East Side, West Side, All Around the Town

The Latin Mass in New York City

by Barbara Monzon-Puleo

It was a determined but hopeful crowd which gathered at the Church of St Agnes in mid-town Manhattan one evening in 1989. Cardinal O’Connor had asked the pastor to establish a weekly Sunday Tridentine Mass. The gathering included such pioneers as the late Dr. William Marra.

Monsignor Eugene Clark fielded questions from a nervous audience still suffering from feelings of abandonment by the Church since the Second Vatican Council. This author recalls when an older woman, seated somewhere in the back of the church  suddenly interrupted Monsignor’s explanation about the planning of the Latin Mass.

“You will need to re-consecrate the altar!” she shouted.

“Everything will be taken care of, ” Monsignor replied in his controlled way.

A year before, Ecclesia Dei had opened citywide not only weekly Masses according to the 1962 missal but conferences, Catechism classes, devotions and the sacraments.

Today, twenty-four years later, the reassurance that the Mass of the Ages would be available to the faithful has been a commitment carried out by the Archbishops of New York and the Bishops of Brooklyn. But Latin Mass devotees are diffused throughout the city and must travel to take advantage of all these offerings.

An older woman, seated somewhere in the back of the church  suddenly interrupted Monsignor’s explanation about the planning of the Latin Mass. “You will need to re-consecrate the altar!” she shouted.

A Renaissance in NYC’s Garment Center

After the 2007 promulgation of the Motu Propio, another NYC parish which answered the call was Holy Innocents Church. Located on West 37th Street in the now-gentrifying heart of Manhattan’s famous Garment Center, the parish is experiencing a renaissance.

“When the then-Pastor expressed his openness to having a daily Mass, the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart and some male lay servers were very instrumental in assisting him to get in touch with possible priests and servers who would help say and serve the Mass,” explains their master of ceremonies Eddy Jose Toribio. “They were also very instrumental in helping the priests and servers to become familiar with the ceremonies of the Mass, in providing for the music, and for the vestments and other things that were necessary for the traditional Mass.”

Since then, the Church has also hosted Pontifical and Christmas Masses, First Saturday devotions and Holy Days.

“We have the traditional Midnight Mass at midnight on Christmas Eve. It is always very well attended.  A professional choir was hired for this Mass. We have the Midnight Mass every year and (for the past two years) we have also sung the Anno a creation mundi and had a blessing of the Manger before the start of the Mass,” Mr. Toribio stated proudly.

Holy Innocents Church on West 37th Street in the now-gentrifying heart of Manhattan’s famous Garment Center, is experiencing a renaissance.

The Brooklyn Story

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION IN THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM, BROOKLYN STYLE

Bishop Mugavero appointed Monsignor James Asip to coordinate  the weekly Latin Mass in Brooklyn. Msgr. Asip, a popular diocesan priest, soon gathered a group of a loyal parishioners who moved with the Mass to various locations, beginning with the Most Precious Blood Monastery to its present home at Our Lady of Peace Church in downtown Brooklyn.

Monsignor Asip  pioneered marrying couples, performing baptisms and administering First Holy Communions in the Extraordinary Form.   He also recruited priests in the city who he knew could tackle Latin. These included two Jesuits from Fordham University in the Bronx and some retired chaplains — and from the Vatican Mission to the United Nations, most recently, Monsignor Mauro Cionini.

A Fordham priest is currently in charge of the Mass at Our Lady of Peace, which a loyal group of 50-60 parishioners attend each Sunday. The parish gets together once a year after Mass for a Communion breakfast.

Teaching Saturdays

To this group, one must add the several dozen Catholics who come from far and wide around New York and its suburbs to attend the parish’s  new monthly Saturday Teaching. These sessions, conducted by various priests from the NYC metropolitan area, teach the theology of the Latin Mass.

“Quite a few people come back each time,” says David Adam Smith, one of the organizers. “And there are always new people arriving. The teaching begins at 12:00 noon, with a Solemn Mass or a Missa Cantata offered at 1:00 pm. The schola is quite good, and provides an excellent example of what Catholic music should be.”

Our Lady of Peace offers monthly Saturday Teaching sessions which instruct a growing crowd of Catholics about the theology of the Latin Mass.

The TLM in a Cemetery Chapel and the Future

Because many parishioners travel many hours from other boroughs or New York suburbs, the Diocese of Brooklyn gave permission for a Latin Mass at the chapel of St John’s Cemetery in Queens, celebrated by Father John Wilson. This Mass is quite crowded, attended weekly by about 100 people. Many of these are young families who are clearly hoping for a parish of their own in the near future.

Today, across New York City, the faithful enjoy Masses, processions, devotions and sacraments in the traditional rite.  But what of the future?

A parishioner at Brooklyn’s Our Lady of Peace, Robert Maresca, offers a pithy prognostication.

“Of course, the Traditional Mass is available in several churches today, but it’s my belief that it will grow only to the extent that the Church hierarchy promotes that growth.”

Update: The Latin Mass in America Today

A Candid Interview with Byron Smith

He’s the secretary of Una Voce America, which today supports the training of diocesan priests in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, otherwise known as the Latin Mass. In the this wide-ranging, exclusive Regina Magazine interview, Byron Smith tells the astounding story of the many people — some famous, some obscure — who have labored long and hard for more than fifty years to bring this Mass to Catholics in North America.

Chessman1 (2)

 

Q. Where were the earliest Latin Masses after Vatican II, in America?

Perhaps the best-known of the surviving authorized Masses on this continent was in Ottawa, Canada, which eventually became the St Clement’s Latin Community. It became an inspiration to those holding similar aspirations in the States.

Q. What is the background on Una Voce America?

Una Voce in the United States was founded in September 1967.  Its first Chairman was eminent philosopher, anti-Nazi and religious writer, Dietrich von Hildebrand. He led the association until his death in 1977, hosting several national meetings in Manhattan, near his academic home at Fordham University.

Before coming to the United States, Dr. von Hildebrand had written Liturgy and Personality (Salzburg, 1933) that had focused on the healing power of formal prayer as exemplified in the ancient Latin Mass. During his chairmanship, he wrote several books that concerned both the liturgy and the changes in the Church after Vatican II:

  •  Trojan Horse in the City of God (1967)
  • The Devastated Vineyard (1973)
  • Jaws of Death: Gate of Heaven (1976)

IMG_2253 - Version 2Following Dr. von Hildebrand’s death, W. Robert Opelle of California assumed the leadership of Una Voce in this country. Mr. Opelle had worked with the late Fr. Harry Marchosky to win diocesan approval for the traditional Mass at Serra Chapel of the San Juan Capistrano Mission, one of the first Mass locations approved after promulgation of the 1984 indult, Quattuor Abhinc Annos.  It is still being offered there today.   

