Discuss Detroit Archives - January 2008 Altar boy at St. Florian midnight mass Hamtramck '50's Previous Next
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Edziu
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Username: Edziu

Post Number: 21
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Monday, December 24, 2007 - 4:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Introibo ad altare dei (priest)
Ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam (altar boy)
Translated this means, I will go unto the altar of god, and the altar boy answers. To god who giveth joy to my youth.
I was never a jock or scholar, but I was an altar boy which now 50 years later leaves me with great memories..As altar boys we were exposed to some of the inner workings of a parish. The first requirement was to memorize Latin responses, which we then had to recite to a nun. When that was successfully accomplished we were issued a white surplice and black cassock.
Prior to the second vatican council in 1965 the priest always faced the altar and mass was recited in Latin.
I enjoyed watching the priest prepare for mass. He would start by covering his shoulders with the amice, a small shawl, then put on the alb, a full length white linen robe tied at the waist with a cincture. On his left arm he wore a maniple, then he lowered a stole around his neck and crossed it at his chest. After that came the chasuble the outer and most visible garment. These varied in color and design depending on the occasion. Finally he placed a black biretta on his head.
St. Florian is the largest church in Hamtramck. The present building was completed in 1928, just prior to the depression. It was built in a modified English Gothic style. It is a majestic edifice. Fr. Peter Walkowiak was pastor from 1938 through the sixties. In 1958 the congregation consisted of about 1900 families.
Midnight mass in my mind was the most eloquent service of the year. The church was packed. Standing room only. The mass began with a procession starting at the back of the church. All the various societies were represented with a standard bearer followed by altar boys holding lit candles and then the assistant priests and pastor holding up the rear. Everyone in church had their eyes fixed on the processional. The church was lit up like Comerica park at night. The organ bellowed. Everyone was singing Christmas carols in Polish. The aroma of incense filled the air. It was a humbling experience to say the least. And as an altar boy I was right there in the thick of it, front row seat. Midnight mass was quite lengthy. The pastor gave a long homily in Polish. He had a deep baritone voice. Everyone in church received communion. That alone took 15 minutes. Afterward people congregated and prayed at the manger which was located on a side altar.
I would give anything to walk down that aisle as a youth one more time.

"Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam"
"To God who giveth me the joy of my youth"

Joy?

You bet! Thanks for the memories St. Florian.


Let's read some more altar boy stories.
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Neilr
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Username: Neilr

Post Number: 620
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Monday, December 24, 2007 - 5:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Edziu, tonight, for mid-night mass, St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1828 Jay Street, Detroit, across Gratiot from Eastern Market will have a special Latin Tridentine Mass, said in Latin and using the old order predating 1962. Programs will be available with the translations of the Gregorian chants (Propers) for Christmas. The Mozart "Missa Brevis in C" (K.220) for Soloists, Choir and Orchestra will be featured. The musical program will start at 11:30.

I expect that, as in years past, St. Joe's will have all the "smells and bells" in play for tonight's service.
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 1344
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, December 24, 2007 - 6:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

St. Florian is the patron saint of fire fighters and back in the early to mid 1960's, St. Florian Parish would annually hold a special mass, communion and breakfast for Detroit area firemen. I believe it was a father-son type thing, because I attended it several times as a young pre-teen with my father, who was a volunteer fireman. I remember it being in the spring time, so it was probably held near St. Florian's feast day, which is May 4th.

I also was an altar boy and I began serving Mass while it was still being celebrated in Latin. It was only a year or so later that we had to make the switch to English and then adopt the changes brought about by the physical rearrangement of the sanctuary.

The nuns would alway schedule a pair of us taller boys along with a pair of shorter boys for the high Masses. Low Masses only required two servers, and again, the nuns would always pair us up with someone close in height.

I had the opportunity to serve my uncle and aunt's wedding Mass, along with my younger brother, who had just completed his "training" and was allowed to serve his first Mass that day. As we got older, we were given the responsibility of serving the special ceremonies like Midnight Mass, the Stations of the Cross, 40 Hours Devotion, etc. Also, we would get the calls to serve at funerals, often on short notice. By the time I was in high school, I had assisted the priests at many a grave-side service in Mt. Olivet cemetery.

