The Arizona Republic
John Faherty, 2008.10.12
Standing outside the church, Marie Shoban stops to make sure her head is covered properly. Then she checks her four young daughters to ensure that their veils are also in place. Shoban, 44, and her husband, Mark, are attending a Latin Mass. The service is solemn, ritualistic, and intelligible to only a very few. But for the Shobans, and others who kneel in the pews, the Mass offers reverence and awe in a time when almost nothing seems sacred. It offers quiet in a loud world. They find comfort in the constancy of the Mass because the world around them is changing faster than they can keep track . . .
The 6:30 Mass held each morning at St. Thomas feels like stepping back in time. Typically, 20 people or so are at the service and they are spread across the large church. For much of the service, the only noise is the occasional cough or the sound of somebody shifting in the wooden pew. “There isn’t much quiet in the world today,” said Father Kenneth Fryar, pastor of the Mater Misericordiae Mission. “Quiet is good.” The mission was established by Bishop Thomas Olmstead in 2005 to provide Latin Mass to the faithful in Arizona. The parish, which does not have its own church, holds services at St. Thomas. In September, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted gave Mater Misericordiae permission to buy a church. It will be dedicated entirely to the Latin Mass. “I am sure it is closer to what God wants,” Fryar said. “We should expect deference to the majesty of God.” Father Fryar is a pious man wholly devoted to the Latin Mass. It is the best way, he believes, to give “thanks and adoration to God.” He does not allow himself to be concerned with how people feel about the service. “This is for God,” Fryar said in the rectory of St. Thomas. “It doesn’t matter what the people think. It wouldn’t matter if nobody was there.” Fryar’s single-minded devotion to the service was a blessing for Myrna Maney of Phoenix . . .