During his tenure (1978-1995), Mr Opelle increased the visibility of Una Voce with a widely-read newsletter, “Our Catholic Tradition.”  He initiated a national petition for a traditional Ordinariate that gathered nearly 50,000 names and was placed directly into the hands of Pope John Paul II in 1994 by Bob himself.

When British author Michael Davies indicated his desire in 1995 to merge all the traditional Mass organizations in North America into an umbrella Federation called Una Voce America, Mr. Opelle was named to its first board of directors.

In America, Una Voce’s  main activity since 2007 has been to financially and logistically support the training of diocesan priests in the Latin Mass. 
chessman18
PILGRIMAGE AT CHARTRES: Traditional Catholics in France have become a role model for other countries, including the United States and Canada.

 

Q. How big is Una Voce today?

Una Voce America currently consists of over 65 chapters and 10 affiliates across the United States and eastern Canada, all working to increase the visibility and support the ministry of what Pope Benedict XVI pronounced, in Summorum Pontificum (2007), the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite.

Its Chairman today is R. Michael Dunnigan, JCL, and its main activity since 2007 has been to financially and logistically support the training of diocesan priests in the Latin Mass. 

There are a variety of resources on the website of Una Voce America.

IMG_2142
Just about every Latin Mass community draws a disproportionate number of college-age young adults. 

 

us growth
THE LATIN MASS IS GROWING IN AMERICA

Q. There has been considerable growth in the TLM in the last 10 years in America. Can you give us a sense of how much growth there was before the  Motu Proprio? After?

Along with the increasing number of Sunday Masses, daily Mass is offered in 60 locations in the U.S. also.  Approximately 1,000 priests have completed a formal training program for the traditional Latin Mass and a few seminaries in the U.S. are training their men in offering the Extraordinary Form. (Statistics courtesy of UVA affiliate, Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei)

chessman14
After the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, the number of Sunday Masses in the US almost doubled from 220 in 2006 to 420 today.

Q. What were the ‘worst of times’ for the TLM in America?

Until 1975, Archbishop Lefebvre’s still-unsuppressed Society of St. Pius X established several chapels in the U.S. that, while never accepted by local bishops, were not technically “unauthorized.” By the late 1970s, however, authorized Sunday celebrations of the traditional Latin Mass disappeared entirely. There were, perhaps, a dozen elderly priests who were permitted to offer the Mass privately. Those were the “dark ages” for the traditional liturgy. 

Through a long process of petitioning sympathetic members of the Curia, Pope John Paul II granted permission for the traditional Mass in his 1984 indult. With that, a few weekly Mass sites were established in the U.S., in the dioceses of San Diego, Corpus Christi, and Orange.  (In the latter was the famous mission of San Juan Capistrano.)  A number of “experimental” and less-frequent Latin Masses were offered elsewhere, but the restrictions of this indult still made it difficult to obtain permissions from bishops.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
EARLY SITE FOR THE LATIN MASS: In the 1980s, the chapel at famous California Mission San Juan Capistrano was one of the tiny number of locations where the Mass was allowed.
In the late 1970s, there were, perhaps, a dozen elderly priests in America who were permitted to offer the Mass privately. Those were the “dark ages” for the traditional liturgy. 

Q. Where is the newest TLM in America?

One of the most recent began in April, 2013, in Salisbury, North Carolina (diocese of Charlotte).  Another began May 26 in San Francisco, California.  At this writing, there may be others.

chessman16
LITTLE ANGELS: Independent lay-run Catholic academies have sprung up beside the celebration of the Latin Mass in communities around America.

Q. Can you characterize the Latin Mass movement in terms of any demographics at all? I ask because I have the sense that early aficionados were intellectuals and artists. Is this true or am I way off base?

As for intellectuals and artists, yes, we can begin with Dietrich von Hildebrand who was an internationally renowned scholar.  Joining him on his board of directors were Dr. Thomas Molnar, Catholic philosopher and author of over 40 books; political theorist Russell Kirk, whose writings gave shape to the post-World War II conservative movement; Major
General Thomas A. Lane, columnist, lecturer and author and H. Lyman Stebbins, founder of Catholics United for the Faith, among others.

chessman21

We draw talented musicians and composers and there are new schools of Catholic art arising in university life, inspired by the traditional Latin liturgy.  Along with that, one of the most important segments in our demographic is college and university students.  We have at least two Una Voce chapters founded on university campuses and just about every Latin Mass community draws a disproportionate number of college-age young adults.  This is an indication of how the Latin Mass answers the spiritual search that young people pursue, as well as its power to appeal to the intellect.  For our own organization, we are grateful and blessed to have Michael Dunnigan, who is an internationally known canonist and scholar as chairman of UVA.  So, you’re not off-base at all.

We draw talented musicians and composers and there are new schools of Catholic art arising in university life, inspired by the traditional Latin liturgy.
chessman20
BREAKING BREAD AFTER MASS: Latin Mass parishes foster close communities of Catholics who often stay after Mass for common meals.

Q. Where have there been the most friendly bishops? Has there been progress in this area?

Perhaps one of the friendliest bishops in 1990 was the late Joseph T. O’Keefe, under whose auspices many regular Sunday Masses (including Sacraments and Requiems) were approved in the Archdiocese of New York and the diocese of Syracuse.  Bishop James Timlin of Scranton invited the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter to establish a seminary and school in Scranton. 

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska strongly encouraged the work of the FSSP and permitted them to build a permanent seminary in his diocese..  (Bishop Bruskewitz retired recently and it seems that his successor, Bishop Conley will continue his legacy.)  In a sense, any bishop who responds positively to the needs of his faithful can be said to be friendly — and there are have been many of these.

To date, approximately 1,000 priests have completed a formal training program for the traditional Latin Mass in North America.

How I Got to Saint Louis

An Interview with Canon Ueda

He is a Japanese convert to the Faith. Canon Raphael Ueda, Vicar of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in a recent interview with Regina Magazine discussed his background as a Catholic priest of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and the work that is being done at the Oratory located at the Cathedral of South Saint Louis.

REGINA: When were you ordained, and how did you become a priest of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest?

Canon Ueda: I was not born a Catholic. Divine Providence guided me to an encounter with the Catholic faith. For those who are in the Catholic Church the veracity of the Church is very evident, but for me who is not Catholic by birth, especially born in Japan (in the far east where Catholicism is in its entirety not known) it was not so easy. But as always Divine Providence guides those who are sincerely looking for the truth in a very mysterious way.

