A big burly man in his late sixties came up to me at the Knights of Columbus breakfast last month after Mass at St Mary’s.
He took me to one side and said conspiratorially, “Father, listen to me.” he said with a strong Bronx accent.
“Yes?” I said, fearing that he was about to divulge some inner insanity to which I would have to listen carefully.
“You wore that hat today at Mass…”
“Yeh, the biretta.” then I noticed his eyes were getting misty. “Always wear it Father. Please. I haven’t seen one for years, and it brought back my childhood. I’m visiting here from New York. This church is beautiful the Mass is beautiful. Thank you for wearing the biretta.” Then he gives me this huge bear hug and I hear him sobbing a tiny bit.
True story. Who says hats don’t matter?
They’re going to get my biretta from me when they pry my cold dead fingers from around it.
I had completely forgotten about birettas, so long it has been since I’ve seen one. Another symbol (like habits) lost. I have to agree with the New York gentleman, wear the hat. BE the hat. Nice story. Nicer memory. Thanks.
That speaks volumes about what has happen to the Church the past 40 years.
Liturgy equals vocations (or lack thereof). And in this case, apparently happy childhoods. Shocking to hear given the oppressive, pre-Vatican II church.Keep up the great work, Father. (Insert hearty slap on the back here.)
Of the things I miss from my childhood most is the smell of our old church with a 70 years smell of incense and the priests in cassocks and berettas. I visted the old church recently and the smell of incense was gone, along with the high altar. The birettas are in the “trophy” case gathering dust along with the communion pattens. All so sad. Please Father, wear the biretta with the honor it deserves. It’s pretty clear that you do! God Bless you!
I recently attended Mass in a church other than my own. The priest wore a biretta, hadn’t seen one of them in decades.He was also the priest who heard Confession prior to the Mass. I was the first in line. Can’t remember the last time I was lambasted like that in a confessional. WOW! He was in a class of his own, and with over 22 years of military service under my belt I know what I’m talking about here! That man could chew some butt!We need more like him.
It is said that the biretta was an extension of the amice… symbolic of the helmet of salvation. Now more than ever, priests need to be wearing a helmet!! It’s a tough world out there!!
Like the Biretta, like the color-endeavor to persever, Father. GOD BLESS YOU!
Even though I was the only Protestant child in my Catholic neighborhood, I remember the priest in cassock and biretta, the nuns in their long habits. Now I am Catholic, and I only hope more priests will return to the biretta and traditional garb. You may be planting a seed in the heart and mind of another small Protestant child. Thank you, Father!
We had a priest at our parish here in SC who wore a biretta at Mass, sang the Canon, incensed the altar and was…well reverent in his praying of the Mass. I used to ‘deacon’ for him and at the end of Mass one Sunday, an apparent visitor to our parish approached me and asked, “That was a beautiful Mass; what kind of priest is he?” My answer: “He’s a Catholic priest.”
Told you all ‘real’ men cry!
Oh Hats matter and vestments and altar boys. To give up even one of them is to give up the whole Catholic ship. Feather when you wear your biretta and your vestments wear them carefully. Wear them with pride and honor and dignity.Thanks