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.