I was born in Kobe, Japan, in 1968; I studied as a medical student to become a doctor in Kyoto, the ancient imperial capital of the country for more than one thousand years. However God had another plan for me. An Italian missionary baptized me when I was 27 years old in Kobe. That same year I left for Quebec, Canada where I would learn the French language (in the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, French is the common language.)

At this time I did not know that one day I would join the Institute, but providentially this stay in Quebec allowed me to. In 2001 I joined Saint Phillip Neri Seminary (the seminary of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest) in Florence, Italy. After 8 years of prayer, study, and hard work His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke ordained me a priest in Florence, Italy. It was a long journey to become a priest. After my ordination, I stayed for a year in Europe, and in 2010 I was assigned to the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, Illinois. There I served as Vicar for two years. It was an exciting experience to stay in this windy and dynamic city.

Raymond Cardinal Burke

After 8 years of prayer, study, and hard work His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke ordained me a priest in Florence, Italy. It was a long journey to become a priest.

Then in 2012 I was assigned to Saint Francis de Sales Oratory here in Saint Louis as Vicar. I am very grateful to serve the faithful of the city Saint Louis, which is called Rome of the West because of its longstanding Catholic culture tradition, which is both dynamic and diverse. The faithful are great. They are generous and sincerely looking for the love of God. They love the Catholic Church.

REGINA: What are some of the greatest challenges you encounter as a priest? How have they affected your priesthood?

Canon Ueda: I was baptized as a Catholic but that does not mean I cease to be Japanese. I left Japan in 1995. Since then I have had several occasions to return. Living previously in Quebec, Italy, and now the U.S., it is always a challenge for me to grow as Catholic in a harmonious way without losing my identity as Japanese. Jesus was called as Jesus of Nazareth.

Even though the Catholic faith is universal, when we live our faith in a concrete way, we need to take flesh in the place where we are put by Divine Providence. This is really a challenge for me. Preserving identity while remaining open is a process that will continue to entail much pain and confusion. It is a process likely to be carried along on the tide of risk taking and withdrawal, expansion and contraction, exhilaration and disappointment, consolation and desolation, integration and disintegration.

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory

I was born in Kobe, Japan, in 1968; I studied as a medical student to become a doctor in Kyoto, the ancient imperial capital of the country for more than one thousand years. However God had another plan for me. An Italian missionary baptized me when I was 27 years old in Kobe.

REGINA: What do you hope to achieve in Saint Louis?

Canon Ueda:  The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is an international community. The members come from all over the world. As of now, I am the only Japanese priest but the diversity of origin of all the Institutes members has helped me. The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has received the mission from the Church to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite in its integrity.

This venerable Liturgy which fostered the souls of Catholics for thousands of years has help me to understand the transcendence of God. Since my ordination by Cardinal Raymond Burke in 2009, I have been celebrating this Liturgy every day. Our superiors say: “Service of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is the leading goal of our existence. Every member of the Institute wants to belong fully to the Lord through His Eternal Priesthood and His Supernatural Kingship. Under the protection of His Immaculate Mother, we try to conform our will to the Divine Will in every moment of our lives.

We wish to be modeled into faithful servants of His Kingship, who receive all their strength from Divine Grace flowing from the Holy Mysteries of the Liturgy. The center of our spiritual life is the Altar and the Divine Office.

This is true. I can realize this truth more and more every day.

Our Archbishop, Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson wrote the preface for the Oratory’s booklet in which he says “We are proud of the contributions the Catholic Church has made to the rich traditions and history of all our community and our state.”

PBR_3381

The people and clergy in Saint Louis have a genuine love of God. It is a blessing for me to exercise my ministry in Saint Louis as a part of local and universal Church.

REGINA: Tell us about the homeschool co-op at the Oratory; what it is, how it’s organized, and what have been the greatest challenges and rewards of teaching.

Canon Ueda: In the spirit of the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Legis (Pope John Paul II, 1983), Catholic parents are specifically graced by Christ to exercise the charism of teaching their children in accord with the magisterium of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. To that aim, the Saint Francis de Sales Homeschool Co-op was established as an aid to parents in providing this education to their children in matters of faith, academics, social direction, and to provide an environment of support for the parents to their home schooling endeavor, all of which is to give greater glory to God. The Co-op is an organization under the leadership of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and the day-to-day affairs of the Co-op are managed by a volunteer committee. Indeed the children are the future of the Church and our society; they need a very solid formation to be able to carry the responsibility of life.

The homeschool co-op at Saint Francis de Sales began fall of 2007 with approximately 22 families. There were around 60 children in K-8th grade at the beginning. We were given access to half of the 3rd floor of the 1888 building (the former grade school of Saint Francis de Sales Parish, built in 1888), which was full of debris. We had to clean it and do many repairs. We offered Latin, Catechism, art, music, drama, science, and physical education. By the grace of God and the tireless efforts of both mothers and teachers, the homeschool co-op at Saint Francis de Sales has grown into the 28 families and almost 100 students!

PBR_4485

By the grace of God and the tireless efforts of both mothers and teachers, the homeschool co-op at Saint Francis de Sales has grown into the 28 families and almost 100 students!

Jesus said that ‘you are in this world but not of this world.’ In this secularized world the desire of parents to keep their children apart from the world might be very great. Nevertheless Jesus says that you should be in this world. So our objective is to educate our children so they can be strong enough to resist against the temptation of this world. Our goals reach much further than just the education of the children, who are the future to edify the Church and convert the world.

This is a real challenge, especially in our days when government has become too strong and wants dictate everything, but our mothers are very courageous. They will begin this year putting together a group for our young people, grades 7-12, to socialize and contribute to the Oratory. This will offer opportunities for the children to volunteer at the Oratory by cleaning, babysitting, fundraising, and just being available to the parish needs, as well as opportunities to volunteer outside the Oratory with pro-life work and visiting the elderly. Also, the mothers like the thought of the young people having the chance to spend time with like-minded people and have fun.

Children have still very tender hearts. They can sense the truth and the good. And they are very eager to learn and grow up. So it is the greatest reward of teaching for me to see that they absorb and assimilate our teachings and grow up in the love and the truth of God.

Corpus Christi

This is a real challenge, especially in our days when government has become too strong and wants dictate everything, but our mothers are very courageous.

REGINA: I know you are very active in Sursum Corda. Tell us about this organization and any upcoming events.

