Posted by: rbbadger | June 12, 2013

Before and After

When I’ve been in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (中華人民共和國香港特別行政區), I generally chose to attend Mass at Mary Help of Christians Parish in Kowloon which is located inside Tang King Po School on Tin Kwong Road.  Since Benedict XVI granted a wider use of the older form of the Latin Mass, I do enjoy attending the older rite when I can.  It isn’t celebrated very often in Korea.  In Hong Kong, however, they have a very active group of lay people who are devoted to the old rite, along with the active support of both cardinals and a couple of priests. 

The changes that were made after the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965) simplified a lot of things.  For one, there is the wide use of the vernacular.  It was never meant that the vernacular would totally replace Latin, as has happened in many places.  Nevertheless, Latin has made a comeback in some places and Hong Kong is one of them.  One of the other changes was that Mass began to be frequently celebrated facing the people.  In the older days, the priest would face the altar for much of the Mass.  Unfortunately, I think that in many instances, Mass facing the people has not really helped.  Some priests indulge in all sorts of unnecessary commentary, as if the Mass were a talk show and we were his guests.  In his pontificate, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass both facing the people and also facing the altar, as he did in the Sistine Chapel.  Both are legitimate options in the new rite.  (You can also celebrate the new rite entirely in Latin.  I’ve seen it done a number of times before.) 

Anyhow, the liturgical requirements for the older rite are a bit more strict than those of the newer form.  Here is Mary Help of Christians as it is for the normal Chinese Masses on weekdays and Sundays.


It’s not a terribly ugly parish, but it’s not terribly beautiful either.  Here’s the same church after being readied for the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior.


  It’s amazing what a nice frontal can do!

Last year, the Tridentine Mass Apostolate in the Diocese of Hong Kong celebrated their 10th anniversary with a Solemn Pontifical High Mass at the Throne celebrated by His Eminence, John Cardinal Tong.  Here’s a video of the event.


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