The St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir, headed by Surinder S. Mundra, began its 2013 run of organizing Latin Masses throughout the archdiocese of Toronto. Its first Solemn Latin Mass for 2013, was held Tuesday evening at St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church, Scarborough, Ontario. Considering the weather conditions, simple online/blog promotion of the Mass, and it was a workday/weekday evening, the Mass had a congregation of approximately 100 attendees! Given all that, it's clear that the Latin Mass is growing in our diocese and people do care about it!
The Roster for this Mass was: Fr. Steven Szakaczki, the resident Latin Mass Chaplain of SLTM, as our celebrant; Fr. Russell Asch, a fairly recent 2011 Ordinani for the Archdiocese of Toronto (see brief but highly interesting biography feature in the Catholic Register from 2 years ago here;) as Deacon; a young and vivacious seminarian, Dryden Buote, currently in formation at the Seminary of St. Augustine`s in Toronto as our sub-deacon; the Master of Ceremonies was co-organizer for the Choir and head trainer for altar serving, Mr. Paul Mundra. Including myself, there was a total of five young men, dedicated to serving the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, for last night`s Mass, in varying roles. I was 2nd Acolyte.
Prior to the actual Mass, fruitful and positive activity was going on in the sacristy and in setting up the altar. Prompt and proper setting up of the altar took place, and pleasantries and brief conversation took place getting to know our new friends and clergy/servers assisting the St. Patrick's Choir. I was particularly pleased to meet Dryden, having only seen him on friends`/group lists on Facebook. It's great to see another young man like myself with a positive disposition with an interest in this form of the Roman Rite, and gives me hope in the next generation of clergy for our archdiocese. It's these men, soon to be Reverend Father(s), like Dryden, who will bring out the full effects of ++Collins' archdiocesan pastoral plan and bear fruit to the New Evangelization.
Glad to say we eventually started our Mass at the proper time. While I was not permitted to take pictures of the actual liturgy (It`s the Holy Mass, not an entertainment spectacle), I was able to take a few shots of the altar setup prior to Mass.
Main Altar with New Framed Altar Cards for the Choir
Right Side of Altar showing the Sedilia
Credence Table for Mass, Including Humeral Veil
The Mass began, and proceeded with beautiful, soul enriching music sung by our choir. I swear, they must be jumping by leaps and bounds every time, even their soloists. Because whomever sung the solo just before the reading of the Gospel had a voice so pure and so pristine singing the Gregorian Chant, that I swear I was in Heaven, even for just a few dear seconds.
Once we were seated post-Gospel, and the readings were read in English, announcements were made. An interesting point of note, is that today's liturgy involved three collect prayers to be spoken. The first was for the feast day of St. Joseph, as a Saint's feast day gets a collect devoted to them. The second was a collect for the Commemoration of the Coronation of new Holy Father, Pope Francis I. The final collect was specific for the season of Lent, being the Tuesday in Passion Week. One could say this was a triple blessing! A Feast Day, a Papal Coronation, and a Latin Mass! After, Fr. Steven proceeded to give one of the most awesome, superhero-powered homilies to date at St. Lawrence! And indeed it involved super heroes besides Fr. Steven himself!
Here`s the main points of his homily that I was able to remember:
- Superhero movies are all the rage these Days. We`ve seen ones for Spiderman, Batman, and soon, Superman.
- Super heroes are well adored because they have qualities, besides their powers, we admire: energetic heroic, courageous, they fight evil, but most of all, they are self-sacrificing. In doing so, they are willing to take on many pains and sufferings in their heroism.
- When we think of superheroes, our Catholic faith has many: The Saints. Many were courageous, self-sacrificing, truly good and loving, and even shared in some of Christ`s powers, particularly, miracles
- Some saints are highly more valued than others. In our faith, of the most highest saints to be valued, the highest is the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Mary`s sainthood encompasses the annunciation from the Angel Gabriel, where she accepting God`s Will to become the theotokos, the God-bearer, of Jesus Christ. Even after the birth of her son, Jesus, she borne many pains and sufferings of her Son to the end in carrying out God`s will.
