Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Identity: Priestly and Religious Attire

I have written many times before about those key elements of Catholic identity that used to just "scream" Catholicism... Fish on Fridays, Reverent Silence, the Real Presence, etc. One that has been burning in the back of my mind for quite some time is the topic of today's post: Priestly & Religious Attire.

This has recently bubbled to the top of my mind because of a two recent events... 1) I saw an example that screamed out to me and 2) a very long airport delay that has provided me with that precious commodity of time.

After many, many months of business travel, I was finally able to steal a weekend back home in Boston and went to my beloved immigrant parish in which I grew up and have so often shared with you as a model of maintaining much of it's Catholic identity. As I finished kneeling before the tabernacle before Mass, a number of old and dear friends noticed me and gave a nod or wave.

Then two young men came up the aisle in their jeans, turtle-neck sweaters, and back-packs, waltzed pass the tabernacle and into the sacristy. I said to myself, "Well, Father must have gotten some new servers since I had left, but they need a bit of a lesson on reverence and dress."
Father then came out of the Sacristy, in his Franciscan habit and came over to say hello to me. I thought this was a bit odd, since Mass was very near starting, but then it happened...

To my horror, the two young men reappeared from the Sacristy, one in a rose chasuble, the other in a rose Deacon's stole! The priest had his turtle neck sweater sticking out of the neck of the alb. After Mass, back in the "civilian" clothes, back-packs on... and out to "mission" to the masses!

But exactly what mission? I find it no small coincidence that shortly after this happened, our Holy Father addressed the priests of Rome and told them that they need to be visibile in the world. If they are seen leaving the church, and walking into the caffe, the priest and deacon that I described above bear no witness to their sacred office.

And I do not mean to only speak of priests, but other religious too, who have "kicked the habit" and moved into their stylish business suits with a lapel cross. We have children today that have never seen a nun in habit which gives the horrible impression that they "no longer exist". Who would ever desire to be a nun when they have never "seen" one.

One can say..."clothes not make the man" ... but I differ strongly with that line of argument. When I dressed as a kid in my "Sunday best" I knew I could not do the "normal" things that would get them dirty... it was different. When dressed for a wedding or business meeting... there is an air of difference in those attending. Even now there is a "corporate" uniform that I must wear.

Taking this discussion outside of the religious context... what is more reassuring (unless you are speeding!) than the site of policeman in uniform? The uniform that they wear immediately broadcasts their vocation and role in society. The only time that they do not wear it is when "under-cover" to try to hide their identity. The witness of priestly and religious attire does make a difference. The lack of its display gives an air of contempt and shame for the sacred office for which they should be happy and proud to have been called.

It is amazing to me just how inter-related so many of our stuggles withing the Church are directly related to each other and to the loss of our Catholic identity. A priest or religious not wearing religious attire has a direct impact on vocations.... the same as allowing the loss of male-only altar servers.... and the loss of sacred reverence as we have discussed in an early post.

So, I hope and pray this is all a passing "fad" of those priest and religious raised in the turbulent 60's when distain for authority and "uniformity" was in clear ascendance. I pray for all priest... I pray for more priests... I pray for many more holy priests.

St. John Vianney, Patron of all Priests, pray for our holy priests!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Identity: The Saints

Gentle Readers... I must beg your forgiveness for my long silence, but alas, my day job is in banking, and if you have been following the news these last number of months, to say that things have been busy lately would be the understatement of the year. (St. Matthew, Patron of Bankers, Pray for me)

I am a bit late in posting for All Saints, but given that we are still in November, when Holy Mother Church asks us to pray throughout the month for our Dead, I think the timing will remain appropriate.

As I discussed in my last post regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, if dedication to her remains strong, our dedication to the rest of the Communion of Saints is beyond waning. When was the last time you heard the Litany of Saints sung or when the life of a Saint was preached from the pulpit. When was the last time that the patron saint of your church was celebrated on his feast day with a special Mass and a procession around the church?

In a time when mankind thinks that they themselves are gods, what need to we have of mere imitators of Christ? But it is exactly this hubris of our modern society that cries out that we more than ever look to the saints of the Church as a model of humility and love of the one true God!

Stand up in your parish and form a society for your parish's patron saint! Organize an annual carnival or bazaar in honor of your saint's feast day and organize a procession... Here is St. Anthony festival in Boston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sd87gaz9Uw and for continuity, here it is in 1956!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRJwLMDfnsg&NR=1 )

Hold other fundraisers to raise money to award scholarships to students who study and write a paper on the life of a saint of their choice. Have your confirmation students do studies on the confirmation names that they choose.