Canon Ueda: Sursum Corda is a national young adults group, ages 18 to 35, under the direction of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. The goal of the Institute is to extend the reign of Christ in society. To this end the Sursum Corda group is formed to foster the necessary harmony between spiritual, social and cultural life of the youth. This is done through group prayer, faith discussion, fun activities, and charity work as a means of building up Catholic identity. In our age we can get almost everything in a very fast and convenient way. Social networking often fuels and informs our personal lives, but we also need personal contact to share our joys, dreams, and concerns with other young people so that all of us can be encouraged to continue our lives in the love of God.

Pope Francis encourages us to build up the culture of encounter and dialogue. Of course email is a wonderful way to communicate, but to see our friends face to face, talk and share a time together is indispensable in our lives.

I would like to cite a text, which one of group members wrote about our last gathering. You can feel their joy.

“Last weekend saw another enjoyable Sursum Corda get-together at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory. This one was made more special by the addition of some of the young adults from the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago! A few enthusiastic Saint Louis Susum Cordians were on hand to greet them on Friday night but the majority of the record attendance (41!!) came on Saturday, which began with eight ‘o clock Mass.

A”fter a breakfast in the hall, everyone piled into vehicles for the hour and a half drive to Onandoga Cave in Leesburg, MO. In spite of being very cold and clammy, the cave tour was most impressive and instructive.  Everyone had a chance to discuss the cave at a picnic lunch outside of the visitor’s center before enjoying some barbecue and volleyball!

“We were also treated to a spiritual conference by Canon Ueda on Pope Francis’ new encyclical Lumen Fidei, a powerful reminder of the importance of faith in our lives. The gathering broke up after ten ‘o clock Mass, followed by brunch on Sunday to end one of the most enjoyable weekends of my life. Things at the convent were never quiet as the girls discussed everything from old movies, to the Civil War, to family Christmas traditions!”

On Saturday, 14 September, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and sixth anniversary of the implementation of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, Sursum Corda visited the Shrine of Saint Joseph, located just north of downtown Saint Louis.  Founded in 1843 by the Jesuits, the Shrine is a beautiful example of Romanesque Revival architecture, and is the location of the only Vatican-authenticated miracle in the Midwest.

Although we have visited the Shrine in the past, this time we were able to have a High Mass, with a choir formed from our own members. The Mass was open to the public and I am grateful to Divine Providence for this timely grace. May Saint Joseph help the young!

St. Francis de Sales, ora pro nobis

Donate to the Cathedral of South Saint Louis restoration by clicking Here

 

PHOTO CREDITS: PHIL ROUSSIN

 

The Cathedral of South Saint Louis

Restoring Saint Francis de Sales Oratory

by Phil Roussin

For over one hundred years, the silhouette of Saint Francis de Sales has been a distinctive mark on the skyline of Saint Louis, Missouri. While the area surrounding the church has undergone considerable change, the 300-foot tower has remained a steadfast symbol of Catholic tradition and hope.

Now, the Oratory is being renewed by the faithful witness of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest.  In this article, parishioner Phil Roussin discusses the history and the reality of this American treasure.

History and Background

In 1867, seven German dairy farmers purchased a plot of land between Gravois and Ohio streets on which to build a new church. With the laying of the first cornerstone on September 15, 1867, Saint Francis de Sales Church began to serve as the spiritual and social anchor of the community. Over the next 40 years, a new generation of Americans built the church with the hope of a prosperous future in their new country. They first added a school, then a convent, then started to plan the next phase: a larger church which would capture the grandeur of the eternal expression of truth.

By the 1890s, Saint Louis had become the fourth largest city in the United States after New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Amidst the post-Civil War economic expansion, bustling Saint Louis City became the proud owner of a new transportation infrastructure, as well as one of the world’s first skyscrapers: the 10-story Wainwright Building.

It was against this backdrop that the parishioners of Saint Francis de Sales planned to build their new, larger church. Led by their pastor, Fr. Lotz, the largely German congregation looked to their ancestral heritage for a set of architectural plans. The original German design called for an elaborate Gothic Revival church built with cut stone and two towers at each transept arm. However, at this point an act of Divine Providence definitely intervened. Before the basement of the church could be completed as planned, the most devastating tornado ever to strike Saint Louis happened on May 27, 1896. The original church was all but completely destroyed, and much damage was inflicted likewise upon the homes of the entire neighborhood. All plans to raise funds for a new church had to await the return of normal conditions among the people of the parish and the city.

On May 27, 1908 — the twelfth anniversary of the terrible tornado that had destroyed the old parish church — parishioners raised the old church’s iron cross on the pinnacle of the church’s majestic new steeple, amid the full and loud ringing of the new church bells.

However, it was not long before the work continued without interruption. It is interesting to note that on the twelfth anniversary of the terrible tornado (May 27, 1908), at the precise time that the tragic tornado had destroyed the old parish church, parishioners raised the old church’s iron cross on the pinnacle of the church’s majestic new steeple, amid the full and loud ringing of the new church bells. There was cause for much rejoicing.

This immense new church was built to symbolize the hopes and dreams of the immigrant community, deeply rooted in the traditions and heritage of their forefathers. It was a brick and mortar symbol of American values of the time: faith, beauty, and grandeur in the midst of hard work and community sacrifice, venerable traditions in a new land, and hope for the future. This spiritual edifice embodied the aspirations of an American community. What came to be known as the Cathedral of South Saint Louis would also be a living tradition of the past.

This immense new church was a brick and mortar symbol of American values of the time: faith, beauty, and grandeur in the midst of hard work and community sacrifice, venerable traditions in a new land, and hope for the future.

Decline and Renewal

Since its dedication in 1908, the fate of Saint Francis de Sales Church has closely dovetailed with that of the city of Saint Louis. As the city grew, the parish also grew continuously through the 1950s, adding a thriving high school to its campus in 1939. However, in the 1950s the population of Saint Louis steadily declined due to outward migration towards the suburbs. Fox Park, the neighborhood of Saint Francis de Sales, followed the same pattern. By 1974 the parish dissipated to the point that Saint Francis de Sales High School would close for good. With decades of dwindling support, the condition of the church and surrounding campus began to deteriorate visibly and rapidly. As the city embarked on various urban renewal projects, so did the Fox Park neighborhood. The DeSales Community Housing Corporation was formed from the congregation of Saint Francis de Sales in an effort to stay the tide of decline. In recognition of its architectural, cultural, and historic significance, Saint Francis de Sales Church was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. In spite of these efforts, the decline continued, and the church was in danger of being closed and demolished.

In recognition of its architectural, cultural, and historic significance, Saint Francis de Sales Church was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. In spite of these efforts, the decline continued, and the church was in danger of being closed and demolished.

