This past Sunday, I had the distinct privilege to attend the approved Anglican Use Mass at St Jean Baptiste here in Victoria. Ever since Sunday, I have been telling every single Catholic I see to go to it and experience it for themselves. I walked away thinking to myself “This is what the Council had always intended; this is what the Mass is supposed to be like”.
It is, indeed, quite a different Mass than the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal that is normative in Catholic parishes throughout the world. It is also different in certain ways from the Extraordinary Form that I have experienced on various occasions. It was very simple – only 20 – 30 people were in attendance as the community is currently quite small – but extraordinarily beautiful. The prayers are exquisite, aesthetically pleasing, moving, etc. I walked away with a real sense of the sacred, a deeper sense of the sacred. It did not need pomp and circumstance in order to be beautiful for it was structured so as to not need that. However, I would very much love to experience their liturgy in the form of a High Mass one day. The choir – 3 people – sang the Introit, Hymns, etc the way music is meant to be sung: with life! Finally, the community itself is so very welcoming and delightful.
I have only been once, but already I am itching to attend again. I pray I have one or two more opportunities to come out to experience their form of the liturgy. The position ad orientem, the posture of the congregants, etc. All of this stamped upon me a deep and profound sense that we were in the holy of holies: Christ was coming down to us to lift us up to sit with Him on His heavenly throne.
I write this brief reflection with one singular purpose: to encourage anyone who reads this to do all that is in their power to go and experience this beautiful tradition of the Mass for themselves. Hopefully – and I believe Benedict XVI is thinking this way – it will inform how we celebrate our current form of the liturgy to bring it back in greater conformity with our ancient traditions.