Sunday, January 19, 2020

Tridentine Community News - Musical Talent Hidden in Our Midst; Priest Training in Saginaw; Third of Four London Episodes of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo; Interesting Chancery Perspective; TLMs This Coming Week

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (January 19, 2020):
January 19, 2020 – Second Sunday After Epiphany

Musical Talent Hidden in Our Midst

One Sunday in 2004 at St. Michael’s Church, then the home of the Windsor Latin Mass, our usual organist cancelled at the last minute. For reasons known only to God, this writer was moved to ask his wife to go up and down the aisles, asking each member of the faithful present if he or she might be able to play the organ. With only around 30 in attendance, this was a ludicrous idea. Or was it? It turns out there was a young man present who could indeed play the organ, and he ended up doing the job very well. So well, in fact, that he eventually became the Music Director of the Windsor Tridentine Mass, the first step in what has become an illustrious career in Catholic church music. That young man was Matthew Meloche, who currently serves as Director of Music at Ss. Peter & Paul Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona.

All parties involved still get a laugh when reminiscing about this event, but it turns out the same strategy could have been used once again to fill a temporary vacancy at the Oakland County Latin Mass Association. After several weeks of the choir singing without an organist, we recently learned that OCLMA member and Sacred Heart Major Seminary Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Victor Salas happens to be an accomplished organist and used to play at a seminary in Pennsylvania. After a little arm twisting, he recently began subbing for Sunday Mass at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel. Even more amazing, the OCLMA has been getting two for the price of one: Victor’s daughter Adrienne has been accompanying him on the violin.

If you happen to have (unknown) music talent, by all means ask to audition for the choir at your Latin Mass site. Perhaps your gift could be put to good use in the service of the Lord.

Priest Training in Saginaw

Congratulations to Fr. Christopher Coman of the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, who celebrated his first Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Tuesday, January 14, after training from Extraordinary Faith. Fr. Christopher has been invited by the diocese to be one of the priests to serve a new Latin Mass Community being formed, the first in the diocese. Local faithful are delighted that their many years of prayer and hard work to establish a TLM site are finally coming to fruition.

Third of Four London Episodes of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo

Episode 17 of Extraordinary Faith – London Part 3 of 4 – is now available for viewing on the Extraordinary Faith channel on YouTube and Vimeo. We’ll take you to St. James Spanish Place [pictured], an historic church in London’s embassy district known as a home for traditional Catholic worship. We’ll listen to St. James’ renowned professional choir and learn about London’s thriving sacred music scene from its young music director. We’ll talk with the chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, the largest organization in the world dedicated to promoting the Extraordinary Form. We’ll journey south of the Thames River to St. George’s Cathedral, where a girls’ choir has embraced the classical Latin repertoire. And we’ll meet the convert priest who heads the Anglican Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a quasi-diocese which serves Anglicans who join the Roman Catholic Church.

Interesting Chancery Perspective

An official from a chancery somewhere in the United States recently held a meeting with this writer with an interesting premise: He stated that his diocese has come to the realization that over the next few decades there will be a slow decline of attendance at the Ordinary Form, while the Traditional Mass will experience slow but steady growth, and his diocese wants to be prepared for this shift. It plans to devote an increasing amount of resources to educating, supporting, and promoting traditional liturgy. The official gave permission for us to report this, but not to identify the diocese. Hopefully we will see other dioceses embrace this evolution with a similar positive outlook.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Tue. 01/21 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (St. Agnes, Virgin & Martyr)
  • Sat. 01/25 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Conversion of St. Paul)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for January 19, 2020. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Tridentine Community News - 2019 Year in Review; Thanks to Our Priest Celebrants; Thanks to Our Volunteers

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (December 29, 2019):
December 29, 2019 – Sunday in the Octave of Christmas

2019 Year in Review

As is our annual custom, we present a list of some of the most significant local Latin Mass developments from the past year:

More Churches Offer Special Occasion Tridentine Masses: The Orchard Lake Seminary Chapel, the Solanus Center Friars’ Chapel, St. Mary of Redford, St. Mary in Royal Oak, and Our Lady of the Rosary in Detroit opened their doors for the first time this year for special celebrations of the Traditional Mass.

