WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — A Catholic church is unmistakable from any other.

The arched ceilings, the stained glass windows and the smell of incense are all meant to lift the eyes of the faithful toward heaven.

But one of those distinctive elements was retired 60 years ago—the Latin Mass.

Now, more tradition-minded members are reviving what they consider a bona fide mode of worship…including in the Friendly City.

It’s something beyond everyday life, you’re participating in something divine. Which is something that a lot of people in the modern world are increasingly searching for.

Jacob Coughlan, President, Wheeling Area Latin Mass Society

The Wheeling Area Latin Mass Society is committed to showing that transcendence to others.

They will hold a special service Monday at the city’s oldest church—St. Alphonsus on Market St.
Despite its name, it isn’t just about speaking in an ancient tongue.

The priest faces the altar, sort of leading the people in prayer toward Christ, and in the case of a high mass like this one, the mass is sung or chanted in Gregorian Chant.

Jacob Coughlan, President, Wheeling Area Latin Mass Society

It may be an age-old custom, but it’s younger Catholics that have taken up the mantle.

The Society says churchgoers can expect to see families and especially children filling the pews.

If you look at all the little kids, high schoolers, college students, everybody who comes, everybody knows exactly what’s going on and they know the prayers.

Jacob Coughlan, President, Wheeling Area Latin Mass Society

He calls it a trend that will continue… as long as people wonder about the mysteries of the past that draw us to the altar to begin with.

The service will begin with confession at 6, followed by mass at 6:30 on Monday night.

The organist will also give a sampling of early Church music this Sunday at Bethlehem’s Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church at 7 p.m.