Feb. 15, 2017
by Colleen Miner
Canton - The Potsdam and Canton Newman Clubs co-sponsored a Missa Cantata (sung Mass) in the Extraordinary Form with the Blessing of the Candles and Procession for Candlemas Feb. 2 at St. Mary's Catholic Church.
Father Howard J. Venette, pastor in Old Forge, was the main celebrant for the Mass. Father Douglas J. Lucia and Father Todd E.Thibault, pas-tor and parochial vicar respectively of St. Mary’s, assisted.
Before the Mass began, Patrick Reinhart, campus minister at SUNY Potsdam, offered an introduction to the extraordinary form (Latin Rite.) Members of the congregation had received a Latin-English missal and Candlemas insert as they entered the church.
Reinhart explained how participants would receive their candle while kneeling and then process around the church before taking their seats again. He also explained how the Eucharist would be received - on the tongue, while kneeling, with no “amen.”
The High Mass featured unique components including bells which rang out frequently during the important parts of the Mass.
Incense was used in abundance, with censing throughout the liturgy to bless the altar, bless the priests, altar servers and the congregation. Symbolically, incense carries prayers to heaven as stated in Revelations: “And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.”
The chasuble worn by the priest at a Latin Mass is a rounded, smaller version than normally seen at Mass. The lead altar server lifts the back of the chasuble each time the priest genuflects.
In addition to the language, the most notable difference at a Latin Mass in the extraordinary form is that the priest celebrates Mass facing the altar, not the congregation.
There are two types of Latin Masses - low and high. At a low Mass, there are two candles on the altar, fewer assistants and no singing. At a high Mass, there are six candles, many assistants and the Mass is sung.
Music - a combination of Gregorian Chant and works by Kempter, de Victoria, and Mozart - was provided by the St. Cecilia Choir and Orches-tra in conjunction with the St. Mary's Schola and Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.
Candlemas is also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Feast of the Presentation of our Lord. It falls on Feb. 2, which is traditionally the 40th day of the Christmas season.
While most remove their Christmas decorations by Epiphany, some wait until Candlemas. In the past, parishioners would bring their candles to their local church on Candlemas so they could be blessed and used for the rest of the year.
Reinhart coordinated the liturgy with Lukas Gruber, a student at Crane School of Music.
The evening closed with a pasta supper organized by Canton Campus Ministry and served at St. Mary’s School.