Breathing Catholic in the Shenandoah Valley

Christendom College is a four-year coeducational Roman Catholic Liberal Arts College with undergraduate and graduate programs offered on three campuses in Front Royal and Alexandria, Virginia,  as well as in Rome, Italy. Founded in 1977 in response to the devastating blow inflicted on Catholic higher education by the cultural revolution which swept across America in the 1960s, Christendom’s goal is to provide a truly Catholic education in fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and thereby to prepare students for their role of restoring all things in Christ.

In this exclusive Regina Magazine interview, Christendom’s Director of Admissions Tom Mc Fadden fields our questions about the school and its students.

Q. What was the genesis – the inspiration – for Christendom College? 

A. According to the college founder, Dr. Warren H. Carroll, the purpose and goal of Christendom College is not only to provide a truly Catholic liberal arts education of the highest quality, but to maintain the idea of “Christendom” and to show how “Christendom” works in action, even on a small college campus.

In 1977, Dr. Carroll wrote the following in response to the question, “What is Christendom?”

Our college takes its name from the word which embodies the Christian social and political ideal: a society, a culture, a government in which Christ the King reigns. To help extend His reign, insofar as His grace strengthens us to do so, is the heart of our mission.

We prepare ourselves, first of all, by learning, study and practice. We investigate the character of Christendom in past ages, the enduring principles which must undergird any Christian society, and the particular new applications of these principles for our age in the area of society and government which have been set forth by the recent Vicars of Christ in their social encyclicals. We learn the Christian and Catholic foundations for every field of study we enter and every action we undertake. Above all, we try to build in our own lives, and in our work with fellow Christians, a mini-Christendom, a society, however small, in which Christ does truly reign.

Christendom College aims to be such a Christian society, a microcosm of the social reign of Christ. As such, it will strive to be an example and a model, as well as a center of study on what Christendom is and how it might be built anew even in our secularized age. The education Christendom College provides, primarily for laymen who will spend their lives in the world, will prepare and strengthen them both to maintain themselves and their families in that world, and for the better service to God within it.

“There is no wider Christendom today. The very word, once commonly used to designate our Western civilization, is going out of style and even out of knowledge. Many have never heard it, cannot pronounce it, much less explain and serve what it stands for. At this moment of history, Christendom can exist only in small and self-contained places. But the Christian in such a place never settles for it, never hides in it, for he has a message to bring to the world.”

“There is no wider Christendom today. The very word, once commonly used to designate our Western civilization, is going out of style and even out of knowledge. Many have never heard it, cannot pronounce it, much less explain and serve what it stands for.

Q. What kind of young person is attracted to your school? Where are they from? What kind of student are they? What are they seeking?

A. We attract a wide range of students, from home-educated to public school. From students who are from our state of Virginia to as far away as Africa. From students interested in acting and the fine arts to students who love the competition of our varsity sports. In general, they are students who are attracted to the lasting value of a liberal arts education and hold a deep love for the Faith.

Our varied student body, coupled with the ample opportunities to be active in or lead a wide variety of clubs makes our campus life very rich.

This past freshman class was comprised of 139 students, the largest in our history: 38% are siblings of either current Christendom students or alumni, 14% are legacy students, 45% attended one of the College’s Summer Programs, and from 31 US States, Italy, and Japan. Their average SAT score was 1833 – the highest in 5 years.

 

Q. How do students rate their experience of your school?

A. Here are two testimonies from last year’s graduates:

“My four years at Christendom have given me the best friends I may ever have, an education that is unparalleled in its commitment to Catholicism, and the opportunity to see virtue in action. What we have been given is priceless.”

At graduation, Anne Carroll, the wife of Christendom’s founder Warren Carroll, quoted what our founder used to call “The Watchwords of Christendom,” saying, “Truth exists. The Incarnation happened.”

“This, she said, was what motivated Dr. Carroll to found Christendom, to write the History of Christendom series, and to inspire so many young people to pursue truth in a world that has forgotten it exists.

