Solemn High mass
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
The priest, who serves as the diocesan director of worship, celebrated the Solemn High Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite that drew an attendance of nearly 500. The crowd was a mix of Hispanic and Anglo parishioners with many from the city but others from the outlying communities.
“What it showed to us is that there are definitely people out there who are interested in that kind of expression of their faith,” Father Lingle said. “It is important for us to realize that there are several ways for us to live and express our faith in the liturgy.”
Given that Requiem Masses were held for funerals or All Souls Day to pray for and mourn the dead, Father Lingle wore black vestments. Deacon David Lopez and Deacon Jorge Fernandez, who served as sub-deacon for the liturgy, were also vested in black.
As parishioners made their way into the church, they could sign the names of deceased loved ones in a book that set upon a mock coffin covered with a black cloth. The coffin set at the front of the church in the center aisle.
Prior to the start of the liturgy, Father Lingle explained some of the things that would happen in this sung, Latin Mass. Among other things, he told them that they would be required to kneel and receive Communion on the tongue.
In the homily Father Lingle said it was a wonderful opportunity to gather together to celebrate this Mass. He explained that when the Pope Benedict XVI issued the 2007 document, Summorum Pontificum, it eased restrictions on the Catholic Church's traditional Latin Mass.
He said that in today’s society, people do everything they can to prolong life but, yet, the reality is that all will die just as Jesus himself, the son of God, died.
“On this day when we gather, All Souls Day, we remember death. The reason for the coffin among us and the many names you inscribed there remind us of mortality. Life indeed is short,” said Father Lingle, who reminded them that the reason they were at Mass was to pray for the repose of souls that they might be purified and see the face of God.
Reflecting on the reading of St. Paul, the priest told the congregation that sometimes it is hard for today’s society to think that not everyone will make it to heaven but he told them that hell and judgment are real.
“All of us will have to stand before our maker and answer to him for how we lived our life on this earth,” Father Lingle said.
As Christians, he stressed, there is hope because there are sacraments such as reconciliation that help wash away sins.
Helen Stout of South Sioux City, Neb., said she had never been to a Mass like this before. She described it as beautiful – it brought tears to her eyes.
“I felt that this would be a Mass that would be overflowing with blessings for all of us that attended and for the holy souls of our families,” she said. “Father Lingle did a beautiful job.”
Jim Rehal, a parishioner at Cathedral who serves the Latin Mass every Sunday, found the liturgy to be breath-taking with exceptional music.
“Father Brent Lingle prayed and sang the Mass beautifully – the Requiem Mass that he had never celebrated. It is so wonderful that a young priest like him did so well and was ably assisted by the two deacons,” he said. “The three young, holy men did so well.”
Rehal said if parishioners liked this Mass they might want to experience the regular Sunday Latin Mass offered at 7:30 a.m. weekly at Cathedral.
In an interview after the Mass, Father Lingle pointed out that when he walked out and saw that the church was packed “you could have knocked me over by a feather” to see so many people at the Mass.
“I was not expecting that,” he said. “It was great to see because the choir put a lot of work into it, the altar servers put a lot of work into this with the training because none of them had ever done this before.”
The priest pointed out that the idea to celebrate the Mass came when Matthew Geerlings and the Cathedral Choir wanted to do a concert featuring selections from the Requiem Mass.
“That idea came out at the same time we were beginning to do again every Sunday the extraordinary form and I said rather than it being a concert of sacred music, let’s just actually have a Mass,” Father Lingle said. “We put those two things together and that is how it developed.”
As people left the cathedral, many asked Father Lingle when the next one would be.
“There is definitely interest there so we will explore the possibilities,” he said. “We are thinking about doing an annual Requiem Mass and then will consider other times of the year when we can do bigger celebrations and solemnities.”
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