In 2005, an important change took place in the effort to preserve this magnificent church. Under then-Archbishop Raymond Burke, Saint Francis de Sales was erected as an Oratory of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, serving Saint Louis as the premier center of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Since the architecture and the interior of Saint Francis de Sales were originally designed for this use of the Roman Rite, the church was perfectly suited for this new endeavor.

With its new mission, the appeal of Saint Francis de Sales would be extended beyond the boundaries of the original parish, and beyond any singular demographic group. For the first time, there was hope that the deserted infrastructure would slowly regain active and purposeful use. The perfect balance between usage and preservation would be an effective means of safeguarding a cultural treasure of Saint Louis.

The New Focus

In 2008, Saint Francis de Sales’ centennial celebration was attended by members and visitors from all over the Saint Louis metropolitan area and beyond. Two consecutive annual surveys (2010 & 2011) show that the average family drives 20 miles (one-way) to attend Holy Mass at Saint Francis de Sales. These annual surveys also reveal the median age of the congregation to be less than 30 years old. The church building may be old, but the youthful families it attracts are as vigorous as ever.

One aspect of our preservation work is to bring to life the repository of sacred music used in the Church’s highest liturgies. A living tradition, sacred music has enriched the hearts and minds of many souls in every age through the centuries. At Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, the ever-growing repertoire of ancient chants, classical music, polyphony, and magnificent organ pieces can be heard in the context for which they were originally composed.

At Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, the ever-growing repertoire of ancient chants, classical music, polyphony, and magnificent organ pieces can be heard in the context for which they were originally composed.

The Restoration – A Daunting Task in Small Steps

Due to the size of the campus and the enormity of the church, restoring its dilapidated infrastructure is a daunting task from any perspective. Nevertheless, since 2005, generous volunteers yielding much success have done the on-going restoration in steady, small steps.

The most recent restoration work on the church building was restoring the damage caused by water on the tall steeple masonry. Brick and terra cotta pieces were missing and damaged, and some of the brickwork was loose. Due to the extreme height of the steeple and the limited reach of standard lifts, a special lift was required to be used that could access the damage at the 150 foot level. Several locations needed work and the timing required calm and clear weather to safely accomplish the repairs.

Another recently completed project was the restoration of two statues of adoring angels that had been lost for many years. They had been given to the parish some time ago but were sent off for restoration and forgotten. While in a search for other liturgical items, the angels were accidently discovered at a specialty restoration company and identified as belonging to Saint Francis de Sales. Through the efforts of some members of the congregation, the statues were restored to their original glory in time to be made available for use during Holy Week devotions at the Oratory.

Through the efforts of some members of the congregation, two statues of adoring angels which had been lost for many years were restored to their original glory in time for  Holy Week at the Oratory.

An on-going restoration project concerns the steeple clock that has been non-functional for many years. Pieces of the mechanical gearing that drives the hands at the four faces were missing and the remaining mechanism was corroded and unable to turn. Through the generosity of a local machine company, new parts were made and our volunteer repairman is in the process of installing the new gears, coordinating the four movements and calibrating the speed of the drive motor. We hope to have the clock working in the very near future as an outward sign of the church’s restoration efforts.

A future restoration project is to ensure the continued viability of all of the outstanding stained glass windows that are the hallmark of this beautiful structure. They are all intact but require replacement of the protective outer glass, sealing all the joints to make them watertight, stabilizing them, and cleaning the interiors from decades of soot and smoke accumulation. Due to the number of these windows and the terra cotta replacement work for the columns that provide the exterior support, this work will be phased in over a period of years, working on the most deteriorated windows first. 

 

Through the generosity of a local machine company, new parts were made and our volunteer repairman is in the process of installing the new gears, coordinating the four movements and calibrating the speed of the drive motor. We hope to have the clock working in the very near future as an outward sign of the church’s restoration efforts.

Tradition for Tomorrow

Restoring the campus of Saint Francis de Sales is also much more than brick and mortar repairs. It is equally about restoring the sense of community amongst the faithful and the youth. We discuss this at length with Canon Raphael Ueda, Vicar of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory in the article “How I got to St. Louis elsewhere in this issue.) 

Photos by Phil Roussin

Miracle in Palo Alto

How The St. Ann Choir Kept Chant and Polyphony Alive for 50 Years by Roseanne Therese Sullivan The St. Ann Choir is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The timing of its beginning seems to have been providential. The Choir began singing the music for the traditional cycle of the Church year at Sunday Masses in … Read more

Bringing the ‘Catholic’ Back to a California Parish

Pundits are fond of pointing out that ‘California leads the nation’ when it comes to trends. Here’s one such an example, in a priest who has been quietly laboring in the Lord’s vineyard in Newark, California.

Father Keyes, what is your background and training?

stedwards1

I entered the seminary in 1971.  In four years I learned how to play guitar and got a degree in Thomistic Philosophy. I left the seminary in 1976 and worked in a hot dog stand and an insurance company before re-entering another seminary in 1977.

The ’70s did horrific damage to the church and I was criticized for associating priesthood too closely to the sacraments and worship and not enough to social justice. They did not want a “musical priest.”  I was also told to throw away that old Thomistic stuff.

Disgusted and hurt, I went back to selling hotdogs and making music in a liberal Catholic church on Sunday evenings.  I also spent summers in the mid-West working on Graduate Degree in Liturgy and music. When I first got to that Midwest College, all my professors in music were priests, Precious Blood Priests. I am especially grateful to Fr. Bob Onofrey and Fr. Larry Heiman for encouraging me to be both musician and priest. After all, if they could do it, why could I not do it?

Fr. Heiman would become my mentor in Gregorian Chant for more than 30 years until his death at the age of 92. I joined the Precious Blood community in 1988.  I was professed in 1990 and ordained to the priesthood, October 26, 1991.

In my early days as a new priest I served as Vocation Director and as Lay Associate Director and then was made pastor of St. Barnabas, Alameda in 1994.  In 2001 I went to Chicago as Director of Formation and then became Pastor of St. Edward in August 2004.

The  ’70s did horrific damage to the church and I was criticized for associating priesthood too closely to the sacraments and worship and not enough to social justice.

Can you tell us the story of your parish, as you found it?

St. Edward Catholic Church is located in Newark, CA, in the southern end of the Diocese of Oakland.  On my arrival here in 2004, the liturgy was exclusively contemporary music, generally from contemporary Christian music sources. The Gloria and the Memorial acclamations used were unapproved texts and there was an active liturgical dance troupe that performed at the main liturgies.