“Graduation is a bittersweet time. Any senior will tell you that. Every moment is a mix of tears at parting and excitement for the future. It’s also a time of reflection. Five years ago, I came to the Experience Christendom Summer Program as a brand new Catholic. I admit to being one of those kids who came to Christendom very reluctantly. As a convert, what made the most impact on me was the unity of the Christendom community. As a senior, I understand so much more that the unity within the College is not due to the size of the school, the emphasis we put on formation, or the events Student Activities hosts. It comes from each individual member’s commitment to Truth. We are Catholic, united in the person of Jesus Christ Who is Truth itself.

“No institution is perfect. Every student at Christendom, myself included, has his or her complaints. It is necessary, however, to step back from those complaints to recognize that very few college students are given the gift of faculty and staff who applaud their colleagues as men and women of true virtue. To know someone who is truly virtuous is rare, and to be taught or mentored by that person is a gift that, at Christendom, we students have a tendency to take for granted.

“Our professors sacrifice so much for Truth. That alone speaks to the fulfillment of the vision of Warren Carroll. My four years at Christendom have given me the best friends I may ever have, an education that is unparalleled in its commitment to Catholicism, and the opportunity to see virtue in action. What we have been given is priceless. Dr. Carroll’s mission will live on in the faculty, staff, and students of Christendom College. Truth exists. The Incarnation happened.”

-Emiko Funai, Class of 2013

Christendom has given me the strength to recover when I stumble, and fight through this world to reach the next. 

“When I was asked to reflect on my years at Christendom, I thought to myself, “where on earth am I going to start?” That thought kept running through my head, as I tried to think of a way to start. Then it occurred to me: Christendom IS the start.

“In so many ways, Christendom is the starting point of its students’ lives. I am not saying that people did not have lives before or during their time at Christendom, but the real start to their own lives as individual adults begins at Christendom, and is able to flourish because of Christendom. Christendom gives each and every student a true and strong foundation upon which to start his life beyond Christendom, and endure through the many trials and temptations of the world.

“The Good Lord knows my weaknesses and struggles, but Christendom has given me the strength to recover when I stumble, and fight through this world to reach the next. After all, that is what Christendom is for: it gives each person what is necessary to reach eternal salvation, and nothing is more important than that. That is what makes Christendom one of the best colleges in the world.

“Christendom also is the start of many life-long friendships. I have made friends with people who make me a better person, and who give me strength and inspiration in my life, and I know that I will have these friends my whole life. When I look back to how I was four years ago, I thank God for all that I have experienced at Christendom which has helped me to be better prepared for the world. Perhaps I never will be ready for it, but without Christendom, without the foundation that it has provided, I would sink for sure. Through the education, the friendships, and the experiences that Christendom has given to me, I know that I can face the challenges of this world. And for that, I thank Christendom with all my heart.

“Looking back on the last four years, and all the memories made, I can’t help but be excited about what the future has in store. I think I can safely say that these past four years have been the best of my life so far, but I think I can also safely say that the best is yet to come, which fills me with excitement and wonder about what God has planned for me in the upcoming life that Christendom has started for me. So, to Christendom College, the professors, faculty, staff, and students, I thank you for an amazing experience, a fantastic start, and a firm foundation.

“And to the class of 2013: thank you for these past four years. Thank you for the memories, the experiences, and the friendships. You will all remain with me and be in my prayers. God bless each and every one of you, and may He keep you always close and firmly in His Sacred Heart. I love you all, and I will miss you! Ciao!”

-Nate Collins, Class of 2013

Q. Given the scarcity of vocations in America, how is your school doing in this regard?

A.  As of September 2013, Christendom College has helped foster 148 religious vocations amongst its alumni ranks (68 priests, 50 sisters, 2 brothers, 1 deacon, and 27 men currently in seminary). Students entering religious orders and who take final vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are eligible for loan forgiveness from the College. Students who pursue missionary or other lay apostolic work also qualify for some deferments. The college has also seen 358 alumnus-to-alumna weddings over the past 35 years.

As of September 2013, Christendom College has helped foster 148 religious vocations amongst its alumni ranks (68 priests, 50 sisters, 2 brothers, 1 deacon, and 27 men currently in seminary).

