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Latin Mass Makes a Comeback - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Latin Mass Makes a Comeback

Burlington, Vermont - August 15, 2007

Wednesday was a holy day of obligation in the Catholic church -- the Assumption of Mary.

But hundreds of Catholics attended mass in Burlington Wednesday night for another reason, too. It was the first Latin mass in Vermont in more than 30 years.

"This will be, for many, the first time they've experienced the mass entirely in Latin," explained the Rev. John McDermott of the Vermont Diocese.

But it was the mass Rosemarie Cartularo of Ferrisburgh grew up with.

"I went to Catholic school," she said. "We had to go to mass every morning and we said it in Latin. it was just beautiful."

This "extraordinary" form of the Mass was common from the end of the 1500s to the mid-1960s, but ended when Vatican II called for reform. The Missal of Pope Paul VI in 1971 created the "ordinary" mass Catholics know today.

"It's going to look very different, it's going to sound very different for most people," Rev. McDermott said. "But I think they'll have a sense it is still the same sacrifice of Christ we're celebrating."

Of course, most Catholics don't speak or understand Latin, and the priest or bishop faces the altar -- not the congregation. But Father John McDermott said it is still a time of community.

"It will be very different from what most people think about in mass in their parish on Sunday," he said. "It will be different, but different doesn't mean it's going to be excluding people from participating in prayer. We're still there to praise and worship God. That has to be the primary focus."

And many Catholics are happy to see it back.

"The Latin mass just hits you in your soul," said Patricia Coleman of Charlotte. "It's the universal Catholic mass."

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity if we can bring more people back to church," Rev. McDermott said. "If this is an opportunity for building people up in faith, then that's a very beautiful thing."

Kate Duffy - WCAX News

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