Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Before too long the seasons of Advent and Christmas will be upon us, and as we begin the new liturgical year, I would like to increase the traditional and reverent aspects of our worship at Our Lady of the Rosary.
Already we enjoy the beauty and dignity of a beautiful, traditional Catholic church, well trained and reverent altar servers, a fine (and growing) sacred music program and visitors always comment on how reverent and prayerful our congregation is. I’m proud of the Catholic life we live at OLR and I am always watching out for ways to draw closer to the Lord and to the deep roots of our shared Catholic faith.
One of the reasons I became a Catholic nearly thirty years ago was because of the church’s roots in history—the history of Western culture, the history of the Bible and the history of humanity. The Catholic Church has been the greatest preserver of the treasures of antiquity. The Romans preserved all that was great from the civilization of Greece and handed on those cultural treasures through the practice and preaching of the Christian faith. As she did so the church amplified those treasures and infused them with a new light—the light of Christ.
In every age Catholic liturgy, literature, art and architecture renewed the treasures of the past and brought them alive in a new age. Our church is a fine example of this: built in a Romanesque style it renews the architecture of Rome and the early Middle Ages. The stain glass windows echo the styles of past ages, but were fabricated in the USA in the 1940’s. Our music draws on the great traditions of sacred music over the last 1,000 years.
Another way we bring the past into our present is through the use of Latin and Greek in our liturgy. Presently we sing the Kyrie (Lord Have Mercy) in Greek, and the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) and Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) in Latin. Over the months ahead at the Sunday masses we will start to integrate some other elements of the liturgy in Latin. There are no plans to celebrate the whole Mass in Latin, and the changes will be put in place slowly. I hope you will give me your feedback as they are. I ask that you give it time to get used to the changes, and if the Latin text is tricky, to make an effort.
In addition to the living links with the past, praying in Latin or Greek has another interesting effect. It actually takes our prayer beyond language. We know what the Gloria or Lord’s Prayer means in our own language. When we pray these words in another tongue our worship transcends our own language and we can open our hearts to pray and worship on a higher plane.
See how it goes! I value your feedback as we move forward.