Q. Cost is a huge factor these days as students balk at assuming large debts for undergrad degrees. How is your school addressing this?

A. We deliver a high-quality education at an affordable price. That’s why Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranks us as the #3 private school in the nation that provides both academic quality and affordability.

Christendom’s tuition, fees, and room/board costs have been set for the 2013-14 year as follows: Tuition = $22,050, Room and Board = $8280, and Fees = $670, Total = $31,000. Christendom’s total cost of $31,000 is one of the lowest of any private, Catholic institutions of higher learning in the US today.

Additionally, Christendom (although we do not accept Federal loans, grants, subsidies, or aid of any kind) does offer its own well-funded financial aid fund from which students are given loans, grants, and academic scholarships. We have our own Financial Aid Form which mirrors the FAFSA form, and from the information provided, we give out loans and grants to students to help cover costs of tuition. The average financial aid package is around $15,000 a year.

 

We offer academic scholarships and on campus employment opportunities to help defray the costs.  Also, something we offer which I believe is unique is our sibling discount. If two siblings attend at the same time, the second sibling receives 25% off tuition. If there are three siblings attending at the same time, the 3rd one receives 50% off tuition.

And lastly, if someone who has received loans from Christendom chooses to join a religious order which takes a vow of poverty, Christendom erases the total amount of the loan.

So, hopefully you can see that although the initial “sticker price” of a Christendom education may seem a bit steep, we have many ways to lessen the costs. The Class of 2012 had an average indebtedness of “only” $25,875 after four years. Again, although this may seem like a lot of money, compared to national figures, it is a bit below the average for a private institution. According to The College Board’s “Trends in Student Aid 2012” report, the average student debt for 2009 graduates of four-year, private colleges was $29,900. And the Christendom students would have been given that loan of $25,875 interest and payment free for the entire four years they attended, as well as given one full grace year of not having to pay anything on the loan and the loan would not accrue interest during that grace year.

If someone who has received loans from Christendom chooses to join a religious order which takes a vow of poverty, Christendom erases the total amount of the loan.

Q. How would you characterize the formation of young Catholics these days – as opposed to 20 years ago? Any reason for hope?

 

A. Today, our youth need to be equipped to handle the philosophical errors which run rampant in our relativistic culture of death. Our education gives them the intellectual tools to do this. Another essential element in the formation of the youth is the development of their character and their spiritual life. Through the campus life, activities, and availability of the sacraments, our students are given an opportunity to “learn Christ” and to learn how to live with Him. This encounter with Christ and a Christ-centered culture gives them a vision on how to restore the current culture and become leaders in our current culture war. While the challenge in combating the current culture is great, there are reasons for hope that can be seen in the youth who attend Christendom and thrive in its culture.

 

While the challenge in combating the current culture is great, there are reasons for hope that can be seen in the youth who attend Christendom and thrive in its culture.

At our 2011 commencement Bishop James Conley (of Lincoln, Nebraska) said of Christendom:

“You are the real change-makers in our culture even though, relatively speaking, you lack the size and endowments of so many larger Catholic institutions of higher learning. Speaking from the heart of the Church with a confident Catholic identity, you are forming talented and creative disciples, equipping them with a Christian vision of life, culture, and history and sending them out well prepared to be leaders in the contemporary world.”

Giving to Christendom College

Our firm stance means that our students rely on you—our generous benefactors—to provide them with financial support that others receive from the federal government. Your support will continue to give our students (many from large, single-income families) the comprehensive scholarship and financial aid assistance program they need, enabling them to receive a formation that prepares them to join—and light—the fight for the Truth.

