Latin Mass in a Star Trek Chapel

World-Famous Chapel at MIT Crammed with Students

About 150 young people squeezed into the interfaith chapel at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on February 9, some standing in the aisles and in the vestibules, for the Tech Catholic Community’s first-ever Traditional Latin Mass.

“This chapel does not exactly fit the profile of a traditional Catholic place of worship, to put it mildly,” said Jim Mc Glone, Harvard ’15, of JuvBos, which organized the TLM. “Nevertheless, with some advance scouting we judged that the chapel could accommodate a Solemn High Mass, and photographic evidence now shows that this space can indeed be transformed into a beautiful and fitting place for the Mass of the ages.  In the end, 150 came to that Mass, mostly students who had never seen a TLM before.”

MIT STUDENTS ON THEIR KNEES AT THE CONSECRATION during the first-ever Latin Mass held in their chapel.

“As you can see from the pictures, the sanctuary is reminiscent of the Transporter on the Starship Enterprise,” blogged Gwyneth Holston, a Catholic artist who attended the Mass. “The very ugliness of the building made me ache with sadness for the poor engineering students who spend their days in grey classrooms and dismal labs. It is a milieu that considers aesthetics nice but superfluous and certainly inferior to ‘useful’ research and design.

“The sanctuary is reminiscent of the Transporter on the Starship Enterprise.”

“The positive result of having mass in such a depressing space is that every detail of the Mass exuded a soothing beauty. Candles, vestments, and incense are used because of the power of their symbolic value, not because they are the most efficient materials for lighting, clothing, and perfuming.”

The chapel was designed in the 1950’s by world-famous Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, one of the most successful practitioners of mid-20th Century Modernism.  Fr. John Cassani celebrated this beautiful Solemn High Mass, and Fr. Kwang Lee delivered the homily. The Schola Amicorum led the music.

“150 came to that Mass, mostly students who had never seen a TLM before.”

The Mass was made possible by Fr. Richard Clancy, MIT’s chaplain. Those interested in following JuvBos Masses and events can like them on Facebook or email to get monthly email updates. More about Gwyneth here.

Photo credit: Luciana Milano

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