No LCMS Vigil Mass around here tonight (ours at Luther Memorial is tomorrow morning), so I took the opportunity to hear and experience (a good portion of) the Paschal Vigil in Latin at St. Stanislaus, a church which is under the pastoral care of priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. (The Institute of Christ the King is a society within the RCC that is devoted to the traditional use in their Rite.) The Latin Mass is hardly favored in the modern RC Church. There is no aping after things Romanist in telling you what I loved about what I witnessed tonight. For those things could rightly happen among more Lutherans as well.
Here are some of the things I witnessed.
Thinking I was too early, and wondering if the doors were even open yet, upon entering I saw several people already in their pews, on their knees in prayer.
I heard no talking, no chit chatting, no greetings, no laughter, no joking. The quiet prayer and worship happening in the church before the liturgy began was deafening in its stunning confession of what the people there believe to be the purpose of that space.
I saw whole families, including the very young, enter in silence, all dressed respectfully and modestly, each one genuflecting before entering the pew. That includes boys who looked like they were no more than about a year old. They probably see their father do the same every Sunday at Mass, and want to imitate him, and perhaps have also been actively trained by Mom or Dad.
I saw dozens of women's heads covered, same for the little girls.
I heard the triple Lumen Christi, and the Latin Exsultet, beautifully chanted as it should be, by a deacon.
And I saw a wonderful crew of male acolytes, some quite young, very well trained, and all reverently doing their part.
I also heard some beautiful Latin.
I didn't stay very long after the exsultet, since I had to get back home to work on the Latif's Death By Chocolate Cake for tomorrow's dinner. But, even though this was hardly my first time at a Latin Mass, I walked out so awed by the experience that I forgot to leave the little hand-held candle there. St. Stan's (as it is routinely called in Milwaukee) is a diverse urban parish that takes pride in its church and takes its liturgical tradition seriously. And I am grateful for the witness given by these things tonight.