It is up to all of us, and the parish priests to again bring these holy models and imitators of Christ back into focus so that we sinful and weak humans might have comfort in fact that there is hope for us a well, since the saints were human too.

Santa Maria, San Giuseppe, e San Orante... Orate pro nobis!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Identity: The Blessed Virgin Mary

As we celebrate today the great feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss Mary’s special place in our Catholic Identity. It is actually one of the brighter spots in the health of our identity, for devotion to the Blessed Mother, while perhaps waning, is not dead like so many other key elements of our identity that I have already discussed or plan to in future posts.

Mary’s special place of honor among Christians has existed since Christ Himself “consigned” her to the love and care of John (and the Church) as he hung from the Cross. She was there for every step of her beloved son’s life, from her Fiat to bare Him, to His death on the Cross.

And Mary was there for others, whether her cousin Elizabeth in her time if need, or interceding for the first time at the Wedding of Cana where Christ performed His first miracle. From the earliest days of Christianity, she was considered to be Theotokos, the Mother of God, and the Church defended this title through many heresies.

At the local level, this love and devotion to Mary was shown in a number of ways: May Day Coronations, the Rosary, yard statues, scapulars, medallions, etc. One of the fastest ways to know if someone was Catholic was by notice if a Marian statue was in the front yard or a Miraculous Medal was around their neck.

Growing up Italian, the impact of Mary cannot be understated. Every street corner in Italy would have a niche with a statue of La Madonna (“Our Lady). Many a village in the Italian countryside had miracles attributed to the Madonna, each carrying their own title like Madonna di Anzano, Madonna della Grazia, Madonna del Soccorso, etc, and even Rome itself… La Madonna Auxillium Christianorum.

From these manifestations of Mary, great religious and civic feasts became a part of the Catholic identity, not only in the village in which the feast originated, but also to where their citizens immigrated. It was this identity that held the community together, drawing people to Christ and His Church, through Mary.

To share an example, here is the Feast of Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca in Sicily: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ulm31OdUMI

And here is where this identity was carried across the sea to Boston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F5lIIxQ_U4

Now sadly, many of these traditions are being lost, or worse, even the feasts themselves are loosing their religious nature and becoming more secular celebrations with the Madonna as a mere prop.

But while we may forget that Mary is our Mother, she has not forgotten us, and like her Son, she has not left us alone… as Fatima, Lourdes, and Guadalupe show. She continues to call us to conversion and to follow her Son.

Let us pray that we like Mary might answer to God’s will… Ecce ancilla Domini…Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum (Luke 1:38)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fact: Solemn High Mass in Extraordinary Form on August 15 in Clemmons, NC

Dear Readers, please see this post over at Charlie's blog where he has learned of a Solemn High Mass to be offered on the Feast of the Assumption B.V.M. at noon in Clemmons, NC at Holy Family Church.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Identity: The Real Presence

Nothing sets Catholics and the True Church apart from the Protestants than our believe in the Real Presence of Christ -- Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It is also this believe for which many mock us, and even worse, perform profane sacrilege and desecration against that which is held most precious to us.

This has been all too obvious lately as the Evil One has enlisted unbelieving men as his vulgar accomplices in performing unspeakable acts of desecration. Even in our “enlightened” world, Christ continues to be mocked and injured by sinful men. It is really sad, and even as painful as it is to read , one must really feel sorry and pray for the conversion of these evil people. Even Saul of Tarsus was able to overcome his persecution of Christ to become one of his greatest followers. But for those who take their malevolence to the grave, I shudder to imagine their eternal punishment.

But sadly, one does not have to look to malevolent atheists to find this supreme disrespect; rather you can find it within our own churches! At least the atheists have not been taught nor “confessed by faith” their believe in the Real Presence. I alluded in my discussion of Reverent Silence that there are those within our own credo who show little if any respect for the Blessed Sacrament. They enter the church without genuflecting or reverencing it, if you can even find the Blessed Sacrament in some of our churches.

Most shockingly, it is not only displayed by the laity, but also by some priests! We have all seen priests who walk past the tabernacle without reverencing it, or enter the sanctuary for Mass without genuflecting to the Blessed Sacrament. If the priests do not show it via example, is it any surprise that their flocks do not? I also feel that some of these priests have lost their own believe in the Real Presence which can be seen during the consecration…offered with little if any feeling and without genuflection after the elevation. What a difference from the deep ecstasy that Padre Pio would enter into at the moment of consecration.

