Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thoughts of a priest

Here is a heartwarming article from an Assumption Grotto priest, Father Perrone, as he recollects on the privilege of saying the Tridentine Latin Mass. Part of it is printed below. What a wonderful testimony of love for the Mass!

“Now you’re a real priest,” said Father Edward Wilk to an astonished me. But had I not, I thought to myself, been a priest since the day of my ordination? The occasion for the remark was the announcement of the news that I had been named pastor for the first time.

That was in 1986. According to Father Wilk, being an associate priest was something like being half a priest and that in being a pastor I would be carrying the full weight of responsibilities that parish priests are expected to bear. I recount this little episode in my life to comment on my feeling about being allowed to say the so-called Tridentine Mass.

Sure, I’ve been saying Mass as reverently as I can for many years in the new rite. But I have always known that there was something missing, something better, something more to saying Mass–I speak not of any essentials here but of some very poignant accidentals–than what I had been doing. This ‘something more’ was the Mass as I remembered it as a boy, the real way to do it. (Again, dear reader, I write only rhetorically here. The new rite of Mass is also ‘real.’)

So, what have I been missing in saying Mass in the new rite all these years? I have been using Latin in ever greater measure, a practice which avails me of the intended meaning of the prayers that the Church has given us, without the filtering of its content through bad translations. I have been singing Gregorian Chant, the music that is an organic part of the Latin rite. I have even–thanks to the reading of then- Cardinal Ratzinger’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy,–been saying Mass facing east.

What more could I want? I want to say the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, humbling myself before God before I dare ascend to begin the sacred mysteries; I want to pray those sublime offertory prayers which remind me that the Mass is a sacrifice and that I am not worthy to offer it. I want to enter more
deeply into the internal reality of the celebration through the silence and the intense fervor of the older prayers.

Finally, I want my Mass to take its part in the long chain of traditionally celebrated Masses which reach back century upon century and which unite me with priests of long ago. I believe that in offering Mass in the Tridentine manner I will become more of a priest, a real priest, as Father Wilk might have said.

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

Yes he is such a wonderful priest. My parents attend Assumption Grotto. It is a piece of heaven on earth. Whenever I visit it is the highlight of my trip to attend mass at his parish.