More Frequent Pontifical Masses: 2019 saw three significant Pontifical Masses: Raymond Cardinal Burke celebrated a Pontifical Solemn Mass at Assumption Grotto; Bishop Earl Boyea celebrated his first Pontifical Solemn Mass at St. John Vianney in Flint; and Bishop Donald Hanchon celebrated a Pontifical Low Mass and conferred Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form for the OCLMA at Old St. Mary’s.

Opening of First Local Classical School: The conversion of John Paul II School in Lincoln Park to a classical format marked the debut of a Latin and classics-centric curriculum in our region. The Archdiocese of Detroit is willing to open more classical schools if the first one proves operationally and financially viable.

Continued Growth in Priest Training: 2019 set another record for number of priests taking advantage of Extraordinary Faith’s two-day training program in celebrating the Extraordinary Form. All three of the priests ordained for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2019 have learned and celebrated the Traditional Mass.

Thanks to Our Priest Celebrants

Please include in your prayers those priests who have celebrated Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form for us over the past year. Without them, we have no Mass: Fr. Lee Acervo, Fr. David Bechill, Fr. Mark Borkowski, Msgr. Ronald Browne, Fr. Athanasius Fornwalt, Fr. Peter Hrytsyk, Fr. Brian Hurley, Fr. David Johnston, Fr. Louis Madey, Fr. Clint McDonell, Fr. John McKenzie, Fr. Adam Nowak, Fr. Derik Peterman, Fr. R.J. Slaton, Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz, Fr. Jake Van Assche, and Fr. Cy Whitaker.

Thanks to Our Volunteers

The thriving Latin Mass scene we enjoy is in large part due to the consistent effort put forth by a dedicated team of volunteers. Those listed in bold deserve special commendation for volunteering at multiple sites across metro Detroit and Windsor.

Oakland County Latin Mass Association

Altar Servers: Nathan LaMendola, Riley LaMendola, Tyler LaMendola, Thomas McCourt, Kieran McDonnell, Liam McDonnell, Dominic Salas, Manny Salas, Edward Schmick, Vincent Schmick, Charlie Shane, Jude Shane

Board Members: Chris Batts, James Hitchcock, Cecilia Lakin, Sanford Lakin, Jon McDonnell

Choir Members (not including paid professionals): Joe Baldiga, Brian Bogedin, Maggie McCourt, Jill McDonnell, Anne Shane

Collection Counting: David Schmick

Rosary Leader: Mary Strahorn

Set-up & Take-down: Henry McCourt, Patrick McCourt

Ushers: Chris Batts, Pete Higgins, Patrick McCourt, Jon McDonnell, Michael Merriman

St. Benedict Tridentine Community

Altar Servers: Gabriel Ang, Matthew Charbonneau, Damien Cincurak, Martin Janisse, Benjamin McKinley, James Murphy, Jonathan Ozorak, Lucas Sarweh, Mitchell Witteveen, Dillon Yetman

Choir Members – Tuesday: Irena Hurajt, Laura Hurajt, Michel Ozorak, Celina Sarweh, Regina Sarweh

Choir Members – Sunday (not including paid professionals): Radek Budzik

Collection Counting: Agnes Arias, Theresa McKinley, Tim McKinley, Claudia Rutter

Finance Council: Ted Jankowski, Charlotte Parent [Treasurer]

Receptions & Social Events: Diane Begin, Christina Grossi

Rosary Leader: Tom Gilbert

Set-up & Take-down: Theresa McKinley, Tim McKinley

Ushers: Francis Ang, John Foot, Will Foot, Ted Jankowski, Frank O’Reilly, Ron Parent