At a recent Mass in a very “modern” church here in the diocese of Charlotte, I personally witnessed a horrifying display of Eucharistic abuse. During the communion of the faithful, I notice a woman approaching the priest to take communion. Once she took her communion (in the hand, of course), she pulled out a wrinkled facial tissue and asked the priest for another Host. He seemingly refused.

A woman later in the line reaches the priest, and had a conversation with him. After which, she ascended to the altar, and took the pyx off of the altar and carried it down to where the earlier woman was sitting. The woman then opened the pyx and began to beat it on the palm of her hand like it was a new ketchup bottle in order to remove the Sacred Host… while the other woman was reaching into her purse to pull out her kleenex again. At this point I buried my face into my hands, unable to watch this abuse any longer. I can only imagine how it all ‘ended’, but what was all too clear to me was that these women could not believe that Christ is truly present in that Host.

I sincerely feel that his loss of a core believe is directly related to our loss of focus in our liturgies, most especially the Mass, as the worship of God and His Son’s Sacrifice on the Cross made present again on the altar. Instead, we focus on ourselves, as His Holiness stated in his books on the liturgy, we “create a closed circle in upon ourselves”.

This is further lost by the allowance of non-consecrated hands to touch the sacred Host… by both the faithful and the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. The mystery is gone, and it is the mystery that allows one to coming into “contact” with Christ mentally (i.e. spiritually) not physically. What is special or sacred about something that anyone can touch?

We must return our focus to the Real Presence and it must be preached and taught from the pulpit… and it must be believed and exampled by our priests! Christ in the tabernacle must be returned to His rightful place on the Altar before the all the Faithful to see and kneelers must be returned to all churches for us to prostrate ourselves before Our Savior. We must return to Communion on the tongue via the priests' hands. Lastly, the return of wide-spread and common-place Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction and 40-Hours Devotion.

Please pray for increased reverence of the Blessed Sacrament and for holy priests to set the example for us… and yes, also for those who profane our Eucharistic Lord. (A true test I my charity I must confess.)

Fact: Late Breaking News on Aug. 2 Mass at St. Ann's

I doubt that my blog has the readership to reach the right audience, especially give the short notice, but it was announced on Sunday, that Father Reid will be leaving Thursday, July 31 for a mission trip to Jamaica. As a result, the regular 8.00am Mass in the Extraordinary Form that he offers will instead be offered in the Ordinary form on August 2 by a visiting priest, Father Henning.

This unfortunately was not announced at Saturday's Extraordinary form of the Mass so there may be some who regularly assist at that Mass who will be surprised next Saturday. If you know anyone who regularly attends, or might attend on First Saturdays, please let them know of this news.

The Extraordinary form will return on the following Saturday, August 9, at 8.00am, but this will be the last Saturday morning Mass when the Extraordinary Form will then be moved to Wednesdays, at 6.00pm as discussed here in an earlier post.

Please pray for more priests to be trained in the Extraordinary form so that a vacation, pilgrimage, or mission trip of one priest will not cause Masses in the Extraordinary form to be cancelled or changed to the Ordinary form.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Identity: Fridays are a Day of Penance and Abstinence

Given that as of the writing of this post it is Friday, I thought an interesting topic of Catholic identity to discuss today was the sacredness of Fridays as days of penance and abstinence.

As I have mentioned before, I am not theologian and my discussions of Catholic identity are of those things that non-scholars at one time could identify with their Catholic friends. There was a time when a Catholic could easily be “spotted” in any restaurant or diner on a Friday evening based on what they ordered – Fish.

As kids in Catholic school, we knew Fridays were “different” because we always had morning confessions and Mass. After the morning classes, lunch served in the cafeteria was always fish or macaroni & cheese… even in the public schools!

Outside of schools, the restaurants ran their seafood specials and the all the local social clubs from the Knights of Columbus to the Elks & Eagles Lodges would hold their weekly “Fish Frys”.

But alas, as with many “implementations” of the “spirit” of Vatican II, we decided that we no longer needed to abstain from meat on Fridays... if we choose some other act of charity or suffering. But with poor catechesis on the “change”, the outcome did nothing but cause us to loose complete focus as to what is being commemorated on Fridays, and ignore the abstinence with not other act of penance.