Here I heard one of our “best” catechists tell the students they could decide for themselves who Jesus was for them. After a year of struggle I was able to fire the music director and hire a new one in September, 2005.  I am still struggling with the Catechetical program although there have been some improvements in the First Communion program.

The Gloria and the Memorial acclamations used were unapproved texts and there was an active liturgical dance troupe that performed at the main liturgies.

Was this because of the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II?

stedwards4Vatican II never told us to stop using Latin.  Vatican II never told us to turn our altars around and Vatican II never told us to take out the altar rails.

It was the introduction of the Latin that got most of the reaction.  I was pegged as a traditionalist and accused of taking us backward.  It really did not help to cite chapter and verse, but it was clear that no one had read the documents of Vatican II.

With ‘Alleluia’ and ‘Amen,’ the people respond with Hebrew and Aramaic without thinking, and even an ’80s Rock groups sings “Kyrie Eleison” because the words sound “powerful.”  But some people avoid Latin like it is the plague because they do not understand it.   Any adult Catholic who does not know what “Agnus Dei” means is simply not trying.

The following was posted to the parish Facebook page in February 2013:

“I will only attend the mass here as long as it’s not Fr. Keys. I don’t know how he turned this church into like a singing contest. He sings from the beginning to the end. He also sometimes do it in Latin. Who understand latin in USA? Not me. Most of the parishioners that used to attend the mass here are now attending in Holy Spirit or St. Anne. Fr. Keys, please bring the old St. Edwards tradition back 20-30 years ago. Fr. Jim is the only one doing an excellent job.”

But some people avoid Latin like it is the plague because they do not understand it.   Any adult Catholic who does not know what “Agnus Dei” means is simply not trying.

This was my response:

  •  The center here is Jesus, Not Fr. Keyes or Fr. Jim. It is not about the priest. The priest is supposed to disappear. 
  • Singing contest? Who are the contestants?
  • Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church and a unifying element in a congregation that speaks 30 languages. Beware that your anti-Latin tirade may be implicitly racist.
  • Vatican II placed Gregorian chant in first place. It does not have first place at St. Edward, but now it has a place. 
  • Liberal traditions of the past are gone. Now we try to do what the Church asks. The 70’s are over. 
  • St. Edward ‘traditions’ of 20-30 years ago were not Catholic traditions. This is a Roman Catholic Parish. 
  • Father’s name is spelled “Keyes”
  • St. Anne and Holy Spirit are fine parishes and people are free to go where they want. But treating parishes like a commercial operation where you go where you like the music or the preacher is a Protestant tradition.

stedwards2What liturgical changes did you make when you arrived?

Now in our liturgy the music is from a variety of eras and cultures and there is a Missa Cantata each Sunday.  There has been a progressive introduction of the Roman propers and ordinary at the Missa Cantata. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal is observed in varying degrees over the nine Masses, but progress is being made.  In September, 2012, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite returned to St. Edward after an absence of 50 years.

Additionally, a cry room which also served as a meeting room has been transformed into an adoration chapel.  Morning and Evening prayer from the Liturgy of Hours is now sung every day.

What is your liturgy like today?

At our parish, there are adult Catholics who speak French, Spanish, Portuguese and Farsi who now sing “Pater Noster” by heart; they know what they are saying and they don’t hold hands because they are praying to their Father, and they don’t lift their hands to the heavens because the real presence of our God is on the Altar in front of us.

The following was posted on Yelp: Have you ever wanted to visit the Vatican and experience a liturgy there but couldn’t afford it? Well.. If you have ever been to Rome or desire to go to Rome but for some reason haven’t been able to make it to Italy, come to St. Edwards!!  It’s been one of the fewest (or only?) places in the tri-city that has liturgy celebrated like they do at the Vatican.  The 10am mass is very beautiful with some of the prayers sung in latin, but not to worry, the readings and the homily are in English.  The choir is truly amazing that it truly feels like you’re surrounded by angels singing a heavenly hymn to God. 

Although I know most people prefer the upbeat music where you clap your hands and hear drumbeats.  This is truly a treat and a find, and even if you could come and participate in this mass once a month (and attend mass somewhere else the rest of the weeks), you will leave truly spiritually uplifted.  Hey you never know, you may start coming here every week.

“The 10am mass is very beautiful with some of the prayers sung in latin, but not to worry, the readings and the homily are in English.  The choir is truly amazing that it truly feels like you’re surrounded by angels singing a heavenly hymn to God.” 

You either love it or you hate it.  Yes, we lost several parishioners who now go to other nearby liberal parishes.  Many former choir members now sing in a Presbyterian Church. But we also have many people who travel all the way from Hayward or Livermore for what they call their “Roman fix.”

TRANSFORMING SAINT EDWARD’S

st edwards
PARISHIONERS RECONSTRUCT THE BEAUTY OF THE ORIGINAL from a 1970s photo of St Edward’s original altar rail.

New additions to the sanctuary

We began with the introduction of real lectionaries, replacing the fake loose-leaf binder that had been the focus of the Word of God prior.  The fake plastic green trees were removed and statues were put in their place. The fake oil candles on the altar were replaced with new floor length candle stands with tall, real 51% beeswax candles.

The Advent wreath was a tall wooden stand with four blue and pink plastic candles with oil inserts.  They had used them for years and the candles never burned down completely erasing some of the imagery and symbolism associated with that practice.   A new wooden stand was fashioned in 2009, placing the wreath no longer in the center of the sanctuary but to the side in front of the Ambo.

A Crucifix was added to the Sanctuary in 2006.  That year we also refashioned the baptismal font. The old one was corroded and could have been restored, but the delight of this new font is that it looks like it belongs here, and was actually designed by someone who celebrates the sacrament.  Other additions were an ambry, kneelers, and credence tables, floor altar candles and a New Easter Candle and stand.

In 2013 the carpet in the Sanctuary was replaced with wood laminate and the old asbestos tile in the main body of the Church was covered with new VCT tile.  In January The Church received a new coat of paint with some new colors, inside and out. In February the fiberglass Risen Jesus statue was removed from the Sanctuary, a new cross was fashioned out of Blood Wood from South Africa, and a new hand carved, hand painted Lindenwood Corpus was installed.

The previous Easter Candle was an old plastic one with a small candle insert.  We had a new Paschal candle stand fashioned and ordered a 40lb candle for the first Easter Vigil in 2005.  (That was also the first time we did not do two Easter Vigils, one Vigil in Spanish and one in English.  Now we do one Easter Vigil utilizing Latin as well as Spanish and English.  We also combine the choirs. )

A Filthy, Ugly Altar

Something had to be done about that altar. It was filthy and the altar clothes were ugly and in bad repair.  It took two days to clean all the paste and glue from the altar.  There had been many years of pasting paper banners to the front for school liturgies and first communions.  There was this ugly cloth banner that was fashioned each year out of the handprints of the second graders that was pasted to the front of the altar for first communion.