- Even the Devil fears Mary so highly [besides God warning the devil that women will crush his head back with the Fall]. He is so prideful, so stubborn, he is sick of her, especially because he detests her humility, something he could never want to do.
- Next to Mary, we should also consider that one of the biggest (and sadly, under appreciated saints, is her Husband, St. Joseph.
- St. Joseph is known for being the patron saints of carpentry, of vocations, those seeking marriage, even a happy death.
- Father then proceeded to tell the story of a beggar in a cabin somewhere, who prayed so earnestly to St. Joseph for his intercession before Death. A priest in the local village was summoned be an old man with a lantern to give last rites to a friend he knew. The old man guided the priest through a forest, to a clearing, and once there, the old disappeared and dropped his lantern, right in front of the priest's eyes. The priest came to the clearing to the resting shack for field/forest workers, where the beggar was on his last breaths. The priest gave last rites and confession to the beggar before his death, thanks to St. Joseph's intercession.
- St. Joseph himself should also be considered like Mary in his sainthood, for doing the will of God, particularly when it wasn't his child and could have easily cast of Mary in his Jewish society. regardless he stood by her.
- [My favourite point] St Joseph is a REAL MAN, a role model to look up to. Today's men are the "macho" type who give into a certain way of dress, action, and culture. However, most men are cowards, who flee when the going gets tough, or worse, act un-superhero-like and commit evil actions such as mis-treating women. St. Joseph was the complete opposite of today's "standard" of what a man should be.
- St. Joseph could have easily disposed of his wife for "adultery" under Jewish Law, and yet he stood by her side [thanks to some encouragement from the angel in his dream] and did not abandon his wife for conceiving Christ. [Even after that, it could be easily assumed that he raised Christ under the Jewish Law, gave Christ circumcision, and raised him as his own, even teaching Christ the family trade of carpentry, and being the father figure in his life who gave him paternal love].
- When we think of both Mary and Joseph, they were "superheroes" in the Saintly sense, in that they both chose the will of God, especially with regard to Christ, and like the ultimate superhero, Christ, fought against the devil's temptation and did not give in.
- Going back to the superhero theme at the beginning of the talk, likewise, we should exemplify these real "superheroes," the saints of Mary, and especially Joseph given its his feast day, and like them, be those "superheroes" and emulate them in their Sainthood, but in addition pray to them and have them be our intercessors (the greatest possible intercessors) in doing the will of the Lord.
Save some minor errors on my part (oops.), the rest of the Mass proceeded smoothly, and accordingly with action.
After the Mass, a reception was held downstairs with some late night treats and coffee, graciously provided by the parish and the hard work of St. Lawrence Martyr's parishoners (with a little help making coffee from frequently mentioned veteran server, Robin Cheung.) Before everyone left the parish, we each were handed a beautiful prayer Card with the "Ite Ad Josef" prayer to the Holy Saint, blessed by Fr. Steven. This is a beautiful card with heavenly angels on the cover surrounding St. Joseph.
As an altar serving note, I met a young man who was interested in serving, whom I hope has ventured over here to Servimus. I do hope my posts will help you and give you a little "heads-up" before diving in. I created the "Starter Points" series for that purpose, to ease things for young boys/men interested in serving the Latin Mass so they are more comfortable.
All in all, another fine Mass was organized and carried out with much thanks to the St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir, the altar servers, and our three clergy. Special thanks is also given to Frs. Roy Farrell, Pastor, and Fr. Steven for allowing the St. Patrick`s Gregorian Choir to use St. Lawrence for the EF Mass.
On a final note, if any of you who attended the EF Mass, or know of anyone, and they, well, decided to sneak in some pictures of the liturgy, I would highly appreciate posting there here for the blog. Please send them to me as attachments to email@example.com. I will credit you by your real name or a pseudo-name.
The St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir is planning to have its next Mass, tentatively in June for the Feast of the Sacred Heart in the EF calendar, Friday June 7, 2013, at another parish in the GTA. When I have confirmed details as to where, when, and what time, I will of course highlight it on S.U.D. and add it to a listing of Spring-Early Summer listings for TLMs in the City.
Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.
P.S. Just as a follow up to the altar rail post, while we did not get the pleasure of using them for this Mass, they are almost complete at St. Lawrence .....