 

Prayer, Prudence, and Courage

REGINA: Father Markey, how long has St Mary’s in Norwalk, CT offered the Latin Mass? Father Markey: We started in Advent 2007, a few months after the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.  We began with a Missa Cantata, and now we have a Solemn High Mass every Sunday.  We have been offering the Solemn High Mass … Read more

Springtime for an American Order of Preachers

The Nashville Dominicans

 

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NASHVILLE NOVICES wearing white veils, now number 16 — and growing!
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DOMINICAN POSTULANTS begin their day at Aquinas College where they work toward a college degree and teaching certification. The sisters return home in time for noon prayers and house duties. In the afternoon, they pray the Rosary with the novices as they walk the Motherhouse grounds, and then have a time of recreation. As the end of their postulant year approaches, in preparation for their reception of the habit, the postulants also spend time sewing their Dominican habit.
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THE DIVINE OFFICE marks the sacred and fixed rhythm of the day. Following the monastic custom of praying chorally and in the tradition of our Holy Father St. Dominic, we pray with our entire bodies, standing, sitting, and bowing as we chant the Divine Office.
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STUDENT SISTERS: Once they have professed their first vows, the sisters work toward the completion of a degree or teaching certification at Aquinas College. Their time at school is a combination of study, prayer, and recreation. When they return home in the afternoon, the sisters have time for study, prayer, duties or recreation before Vespers.
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TEACHING SISTERS: After breakfast, the teaching sisters make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament before leaving for school. The day is spent in the apostolate, bringing the truth of the Gospel to students of all ages in various subject areas.
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TEACHING AFTERNOONS: As sisters return home from school in the afternoon, there is time for prayer, study, schoolwork, or recreation before Vespers.

For more than 150 years, the Sisters of St Cecilia in Nashville, Tennessee have exemplified the Dominican charism.

The charism of a community is such that if all written records were destroyed, it could be re-created through the living testimony of its members. 

After Vatican II, the ‘Nashville Dominicans,’ as they are known, elected to continue to follow their charism closely, retaining their religious habits and their life in community. Fast forward 50 years, and the Order has experienced an outpouring of interest on the part of many young American women, bursting the seams of their Motherhouse and prompting an expansion of the Order to other parts of America and beyond.

REGINA: Sister Anne Catherine, O.P, you have just announced a foundation in Scotland. Is this your Order’s first foray outside America? How did this come about?

Sister Anne Catherine: This fall four of our sisters went to the Diocese of Aberdeen.  This is our first mission house in the UK, although we also have sisters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sydney, Australia, and Rome.

The story of how the sisters got to Scotland is referenced in the homily of Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen at the welcome Mass:  Bishop Hugh Gilbert, a Benedictine and former abbot of Pluscarden Abbey, has so kindly prepared for the sisters’ arrival and is a great advocate for the presence of Dominican life in the local Church.

“Over 60 sisters are currently in formation in our novitiate, with 27 young women entering our community this August.”

REGINA: Can you characterize your order’s growth for us in any way? Percentage growth over the last ten or twenty years, for example?

Sister Anne Catherine: Our Congregation has grown 46% in the past 14 years, and currently, at 300, we are the largest we have ever been.  Since I entered the convent in 1998, over 150 sisters have followed me.  Over 60 sisters are currently in formation in our novitiate, with 27 young women entering our community this August.  While the numbers vary, I think the underlying fact is that the Lord continues to call young women to religious life, and they are responding with generosity.

REGINA: Many -in fact most – people don’t yet realize that the traditional orders are meeting with such success. Do you find that people are surprised that you exist — and that you are thriving?

Sister Anne Catherine: Sometimes we are met with surprised expressions–in airports, at grocery stores, on the street–and a person may come up to us and say he or she was taught by sisters in grade school and is glad to see we are still around.

People who are not Catholic or who have never seen a sister are not always quite sure who we are, but so often we find that they want to talk to us, ask us questions, or ask our prayers for something.  Very often they are surprised to learn that there are people around who have chosen to give their lives totally to Christ, and yet I have found that our presence is a sign of hope to people, even when they cannot quite understand exactly what our life means.

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“People who are not Catholic or who have never seen a sister are not always quite sure who we are, but so often we find that they want to talk to us, ask us questions, or ask our prayers for something.  Very often they are surprised to learn that there are people around who have chosen to give their lives totally to Christ.”

REGINA: Can you relate some anecdotes about how young girls find your order? How they come to understand that they have a vocation?

