Friday, January 9, 2009

Times To Remember ~ Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

I found an amusing quote earlier this week in Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's autobiography, Times To Remember... It struck me because it had to do with one of my pet peeves about the length of Latin Masses back in my day. I used to get perturbed back in the day when people bragged about their priest being able to say Mass (I hesitate to say, "celebrate Mass") in twenty minutes!

Anyhow, here is the quote. The time period is 1938 and the location is Cannes, France where Rose and her family were vacationing.

"August 7
All went to church. Priest told Eunice that he was most appreciative of all the francs we give him as usually there are only the smallest coins in the collection. Says Mass very quickly. Mass and Benediction are finished in twenty-three minutes." *
(my emphases)

Twenty-three minutes??? Including Benediction??? My my...

* Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Inc.; Book Club Edition edition (1974)


Mark said...

All the Extraordinary Form Masses I've prayed at are about as long as the Ordinary Form Masses I've prayed at. That is the situation today.

To provide some background for your observation:

In many Catholic countries in Europe it was, and remains, a custom to go to a weekday Mass before or after work. They may start as early as 6:00 AM, and several are generally scheduled in succession to accommodate the work day. In the past, these were usually low Extraordinary Form Masses without the sermon. Today, they are Ordinary Form Masses, but that may change.

On Sundays, it was, and is not uncommon today, to have as many as 10 or more Masses said per Church in the larger cities and towns of Catholic Europe. This may account for the brevity of the particular low Mass this woman experienced in Cannes, on Sunday, August 7th, 1938. Apparently things were different in France and Massachusetts back then.

For an example of this reality, take a look at the link below for current Sunday Mass schedules in city of Krakow:

Stu said...

Multiple Masses for so many faithful??? No shortage of priests to say all of those Masses??? My my...

Mark said...

By the way – regarding the link to the current Sunday Masses in the city of Krakow, notice the following abbreviations next to some of the Mass times:

j. łac. = Mass said in Latin (most are OF, but
I know at least one is EF);
j. ang = Mass said in English;
głuch = Mass said in sign language;
j. franc. = Mass said in French;

There is even a 10 AM Mass at the airport Chapel.
However, I didn’t see anything listed for those who stand during Mass. Sorry, Standing Maryanna ;)

standing maryanna said...

Ha!(chuckle) I guess I'll be out of luck if I want to stand! :)

Anyway, I seem to remember another reference elsewhere in the book where one of the daughters wanted to go to Communion during Mass, but the priest made some comment to her as though it were not appropriate to do so.

Perhaps, these Masses during the pre-Vatican II days were so quickly over because it was not customary for parishioners to go to Communion. That would also cut down on the time.

Mark said...

That I never heard of or experienced. I think it's highly unlikely that communion wouldn't be offered during Mass. Perhaps there was some other reason, or a simple misunderstanding took place.

The most likely explanation of why this Mass in 1938 Cannes was over so quickly, is that many were scheduled in that Church on that day. August 7th, 1938 was a Sunday, and pre-Vatican II Mass attendance rates were high. Also notice that this is a resort town during the height of the tourist season.

standing maryanna said...

You bring up an interesting point, Mark. I still have the book here at home and will try to find exactly what the reference was.

standing maryanna said...

Well, here is the reference though it isn't exactly as I had remembered it; but close enough...still at Cannes:

"August 28-September13.......went to church in a modern good-sized church. No Communion and though I wanted to go I was afraid the priest would shout at me as the one did at Eunice at Valbonne, so I desisted..."

Stu said...

standing maryanna said...
Well, here is the reference though it isn't exactly as I had remembered it; but close enough...

I wonder if Eunice attempted to kneel out of utmost respect in the presence of our Lord for Communion and the priest was some sort modernist who didn't like such behavior. Hmmm...

In all honesty, I believe the quote offered was inconclusive.