Pastor’s Letter, January 21, Fr. Longenecker

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville the Catholic Mass is celebrated in a traditional style.

In many American Catholic Churches those who plan the worship clearly have an intent to make the Mass as relevant, up to date and “relatable” a possible, but is this the main object of worship? The worship at OLR Greenville runs counter to this trend.

We worship in a traditional style because worship is a transcendental experience, and traditional Catholic worship aids the transcendental aspect of divine worship. How so? if the architecture connects with the 2000 year traditions of Catholic architecture then it transcends the trendy designs of modern American utilitarian architecture. A Romanesque church connects us with an earlier age and helps connect to the deep roots of our faith. It is the same with sacred music. Architecture, art and music transcend our everyday, utilitarian approach to life. That which is beautiful, good and true in this world connects us experientially with the source of Beauty, Truth and Goodness.

Traditional ceremonial lifts the heart and mind to God in a way that is not immediately as obvious as a form of worship that outwardly seems more relevant, up to date and “with it.” That which is up to date will soon be out of date. Traditional worship sidesteps that problem and immerses us in that which is never out of date and therefore take us to the threshold of the eternal.

I realize some folks who are enthusiastic about the Traditional Latin Mass may ask why we don’t simply go ahead and celebrate the Extraordinary Form (the TLM) The answer is, in Greenville, SC we don’t need to because Prince of Peace parish here in Greenville is one of the locations in the diocese where the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated regularly. Also, while I am in favor of the liberalization of permission to celebrate the TLM and support those who advocate for it, I am also aware that there are restrictions on its celebration. More importantly, however, is my concern for the people. Most American Catholics are not ready or prepared for a regular celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. However, a good number are pleased to have a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in a traditional style. Finally, I believe the Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in a traditional style is the Mass that is most consistent with the norms set forth in the documents of the second Vatican Council.

In these weeks leading up to Lent I will be writing in more detail about why we do certain things in our liturgy at OLR.

Your Pastor,

Fr. Longenecker