All of these programs were halted and the altar became a sacred place again.  We purchased new altar cloths and a Jacobean frontal, and new linen corporals.  We also placed relics into the altar.

It took two days to clean all the paste and glue from the altar.  There had been many years of pasting paper banners to the front for school liturgies and first communions.

 Relics Are Placed

stedwards5

The altar had a stone but nothing was in it.  I had a few relics collected over the years, and a few relics were given to me for this event in 2008.  Our altar now has first class relics of St. Maria Goretti, St. Gaspar del Bufalo, St. Maria de Mattias, St. James the Apostle, St. Martin de Porres, St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Pius X.  It was in May of 2008 with the whole school present and seven school children assisting that we placed the relics in the altar and placed the stone in the altar.

Shades of Evelyn Waugh: An Update on the Latin Mass in England & Wales

‘SINCE the Second Vatican Council in 1962, the Roman Catholic church has striven to adapt to the modern world. But in the West—where many hoped a contemporary message would go down best—believers have left in droves. Sunday mass attendance in England & Wales has fallen by half from the 1.8m recorded in 1960; the average age of parishioners has risen from 37 in 1980 to 52 now. In America attendance has declined by over a third since 1960. Less than 5% of French Catholics attend regularly, and only 15% in Italy. Yet as the mainstream wanes, traditionalists wax.’ –  The Economist, December 14, 2012

Joseph Shaw is the 42 year old Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales. An Oxford don, he teaches Philosophy at St Benet’s Hall, the Benedictine house of studies in Oxford University. In this exclusive Regina Magazine interview, Dr. Shaw discusses the Society, its history and the amazing success the Extraordinary Form has met with in recent years.

Q. Tell us about the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales. When was it founded, and by whom?

Three people are principally responsible for the founding of the Society, in 1965: Evelyn Waugh, the foremost Catholic writer of his day (“Brideshead Revisited”), Sir Arnold Lunn, controversialist and skiing pioneer, and Hugh Ross Williamson, media personality and historian.

Evelyn Waugh’s concerns about Vatican II and the liturgical reform are recorded in his diaries and letters, and in a famous Spectator article at the onset of the Council. Much of this material, and responses to his letters from Cardinal Heenan, has been turned into a book, ‘A Most Bitter Trial’ (ed Scott Reid). Waugh didn’t live to see the 1970 Missal, but he was deeply concerned about the 1955 Holy Week Reform, the Dialogue Mass, and Mass in English. He wrote in the Spectator article:

‘Participation’ in the Mass does not mean hearing our own voices. It means God hearing our voices. Only He knows who is ‘participating’ at Mass. I believe, to compare small things with great, that I ‘participate’ in a work of art when I study it and love it silently. No need to shout. …If the Germans want to be noisy, let them. But why should they disturb our devotions?’

That is a key idea: the responses, the English, the jumping up and down, shaking hands and so on ‘disturbs our devotions’: the serious business of engaging prayerfully in the Mass.

Hugh Ross-Williamson was an Anglican clergyman who converted. He had been brought up in a non-conformist (Presbyterian) family, had become a High Anglican, and was finally received inti the Catholic Church when the Anglicans recognised the orders of group of Methodist clergy in India in 1955. He wrote a book about the Roman Canon, ‘The Great Prayer’, as well as plays, history, and journalism; he was on the ‘Brains Trust’ TV programme until his conversion. (His complaint ‘This is 1955, not 1555!’ fell on deaf ears: a Catholic was not acceptable on the programme.)

Williamson was very disturbed by the theology of the New Mass and later wrote a pamphlet arguing that it was invalid. He saw a strong parallel with the liturgical changes made by Cranmer in the course of the English Reformation.

Arnold Lunn was a great apologist, as well the inventor of slalom ski racing; as an agnostic he had a debate with Monsignor Ronald Knox which was turned into a book, ‘Difficulties’, and although many thought he’d done rather well in the debate, two years later he became a Catholic. Even as an agnostic he had been a fierce opponent of scientific materialism, and was very interested in the roots of the decline in religious belief. He researched the way religion was being taught in the great Anglican public schools and published a book, ‘Public School Religion’, about it.

Basically it wasn’t being taught at all because the chaplains in those places no longer had any confidence in their religion – this was in the 1930s. The great contrast, he discovered, was with the Catholic schools, where it was still being taken very seriously. He could see where things were going; like many in the early 20th Century the Catholic Church looked like the last bastion of reason and civilisation, let alone religion. And then the Catholic Church started to incorporate many of the same ideas and reforms which had hollowed out the Anglicans.

The attitude of these three was not unusual: one of the great early successes of the LMS was organising a petition to ask Pope Paul V that the Traditional Mass be preserved. This led to the ‘English Indult’ of 1971. The petitioners were all intellectual and cultural figures, mostly non-Catholic; the included Yehudi Menuhin, Agatha Christi, Grwham Greene and Sir Colin Davis. You can see more about that here and here.

Q. Given that England was the first nation to obtain an indult for the Latin Mass, what progress do you see being made, say, since the Motu Proprio of 2007?

We have records for the number of publicly advertised Masses taking place, as we publish lists every quarter, and have done so for decades. A few months ago we put these figures together for The Economist:

• In 2007, there were regular Masses in the Extraordinary Form being celebrated in 26 locations.
• In 2012, the figure is 157

 
A typical Holyday of Obligation:

• In 2007 there were 10 Masses in the Extraordinary Form celebrated on All Saints Day.

• In 2012, the figure is 60 and counting.

Q. Extraordinary! Are there many more priests learning the Mass?

Since 2007, we have run eight residential training conferences for priests and 200 places have been taken up at these. Many have attended more than one conference, so that represents around 120 individual priests. Of these, we understand that about 100 have gone on to celebrate the old rite at least occasionally, but usually at least monthly, in public.

In addition, the LMS is aware of some 50 or so priests who celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass in public at least occasionally. These are priests who taught themselves privately, or who are older priests who were taught at seminary when they were younger. There is an unknown number of priests (mainly retired now) who celebrate the Extraordinary Form privately. Recently, we did an exercise identifying priests who say the TLM and I think the total is certainly in the region of 200. Before the Motu Proprio we reckon there were about 50 priests.

