St. Michael's is a Tridentine Rite parish. That means they celebrate the liturgy according to the 1962 Missal, exclusively in Latin. If you have been to a modern day Roman Catholic parish, then you've probably heard songs like "On Eagle's Wings". Well, there was none of that here. At this Mass, they sang Palestrina and William Byrd, Gregorian Chant and some Organum. This is the same Mass that was celebrated for over 500 years before the 1960s. That means that people like Columbus and all the Louis' of France celebrated this Mass. It was absolutely amazing and beautiful.
The church itself is made up mainly of young people my age, not older people who "remember the way it used to be." Almost all of the women wore headscarves, with no low cut shirts or jeans this included the little girls. One of the things I took away from this experience was that in this place, more than any other, I felt a real reverence for God. We walked in, and there was silence. The congregants were praying, silently and on their knees. This is not so atypical for Catholic parishes, but if you are a protestant or another religion, you may not have experienced this. When the Mass started, the first thing I noticed was the literal army of altar servers that appeared. There must have been 7 or 8 of them. The procession was beautiful, and brought in with the amazing choir singing in the loft. I had to turn around just to make sure Anthony Rooley's Consort of Musik was not behind me. I half expected Emma Kirkby, my favorite soprano singer, to wave and smile when I turned around.
Despite not knowing when to kneel, or the fact that we missed grabbing a Latin missal from the vestibule, we followed along as best we could. During the celebration of the Mass, which was almost all sung, the people prayed and watched awesome anticipation of Communion.
The homily was so perfect and Christ centered. It really made me realize what the point of sermons is: to prepare us to receive Communion. It did exactly that. Once that was over, the liturgy resumed and the people went to the communion rail and knelt down by rows to receive.
When the Mass had ended, the faithful did not get up and leave noisily like in most places I've been. They stayed there kneeling in "thanksgiving". We stayed around for a few more minutes, kneeling with everyone. Incense was in the air, and the whole experience just overflowed with reverence and devotion. It was absolutely amazing.
This is the Parish Website,
St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Parish
It is worth visiting the website JUST to listen to the choir. I can't believe these people live in my area and "perform" every week in church.