The Latin Mass Society of Northeast Missouri, in conjunction with the Truman State Catholic Newman Center, is bringing the traditional Latin Mass to Novinger, Missouri, during the next five months.
Three Mass services, hosted at St. Rose Catholic Church in Novinger, Missouri, Jan. 22-24, served as the first in the series of Latin Masses.
David Barton, member of the Latin Mass Society of Northeast Missouri, says the first Latin Mass in this area took place in Kirksville at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church during January 2014. Barton says this first Mass was standing-room only, and despite an outside temperature of minus 5 degrees, about 250 people came and participated. Barton says since this first Mass, there has been support for making Latin Mass a monthly occurrence.
Barton says until 1969, all Roman Catholic Masses were celebrated in Latin. He says at about that time, Mass changed to vernacular language in an attempt to unite people. Barton says because the universal language of the church is Latin, the change actually divided people.
Barton says Latin Mass became commonplace again during 2007 when Pope Benedict XVI issued a papal document called a motu proprio saying Latin Mass was encouraged. Barton says the rule change led to almost 90 percent of diocese offering Latin Mass — however, none were offered in this area.
“The young people want it,” Barton says.
Barton said Latin Mass is particularly popular with college students and young adults. He says younger people view Latin Mass as a transformative, historical experience. Barton says Latin Mass has been celebrated since around 800 C.E., and many students think attending it now gives them a sense of historical continuity.
Barton says during a Latin Mass, the priest faces toward the tabernacle rather than the congregation. Barton says this is to emphasize the importance of looking toward Jesus. He says Latin Mass is much quieter than modern Mass, and that creates a greater sense of reverence for many people. Barton says one of the biggest differences between Latin Mass and modern Mass is the sacrament of communion. He says during Latin Mass, communion is received on the tongue while kneeling, rather than in the hand while standing.
Sophomore Paige Karls says she attended Latin Mass before and really enjoyed the quiet and the reverence she felt. Karls says when she arrived at Truman, there was no Latin Mass offered, but a group of Truman State’s Catholic Newman Center students, as well as some members of the Kirksville community, wanted one.
“If you’ve never gone to a traditional Latin Mass, I highly recommend going at least once in your life. Even if you’re not Catholic, to see this is a cultural experience.”
– Sophomore Paige Karls
Sophomore Jackie Jacezko says she attended Latin Mass for the first time Jan. 24. Jacezko said she thought she had a deeper understanding despite not knowing the language. Jacezko says she thinks the lack of language comprehension creates a greater sense of reverence by removing the memorized responses, so meditation becomes easier.
“It’s humbling,” Jacezko says. “Everyone is focused on the same thing. The priest facing the same way that the congregation is facing points people to the real reason they’re at Mass.”