Today we had the opportunity to attend High Mass at the Church of the North American Martyrs in Ballard. I cannot even express how amazing and wonderful it was. The Altar was magnificent with our eyes naturally drawn to the crucifix that was mounted on what I think was a malachite slab, backlit. Six candles were already lit. Someone was praying the rosary and we joined in. The atmosphere was intensely devotional and prayerful.
The entire service was in Latin and the congregation responded minimally. One could read in the little booklets that were printed, and although we were requested to return them, I confess I took one home to study, the Latin and English, printed side by side. I do know a little bit of Latin, since I used to sing in Concert Choir and many of the pieces we sung were by Bach and Verdi and Mozart and specifically composed for the Church. So I knew where we were during the liturgy. I love the Kyrie and the Sanctus, for I am a sinner and I cannot help but ask for mercy, and the Lord is Holy!
If you want to see a video clip and photos go here. The biggest difference is that the priest faces the Altar because he is leading the flock to Calvary. This is a much more sacrificial tone to the whole liturgy. The priest and altar servers move in a perfectly choreographed manner. We take communion by kneeling and on the tongue. There is something very different -- you are being fed the Lamb of God. Again, I cannot quite express how I feel. But I loved it and it evoked some very deep down memories that I didn't even know I had of going to the Cathedral as a child. We shall definitely go again. I think it is important to have exposure to this rich and traditional service as well as the vernacular.