TOLEDOóCatholics devoted to the Latin-language liturgy that predates Vatican II have long found a home in Toledo St. Joseph.
The congregation on the edge of downtown Toledo has celebrated the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly called the Tridentine Mass, regularly since Father Stephen Majoros became pastor in 1994. Prior to that, several other pastors had celebrated the post-Vatican II liturgy in Latin on a regular basis at St. Joseph.
Last spring the parish began offering the Tridentine Mass every Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and the attendance has been so high and the response so positive that Father Joseph Poggemeyer, who became the new pastor last July, is now considering celebrating the 8:30 a.m. Sunday Mass in this form once a month as well.
He notes many people devoted to the Latin-language Mass never experienced it as children, but discovered it as adults.
"People are clamoring for something transcendent and ancient, and that, I think, explains why you do have young people who are pretty on fire for the Tridentine form," says Fr. Poggemeyer.
With what he describes as its "transcendent aesthetic," Fr. Poggemeyer says, "some people feel much more aided in their approach to the divine in the Tridentine Mass than they do in the Novus Ordo," the new order of the Mass promulgated in 1970 as part of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Since July 2007, when Pope Benedict XVI relaxed restrictions on use of the Tridentine Mass in his apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, several other pastors in the diocese have accommodated requests for this form of the liturgy.
Summorum Pontificum says priests may celebrate the Tridentine Mass privately or at the request of groups of the faithful without receiving special permission from their diocesan bishop.
Father Paul Kwiatkowski, pastor of Toledo Immaculate Conception, says he began celebrating a Tridentine Mass one Sunday a month last year after a small group of parishioners made a request. He isnít offering the Mass as often now because of dwindling attendance, but he says he may still celebrate it quarterly or upon request.
Father Joseph Szybka, pastor of Tiffin St. Joseph, has celebrated the Mass in the extraordinary form twice in the past two years, responding to parishioner requests. He also said it annually in his last assignment at Attica Our Lady of Hope, with permission from the bishop.
The Tridentine Mass he celebrated at St. Joseph Nov. 9 drew people of all ages from Tiffin and surrounding communities.
Neither Andy nor Jenny Yanka of New Washington St. Bernard grew up with the pre-Vatican II liturgy, but they took their 5-year-old daughter to experience it in Tiffin.
The couple says they are attracted to the spirituality and reverence of the extraordinary form. "I think itís a treasure," says Mrs. Yanka, who recalls attending her first Latin-language Mass in Columbus when she was in high school.
"What fascinates me [is that] every tiny little gesture has meaning. Itís just amazing," Mrs. Yanka adds.
Theresa Sullivan, a member of Tiffin St. Joseph who attended with her husband, Thomas, their five children and her parents, Charles and Linda Ardner, says she experiences a great "sense of awe and wonderment" in the Tridentine Mass. She did not grow up with it, but says she has come to appreciate the pre-Vatican II liturgy.
For those who did grow up in the pre-Vatican II Church, the extraordinary form of the liturgy may evoke a sense of nostalgia. Some older Catholics attending the Mass in Tiffin with their children and grandchildren expressed a desire to share the liturgy with the younger generations.
A number of people used the word žreverenceÓ to explain their attraction to the older form of the liturgy.
"Thereís times when thereís real, true silence," says Jeffrey Schmakel of Toledo St. Joan of Arc, who directed the choir for the Mass. "Itís designed to be quiet."
In the Tridentine Mass, the priest prays silently during some of the parts he would pray aloud in the new order Mass, such as the eucharistic prayer. Fr. Poggemeyer says the congregation knows he has said the words of consecration because the moment is "shrouded in silence."
"Their hearts are all attentive on this awesome miracle that is silently going on at the altar," he says. "Itís beautiful."
Latin is used throughout the Tridentine Mass except for the readings and the homily, which are in the vernacular.
The priest celebrates the Mass ad orientem, meaning "toward the East" ó traditionally the anticipated direction of the Lordís coming, says Fr. Poggemeyer. This means he has his back to the congregation during most of the Mass.
"Whatís really happening is everyone is facing together in the direction of the Lord," explains Fr. Poggemeyer, who also celebrates the ordinary form of the liturgy ad orientem at St. Joseph. He says this remains permissible even though few priests say it that way today.
The parish has about 245 registered families, and some drive from as far as Napoleon and Tiffin.
Fr. Poggemeyer, who previously served as director of formation for the Pontifical College Josephinum, did not grow up with the Tridentine Mass and never celebrated it before coming to St. Joseph.
He says he has found learning the intricate rubrics to be more challenging than saying the Mass in Latin. He is also learning to celebrate sacraments in the extraordinary form, which Pope Benedict has allowed with Summorum Pontificum.
The priest says use of the extraordinary form is driven by pastoral need, and he emphasizes the pope never meant to "pit the two against each other."
"He intends the two forms to enrich each other, and the congregations to be very enriched by the existence of both forms," says Fr. Poggemeyer.