It was also one of the significant changes to our “external” Catholic identity that caused us to be indistinguishable from non-Catholics. Walk into a school cafeteria now on a Friday, and you will see Hot Roast Beef sandwiches or Chili con carne! Any Catholic still wanting to hold the older Tradition is reduced to the pagan vegan menu to find a meatless substitute. Business luncheons and conference no longer take Friday into consideration when creating their menus. Our unique identity to the non-Catholic world has been completely lost!

Still worse, it lead a generation of Catholics who had been taught that you could not eat meat on Fridays one week, but starting next week it’s OK … leading many souls down the slippery slope of Cafeteria Catholicism where they say, “I only believe X, cause the Church can change it like that meat on Fridays thing.” So causal with fasting and abstinence are the “faithful” now, that since they do not have to abstain every Friday, “why should I bother during Lent?”

Fridays were “different” and not because they were the beginning of the weekend; rather, they were days when you were encouraged to think about want happened on that Holy Friday 2000 years ago; to remember that the Sacrifice on the Cross and the shedding of His Holy Blood for the Redemption of His sinful flock; to confess our sins; and to add our sufferings to His.

The Cross & Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ is as important to our salvation as His glorious Resurrection three days later, and we must remember it! We must commemorate it! We must understand that our sins are the source of His Suffering on that Cross…so many Fridays ago.

It was for these reasons that we went to Confession, to Mass, and were required to abstain from meat every Friday! It is for these reasons that we should continue to do this every Friday, not just during the Fridays of Lent.

Pray for a return of greater penance and abstinence in commemoration of His Sufferings.

“And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour” (Luke 23:44)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grapevine: TLM to be offered at Charlotte Cathedral?

As with all the "Grapevine" posts, there is nothing formal or official with which to link or reference directly, but there are stong currents from different sources that lead some to believe that in the not too distant future, the Mass in the Extraordinary Form may be offered at the Charlotte Cathedral on a regular basis.

Giving the rumor some objective creedence is that fact that Father Roux, the new Rector of the Cathedral, was most recently a Priest-in-Residence at St. Ann's parish, and was a supporter of Fr. Reid's efforts in offering the TLM there at St. Ann's. In addition, Fr. Roux himself offered the Mass in the Extraordianary Form on this last weekend at St. Ann's.

Couple this with the changes seen by Charlie in the orientation going on at the Cathedral since his arrival, one can easily see how this could be a definate possibility in the future. The key as always, dear Readers, is to be patient, for little by little things are changing!! If anyone has information that could confirm or deny this posting, please let me know.

Please pray for patience... and for more holy priests and vocations!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Indentity: Inter-City Parish Life in the 1960's

I found this wonderful post from a number of months back on Catholic Online that I wanted to share with you all, dear Readers, that is germane to the purpose of my blogging. I would first state that I am not trying to turn the clock back to the 1960's, but I most certainly am implying that ones true essence and being, i.e. their spiritual identity, need not change as the fashions and fads do.

Just more food for thought...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Identity: Reverent Silence

As I thought about the various elements that I associated with Catholic Identity, one of the many things that comes to mind is what I call “Reverent Silence”. I am sure that formal liturgists or folks more scholarly than me would argue that that term does not exist or means something else. I will be the first to admit that I read a lot, but retain very little, but often I remember key terminologies that then I attach my own meaning… not ideal, but hey, I remember the term at least!

When I speak of “reverent silence” I am speaking of something, perhaps similar to the expression “sacred silence” that I believe others have used, most especially in the context of the quiet moments in the Extraordinary form of the Mass. But specifically, I remember the silence from my Italian parish in the North End of Boston… San Leonardo.

And not really just at San Leonardo, but it was at many of the parishes that I would have occasion to attend in the Northeast, albeit most of them of ethnic in composition (i.e. Italian, Polish, Lithuanian, Irish, Portuguese, etc.)

Walking into any of these churches was as like walking into another world. They had a special aura about them that would immediately jog ones mind into the very clear and obvious sense that you had entered into a different place… a holy place.

My writings will never be confused for Dante’s, but allow me to try to “set the scene/mood” for what was different about these churches. Upon entering, the first thing you would notice was that it was dim! The lights were almost never on, but rather the natural light streaming through the stained glass windows and the flickering glow of candles around the entire perimeter in front of the many statues of the saints… the most noticeable candle being the “big red one” next to the Tabernacle… the one that told the world that God is here!!

