Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kyrie Eleison

Today I took Annika and my Grammy to Mass. Grammy moved in with my folks last weekend and I've been picking her up when we go because her car isn't up here yet. We've never been so early to church in our lives! Annika had PSR today, but she still picked where we sat (right up front) and walked us in before I took her to class. PSR means Parish School of Religion, which is the Catholic version of Sunday School - CCD for those of you in my age group, catechism for those in my parents'. Anyway, the front is good because (1) my Grammy can hear some of Mass, at least - she is pretty darn deaf, and (2) I can see what is going on.

I don't know if you all know this, but because Pope Benedict has said that the Latin Mass is OK to use (broad brush paraphrasing, here - actual letter is here), it is coming back into vogue at some churches. A translation between Latin and English is here. There has always been a Latin Mass church in our area but I've never been to it because I don't understand Latin. Anyway, there are a lot of people (here and here, for example) who would prefer to hear Mass in Latin because it is the original way, before the changes of Vatican II. Our church has even started saying three of the regular prayers in Latin - they provide laminated sheets with the Latin words so that we can follow along.

I don't mean to offend anyone who wants to hear the Latin or to denigrate their opinion on what is the "right way" or the most meaningful way to hear Mass because boy, are there some opinions out there. However, it occurred to me the other day, that for those of us who grew up post-Vatican II, Latin is uncomfortable and foreign. Using the Latin prayers may feel like coming home to those who have attended Latin Mass before, but for me - it is intrusive and breaks my concentration on what is being said. I'm busy trying to figure out what the heck the words mean (which, if I had a better knowledge of the Mass - I would just know, but bear with me - the point is coming) I wonder if anyone ever thought about that part - that the Latin might alienate (even for a few minutes) those with no background in it.

Meanwhile, I'll keep brushing up on my Latin. It's good that Grammy is going with us now, because she asks about the gospel in the car (like Grampy J. used to, but without the cursing) so that helps me remember not to zone out during the Latin and never come back and to pay attention better to what is going on. She is really just making conversation with Annika, but still.

Oh, yeah, and Kyrie Eleison (which means "Lord, have mercy") was also the title of a song that Mr. Mister sang in the '80s. I have the album.


Dorothy Gould said...

Are you going to the 9am? No Latin at the 10:45. I am familiar with some of it, like Kyrie Elison. The missalette we used growing up always had the prayers in both, but they were said in English. I am on the same page as you, and I bet a lot of older folks are as well. Like Dotty, just ask her!

Mike Maier said...

awesome song.

Colin said...

You HAD to mention the song, didn't you? As if not enough things happen each day to remind me of my age.

Tara said...

I have to agree although I am really a slack church goer so I should have no opinion. Heaven forbid any little kids are actually listening. I am sure they don't know latin. OK I thought the Kyrie Elison (sp?) was a girls name.

michelle h said...

I'm glad you get to see more of your grammy!