Sister Anne Catherine: Young women find out about our order in various ways–through our website, through a priest or friends who know us, through meeting one of our sisters at a retreat or on a college campus, through seeing one of our brochures.  I am always amazed how God’s Providence works so uniquely in the life of each young woman to draw her to Himself in the way He knows best.  While some young women know clearly and early on in their lives that God is calling them, I would say for most of us the call emerges gradually over a period of time.

In my own case, I had a friend from college who had decided to enter our community, and she was my initial reason for coming to visit.  For most girls considering a religious vocation, they need to visit a convent in order to see what the life is actually like and to ask themselves, “Can I see myself being happy here?”  Talking to the sisters, asking them questions, learning more about the life–all of this is important in the discernment process.

But most important of all is to develop a deeper friendship with Christ through prayer and the sacraments.  In a world surrounded by noise, we have to learn to hear the Lord’s voice speaking to us in the depths of our hearts and revealing Himself in the ordinary events of every day.

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A SCOTTISH BISHOP WELCOMES AMERICAN SISTERS: “What is happening today? I’m old enough to remember Westerns. And here we are, wagons drawn close, feeling our last days have come and our scalps about to be removed, when – lo and behold – the US 7th Cavalry appears over the hill. Here they are, armed not with carbines but rosaries. And we can breathe again.”
“This Fall four of our sisters went to the Diocese of Aberdeen.  This is our first mission house in the UK, although we also have sisters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sydney, Australia, and Rome.”

REGINA: What do you see as the Order’s next challenge(s)?

Sister Anne Catherine: We have a number of young sisters, and going forward we want to make sure we have room for all of them to flourish!  We also want to continue to provide the best formation and support we can for all of our sisters, and this takes ongoing thoughtful consideration.  I think any person who takes seriously the call to follow the Lord, and not just one called to religious life, is going to meet with many challenges in this culture, for there are a lot of forces acting against the Gospel message.

Therefore, we need to be well-formed and equipped to see the needs of the new evangelization in the situations in which we find ourselves, and be ready to respond with energy and creativity in preaching the truth of Christ.  There are many good and necessary things we can and must do to spread the Gospel in a world that so desperately needs to hear it, especially in our apostolate of education, but we also have to remember that if we are not first faithful to our primary relationship with Christ, then we will have little of value to give to the world.

As the Dominican motto says, “Contemplate and give to others the fruits of your contemplation.”

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“We have a number of young sisters, and going forward we want to make sure we have room for all of them to flourish!”

The Sisters can be reached at Here

How You Can Help

You can assist the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia by participating in their life and mission through a financial gift. Your gift would be used for daily living expenses as well as larger areas of need, including education and formation, maintaining the Motherhouse and building endowments for the future.

May God Give Us the Strength

To Do What Needs to Be Done

He is a convert from the Episcopal Church, a priest who learned the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) only reluctantly — and at the behest of his bishop. Herewith the story of Father Richard Cipolla, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut and a Latin scholar who came to love and celebrate the TLM. (Reprinted with the kind permission of www.thenewliturgicalmovement.com.)

By Rev. Richard G. Cipolla

To say that discovering and learning the traditional Roman Mass (I shall avoid the problematic term “Extraordinary Form”) saved my priesthood may be too dramatic to begin this personal account of the importance of the Traditional Mass in my life as a Catholic priest. Although I cannot say with any certainty what would have become of my priesthood had I not encountered the Traditional Mass, I can certainly say that that encounter had such a radical effect on me as a priest that I cannot imagine my priesthood without the real presence of the Traditional Mass in my life.

When the post-Vatican II liturgical changes came in the late 1960’s, we in the Episcopal Church adopted most of the changes including the free standing altar and facing the people. I remember so well when facing the people my feeling of being “ultra-cool” and dismissing the protests of the parishioners against the changes with “Father knows best” because “Roma locuta est, causa finita est.” 

I am a convert from the Episcopal Church, having functioned as an Episcopal minister for nearly eleven years before deciding to enter the Catholic Church. I was always associated with the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Episcopal Church, so the Mass was always at the center of my faith, and I always understood the role of beauty in the celebration of Mass. When the post-Vatican II liturgical changes came in the late 1960’s, we adopted most of the changes including the free standing altar and facing the people. I remember so well when facing the people my feeling of being “ultra-cool” and dismissing the protests of the parishioners against the changes with “Father knows best” because “Roma locuta est, causa finita est.” 

