For something completely different, we attended mass at a local non-territorial parish run by the Society of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest. High Mass in Latin in the Ordinary Form. The Society has only run this parish for a few years, so things will undoubtedly change, but as of now:
– the Mass was well-attended, with the church about 70% full;
– only about 20% or so of the congregation were, as they say, cramming for the final exam (old). At least half the congregation were large, young families. Babies, toddlers, preteens, teenagers everywhere, usually in packs of at least 5 or 6 to the family. Two babies were baptized;
– With the baptisms, High Mass, feast day (Ascension Thursday Sunday), Mass was 1:45 long. Nobody left early that I saw;
– there were at least a dozen acolytes, ranging in age from very young (8?) to teenagers. Lots of incense, candle-marching and general processing to keep ’em all busy;
– the *next* Mass was the Extraordinary Form Latin High Mass – I can only imagine the mix/crowd there, but I imagine the same sort of things as described above, only more so.
So, first observation: non-judgmental demographics dictates that this is the future. Statistically, vocations disproportionately come from large families – and there were plenty of those here, far more than I’d ever seen in a “normal” parish. So, assuming the kids pick up a devotion to this type of liturgy from their parents, this is going to get bigger fast over the next couple generations.
Now for the music:
Before I say anything else: Hurray! Actual real music got sung, with actual non-heretical lyrics! WooHoo! And a real choir! Weee!
Now to nit-pick the actual music: it was OK. I am very grateful that I didn’t have to listen to insipid lyrics and sappy music, and the chant – there was plenty of chant – was nice, but, being a jerk here; what’s with the non-stop organ? Can’t we sing ‘Amen’ without ranks of organ to support us in the form of drowning us out? How about an a capella Pater Noster? Nope – it’s organ all the way down. I know this is the style, these are French priests after all, but – wish they wouldn’t.
The choir is young and competing, I suppose, with the Extraordinary Form Choir for members (unless the singers are the kind of commandos who would do both – 3+ hours of singing, 5 hours of hanging out at church. Could be.) but it was just OK. The Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus were from some rather goofy (to my ears) Mass that sounded like a simplified 19th century post-Romantic piece. How about we go with the real masters, and ditch the organ? Maybe eventually.
Here’s hoping that a few more years with which to recruit and train some more singers, the good fathers will really be able to rock the joint. To the greater glory of God, of course.