Monday, August 7, 2006

Plangent Tangent

Yesterday, during a brief trip to San Francisco for my cousin's wedding, I walked over to St. Patrick's Catholic Church to attend their Latin Mass. I'd been to one only once before — the Tridentine Mass at St. Agnes in Manhattan. This one was Novus Ordo, and it was a lovely service.

One thing that I loved, which I had witnessed once before (I think at Holy Innocents in Manhattan), was that during the moment of transubstantiation (there's probably another word for that point, which I forget), a church bell rang. What was new to me was that they rang a different bell for the wine than they did for the bread. It occurred to me that a shut-in who couldn't attend Mass could still feel as though they were part of the service by listening for the moment at which the bread and wine were transformed.