Tridentine, Korean parishes in Boston face changes

Tridentine, Korean parishes in Boston face changes

“Two congregations face the move to a new home”

At times during their respective Masses last Sunday, the Archdiocese of Boston’s Latin Mass community and its Korean Catholic community could not have seemed more different.

At the Tridentine Rite Mass at Holy Trinity Church in the South End, virtually all of the women covered their heads with a traditional lace veil, and the parishioners, mostly older Americans of European descent, prayed in Latin along with a priest who had his back to them for much of the service. Some prayed from black-leather-bound catechisms with yellowed pages that have been in their families for generations.

At the Korean Mass at St. Philip Neri Church in Newton, young families spilled out into the back of the church, the rear doors opening and closing frequently for riled-up children going out and for quieted-down ones coming in. The Koreans celebrated the modern Mass, but have subtly infused it with their own culture—rather than shaking hands during the kiss of peace, for example, they bowed to friends and fellow parishioners in the pews around them, creating a momentary sea of black-haired, bobbing heads.

These days, however, the Latin Mass devotees and the Koreans find themselves with more in common, and not happily so. The two communities, which are among the most traditional and devout of local Catholic groups and which draw the faithful from all over Eastern Massachusetts and even neighboring states, face uprooting and relocation as the Archdiocese of Boston concludes a three-year parish restructuring process.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
5 comments
  • “rather than shaking hands during the kiss of peace, for example, they bowed to friends and fellow parishioners in the pews around them, creating a momentary sea of black-haired, bobbing heads.”

    Bowing for the sign of peaace is common throughout Asia. From my experience, it is the form used in Singapore, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

  • Dom,

    “…mostly older Americans of European descent, prayed in Latin along with a priest who had his back to them for much of the service.”

    Do you think the Globe’s author has a subtle bias here?

    The photograph of the Nave on Boston.com (slide show) was taken about 45 minutes before the Noon Tridentine Mass showing only about 50 people.

    On a typical Sunday the Indult brings in between 200 to 300 people at Holy Trinity. The ages and (ethnic) backgrounds of attendees are truly representative of the entire diocesan demographic. I suspect it represents the multi-culturalism by default of our Church Universal.

    Many, many young families are typically in attendance. Many home schooled children.

    For what it’s worth.

    Rob Quagan
    West Roxbury, MA

  • I am always annoyed when commentators interpret the posture of the priest at a Tridentine Mass as “He had his back to the people.” After all, is it possible that the priest and the people praying together, both facing the same direction, might have some value? I guess not.

    It would be better to say, “The priest faced the same direction as the people for much of the Mass.” But, then, that’s probably too much work for the Globe.

  • You know that the writer of this story is just so well informed about Catholic practices, when you read this gem:

    “Some prayed from black-leather-bound catechisms with yellowed pages…….”

    A missal is not a catechism!!!!!!!!!!!! Just has no clue!

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