My First Days as a Catholic Priest

The proximate reason why I left the Episcopal Church was because of developments within that body that departed from the Catholic understanding of the Church. But the deeper reason was that, after much study, learning and prayer, I saw, like Newman, that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded and that once one understood this, one had the moral obligation to become part of that Church. The impetus for becoming Catholic was Blessed John Paul’s formation of the Pastoral Provision in the 1980’s that made possible for former Episcopal priests who were married to be considered for the Catholic priesthood. I was received into the Church in 1982 and ordained priest in 1984.

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The deeper reason why I left the Episcopal Church was that, after much study, learning and prayer, I saw, like Newman, that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded.

I became a Catholic at a time during which there was continuing liturgical abuse, when Catholic music seemed to no longer exist in parishes and in its place saccharine sacro-pop prevailed, a time when Mass seemed more like a high school assembly than the awesome Sacrifice, a time when it seemed as if there was a deliberate forgetting, a mass amnesia, of the Tradition of the Mass. As a Pastoral Provision priest I had the option of being an Anglican Use priest, but I decided against this quite vehemently, for I wanted to be an ordinary Catholic priest at this particular time in the Church’s history. No nostalgia for me, no hankering after the good old days—the Novus Ordo defined the Mass in this present time, and I knew that I must submit to this and do my best to celebrate what the Church had given to me.

I became a Catholic at a time during which there was continuing liturgical abuse, when Catholic music seemed to no longer exist in parishes and in its place saccharine sacro-pop prevailed.

How I Came to Learn the Traditional Latin Mass

This background is necessary to understand the profound effect that learning and celebrating the Traditional Mass had on me. The first ten years of my priesthood were not easy but were a source of grace. But I always felt an incompleteness, that there was something missing, something I should have known but did not. And this sense of incompleteness was always associated with the celebration of Mass. It was at this time that my bishop asked if I would learn the Traditional Mass, because one of the priests who celebrated the two Indult Masses in the diocese had died. I was asked because of my strong background in Latin. I initially refused. My refusal was based on my fear that this would be seen by my fellow priests as a reversion to my old “high-church” (a damnable term) days as an Anglican.

I wanted to be an ordinary Catholic priest at this particular time in the Church’s history. No nostalgia for me, no hankering after the good old days. Then my bishop asked if I would learn the Traditional Mass, because one of the priests who celebrated the two Indult Masses in the diocese had died. I was asked because of my strong background in Latin. I initially refused.
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Mr Bill Riccio

But the bishop prevailed. I learned the Mass at the hands of one of the great mentors of so many priests who have learned the Traditional Mass, Mr. William Riccio of New Haven. He, quite rightly, taught me Solemn Mass first, rather than Low Mass. I remember, more than my ordination, my first Solemn Mass at Sacred Heart Church in New Haven under the sponsorship of the St. Gregory Society, which in the dark days of the Indult, supported the Traditional Mass in an important and heroic way.

What Happened at My First Traditional Latin Mass

As I walked up the aisle at my first Mass, I was terrified, frightened that I would forget what I was supposed to be doing. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with the thought of remembering all the gestures, the order of things. But I knew Bill was by my side as the MC and that gave me comfort. I got through the Mass through the Offertory without any disasters.

And so I started the Canon. I cannot write this except with great emotion, for the moment is so etched into my memory. I came to the consecration and said those words that are at the very heart of Catholic faith and worship. It was then, during the Unde et memores, that suddenly, while saying the words silently, that I realized in a flash of insight, that this was what was missing, this is what I was meant to do as a Catholic priest, this is what joined me to the Tradition of the Church. That was a moment of healing, a moment of grace-ful surprise, surprised by joy, and the joy of that moment changed me as a priest, and in the very real trials of being a priest in the Church at this time in history this moment of joy has never left me.