In closing, here is the humorous story of a nine year old altar boy in Kansas City who had to deal with a dog at the altar!
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Kathinozarks
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Username: Kathinozarks

Post Number: 989
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Monday, December 24, 2007 - 11:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

edziu and mikeg, thanks for two sweet stories. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them!
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Jiminnm
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Username: Jiminnm

Post Number: 1554
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Tuesday, December 25, 2007 - 12:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dominus vobiscum, et cum spiritu tuo

Some things one doesn't easily forget.
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Newport1128
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Username: Newport1128

Post Number: 150
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Tuesday, December 25, 2007 - 12:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was an altar boy at St. Ambrose from 5th grade to 12th grade (1962-69) during the transition from the "Old Mass" (Latin) to the "New" vernacular Mass. I served the first vernacular Mass offered at St. Ambrose in 1965.

In those days, the altar servers not only had to know the Latin prayers, but all the "choreography" for each type of service, as well. Besides regular High Mass (sung) and Low Mass, there was Benediction, funerals, weddings, and Solemn High Mass. Each one had different responsibilities for the altar boys. At Low and High Masses, there were normally two altar boys, one was the "bell", whose main responsibility was to ring the bells during the Consecration. The main job of the other boy, "the book", was to move the missal to opposite sides of the altar. On Sundays, there were extra altar boys who helped hold the communion patens, since several priests might distribute communion.
For funerals and weddings, there was a "master"(of ceremonies) who assisted the priest, plus the "boat" who carried the incense container, and a "thurifer" who managed the incense burner. After the funeral Mass, two boys usually accompanied the priest to the cemetery, riding in a funeral home limousine. I always liked this, since I got to miss at least two hours of school! The boys who served weddings usually got tips from the groom or best man.
At Solemn High Masses, besides the celebrant (priest), there were also a Deacon and Sub-deacon (usually other priests) as well as the altar boys. Quite a production!
In my years as an altar boy, I served every type of ceremony except Confirmation. You had to know how to lay out all the vestments and set up the altar. You even had to light the altar candles in a certain order (those closest to the tabernacle first), and extinguish them in the opposite order. The kids today have it easy, but it is good to see girls as altar servers.
I'll be happy when the Tridentine Mass becomes more widespread. Anybody know of any churches in Macomb County that offer it?
Spera in Deo!
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Elevator_fan
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Username: Elevator_fan

Post Number: 25
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 9:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We need altar servers for the Traditional Latin Masses held weekly at St. Josaphat, Detroit (9:30 AM); Assumption, Windsor (2:00 PM); and on fourth Sundays at St. Joseph, Detroit (Noon).

You experienced gentlemen would be ideal, and training to refresh your memories will be provided. You may not be quite so youthful, but you can certainly "walk down that aisle" again.

E-mail me if you are interested at info at detroitlatinmass dot org
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7_and_kelly_kid
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Username: 7_and_kelly_kid

Post Number: 40
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 1:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

hmmmmmmmmm.........dominus vobiscum....St. Jude 64-66.......is it o.k. if the altar boys are older than the priests?.........and I will CERTAINLY need a bit (just a bit) of refreshing....
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Newport1128
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Username: Newport1128

Post Number: 152
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 7:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Probably not that many "younger" priests under the age of 60 were ever trained in the Latin Mass, unless they had altar boy experience themselves.
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Kellyroad
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Username: Kellyroad

Post Number: 176
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 11:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

7 and kelly kid:
You weren't one of those alter boys who "borrowed" a cassock and/or surplice from the choir lockers at St Jude when you couldn't find your size were you??? LOL (Mr. Schafer would not approve)
There might be a yellow "Knights of the Altar" training manual somewhere in storage. I just might have to do a review prior to the forthcoming Latin Masses.

(Message edited by kellyroad on December 28, 2007)
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 4219
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 12:32 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Neilr, I was at St. Joseph's for that historic Mass. It was a great service.

It is such an uphill battle to try to renew Latin and solemnity in general in the Catholic Church in America, let alone the old Latin Mass. Detroit has to be fairly unique in having such strongholds of tradition in Assumption, St. Josaphat, and St. Joseph. But there are hundreds of other parishes that are either lukewarm when it comes to tradition, or totally awash in modernism.

The only way to revive awareness/respect for tradition is to spread the word, and bring friends and family to the parishes in the city that are keeping these traditional modes in action. There may be a warmer reception than you'd think, especially among younger people.
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Elevator_fan
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Username: Elevator_fan

Post Number: 26
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 8:49 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

7 and kelly kid:
All ages welcome! And we'll have a rehearsal and distribute training materials, don't you worry.