As your eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, the second thing that you would sense was the smell… that amazing smell of a hundred years of burning candles and incense that has permeated every surface of the interior. Not unlike that special smell that grandma’s house always had from the decades of cooking sauce and baking cookies! That smell that if you were even blindfolded and had no idea to where you were being taken, you would know it immediately by the smell.

Then you would feel it… and it was absolute silence! This is the “reverent silence” of which I am talking. But it goes with all the elements that I have aforementioned. For entering into this holy Domus Dei, you dare not speak, for there was no reason. The environment would immediately make you want to kneel and speak to God, for you could feel His Presence and nothing could be more important than to begin your prayer.

Anyone that has been to a Eucharistic Adoration, you know that feeling of which I speak, but imagine having that feeling simply walking into the church and having that same sense of God’s Presence. And it mattered not how many were in the church, whether one person or full, the silence was always the same.

So continuing our journey into the “reverent silence”, one takes their place in the pews and begins their prayers, most with their Rosaries, silently passing the worn beads through their fingers, focused solely on the silence of moment and the Real Presence in the Tabernacle.

Then, the silence would be some what broken by sound of the bells in the tower outside calling the faithful socializing in the garden to enter. This was followed swiftly by the slow clicking of the lights, first beginning to light the Sanctuary, then wave after wave though the nave until the interior was transformed before our eyes, with the now clearly seen frescos and colorful statues and glittering gold!

As the echoes of the bells fade away, the silence returns but now with a sense of anticipation. Something special was about to happen. The strong smell of frankincense raises from the rear as the silence is again broken as the organ bursts forth its strains like the choir of angels over the Bethlehem plains. The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has begun!!

I am not sure if I have captured the scene well or not for you, dear Readers, but I hope that you can get a sense of what we are clearly lacking in many of today’s churches, especially here in the Charlotte area. I must sadly say that I have been in quieter train stations and airports than some of our local churches. I have long since given up trying to pray my Rosary before Mass since I can hardly hear myself praying due to the cacophony of noises from folks whom I can only assume have no true believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Tabernacle.

I must be careful here for not crossing over into a venting of my frustration and not being judgmental, sinner that I am. But I do not think I am crossing a line when I point out facts and let you Readers draw upon your own experiences to come to your own conclusions; however, some of the loudest people that I have heard shouting their Sunday greetings across the pews to each other also have displayed blatant disregard for even the slightest acknowledging of the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament with a bow, let alone a genuflection.

I sincerely believe that this loss of ‘reverent silence’ has been one of the direct reasons for the lack of believe in the Real Presence by so many modern “Catholics”. I would also not disagree if one wanted to argue the converse, that the loss in Real Presence believe has lead to the loss of reverent silence; but without the silence, when can they even begin to ponder the great mystery of the Eucharistic Presence?

It is the silence that is needed to hear God’s voice whispering in the wind. It is the silence that is needed to “focus” our attention that the church is different building than a coffee shop or social hall … it is for the worship of our God, truly present!

Lastly, of all the elements of Catholic Identity that I hope to write about, this is one of the easiest to change, but it takes the courage of the priests to tell their flock that the church is a place of silence and worship, and to socialize before or after Mass in the “designated” areas. Believe me, nothing was a more social environment than the outside Peace Garden of San Leonardo. It was busy before Mass, and an absolute zoo after Mass, with the chatter of passion-filled Italians who had just had to be quiet for an hour… no easy task to keep us Italians quiet that long!

Please pray for a return of reverent silence... "Hear in silence, and for thy reverence good grace shall come to thee." (Ecclesiasticus 32:9)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fact: Introduction Catechesis to Extraordinary Form at St. Ann's

Dear Readers... please be sure to surf over to Carolina Cannonball's blog for an excellent post on the upcoming catechesis to take place at St. Ann's in Charlotte regarding the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Identity: Preaching the Truth Courageously

The history of Catholic identity always included courageous preaching of the Truth, most especially from the pulpit. Not wishy-washy, weak-kneed, and spineless homilies that only serve to enable the errors of their wayward flocks; on the contrary, they were passion-filled, fire and brimstone homilies that did not sugar coat the sinfulness of their flocks and the call for their conversion back to the Truth as given to God’s Church. But this was done out of love, not judgment.

