In the years prior to the Second Vatican Council, I also remember attending daily Mass before elementary school, which, because we had fasted for three hours, allowed us to eat breakfast in math class. I remember singing Tantum Ergo at Wednesday Evening Benediction, which I was in the habit of attending with my Mom, siblings and “Gramp,” (her Dad, John). I also remember looking forward to participating in the praying of that most sublime form of prayer, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with my St. Joseph’s Daily Missal.
With Pope Benedict’s having granted permission for priests to offer the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, we hear much ado in the form of reaction against this from Catholic “progressives,” and about how the Council placed a new emphasis on the laity’s participation at Mass, the implication being that Catholics did not actively participate at Mass prior to Vatican II, opting for such devotions as the praying of the Rosary or Holy Cards. To such persons I say, not only did I pray along with the priest in the Latin Missal, but I was a better-than-average singer of Gregorian chant, thanks to convert and organist Mrs. Crowley’s daily faithful rendering of the chanted antiphons and propers in Latin. Having failed to become an altar server by stumbling over one Latin syllable in my tryout test, (Sr. Isabelle must have had a bad habit day that day), I also remember telling my younger brother John, who passed, that he forgot the proper order in covering the communion rails before Holy Communion.