Vestment & Altar Linen Laundry & Maintenance, and Newcomer Orientation: Diane Begin

Old St. Mary’s, Bus Tours, & Other Sites

Altar Servers: Xavier Erskine, Matthew Hanstad (seminarian), Elliott Schmick, John Tome, Zach Trailer

Ushers: Andrew Assenmacher, Mike Campeau, Pat Zelenak

- Alex Begin, Tridentine Community News editor
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for December 29, 2019. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Community News - First Tridentine Mass Held at St. Joseph Chapel, Pontiac; Pastor of Ss. Peter & Paul Westside Commences TLMs; The Untapped Masses; Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (January 12, 2020):
January 12, 2020 – The Holy Family

First Tridentine Mass Held at St. Joseph Chapel, Pontiac

Founded in 1923 as a mission church of Orchard Lake Seminary to serve the Polish community in Pontiac, St. Joseph Chapel closed in 2013. Following in the footsteps of St. Albertus Church in Detroit and the former St. Claude Church, now the Divine Mercy Center, in Clinton Township, St. Joseph Chapel was sold by the Archdiocese of Detroit to an independent non-profit institution, in this case Terra Sancta Ministries, a pilgrimage organization headed by Fr. Alex Kratz, OFM. It reopened after refurbishment in 2017 and now offers Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 12:00 Noon.

On Monday, January 6 St. Joseph Chapel returned to its roots as former Orchard Lake Seminary faculty member and current Thomas Aquinas College (California) chaplain Fr. Robert Marczewski returned to town to celebrate a Tridentine Low Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany. The faithful were delighted and look forward to additional Traditional Masses offered at this historic church.

Pastor of Ss. Peter & Paul Westside Commences TLMs

Many of our readers will recall the numerous Tridentine High Masses offered over the past decade at Ss. Peter & Paul Westside (Detroit). All of those Masses were offered by Fr. Mark Borkowski, who for a while served as Associate Pastor there. The pastor, Fr. Jerry Pilus, was supportive but not yet ready to start offering the Traditional Mass himself. However, he was inspired to take a significant step in that direction by removing the freestanding altar and celebrating all of his Ordinary Form Masses ad oriéntem.

On December 8, Fr. Jerry took that final step and offered his first Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form. His intention is to offer the Tridentine Mass at least once per week in the not-too-distant future, and to have his organist, the unforgettably-named Johnny Kash, be prepared to supply the music for High Masses.

You know progress is being made when a new TLM debuts quietly like this, without the usual channels knowing.

The Untapped Masses

As more and more churches add the Traditional Latin Mass to their schedules, whether on a special occasion basis like St. Joseph Chapel, above, or on a more regular basis like Ss. Peter & Paul Westside and St. Mary of Redford, experience is teaching us an important lesson: Many of the faithful will choose the Tridentine Mass if it is available to them at a convenient place and time.

The first example of this phenomenon was at Immaculate Conception in Lapeer, where shrinking attendance at the 12:00 Noon Novus Ordo Mass was completely turned around when that Mass was changed to an Extraordinary Form High Mass. Around 200 people started showing up for this Mass, some from the nearby Flint Tridentine Community, but many others just regular parishioners who preferred a more reverent liturgy. A similar experience is about to take place at the gigantic, 9,500 family Prince of Peace Parish in Houston, Texas, where a Sunday morning Tridentine Mass is about to be added to the parish schedule. With over 16,000 views and numerous enthusiastic comments on the Extraordinary Faith Facebook post announcing this impending Mass, in spite of the parish’s nondescript, modern architecture and despite its proximity to an FSSP parish, it seems that the effort is destined to be a success. Dare we quote the cliché, if you build it [and promote it], they will come.

