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Brevity, the Soul of Something or Other

By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Apr 14, 2003

Gee, Domenico; I think I've always agreed with you up til now!

Perhaps three times a week, I celebrate our 7AM Mass here. There's a congregation of 30-40, and I celebrate in twenty minutes, wiith or without a homily (really, a fervorino). The later 8:30AM and Noon Masses I celebrate in half an hour (for 75-125 people each), but that early Mass crowd has working folk. I do not rush; it is perfectly possible to celebrate a low Mass reverently in 20 minutes. As a priest, you need to know how to do that when it is called for by circumstances.

Urban business parishes have a unique kind of ministry, and St Anthony Shrine in Boston and St Francis of Assisi NYC do a fantastic job ministering to a most eclectic crowd with differing needs (I do NOT wish to endorse everything going on in either place,BTW). I've honestly never seen a priest in either place irreverently rush, and I've been regularly in both places for confession for 27 years.

Anyway, when you get to heaven, talk this through with Hilaire Belloc. In "The Path to Rome," he tells of being in a strange French town on Corpus Christi and crowding in with the locals for the early Mass. "The Mass was low and short -- they are a Christian people," he remarked. His friends said that he always went to the first low Mass on Sunday, and if the priest took longer than half an hour he suspected him of Modernism...

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