A Vatican II Catholic tells why he loves Mass

(CNS photo/Gregory A.Shemitz)

As everyone knows, the English-translation of the new Roman Missal will gets its first use in the pews at Masses this weekend. And along comes a timely reflection from one Vatican II Catholic about what he loves about the Mass, reflecting on what it has meant to him at various stages of his life, starting when he was an altar boy.

“At Mass – no matter where or who or how many people are in the pews or folding chairs – I feel affirmed in my choice to be part of this 2,000-year-old tradition,” writes Bob Zyskowski in a Nov. 18 posting. “Note that word ‘choice.’ Nobody is forcing me to be at church. I go because I want to. Because I get something out of it. And what’s affirming is that I feel part of something good and valued by others.”

Zyskowski is associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His reflection is on CatholicHotDish.com, “A Minnesota Flavored Catholic Blog” launched by the newspaper earlier this year.

“This isn’t an exercise in apologetics on behalf of the new Roman Missal,” he says. “I’ve read at least a dozen explanations explaining the need for the changes and just as many commentaries questioning those explanations. Frankly, neither matter. I’ll still love Mass.”

Also worth a look is a CNS story about Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s new pastoral, “Jesus’ Eager Desire: Our Participation in the Sunday Mass.” The full text is available on the website of The Pilot, the Boston archdiocesan newspaper. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput also offered his reflections on the first Sunday of Advent and use of the new missal in this letter to Catholics.

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8 Responses to A Vatican II Catholic tells why he loves Mass

  1. Bob Mullen says:

    Here is another list of Why I Love the Mass from a parishioner at St Joseph Cathedral in Hartford. The common man’s answer:


  2. Janice Flahiff says:

    Yes, it is a choice to participate in Mass. I will continue to choose to participate even though the church hierarchy has in my humble opinion not taken full advantage of the many gifts of its members in the process of updating the Mass. And I believe the translation work, while maybe not secretive, was certainly not in the Vatican II spirit of inclusiveness. Phrases as “for the many” replacing “for all”, again, do not seem to be in the spirit of Christ’s mission. It is challenging to be an active Catholic with decisions as these. Trying my best to bear no ill will, tho, for no matter what, we are all one in the Spirit.

  3. Chuck Jones says:

    Most of these things are why I DISlike the “Vatican 2” mess. (Mass is in Latin – mess is in various random languages.)

    First of all, you get on your knees WHILE receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, not after. If I see anyone approach the Blessed Sacrament standing up I’m apt to help them kneel by kicking them in the back of the knees. Second, you do not applaud during Mass – it is not a concert. Third, guitars and other such garbage are not appropriate for Mass. Chant and organ are appropriate. Mass is not the place for “belting out” anything. If you want to belt out things, go to a karaoke bar. If you want a divine encounter, go to Mass.

    Finally, the author is mad because he did not know what “Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam” means. (It means “to God who giveth joy to my youth.”) What is the nature of the author’s learning disability that prevents him from learning what it means?

  4. Michael says:

    I’m hoping that Janice is not implying the Jesus failed the spirit of His own mission since it was HE who used the words ‘for the many.’

  5. Wow, Chuck Jones, how you doing in the anger management class?
    You may want to check out a remedial reading class as well. Reread the post: I wrote that we applauded the musicians “after” the recessional; that means the Mass is over, Chuck, so the applause isn’t “during Mass,” as you incorrectly criticized. I also wasn’t “mad,” as you incorrectly wrote, about not knowing what the Latin responses meant when I was an altar boy. I was in 5th grade, Chuck. I wasn’t a flipping Latin scholar at age 10, I was just trying to say the right words at the right time. If there was 1% of the grade school altar boys in 1960 who knew was they were saying, I would be amazed. Finally, I don’t know what church you belong to, but it’s 2011, Chuck, and if you haven’t noticed, it’s OK to receive Communion standing — check it out in Catholic churches across the word. And your mindset that guitars are verboten in Mass is not only archaic, it’s also wrong. As is your remark that applause is not allowed at Mass. You should be embarrassed that you posted a comment that is so vicious and unchristian — along with being inaccurate.

  6. Jeanne Gratton says:

    Hear carefully..it is Pope John Paul and later Pope Benedict that
    viewed applauding not appropriate at Mass..and guitars?
    The Mass is certainly not an entertainment venue, but a sacred
    institution. The music choices of the last thirty years have been
    less than appropriate. We are passing down mediocrity in favour
    of trendy innovations..wrong, Bob.

  7. Jeanne, unless the popes were speaking dogmatically, their opinions about applause are just that, opinions, and I’d guess formed by the culture in which they were formed. Others who found life and spirit and soul and holiness in belting out St. Louis Jesuits hymns and applauding the vibrancy of the liturgy in a high school gymnasium have been formed by a different culture — not a better one, not a lesser one, just a different one. Your opinion on the quality of recent liturgical music is just that, your opinion. I get bored to death with some of what I consider archaic hymns I hear in some churches — but, again, that’s my opinion, and that’s all it is, my opinion.
    Here are three thoughts before making generalizations about, first, guitars at Mass, and second, anything else; finally, third, a personal reminder:
    1. One of the most-loved Christmas carols, “Silent Night,” was first played at Midnight Mass in Austria ON THE GUITAR.
    2. “We are normally blind about our own blindness. We’re generally overconfident in our opinions and our impressions and judgments. We exaggerate how knowable the world is.” — quote from Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner.
    3. I’m guilty of the accusations in #2 above — but I’m pretty sure — not confident but pretty sure — I’m not alone.

  8. Bob Mullen says:

    Yes, peace….and as of yesterday, and with your spirit! Gosh, I was so happy to see someone post something about loving the Mass. I have so few friends or family members, all raised Catholic – some each of the Latin and Vatican II ilk – that I feel a kindred spirit with those who still make it the pinnacle of the week, or even day. I am not a big fan of the folk style music played in some churches, but at the end of the day, we all listened to the Gospel and partook in the Eucharist. A nice peace be with you in between and a good smile on the way out, and I was off to the races for the day. Well, maybe not before asking my wife in the car, “What did you think of the drums at Mass?” Just kidding. Thanks for the original post, Bob.

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