The following guest post is by Rev. Jeffrey R. Keyes, a Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California. Father Keyes was born in 1953, ordained in 1991, and serves at the Cathedral in Santa Rosa. He is also chaplain for the Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa, and teaches Scripture and Church history at Cardinal Newman High School.
I personally had no desire to learn how to offer the Extraordinary Form. My intention was to celebrate the Ordinary Form in the manner that Sacrosanctum Concilium imagined it: in Latin, with English readings and orations. If it stayed the same Mass after Mass it would be in Latin. If it was for this mass only it would be in English. Of course, Mass would be celebrated “ad orientem.”
I learned the Extraordinary Form because a bishop asked me to, telling me that there were 100 families in the region asking for it. So in 2012 I celebrated my first Extraordinary Form Mass. On a two week vacation I celebrated in the Extraordinary Form every day so that I could really learn it and be comfortable with it.
Three things happened.
First, it completely transformed my priesthood and it affected the way I celebrated the Ordinary Form. Every Mass became completely Christocentric. Many people recognized this and it caused a greater spirit of prayer in believers.
Secondly, boys who served the mass began to think of vocations to the priesthood. Ordinary boys who would play and roughhouse with great abandon became little soldiers of Christ with great seriousness in the celebration of the Mass.
Thirdly, it caused a reaction of visceral anger and anguish on the part of liberals who were now convinced that I was completely nuts. Their angry letters caused my provincial superior to judge me in a manner that had little relation to reality. So from 3000 miles away he made decisions which changed the nature of the parish and disrupted my life. And I am grateful because I landed in a place that appreciates the Extraordinary Form, that loves reverent prayer, and even has 24/7 adoration. And I am no longer subject to that provincial.
This post originally appeared at Fr. Jeffrey Keyes website and is reprinted here with his permission.