Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summorum Pontificum: Nothing Extraordinary Happening in Houston

Three years after Pope Benedict's stunning motu proprio confirming that the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated and should be made widely available to the faithful, I can't tell that anything has changed in Houston.

I cannot find even one parish serviced by the Fraternity of St. Peter, and the Latin Mass Society website for Houston still says: "We are currently in the process of establishing the Latin Mass Society of Houston." My Google search results date their page as July 7, 2007.

We still have the one indult at Annunication at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, said by Rev. Msgr. James L. Golasinski of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. It is usually a low Mass, and before you finish your thanksgiving at the end, they start wheeling out the freestanding altar for the novus ordo. It's very disturbing.

When we attended for a few months in 2008, the homilies were generally limited to the subjects of politics or abortion. For the most part, parishioners' dress was the same as what I remembered from novus ordo parishes, casual, with many women wearing pants. Veils were scarce. I learned that I need the peer pressure of a congregation that has high standards of dress. The longer we attended, the less concerned about my own attire I became, though I never wore pants.

There was no discernible parish life. It would have helped tremendously if the traditional Mass could have had its own bulletin or at least its own section in the bulletin. However, it was clear by the differences in the way people dressed and conducted themselves that some were there because the mass time suited them, not because the Tridentine Mass best expressed and supported the Catholic faith for them. I gained a new appreciation for like mindedness.

My family felt spiritually adrift there, not as much as we had in the novus ordo but similarly, and we eagerly and gratefully returned to Queen of Angels, an SSPX chapel.


Jon said...

Just, for what it's worth, some mainly factual observations from someone relatively new to Houston, who's been more or less regularly attending the Tridentine Mass at Annunciation Church, but has also been a couple of times to Queen of Angels in Dickinson.

- For at least the last six months or so, the 8:00 a.m. Mass at Annunciation (technically it can no longer be called an "indult" Mass since a priest now in theory does not need special permission to say it) has not usually been said by Fr. Golasinski but by a Basilian priest posted at the University of St. Thomas, I believe: sorry, I always forget his name. His homilies -- though often hard to hear due to bad acoustics -- are, at least relative to what one normally hears, in the thoughtfully excellent category. Politics and abortion are not the usual themes.

- More recently that Mass has usually been a sung High Mass, not a low Mass. (I'm in the schola/choir. But it is a bit irregular; and the schola is limited in numbers; and practices are we're not too good. Probably don't compare too well with Queen of Angels.)

- Re congregational dress at the 8:00 a.m. at Annunciation: From what I can see from the choir loft, I'd say dress is definitely above "casual," and most definitely above what you'd see at a Novus Ordo. I don't think I see many or any women in pants. I'd guess about 70% (?) of women wear chapel veils. But Queen of Angels would certainly win out in any formal-dress competition.

- That is correct that the Traditional Mass at Annunciation does not have its own bulletin. Probably also correct that there is not much "parish life." I'd guess that most people attend that Mass "intentionally," rather than because it suits their schedules. Nevertheless, it's almost certain that more "likemindedness" can be found at Queen of Angels.

Thanks for the blog and cheers.

Wendy Haught said...

Dear Jon,

Thanks for the update on Annunciation. I am encouraged. It all sounds good.

Good luck with schola/choir. I appreciate the sacrifice you are making there.

God bless! said...

I have a question for Jon, if Wendy can help touch base with him: will the 8 a.m. or 11 a.m. Masses on Christmas Day be sung High Masses? I have 3 family members who are recent converts (stepdaughter, stepson and daughter-in-law) who've never seen a Latin Mass and I'm planning to take them to Annunciation on Christmas Day. They're really excited.