Q. This is great news. Does this mean that the Mass is now available regularly on Sundays all over England and Wales?

The availability of EF Sunday Masses in stable venues (ie a Mass every week) is still limited, at 33 in England and Wales, plus a handful of ‘rotating venue’ situations (one in Kent, one in Arundel and Brighton diocese, for example.)

Even this represents a big increase on the number before the Motu Proprio.

Q. So, in your experience, how does the Mass gain a foothold? What typically happens?

First, you have groups of the Faithful asking for the Extraordinary Form. This was the usual case until the Motu Proprio, but it was very hard work. A group like this kept the TLM going at the Brompton Oratory, for example, where it was said in the Little Oratory for years – not the main church – and wasn’t advertised.  A group of laity in the Reading area managed in the end to get the FSSP to come to serve them. A group in Oxford had a succession of priests who were retired to say Mass for them in private houses; eventually this was taken over by the Oratory here. The community in Chesham persuaded a local priest to say the EF and, following his recent death, has been proactive in getting priests in week by week to keep it going.

Second, you get individual priests who fall in love with the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. This has now become quite common. There are quite a few priests who do a weekday or Saturday Mass and the occasional ‘big’ thing they manage to arrange; others have taken it a step further and introduced it into their parishes on a Sunday.

For example Fr Bede Rowe, assigned to a remote parish in Clifton Diocese, started a Sunday evening EF Mass and a congregation for this gradually established itself. Fr John Saward in Oxford (the translator, in fact, of Pope Benedict’s ‘Spirit of the Liturgy’) says the EF in his parish of SS Gregory and Augustine twice a week on weekdays and once a month has a sung TLM on a Sunday: it is really entirely his own initiative, though of course he is also mindful of pastoral needs. Another local example is Fr John Osman, in St Birinus, Dorchester on Thames. Fr Osman waxes quite lyrical about how he fell in love with it, and how important it has been for his spiritual life.

A good example of how this happens is Fr Timothy Finigan of Blackfen in London, who was asked some years ago to say a TLM for a funeral. He said: ‘yes why not?’ and had to learn it from scratch. It made such an impression on him that he gradually learned more and introduced it to his parish on a Sunday.

Another important factor is priests influencing each other. We find little ‘hot spots’ of priests learning the Mass because they all know a particular priest who loves it, and spreads the word.

Q. You have publicly discussed the inclusivity of the TLM; what did you mean?

I’ve certainly noticed that in a big parish with different Masses the congregations tend to separate into different groups according to liturgical preference; this also happens between parishes. This separation can very easily gain a class character – in England, where class is never very far away!

The universal appeal of the TLM is very evident from talking to members of the congregation. You really do have all sorts of people. Some engage with the liturgy primarily in an intellectual way. Others engage primarily in an aesthetic or emotional way. The intellectual and the other aspects of the TLM are not in competition with each other — you can take out of it whatever you need.

There is an excellent book about this by a Dominican (now ex-Dominican) sociologist Anthony Archer, ‘The Two Catholic Churches’, I have discussed it and quoted it here.

http://www.lmschairman.org/2013/07/the-old-mass-and-workers.html

Archer says the working classes engaged with the liturgy in a particular way, in relation to what they saw as ‘ritual efficacy’: what was going on at the Altar was real, objective, it made a difference, it made something happen. They focused on that and were absorbed by it.

The things which are supposed to help participation in the New Mass are more appealing to the middle class: they require social confidence, being articulate. There is a class distinction also about what sort of community people are comfortable with — little cliquey groups (middle class) and larger numbers (working class). All the stuff about sharing your experiences at a charismatic prayer meeting or cosy little house Masses is middle class and off-putting to everyone else.

That is Archer’s thesis, and it fits with my own observations.

Q. In many countries, there seems to be no crisis of priestly vocations in circles where the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is supported. Have you noticed this to be the case in England and Wales?

This is certainly true. We have now 10 young men from England and Wales in traditional seminaries, mostly the FSSP; two more are joining them in September. That is totally disproportionate to the size of the EF-going community in England and Wales, compared to vocations coming out of the Novus Ordo congregations.

What is more, a great many seminarians in ordinary seminaries have had contact with the EF and like it, and it has played a part in their spiritual development and vocation. They will be wanting to learn it as soon as they can.

In fact, the only new priest for East Anglia this year said a TLM a day or two after his ordination; he was at the Priest Training Conference the LMS had this year in Leicester. This is increasingly common.

Q.  Many Catholics today no longer see the need for Confession, or Reconciliation, though this does not seem to be the case for those who attend the TLM. Why do you think this is?

Yes certainly EF-goers seem to go to confession more than the average Catholic (who, I suppose, goes pretty infrequently). This is an indication of a wider truth, that the TLM brings with it traditional spirituality, theology, preaching, and so on. The priests encourage it and make it available, the people read the good old books which encourage it, and the Mass itself fosters a sense of sin and a sense of the reality of grace and of sacramental efficacy.

The communities which grow up around the TLM quickly become characterised by traditional attitudes and devotions, a strong pro-life stance, large families, modest clothing, mantillas, all that stuff. This alarms some people, but these are counter-cultural communities giving each other mutual support.

Q. Anecdotally, I have heard many people say that they were converted to Catholicism through the beauty of their experience of the Extraordinary Form. Do you find this to be true?

I can’t say I know many atheists, but a good non-Catholic friend of mine certainly finds the EF more attractive than the OF (he also for a time went to the Orthodox). I know a number of young men who lapsed and came back for the TLM, or could have lapsed were it not for the TLM. A good female friend converted from Judaism in the context of the EF.

The aesthetics and emotionality of many Novus Ordo celebrations can be exquisitely painful, particularly to young men. When they find the TLM, they can fall in love with it instantly – that happened to me, in a Low Mass. That’s not aestheticism, even if we agree we are using the term in a non-pejorative sense: it is glimpsing Christ made present in the liturgy.

‘Beauty’ is perhaps a misleading term here. No doubt some people will go to a Mozart Mass because of the Mozart, but such Masses are actually quite rare. The music and the vestments vary from the ‘decent’ to the ‘not very good’ in a lot of places, and there are a lot of Low Masses going on.

They can be very attractive, nevertheless, because of the contemplative quality, the peace, the reverence, the invitation to pray and be quiet with God. A better term than ‘beauty’ here would be ‘spirituality’: they are attracted by the spirituality of the TLM.

Celebrating the Spirit of the Liturgy

The Spirit of the Liturgy We are pleased to present to you an absolutely brilliant lecture by Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, delivered at the CMAA colloquium, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 19, 2013 You can download it by clicking here Or you can view it below.