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First Latin Mass In 40 Years Held At South Miami Church

SOUTH MIAMI (CBS4) - More than a thousand people packed a South Miami church for a special mass.  The archbishop performed a traditional high mass in Latin for the first time here in 40 years.

It was a service of pomp and ceremony with priests dressed in traditional garments carrying candles. The aroma of incense and the sound of Latin songs and prayers filled the Church of the Ephiphany in South Miami.

"We're united with our ancestors in the faith so this is another way of representing the unity of the church," said Archbishop Thomas Wenski.

Thursday night's mass brought back memories for Lucy Jackson.

"When I grew up the mass was always in Latin – always," said Jackson.

"This is not just something that is nostalgic to the older Catholics, this is something to which young people have been strongly attracted," said Father Calvin Goodwin of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, a very traditional group of priests who was visiting.

The crowd inside the church included all ages and 18 year old Elliot Clemente noticed many differences between Thursday night's mass and the mass he usually attends, for example "the things the priest does how he's constantly putting on clothes."

Through the mass, the archbishop faced away from the church and instead faced the altar.

Despite not being able to understand Latin, many attendees could follow mass.

The crowd was so large, the church ran out of booklets to help churchgoers follow along.

While the mass took place inside, a few people stood outside protesting the Pope's upcoming visit to Cuba.  It is that visit many people that attended the mass credited with renewing the faith of a South Florida community.  Anyone that could not attend the mass could see it online.

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