There have been some recent blog posts about first impressions by Catholic visitors to an Anglican Use Catholic Mass. Here's an excerpt of the most recent from The Christian State of Life:
This past Sunday, I had the distinct privilege to attend the approved Anglican Use Mass at St Jean Baptiste here in Victoria. Ever since Sunday, I have been telling every single Catholic I see to go to it and experience it for themselves. I walked away thinking to myself “This is what the Council had always intended; this is what the Mass is supposed to be like”.
It is, indeed, quite a different Mass than the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal that is normative in Catholic parishes throughout the world. It is also different in certain ways from the Extraordinary Form that I have experienced on various occasions. It was very simple – only 20 – 30 people were in attendance as the community is currently quite small – but extraordinarily beautiful. The prayers are exquisite, aesthetically pleasing, moving, etc. I walked away with a real sense of the sacred, a deeper sense of the sacred. It did not need pomp and circumstance in order to be beautiful for it was structured so as to not need that. However, I would very much love to experience their liturgy in the form of a High Mass one day. The choir – 3 people – sang the Introit, Hymns, etc the way music is meant to be sung: with life! Finally, the community itself is so very welcoming and delightful.
I have only been once, but already I am itching to attend again. I pray I have one or two more opportunities to come out to experience their form of the liturgy. The position ad orientem, the posture of the congregants, etc. All of this stamped upon me a deep and profound sense that we were in the holy of holies: Christ was coming down to us to lift us up to sit with Him on His heavenly throne.
My only complaint would be that there was a lay reader. Not that I mind that he (at least it was a male!) was lay; obviously, the server was too. But I do wish that readers would vest in cassock and surplice and sit in the sanctuary like the servers; why this need to have a secular-dressed person come up out of the congregation for the readings? It's a strange sort of populism, as I've discussed before, I think.
Other than that, though there weren't many in attendance, I was pleased. Communion was received kneeling and on the tongue. Some people then also received kneeling from the chalice, something I had never seen in a Catholic service before. In general there was a lot more kneeling at the Anglican Use liturgy than the Roman Mass (at the collects, for example, and during the intercessions). The Angelus was prayed after Mass at the Lady Altar.Then I was invited to the coffee and, for all my spieling here sometimes about Catholics needing more parish community and commending the Anglicans and the Orthodox for it…when faced with the actual prospect personally in a Catholic context, I could only think to myself, "What? Are you kidding me? We'reCatholic!" and then told a white lie to high-tail it out of there without having to attend… :P
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