For the first time in nearly 50 years a traditional Latin Mass will be heard in a Sarnia Catholic church on Friday.
A handful of parishioners from the area have been requesting its
return, and on Oct. 7 the ancient ‘Tridentine” Mass will be conducted at
St. Joseph’s Church by Father David Johnston, at 7 p.m.
“We find it’s more prayerful, it’s more reverent, it’s just more
beautiful,“ said Deidre Collins, one of those who lobbied for its
A traditional Tridentine Mass, also known as an “Extraordinary” Mass,
is conducted entirely in liturgical Latin by a priest who leads it with
his back turned to the congregation.
It also requires a tall altar and a communion rail. St. Joseph’s has
retained those classical features, which are becoming rare in Sarnia’s
The decision to switch from the Latin Mass to one conducted in local
languages was made at the Second Vatican Council, which ended in 1965.
Nevertheless, there has been a slight resurgence of interest in the
old rite, even from parishioners not old enough to remember it.
“We understood that if you want the Tridentine Mass, you just have to
ask for it,” said Collins, who admits that she doesn’t know much Latin
but said she does understand the prayers.
“It’s a purer language and it’s considered the language of the church,” she said.
Collins and her 12-year-old daughter Maria currently attend a Latin
Mass offered weekly in Lakeport, Michigan at St. Edward on the Lake
They hope interest in the local worship Friday will help it become a regular event.
The Tridentine Mass was made mandatory throughout most the Roman
Catholic Church in 1570 and was the standard until it was phased out in
the late 1960s.