Newport1128:
Actually, most of the priests who are interested in the Traditional Latin Mass are under age 60. Some of the fastest growing orders of priests today are those devoted to the old Mass, such as the Fraternity of St. Peter.
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Norwalk
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Username: Norwalk

Post Number: 161
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 9:30 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

St. Florian still has the Mass for Firefighters. It is generally held on the Saturday of St, Florian's annual Strawberry Festival. The mass follows the Firefighters parade which starts at the Firehouse on Caniff proceeds down Bromback to St. Florian.
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7_and_kelly_kid
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Username: 7_and_kelly_kid

Post Number: 41
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 1:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kelly Road..........I can see us now.......I'm game if you are............a perfect reunion..........call me.........D.J.V.D.W
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Newport1128
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Username: Newport1128

Post Number: 153
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 1:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I just attended Latin Mass at Assumption Grotto. This was a Solemn High Mass with choir. It was beautiful, but also extremely lengthy: 2 hours. Does anyone know if any of the other churches mentioned in this post offer a "regular" Latin Mass, but not the Solemn High Mass?
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Stinger4me
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Username: Stinger4me

Post Number: 126
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 1:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My aunt attended St. Florian church even with failing eyesight. She walked to church from her house. It is quite a church, the entrance is something to behold especially if you have the opportunity to be a pall-bearer. St. Joseph is quite a church also.
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 4236
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 6:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Newport, by regular do you mean a Novus Ordo (not Tridentine) Mass in Latin? These are held the first three Sundays of the month at 10:30 at St. Joseph, every Sunday at 10:30 at St. Mary- Greektown, Wednesdays at 7pm at Assumption Grotto, and I believe the 6:30am and 12noon Sunday Masses at Assumption are at least partially Latin Novus Ordo. I do not think that they offer a fully-vernacular Mass there.

If you simply mean a Tridentine Latin Mass that isn't extremely lengthy because of orchestral pieces being performed for the parts of the Mass (i.e. the Gloria and Sanctus) as it sounds like they did at Grotto today...that is normally the case at Grotto (they only bring in the orchestra for feast days), St. Josaphat (which normally sticks to simplistic Gregorian chant) and St. Joseph's 4th Sunday Tridentine (although they also have orchestral masses for some feast days-- always beautiful).
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Newport1128
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Username: Newport1128

Post Number: 154
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007 - 11:10 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mackinaw, I guess I'm not sure what the Novus Ordo is. Is that a Mass where the priest faces the congregation, but says the prayer in Latin?

I was asking about the High Mass where six candles are lit on the altar and the priest sings the prayers, including the greetings, Gloria, Credo and Pater Noster. That was considered a "High Mass" back when I was in Catholic school. A "Low Mass" was where the greetings and other prayers were spoken, not sung, and only two candles were lit on the altar.
The Mass I attended at Grotto was definitely a Solemn High Mass with celebrant, deacon and sub-deacon on the altar.
Thanks for your help!
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Elevator_fan
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Username: Elevator_fan

Post Number: 27
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007 - 11:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Newport1128:

What you call a High Mass is actually known as a Missa Cantata. That is what is ordinarily offered at St. Josaphat, St. Joseph, and Assumption-Windsor at the times listed above. Mass lasts about 1 hour 15 minutes.

A Solemn High Mass involves a Deacon and Subdeacon and lasts longer due to the more elaborate ceremony. Assumption and St. Josaphat might do two or three of these per year; it is not the norm.

You can read more about the various Tridentine Mass forms at: http://www.detroitlatinmass.or g/jospht/51406.pdf
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 4246
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007 - 11:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

By Novus Ordo Latin I simply meant the new (non-Tridentine) Mass said in Latin. It's celebrated at the high altar with the priest turned to us, but it follows a Latin translation of the post-VII Mass. That's celebrated three Sundays a month a St. Joseph, for example.

Elevator_fan correctly points out that in most cases the Old Tridentine Mass is celebrated without the highest level of solemnity such as what you partook in at Assumption yesterday. Even so, it is, clearly, a much more solemn liturgy.
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Elevator_fan
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Username: Elevator_fan

Post Number: 28
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007 - 12:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In case it's not obvious by now, it's worth pointing out that Assumption Grotto and Assumption Church-Windsor are different places.

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