These Catholic priests were not afraid to call things black and white, knowing that there is no grey in God’s truth. Many of the saints and missionaries were famous for their preaching and courage both within the Church and in pagan lands. It is not surprising that Saint Anthony, who was famous for his preaching, was blessed by God to have his vocal cords and tongue miraculously kept incorruptible.

With the Holy Father’s ongoing attempt to help the Church to recapture its Catholic Identity, so well documented on Fr. Z’s blog, it is wonderful to now see this courageous preaching returning again to the pulpit most specifically by those priests touched by the fullness of Catholic Tradition, and I think not so coincidently, by those who also offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

If we what to help recapture this, we must encourage our priests when they preach the Truth. It is not easy, and in today’s world, the loud Cafeteria Catholics make their voice and money all too well heard, but we much stand up for the Truth. Tell them that we appreciate their honesty and candor of what is expected of us, and then listen and live by it! This is part of our mission!

Fr. Reid of St. Ann’s is just such a priest who needs to be recognized for his courage. At today’s Mass (in the Ordinary Form), he preached about the 40 year anniversary of His Holiness, Paul VI, encyclical Humanæ Vitæ. Fr. Reid, with all the love of a father for his children, laid out the hard Truth of the “intrinsic evil” of contraception and it incongruence with God’s plan for life. It was one of the most powerful homilies I have heard in a long time, and he is to be commended for preaching on a subject that most “pastors” fear to even think about it internally, let alone preach it from the pulpit.

But priests like Fr. Reid need our support and prayers, for the world in which we live is not very kind to those who preach and teach the Truth! The Evil One has a firm grip of the secular world and he uses it to try to discredit holy men like Pope Benedict XVI and Fr. Reid. One needs only to look at the coverage, if you could find it, of World Youth Day in Sydney where the media droned on incessantly about the ‘sexual abuse scandal’ while the Holy Father did and said many fantastic things.

And one doesn’t have to be the Pope to have the secular media have its “opinion”. In a recent opinion piece in the Charlotte Observer newspaper with regard to the return of the Extraordinary form of the Mass at St. Ann’s, the author who attended stated that the sermon “was a little muscular, a little Mel Gibson”. My return question is “As opposed to what…a limp sermon?” There have been too many “limp sermons” in the last 40 years, given so as to not hurt our sinful sensibilities! As the cliché says…“sometimes the Truth hurts!”

Please pray for holy priests and the courage for them to teach us the Truth!

Grapevine: Re-orientation Changes at Charlotte’s Cathedral of St. Patrick?

At the blog of an extraordinary Catholic youth, he comments there could very well be changes in the making at Charlotte's cathedral.

This would make a lot of sense as the new Rector of St. Patrick’s, Fr. Roux, had most recently been a Priest-in-Residence at St. Ann’s where as I have mentioned in earlier posts, wonderful things are happing!

In fact, on his last weekend at St. Ann’s, Fr. Roux offered the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Little by little things are changing… Deo Gratias!!

Please pray for His Excellency, Bishop Jugis and Frather Roux

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fact: St. Ann’s Church to be “Transformed”

After many years of worshiping in a “basement” grotto, Fr. Reid recently announced that the final approval from His Excellency, Bishop Jugis , has been received and that the long awaited “transformation” of St. Ann’s will likely begin in September.

And what a transformation it will be! As you can see here , the plans for the new church are in a word…“stunning”. This new church will absolutely embody many of those elements of our Catholic identity that have been long lost.

A sanctuary focused on the Blessed Sacrament and the Crucifix that will support the offering of the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in both its forms. The return of the side altars, altar rail, confessionals, choir loft, and a narthex separated form the nave to keep that social chatter in its proper place.

I was so excited by these plans, I felt that I must do all I could to help, both with my prayers and with my checkbook. Once this transformation is completed, it will be one of the most beautiful places of worship in Charlotte to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, possible even more that the Cathedral of Charlotte itself.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

Grapevine: TLM may be offered at St. Michael’s in Gastonia in the future

I am aware of no formal announcement of plans, but according the Vicar Forane of Charlotte, Father Arnsparger of St. Michael’s in Gastonia is another parish in the Charlotte area expected to offer the Mass in the Extraordinary form in the not too distant future.

It is also my understanding, although I have not attended, that Fr. Arnsparger offers a Latin Mass in the Ordinary form every First Saturday at 8.15am. It is my further understanding that by offering this Novus Ordo Mass in Latin, Fr. Arnsparger is developing his Latin skills. Lastly to this point, the “little red books” for the TLM have been ordered and possibly even been received by this time.