When opponents of the Traditional Mass maintain that few people want the Old Rite, how do they know this? Is this simply justification to banish the TLM to a relatively inconvenient Sunday afternoon time? What if a large parish simply tried the experiment of adding a prime-time Sunday morning Latin Mass to the schedule for, say, three months as an experiment? Support it with appropriate advertising. If it is successful, great! If few people attend, then cancel it, and no one will die. It’s a low-risk way to learn if there is latent demand for the classic liturgy.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Tue. 01/14 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (St. Hilary, Bishop, Confessor, & Doctor)
  • Sat. 01/18 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Saturday of Our Lady)
  • [Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for January 12, 2020. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

    Sunday, January 05, 2020

    Chick-fil-A has emboldened the LGBT mob.

    Patrick B. Craine, "Chick-fil-A has emboldened the LGBT mob" LifeSiteNews (November 29, 2019):
    We have sadly decided to boycott Chic-fil-A. Sadly, because we LOVE Chic-fil-A chicken. No one makes better chicken. Much better than KFC or any other vendor. And normally I wouldn't care much where I'm getting my fast food on the road, as long as it's good. I wouldn't care if those making my food are religious, agnostic, or gay. But when an institution stands for traditional Christian family values, is closed on Sundays out of respect for Judeo-Christian sabbath observance, and has "Christian" in its mission statement, but then caves in to anti-Christian lobbies where it’s hard – where the Gospel butts up against our culture of death and sexual licentiousness – they have betrayed their Christian identity. Chic-fil-A is the warning canary in the coal mine, and it just died. Sad. Caveat emptor!
    If you’re still defending them, watch this:

    [If you would prefer to read a transcript of the video, click here.]

    Saturday, January 04, 2020

    Tridentine Masses this Sunday (Jan. 5th) in metro Detroit and east Michigan

    Tridentine Masses This Sunday, Jan. 5, 2019 - Holy Name of Jesus

    Sunday - Jan. 5, 2019

    * NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

    Epiphany Tridentine Masses in metro Detroit and east Michigan

    Epiphany Tridentine Masses

    Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 - The Epiphany of Our Lord

    Tuesday, December 24, 2019

    A Christmas Reflection - 2019

    It's time to reconsider the reason for the season and the challenges offered by the drive-by "experts" of the day who intend to cast the entire Biblical narrative concerning the Blessed Nativity into doubt. Consider again the Biblical narrative:

    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying,
    Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.
    And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another,
    Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pas, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
    And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter Two, Verses 13-20)

    Here we are again, on the first day of the Christmas season. It has become something of a Christmas tradition for me to engage the following text by C.S. Lewis in connection with the above quoted Scriptures. The reason will be obvious.

    Nearly every Christmas, it seems, NEWSWEEK or TIME or some television special will feature the "latest scholarship" questioning the "authenticity" of the Christmas story. I am not concerned with the question about whether the Nativity of our Lord occurred on December 25th. That's a matter of Church tradition and incidental to my concerns here. What concerns me is how the Biblical narrative itself is invariably called into question or even dismissed as mere "myth" -- the account of the shepherds, the Angelic host, the Christ Child in a manger, the Star and the Magi from the East, Herod's slaughter of the innocents, the flight of Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child into Egypt, etc.

    The scholarly authorities typically interviewed, whether Catholic or Protestant, are consistently and incorrigibly one-sided, quite thoroughly corrupted by the Humean and Kantian philosophical presuppositions undergirding the historical-critical reading of the Biblical narrative. Typical is the website, where Internet browsers frequent to learn "the facts" about this or that -- a site where one finds this sort of thinking gone to seed in an article by Austin Cline, "Nativity vs Gospels: Are the Gospels Reliable About Jesus' Birth?" (, where the partisan skepticism of such historical critical assumptions is abundantly evident in his suggestions that all the key ingredients of the Nativity story in the Gospels were concocted fictions of various kinds.

