Tuesday, May 5, 2009

At the Extraordinary Form Mass, meeting Henry

We arrived at St Theresa's church in Clinton, TN. I was very happy to find the church, which I had learned about from a fellow Fr Zuhlsdorf Fan and pen pal, Henry. Fr Z has a website where many conservative Catholics congregate to read and comment.

This little church, normally an OF [Ordinary Form] parish, holds a EF [Extraordinary Form] Mass on Sunday afternoons. For those unfamiliar with the EF, its the old Mass said before the Vatican II changes, and my preferred Mass. The priest faces the Tabernacle and there are many more detailed prayers, more candles, more altar cloths. This Mass is more full of the expression of the Faith, in my opinion.

I found Henry at the back of the Church as he had predicted and we tentatively introduced ourselves, having never met. A joyful first meeting! We then sat and readied ourselves for Mass. The Sanctuary was fittingly set up. Mass started with the Asperges [oops, it was the Vidi Aquam, according to the season] as Father blessed the congregation with holy water and the little choir sang nicely the Latin. The Missa Cantata included all the sung propers and ordinary parts of the Mass, which the congregation joined at times. Many women wore veils, all dressed modestly, everyone was quiet, attentive, and reverent. The little choir sang familiar favorites including O Lord I am Not Worthy and Mozart's Ave Verum. Since there was no altar rail, Holy Communion was received in the first pew so we could kneel.   

After Mass, we spoke again with Henry. He introduced us to Father John Orr.   This little 'club' of Fr Z fans hit it off instantly, as we recognize immediately our shared Catholicism and similar devotion to its important details. [Henry called it a 'Z-fest'.] Not only that, but there is a shared sense of humor. Then again, I like anybody who laughs at my stabs at humor.

We would have liked to spend much more time with Henry and his wife Alice, as we found much to discuss...but it was getting late, and Dennis and I had to get on to the next destination.

Left to right, Fr John Orr, Chaplain of the Knoxville Latin Mass Community; Tina, and Dennis.

Henry Edwards, President of the Knoxville Latin Mass Community, and Tina.

So much to discuss, in spite of rain.

Clinton's St Theresa parish, north of Knoxville, Tennessee.


  1. Someones stats are going to increase :)

    Glad that you had fun

  2. Let me add, Tina, that it was just a wonderful treat and pleasure to meet you, after having admired you keen insight at Father Z's blog and having corresponded at a distance. Alice and are so glad that you and Dennis were able to pause in the Knoxville area on your way west. As for our "Z-fest", here is a note that I wrote to Father Z about our rendezvous both holy and joyful:

    "Father Z: One of the rewards of WDTPRS is the sense of community it fosters among far-flung but like-minded Catholics who without your blog would never have a chance to know (or even hear of) each other. But, given an opportunity to meet face to face, find that they instantly hit it off like long-lost friends, relishing especially the consciousness of shared Catholic identity and perspective that your efforts have kindled among so many of us."

    "This past weekend 'Tina in Ashburn' [Tina Hertz Evans] and her husband traveled through the Knoxville (TN) area on their cross country RV trip. Before and after a nice EF high Mass celebrated by Fr. John Arthur Orr, the esteemed chaplain of the Knoxville Latin Mass Community, we enjoyed sharing some instant camaraderie and fond Z-memories. It was a small Z-fest, only the two of us and our spouses and Fr. Orr, but where even two or three are gathered ....."

    Finally, for any traditional purists who may be reading here, I might mention that we don't have vernacular hymns during Mass -- apart from a recessional following the concluding Marian antiphon (Regina caeli during Eastertide). This Sunday, however, we had a first Holy Communion, so the choir sang the "O Lord I am Not Worthy" as is traditional for this situation.

  3. Tina,

    Counting Henry and Alice as treasured friends - having also met Henry via the one we affectionately dub "The Great Zed" back in the old Catholic Online days - and also having had the pleasure of attending one of Father Orr's Masses, I'm consumed with envy at the thought of your Sunday experience.

    As any friend of Henry's is a friend of mine, my prayers are with you and your husband on your Great Adventure. I perused your blog, and I have to agree on your son's friend's advice regarding the Grand Canyon. Go to the South Rim. As he said, you indeed won't believe it's real, but you WILL believe in God even more than you do now.

    God bless, and happy driving!

    Jon Kabel, Lancaster, PA