“At the OLEM Mass the congregation was of all ages, and the magnificent and predominantly young phalanx of altar servers was an inspiration,” recalls Paul Henriksen, East Anglia Diocesan Representative, as he reflects on the vibrant and inclusive nature of the contemporary Latin Mass.
Founded in 1969 amidst the liturgical changes following the Second Vatican Council, the Association for Latin Liturgy has been instrumental in promoting the use of Latin and Gregorian chant in the modern, post-Conciliar Mass, often referred to as the Ordinary Form. Contrary to the Tridentine Rite or Extraordinary Form, the Association’s focus remains firmly on the contemporary Mass in Latin.
Paul Henriksen’s experiences with the youth’s engagement in Latin Mass are particularly enlightening. Contrary to popular belief, Latin Mass has found a surprising resonance among the younger generation. This was clearly evident during a visit to Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, where students, including those from St Thomas More, Bexleyheath, displayed a deep appreciation for the Latin Mass.
The Association’s recent event at OLEM was a remarkable showcase of the richness of the Latin Mass. Mgr Canon Harkness and Nigel Kerry, the Music Director, extended a warm welcome to the Association’s members, highlighting the church’s exceptional acoustics for Gregorian Chant and polyphony. The Mass, celebrated by Fr Anton Webb and featuring eminent figures like Bishop Emeritus Alan Hopes and Fr Paul Keane, was a splendid display of liturgical music, including William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices and the Graduale Parvum chants.
Paul Henriksen chanted the readings in a mix of English and Latin, contributing to a liturgy that exemplified the grandeur of the post-Conciliar Latin Mass. The day also featured enlightening talks, including one by Bishop Emeritus Alan Hopes on active participation in the liturgy, and ended with Vespers and Benediction, celebrated entirely in Latin.
For those interested in the preservation and celebration of the Latin liturgy, you can visit the Association’s website, a hub for resources and information on this vital aspect of Catholic worship.