    The lack of critical circumspection, if not patent fantasy, in all of this would be amusing if it were not so destructive. The upshot is always the same: that the Gospel writers are unreliable and not to be trusted, and certainly not to be taken at face value. Just how ludicrous this all is, however, can be seen easily by anyone with a modicum of familiarity with literature, mythology, and history. One of the best examples of a powerful antedote to this kind of foolishness -- and one I keep using because it is simple -- is a little essay by C.S. Lewis entitled "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism," which is available in a collection of essays by Lewis entitled Christian Reflections (1967; reprinted by Eerdmans, 1994). The following are some excerpts from Lewis' essay, which begins on p. 152 and contains four objections (or what he calls "bleats") about modern New Testament scholarship:
    1. [If a scholar] tells me that something in a Gospel is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the flavour...

    I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one [of the stories in the Gospel of John, for example] is like this... Either this is reportage - though it may no doubt contain errors - pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative...

    2. All theology of the liberal type involves at some point - and often involves throughout - the claim that the real behaviour and purpose and teaching of Christ came very rapidly to be misunderstood and misrepresented by his followers, and has been recovered or exhumed only by modern scholars... The idea that any... writer should be opaque to those who lived in the same culture, spoke the same language, shared the same habitual imagery and unconscious assumptions, and yet be transparent to those who have none of these advantages, is in my opinion preposterous. There is an a priori improbability in it which almost no argument and no evidence could counterbalance.

    3. Thirdly, I find in these theologians a constant use of the principle that the miraculous does not occur... This is a purely philosophical question. Scholars, as scholars, speak on it with no more authority than anyone else. The canon 'if miraculous, unhistorical' is one they bring to their study of the texts, not one they have learned from it. If one is speaking of authority, the united authority of all the Biblical critics in the world counts here for nothing.

    4. My fourth bleat is my loudest and longest. Reviewers [of my own books, and of books by friends whose real history I knew] both friendly and hostile... will tell you what public events had directed the author's mind to this or that, what other authors influenced him, what his over-all intention was, what sort of audience he principally addressed, why - and when - he did everything... My impression is that in the whole of my experience not one of these guesses has on any one point been right; the method shows a record of 100 per cent failure.

    The 'assured results of modern scholarship', as to the way in which an old book was written, are 'assured', we may conclude, only because those who knew the facts are dead and can't blow the gaff... The Biblical critics, whatever reconstructions they devise, can never be crudely proved wrong. St. Mark is dead. When they meet St. Peter there will be more pressing matters to discuss.

    However... we are not fundamentalists... Of course we agree that passages almost verbally identical cannot be independent. It is as we glide away from this into reconstructions of a subtler and more ambitious kind that our faith in the method wavers... The sort of statement that arouses our deepest scepticism is the statement that something in a Gospel cannot be historical because it shows a theology or an ecclesiology too developed for so early a date...

    Such are the reactions of one bleating layman... Once the layman was anxious to hide the fact that he believed so much less than the Vicar; he now tends to hide the fact that he believes so much more...
    Lewis, of course, was hardly a naive ignoramus. He knew all the critical objections to Christianity because for the first part of his life he was himself a confirmed agnostic. He was anything but "soft-minded," to use the Jamesian idiom. He taught philosophy at Oxford briefly before going on to teach Medieval and Renaissance literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, and conclude his prolific academic career teaching at Cambridge. An account of his conversion can be found in his Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life,in which we find the following quotation:
    You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words “compelle intrare,” compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation. (emphasis added)
    Lewis, an Anglican, was a man of deep Catholic habit of mind, probably because of his immersion in medieval literature; and many have wondered why he never himself crossed the Tiber. Walker Percy even compared him to Moses, who led many others to the Promised Land, though never himself crossing over. A number of books have been written about this, like Joseph Pearce's C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church,and Christopher Derrick's C.S.Lewis and the Church of Rome.The most probable reason is cultural: his father was an Ulsterman. Whatever the reason, his common sense criticisms of those Biblical "experts" who attempt to dismantle the entire Biblical narrative under the influence of Enlightenment prejudices, can be accepted with gratitude.

    For further reading: Merry Christmas everyone!

