Thursday, October 23, 2014

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New priest celebrates his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form

060612-mef-baroneCHARLOTTE — On Trinity Sunday, June 3, Father Jason Barone celebrated his first Mass at St. Ann Church. He celebrated the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, reflecting his wish "to give God thanks for this great gift of a vocation, and to do so in the most solemn and beautiful way that I can ... in a way that He has led me." Father Barone spent a year of his seminarian studies at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska, operated by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, one of the largest Latin Mass communities. He said he was drawn to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass – also known as the Latin Mass or the Tridentine Mass – because it places "a stronger emphasis on sacrifice ... there's something there that really appeals to the heart, to offer God's sacrifice."

Pictured: Father Jason Barone (center) during his First Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Ann Church on June 3. (SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald.) See more photos from this Mass.

Priests have not always been able to widely celebrate the Mass in Latin, even though Latin is the official language of the Church. Following the changes of the Second Vatican Council in 1969, the Latin Mass was suppressed in favor of the "Novus Ordo" (or "Ordinary Form") Mass celebrated in the local language. In 1984, the Vatican granted permission for bishops to allow the Latin Mass again, and in his 1988 apostolic letter "Ecclesia Dei" Pope John Paul II encouraged its wider use. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued his apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum," which relaxed the process for clergy to be able to celebrate the traditional form of the Mass and restored its "due honor," essentially putting the Extraordinary Form on equal footing with the Ordinary Form.

Now, at least four parishes in the Charlotte diocese and six in the Raleigh diocese regularly offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and the number of its supporters is growing.

Father Eric Kowalski of Holy Angels Church in Mount Airy offers Mass every Sunday in the Extraordinary Form to anywhere from 40 to 55 parishioners. Pastor of one of the few parishes to do so in North Carolina, Father Kowalski began offering it shortly after "Summorum Pontificum" was issued. It was then that Bishop Peter Jugis offered training to any interested priests in the diocese.

Father Kowalski recalls, "The bishop was very gracious in offering training to any priest who would be interested. There were about 14 who took him up on that offer, and we went through very rigorous training to become familiar with (the Latin) Mass."

In his parish, Father Kowalski says he has observed that those who are drawn to this form of the Mass are often attracted by the "silence" of it – "a draw for people in a world that is filled with 'Muzak.' The Extraordinary Form is really counter to that – it's not what people are used to."

The heightened ritual is another draw, he adds – "seeing the symbolism and once you understand it, is beautiful to witness." He acknowledges that while the Latin Mass is "part of our identity," not every Catholic needs to participate in it if they don't want to.

"That's a part of the beauty of how big the Church is, and the fact the Holy Father has made it possible for this choice to be given."

Sid Cundiff, a parishioner of Holy Angels Church in Mount Airy, is a strong proponent of the Latin Mass. Cundiff believes, "There's a movement going on. The Holy Spirit is busy – He's drawing people to holiness."

Cundiff sees an increased interest in the Latin Mass because he thinks "people love to have a longer perspective. They want something that's work, something that is ritual. They want something out of the ordinary. They want the holy."

For many of the faithful, "extraordinary" ritual and holiness is precisely what the Latin Mass offers.

Father Barone comments, "What we know now is that it's important that we have it reintroduced to the life of the Church. To what extent, I do not know. But Pope Benedict has given it to us, and we should just let the Holy Spirit guide where this is going."

Those who wish to be kept informed about the locations and times of Masses in the Extraordinary Form in North Carolina may e-mail Sid Cundiff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

— Morgan Castillo, correspondent

Mass in the Extraordinary Form

The Latin Mass is celebrated regularly at the following parishes in the diocese:

CHARLOTTE: St. Ann Church, 3635 Park Road

LINCOLNTON: St. Dorothy Church, 148 St. Dorothy's Lane

MARION: Our Lady of the Angels, 258 North Garden St.

MOUNT AIRY: Holy Angels Church, 1208 North Main St.

FROM THE PASTORS

Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at  parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte: