I grew up Catholic during the forties and fifties. The Latin Mass was what I experienced as a child and I knew it was beautiful. Understanding was not a problem; I had a little Mass book (received at my First Communion) that explained what was happening and translated the Latin into English. I sang in school choirs and the parish choir, learning Gregorian chant and the Latin words for the sung parts of the Mass, easily memorizing everything because I was young.
All the above is background to explain what I experienced today. My parish, St. Jude’s, sings the parts of the Mass in Latin, and today as I stood for the Credo, heard the choir begin “Credo in unum Deum”, and joined in with “Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae”, I saw myself as a kid in the choir loft of Sacred Heart in Portland, and in the high school choir at St. Mary’s preparing to sing at the Graduation Mass, and as a pilgrim in procession at Lourdes, singing in Latin along with an enormous group of people from other countries.
I don’t know quite how to put it, but I felt the Latin as a thread through my life, drawing the early parts together with my life as it is now, bringing an ancient beauty into the present. I am so grateful for it. I am so happy to be a part of a church with a history that goes back thousands of years. I am nearly ready for Christmas.