There are cards that we can read, but once you do it for a while it becomes natural,” Michael said.

“I would like to see a lot more churches do this because I think a lot of young people would find it gratifying. It takes people to a higher level in realizing that they are in the presence of God, and we are with him at the Mass.”


Chironomo said...

"Diocesan Bishop Joseph V. Adamec gave permission to the Rev. Ananias Buccicone, OSB, to celebrate the extraordinary Mass at Queen of Peace on Sunday afternoons."

Had the author of the article done his homework, the above sentence would have ended by saying "...although such permission is no longer necessary and was a purely formal gesture on the part of the Bishop."

Why do Bishops persist in implementing Ecclesia Dei Afflicta now that Summorum Pontificum has removed even those restrictions?

Brian Kopp said...

The comments about "permission" and about the low mass being the "more solemn mass" were lifted almost verbatim from the previous Altoona Mirror newspaper article.

Otherwise, it was a good article overall.

Chironomo said...

Yes...there is some confusion about the meaning of "solemn" here... the High mass with all of the music and ceremony would be the more solemn Mass it seems! And there is no distinction noted that the Mass with no singing and no response from the people is a Low Mass...but the news is certainly good.

Charles said...

Hello Brian,
I thought you might enjoy this

I wrote it way back in the late 1940s. I was a seminarian at Holy Cross Seminary, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Charles Cingolani

smarty said...

I heard two different explanations for the priest facing the Big Altar instead of his congregation. If, by doing this, he's facing God then it now seems a little silly for him to face us. After all we have to walk in the same direction to get to Heaven whether we're ordained or not.

When trying to understand this difference in the new Mass I was thinking of a friend of mine who used to belong to the Sierra Club and hike in the mountains. He talked about 3 leaders going on the hike. The first one is the "front leader" who would be ahead of everyone else. They would also have a "middle leader" and even a "rear leader" in the back of the group for stragglers like me. As far as I know they all walk in the same direction as the other hikers. And the leaders don't walk backwards.

(Of course those of us laypeople who don't have a vocation to the priesthood have ways of serving the Lord-just like the rear & middle leaders.)

I noticed that when our priest has his back to us he has a giant-sized cross on his vestment-a great reminder of who the real Boss is. I love seeing him facing the altar so I can see that beautiful cross on his back.

I have to admit that attending Mass in a language I don't speak can be a challenge and a half. Even though I'm a layperson-and a woman-I'd like to brush up on my Latin and learn how to pronounce it the way it's pronounced in church. I had took Latin in high school, but it was the Classical pronunciation-not the beautiful "church Latin" we hear at Mass.

"Sounds" like Fr. Buccione had to take the initiative to learn both the Latin and the movements needed to celebrate Mass the old way.

I thought I'd mention there are workshops and materials-such as DVDs-available on how to celebrate or serve the Tridentine Mass in case there are priests and altar servers who are interested. The community my Latin Mass priest belong to-the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter-offers such aids to priests wanting to learn the Extraordinary Mass.

Their site in English is:
and their "bookstore" is Fraternity Publications Service and the URL is:

Fraternity Publications has a lot of good material for lay people who go to the Traditional Mass as well.

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

I've not heard of the traditional Mass of the Roman rite being used for the 1962 Missal Mass..the OF Mass we go to is also a traditional Mass of the Roman rite..we only have ONE RITE with TWO forms..except in Miles Jesu we are bi-ritual.
With regard to small children the !962 Missal..Mass there is one child about 3 years old in the congregation on a Sunday..none in the week.
At the OF traditional Family Mass in English there are probably over 50 children..