How many of you who read this, can relate? What was it like when you attended Mass 50 years ago?
It was a simpler time. No Cell Phones, three television networks, Cinderella and The Wizard of Oz televised once a year, among so many other elements or the lack thereof in our lives. Was that bad? Of course not, it was our past. It was my past, which I miss from time to time. And I especially miss those simple traditions of The Mass.
My parish was blessed with Franciscan nuns who taught at many, and my catholic elementary school. It was a different time, to be sure.
I remember my First Communion. There were no lines. You knelt at the railing at the altar during Mass and received Holy Communion. And you received It from the priest. And you received it on your tongue. There were no Eucharistic Ministers.
There was no orans posture at Mass. And now when I attend Mass, there still isn’t from me and never will be.
You were always on time for Mass. It was RARE at my church when someone came in late. And you never left early. Never.
You always wore nice clothes. As a child, I always wore a dress and my brothers always wore a suit. And even when we were a little older, we always looked presentable. For school, we wore grey and blue plaid jumpers with white blouses. And the boys dressed appropriately as well. When we prepared for Mass before school, we were sure never to forget the small veil that laid atop all the girl’s heads. And you never entered church without it.
No one ever opened the tabernacle but the priest….NEVER!! The servers came out before mass in a dignified way and lit the candles with a candlelighter….not a BIC lighter. And the servers held a communion plate under the chin of everyone who knelt at the altar railing for mass in case the host accidentally was dropped from our mouth or from the priest’s hands.
And when I was very young, in the first or second grade, I remember the masses in Latin. Yes, I know these do occur today, but it isn’t as prevalent as back in the 60’s.
As a child, we attended Mass every morning before school and arrived 30 minutes early to pray the rosary every morning before Mass. No option. You were there or you better be pretty sick.
When the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, we always genuflected on 2 knees. Now, not so much.
I realize not every child who grew up in a Catholic elementary school experienced the same traditions that I did, but I’ll bet many of you remember this well.
I still love the Mass, as I have written in other articles. But that simpler time makes me nostalgic for that time gone by. Attending Mass was a Sunday staple. No excuses, no options. I recall families at the Mass. Not a lot of single people. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am sure there were. But I remember it my way.
I realize the Church has evolved just like any institution. Some say they like the changes. I tend to go with what I was taught and how I grew up. It worked then and it still works for me now. I wish attending Mass was more reverential. Some say I should be glad people come to Mass at all. Sorry, I am not quite there, and not sure I ever will be. I work for the Church now, and go to Mass very regularly during the week, and look forward to it. Oh, how times have changed!!!
But one thing hasn’t changed. Jesus is still waiting for me at Mass, just like 50 years ago.