As a fact I can state that I have attended his English Masses in the Ordinary form and it is very obvious from the moment of entering his parish that Fr. Arnsparger is committed to recapturing and developing the Catholic identity of his flock. Upon entering St. Michael’s one will immediately notice two “unique” elements to Charlotte Catholic churches… 1) reverent silence too often missing in other parishes and 2) the “Benedictine” altar arrangement of an altar cross and 6 candles.

Once he actually begins offering the Mass, it is also clear that he has been impacted by his studies of the older form of the Mass in his mannerisms and movements. He is a holy and dedicated priest who we need to remember in our prayers.

Lastly as we talk via the grapevine, I have reason to believe that Fathers Reid and Arnsparger are in contact with each other and that there will be future coordination of the TLMs that are offered.

If anyone happens to have more details that might allow us to move this from Grapevine to Fact, please let me know.

Fact: St. Ann’s Traditional Latin Mass to be expanded!!

I had no sooner just posted asking for patience when the new news hit: Father Reid will be making some changes that will expand the Mass in the Extraordinary form at St. Ann’s parish on Park Road in Charlotte, NC.

Beginning Wednesday, August 13, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, originally held at 8.00am on Saturdays, will be moved to every Wednesday evening at 6.00pm following the 5.00pm Holy Hour of Adoration.

But there is more!! Due to the stable attendance of those assisting every Saturday morning since he began to offer the Mass, he will be adding a 6.30pm Vigil Mass each First Saturday what will fulfill our Sunday obligation!!

Things are changing dear Readers, little by little and step by step, we are slowly beginning to recover our Catholic identity. The important thing to watch here is that Father Reid; whether in the original Saturday morning offering of the Mass, or to the Wednesday evening Mass to which he will move it, he has not “added” a Mass, but rather he has chosen to use the Extraordinary form in place of the Ordinary form.

Why is this important? Because Fr. Reid is listening very closely to what our wonderful Holy Father, Benedict XVI has been saying that the Extraordinary form is a precious treasure of the entire Church, not just those of us who already know and love it. By replacing a regular daily Mass in the Ordinary form with the Extraordinary form, he is sharing this treasure with those who have never been exposed to it before.

Who among us familiar with it think that it will not have a positive impact on the others. The reverence, the silence, the clear focus versus Deum, etc. of the Extraordinary form cannot go unnoticed. Not all will be immediately enamored with the old form of the Mass, but they will notice differences that in the long term will have an impact.

Again I pray for patience among us and our continued prayers for Fr. Reid and His Holiness Benedict XVI – Long may he reign! W il Papa!

Fact: Traditional Latin Masses in Charlotte now offered

It is official dear Readers; Father Reid at St. Ann’s parish on Park Road in Charlotte, NC has begun offering the Extraordinary form of the Mass on a weekly basis, every Saturday morning at 8.00am. While not a Mass fulfilling the Sunday obligation, it is the first regular, weekly Mass offered here in the city of Charlotte and it is expected to grow! Rendiamo grazie a Dio!

Now before folks get all excited of the timing/placement of this seemingly being inconvenient; let us all take a step back and show some patience. After 40 years of no extraordinary form Mass, let us first rejoice at the fact that a regular weekly Mass is being offered by a deeply committed and holy priest. He too needs time since in his formation did not prepare him to offer this Mass.

Please pray for Father Reid, all priests, and for vocations.

Why this blog?

Dear Readers:

Thank you for visiting my blog. With my first post, I wanted to level-set expectations as to what this blog will and will not be. It will never be as insightful as Father Z et alli whose blogs I have linked since I am just not that smart. But I do hope to make it some what thought-provoking, and more importantly, informational related to where to find the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Charlotte, NC as I pray it grows.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to do this alone, and look forward to the help that others might be able to give in letting me know of changes and information that others may find of interest.

Through the course of time, I may also share some stories and recollections of my more traditional Catholic life experiences in Boston and Italy that I hope to one day see grow here in Charlotte. I may even on occasion need to vent, and while I will at all times desire to be charitable, I am human and may fall, so I ask for your forgiveness in advance.

Most of you will likely find this blog boring beyond measure, so I am thankful that it is by your own free-will should you choose to return, but for those to whom my musings resonate, I welcome your comments.

Thank you for reading, and I hope that you might return in the future. God bless you all!