As a former JW, I’ll never forget the first time I walked into a Catholic Church. It’s kind of hard not to when your first is Notre Dame de Paris. The anti septic feeling that I had become accustomed to in a place of worship was not prepared for what I saw that morning. Being a huge history buff, sure I had seen many of the greatest Catholic places of worship in books, but seeing them in person is something else altogether. I visited many others that fateful Autumn including Chartes, the duomo in Florence, St Marks in Venice and of course, St Peters.
This past year, I attended my first Mass at a local parish. The liturgy was so beautiful, especially when I had prepared myself for months reading about what to expect and the meaning of everything that takes place. I knew it was only a matter of time before I enter the Church and I have been going as often as I can ever since.
From time to time in my research, I would read about the Tridentine Mass. I really wanted to see this, but I had read that not many places offer it. I started looking around online and found a parish that provides these on Sunday evenings only 20 minutes from my house. So I went last night. All I can say is, wow! It was the single most moving worship experience I have ever had. The term, “Smells and Bells” really hit home. The Gregorian chants, the Latin (the priest spoke it wonderfully) and the incense made the experience incredible. I am honestly considering attending this as often as I can, as I have never have felt that connected to history and God. The pastor and parish seem to have a reverence for the history of the Church and the early fathers. Most women were wearing veils for this and there was a real sense of reverence felt.
I strongly recommend to non Catholics to experience one of these once, and for Catholics that have never attneded one, I urge you to look around and see if it is perfomed anywhere near you and get connected to your Church’s history. I understand that in the end, the sacraments are what everyone is there for, Tridentine Mass or Vatican II, but it really made an impact on me and I loved it.