The ringing of bells. Latin wafting high into the church rafters. Women's heads draped in lace.
There is a solemn aura to 9 a.m. Sunday Mass at Saint Mary Mother of God, a D.C. parish on Fifth Street NW where hundreds of Catholics who long for ancient ritual gather each week to celebrate what is among the most traditional and complex of Roman Catholic rites: the Tridentine Mass.
But mostly there is a powerful silence, a seriousness created by the absence of contemporary church: no responsive readings, no guitars, no congregants walking to a microphone to read from Scripture or to make bingo announcements. There is just a centuries-old script, which dictates the near-constant, intricate movements of the altar servers -- circling the altar, kneeling, pressing hands together, bowing -- as well as the position of the priest, whose back is to parishioners. Together, everyone faces East, acknowledging that Jesus is the true dawn.
Boorstein's piece is the latest installment of a monthly feature, "Open House," which is a "look at a house of worship in the Washington area." Her respectful write-up is a welcome departure from the media's agenda-driven secular orthodoxy.