And so I started the Canon. I cannot write this except with great emotion, for the moment is so etched into my memory. I came to the consecration and said those words that are at the very heart of Catholic faith and worship. It was then, during the Unde et memores, that suddenly, while saying the words silently, that I realized in a flash of insight, that this was what was missing, this is what I was meant to do as a Catholic priest, this is what joined me to the Tradition of the Church.

Today, Beauty and Depth Overflowing

I am blessed with being a priest in a parish where the main Sunday Mass is the Traditional Roman rite Solemn Mass. This Mass has been a great blessing to our priests and to our parishioners, for its beauty and its depth overflows to the celebrations of the Novus Ordo Mass in both English and Spanish. I am convinced that the presence of the Traditional Mass in every Catholic parish in the world would be a key to that re-evangelization of the Western world that must happen before we can evangelize the world.

Hoc est opus nostrum, hoc est labor. May God give us the strength to do what needs to be done.

Published with permission from Farther Cipolla, first printed at The New Liturgical Movement, photos by Stuart Chessman with permssion

 

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.

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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. 
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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.

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

 

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

The First Saint Born in America

January 4 Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Feast day today. Ora pro nobis. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is beloved by American Catholics as our first native-born saint. In this article,  Dan Flaherty recounts how this great Saint had a heart of charity from an early age — and how she endured much hardship along a road … Read more

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.”

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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!

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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

 

Something Old, Something Borrowed

A New Life for Your Old Wedding Dress

by Sylvana Budesheim

With the popularity of shows like “Say Yes to the Dress,” it is clear that a major focal point of today’s wedding is the gown. Brides spend copious amounts of time, effort and money finding the ‘perfect’ gown,  appropriate for the time of day and year, the location, and the bride herself.

It is almost amusing to see how so much can go into an article of clothing which will only be used once.

Brides spend copious amounts of time, effort and money finding the ‘perfect’ gown.

The Problem of the Traditional Option

What to do with that ornate—and expensive—wedding gown once the ceremony and reception have passed? Dry cleaners suggest that brides have dresses cleaned and preserved, so the silk, organza, and tulle don’t yellow and any cake frosting or stray makeup is carefully removed.

There is also the chance that the properly preserved dress will make another appearance in due time, on a bride’s female relative in the next generation; a daughter, a niece, or perhaps a god-daughter.

Unfortunately, since there is no guarantee that size or style are hereditary, many a preserved wedding dress is left to languish in the box.

Unfortunately, since there is no guarantee that size or style are hereditary, many a preserved wedding dress is left to languish in the box.

Trashing — Or Looking to the Future?

Popular society has embraced the nihilistic trend of wedding gown trashing, with photographers documenting the gown’s burning or shredding.

Thankfully, there is a kinder option, especially for those brides who look forward to motherhood with joy and longing. Today, there are seamstresses who specialize in cutting wedding gowns into beautiful and ornate baptismal gowns, thereby extending the Sacraments of the Church into the next generation.

Popular society has embraced the nihilistic trend of wedding gown trashing, with photographers documenting the gown’s burning or shredding.

Other brides will carry a handkerchief as their “something old,” a reference to the old anonymous poem about what will bring good luck to a bride. The handkerchief is something of the bygone era for the most part, but some are especially made with a dual purpose. With a few stitches, the handkerchief becomes a bonnet for the new baby to wear with their baptismal gown.

Your wedding gown is more than a pretty dress. Understood properly, and in the right hands, it can become a window to the past, or a treasured gift for the future.

This bride, confident that her daughters would be much too tall to have inherited her dress, made the decision to turn it into a baptismal gown.

A former teacher, Sylvana Budesheim uses her Education degrees to ensure her four children are always grammatically correct and help the occasional student file a better college application essay. Her blog can be found at www.incidentproneSAHM.wordpress.com.

 

Back from the ‘Promised Land’

Our Move to Nebraska from California

You moved to be in the Lincoln diocese; was it a difficult move? Are you happy?

EileenWe were very concerned about the dramatic rise in crime, drugs and poverty that the city in which we lived was experiencing.  We were very concerned that, although our children attended our parish school, the catechesis they were receiving, particularly in terms of sacramental preparation, was poor at best.

