"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"
Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (August 30, 2015):
Extraordinary Faith Priest Training Report: Fort Hood, Texas Army Post
The latest entity to take advantage of Extraordinary Faith’s offer to train priests to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass is no ordinary parish: The Army Post at Fort Hood, Texas is the largest U.S. military base in the world by population.
Ft. Hood is a modern city unto itself, with shopping centers, multi-story office buildings, major chain restaurants, a bank, a hospital, and even [private] hotels run by IHG (Holiday Inn). It’s a far cry from the stereotypical Gomer Pyle-style barracks of the past.
Military chaplains are supplied by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, which in turn “borrows” priests from dioceses around the world. There are only four Catholic priests assigned to Ft. Hood, versus approximately 100 Protestant chaplains. Those priests are busy: not only are there tens of thousands of Catholics at the post, but daily Mass is offered, versus only weekly Sunday Protestant services. Confessions and counseling are often urgently required, given the pressures of military life and the difficulties of adjusting to life back home after combat duty.
Chaplains’ Assistant Sergeant Major John Proctor had been driving an hour and a half each way with his family to the Sunday Tridentine Mass offered at Austin’s St. Mary Cathedral. He was seeking a way to train Ft. Hood’s Catholic chaplains on the Extraordinary Form without taking them away from their myriad responsibilities at the post. Extraordinary Faith’s two-day intensive training program was a more practical solution than the week-long off-site seminars offered by others.
SGM Proctor had a significant asset up his sleeve. Most if not all chapels at U.S. military installations are non-denominational by necessity, having to host a variety of services. Ft. Hood has numerous chapels across its vast acreage, but one stood out from the rest as uniquely suited to the Tridentine Mass: The Old Post Chapel has a High Altar, a Communion Rail, stained glass with Christian symbolism, pews with kneelers, a choir loft with organ, no freestanding altar, and best of all…no scheduled services. This underutilized traditionally-appointed edifice is currently used only for an occasional class.
Chaplains Fr. Lito Amande and Fr. Pawel Zemczak, along with two veterans interested in learning altar serving, participated in the two-day training at the Old Post Chapel on August 25 and 26. Fr. Amande took the significant step of celebrating his first Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form on the afternoon of the 26th, a moment of great grace. [Above photo by Amy Proctor]
This enterprising group has ambitious plans: One of their first goals is to celebrate a Tridentine Requiem Mass in honor of Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun. Fr. Kapaun was a U.S. Army chaplain during the Korean War who was taken as a prisoner of war by Chinese soldiers and died while in captivity. Photos abound of him celebrating Mass on the hood of a Jeep. It just so happens that a Korean War era Jeep has been preserved on the grounds of the Ft. Hood Museum. SGM Proctor and Fr. Amande [pictured below] intend to build a platform in front of it so that the Requiem for Fr. Kapaun can be celebrated on the hood of that Jeep, just as Fr. Kapaun himself used to do. Beyond that, the main objective is to establish regular Holy Masses in the Old Post Chapel.
Fr. Amande remarked that he hoped that learning the Extraordinary Form would help him celebrate the Ordinary Form with greater reverence. This is a recurring theme expressed by many priests who have devoted themselves to learning the Traditional Liturgy. If you know of a priest interesting in learning the EF, please e-mail the address at the bottom of this page.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
- Mon. 08/31 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Raymond Nonnatus, Confessor)
- Tue. 09/01 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. Giles, Confessor)
- Fri. 09/14 12:00 Noon: High Mass at Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio (Votive Mass of Our Lady of Consolation) – Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz will be the celebrant. Call Prayer Pilgrimages at (248) 250-6005 for bus tour registration.
- Fri. 09/04 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Sacred Heart of Jesus) [First Friday]