Saturday, 08 February 2020
The last two months on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, we have sung the Our Father (Pater Noster) in Latin. We began the First Sunday of Advent. After hearing from many parishioners, I have decided that we will no longer be singing this as part Latin in the mass Sundays.
It did not accomplish the several goals I had for it, namely – to bring that beauty of the Pater Noster in Gregorian Chant back to the mass, to increase an atmosphere of prayer and mystery, and to spur our people on to learning and loving the liturgy of the mass in a deeper way. I understand that some people liked it and some people did not.
I am not one to be bullheaded on things like this. If it is not accomplishing the mission, then I am more than open to changing course. I can be stubborn, but I am also docile to the Holy Spirit. Instead of contributing to our worship and the beauty of the liturgy, it began to be distracting and was jarring for many people. At a time in the liturgy when we are preparing to receive our Lord Jesus, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, I thought that the beauty of the Gregorian Chant would assist us in encountering our Lord and entering into the beauty of Holy Communion. However, this goal was not accomplished for many people.
Thank you for being willing to try something new, expose yourself to something beautiful, and to challenge yourself to expand your language of prayer and adoration. From February 1st, we will go back to speaking or singing the Our Father in English at all masses no matter the weekend.
As you are reading this, I am either in the air on my way to Rome or already in Rome and enjoying a gelato and stroll through St. Peter’s Square! What a blessing to be going back to the Eternal City where I spent 4 years of my life studying and being formed for the priesthood. At the Pontifical North American College, I spent 4 years of formation for priestly ministry in seminary. What a gift that was for me! This week, I look forward to walking through the streets and visiting the churches and the people and the restaurants which form so many fond memories!
I come back here now in a different light – as your pastor, the pastor of St. James the Less. You are with me every step of the way! Be assured of my prayers for each of you and your families as I visit the Holy Sites and, especially, as I visit and celebrate mass at the tomb of St. James the Less at Dodici Apostoli on Tuesday. Auguri! Ci vediamo la settimana prossima! Ciao!
May the Lord Jesus bless you and your families this week!
~ Fr. Daniel Firmin