We also started homeschooling in January 2011, before we moved to Lincoln.  The decision to homeschool really helped us make the decision that we needed to relocate to Lincoln.  We knew we wanted to raise our family in an environment which was safe, nurturing, and we could live our faith daily without having to apologize for being “too Catholic”.

We are very happy in Lincoln, NE, and hope to stay here permanently.

What are your new parishioners and neighborhood like, in contrast to California?

Photo by Cathy Blankenau Bender.St. Teresa School in Lincoln, Neb. pray before entering the school.
PRAYING AFTER RECESS helps students focus at St Theresa’s School in Lincoln, Nebraska. PHOTO CREDIT: Cathy Blankenau Bender

The Diocese of Lincoln is known for its orthodox bishop and priests.  Because of this, the community at St. Francis has not grown significantly over the years.  The people who attend St. Francis do so because they are dedicated to the TLM.

However, coming from our previous diocese, this is a huge improvement!  Our previous TLM experience consisted of priests coming in from out of town from as far away as five hours, to say the TLM.  The feeling that many TLMers had was one of the “ugly stepchild.”

The neighborhood in which we live now is in southwest Lincoln.  It is a very safe and friendly neighborhood.  My kids have introduced themselves to all of our neighbors and they have all been very friendly towards our kids, inviting them to play on their swing sets and use their basketball hoops without having to ask first.

I have no qualms about letting the kids play outside during the day without direct supervision.  In California, we lived in a gated community on a cul-de-sac.  Despite this, we did not know any of our neighbors, and I did not like sending the kids outside alone because I just did not feel that they were safe.

Do you have children? Are you homeschooling? Would you call it a healthy environment for kids?

We have three children, ages 12, 11 and 9.  We adopted the kids as a sibling group out of foster care in October 2006.  I have homeschooled all three children since January 2011.  Lincoln is a wonderful environment in which to raise a family.  There are many parks, hiking and biking trails throughout the city.  There is a terrific library system, and a number of kid-friendly museums.

The Catholic homeschooling community is strong, and it continues to get bigger and better every year.  Whenever we go somewhere in town and the kids tell people that they are homeschooled, the response is often, “You are so lucky!” or “What a blessing!”  We rarely received these responses in California about homeschooling, even from family and friends.

What have been your general impressions of the lay Catholics in Lincoln? The clergy?

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EIGHTEEN ORDERS OF CATHOLIC SISTERS are present in the Diocese of Lincoln.

Even though we prefer attending the Traditional Latin Mass, it is such a relief to know that we can take our children to Mass anywhere in Lincoln and feel certain that they will not see the liturgical abuses that we witnessed in our previous diocese.  The Novus Ordo priests in the Diocese of Lincoln have been properly catechized, and I know that I will not hear anything from the pulpit that is contrary to the Church’s teachings.  I feel comfortable wearing my veil at any Mass, and do not get stared or glared at by others as we stay and pray after Mass.

All of the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lincoln go to daily Mass.  What a blessing!  The parish school my children attended in California offered Mass only once a week.  Sadly, Mass was frequently canceled for reasons that were never made clear to us.

The diocesan clergy that I have met personally here in Lincoln have been wonderful.  Faith-filled men, dedicated to the Church, but not thrown off by the fact that we attend the TLM.  Some of the more recently ordained diocesan priests have learned how to say the Low Mass, and have offered a Low Mass for an end to abortion once a month.

LincolnprocessionbenderphotoAnother blessing has been discovering the women religious!  There are 18 orders in the Diocese of Lincoln!  And they all wear habits!  Before moving to Lincoln my children had never seen a sister in a habit.  Now, my children see these women in the community on a regular basis, and are able to say, “Hi Sister!” without staring or asking, “Who is that? Why is she dressed like that?”

The ministries these women offer are so valuable to the Lincoln community.  The Diocese of Lincoln was so blessed to have Bishop Bruskewicz at the helm for so many years, and the diocese continues to be blessed with Bishop Conley.  Clearly the faith-filled priests and women religious of Lincoln are a reflection of the orthodoxy of the Bishops of Lincoln.  The longer we live in Lincoln the more we discover what a blessing it is to live here.

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