    Tridentine Christmas Masses in metro Detroit

    Tridentine Masses This Christmas Week

    Wednesday Dec. 25

    Sunday, December 08, 2019

    Tridentine Community News - Extraordinary Form Confirmations in 2020; Our Lady of the Rosary to Host First Traditional Mass; Debut of Hani Sarweh’s Mass Setting; Side Altar Restoration at Our Lady of the Scapular;

    "I will go in unto the Altar of God
    To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

    Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (November 17, 2019):
    November 17, 2019 – Twenty-third Sunday After Pentecost

    Extraordinary Form Confirmations in 2020

    Once again this year, Detroit’s Old St. Mary’s Church, in cooperation with the Oakland County Latin Mass Association, is planning to hold Confirmations in the Extraordinary Form. The Sacrament of Confirmation is open to children as well as adults. Candidate adults and parents of candidate children are requested to register in one of two ways:

    OCLMA members should speak with Msgr. Browne after Mass at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel, as well as e-mail with the names of the candidates.

    Those who do not attend the OCLMA should call Randy Bowers at Old St. Mary’s to register at (313) 961-8711. The parish may request you to speak with their pastor, Fr. Epperley.

    The date of the ceremony will be determined by the availability of Bishop Donald Hanchon and will be set once a list of candidates has been assembled.

    It should be noted that the St. Benedict Tridentine Community will not be arranging Confirmations in Windsor this year, so this provides a nearby opportunity for St. Benedict members to receive the sacrament.

    Our Lady of the Rosary to Host First Traditional Mass

    On Saturday, December 7 at 7:00 PM, Our Lady of the Rosary Church on Woodward in Midtown Detroit will host its first Traditional Latin High Mass. Fr. Derik Peterman will be the celebrant, and a reception for young adults age 18-35 will follow, organized by Juventútem Michigan. As always, those of all ages are invited to the Mass, which because of its time will satisfy the Sunday obligation.

    Our Lady of the Rosary was originally built as an Episcopal church. Many decades after the Catholics took it over, it became the home of Detroit’s Oratory of St. Philip Neri in formation. Sister oratories such as those in London, Oxford, and Birmingham, England, and Toronto, Canada, are famed for their devotion to the Traditional Mass, so it is only fitting that our local one join that august company.

    Debut of Hani Sarweh’s Mass Setting

    Shortly before he passed away, St. Benedict and OCLMA choir member Hani Sarweh composed a Mass of St. Michael the Archangel in E Minor. On Sunday, December 8 at the 2:00 PM High Mass at St. Alphonsus Church in Windsor, the St. Benedict Tridentine Community Choir will debut the piece. Hani’s brother Wassim will direct the choir, and his brother Basel will travel from Texas to sing.

    This week San Francisco’s Benedict XVI Institute of Sacred Music got word of this event and publicized it on their Facebook page. They see it as part of a burst of newly composed Mass settings that have debuted across the globe in recent months.

    Side Altar Restoration at Our Lady of the Scapular

    Longtime readers of this column are quite familiar with the talents of local church restoration expert Fr. Mark Borkowski. Responsible for restoration work at Sweetest Heart of Mary, St. Josaphat, and St. Joseph Churches in Detroit, Fr. Mark began a gradual restoration of Wyandotte’s Our Lady of the Scapular six years ago. This month he completed restoration and gold leaf work on the church’s two Side Altars, which now glisten with beauty. Our Lady of the Scapular holds a Tridentine Mass approximately once per month on a major Feast Day.
    [Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for November 17, 2019. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

    Tridentine Community News - Liturgical North; New Communion Rail in Mississippi; Second of Two Detroit Episodes of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo; Hani Sarweh’s Mass Setting Also ... Sung at Old St. Mary’s; More Masses at St. Mary of Redford

    "I will go in unto the Altar of God
    To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

    Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (December 1, 2019):
    December 1, 2019 – First Sunday of Advent

    Liturgical North

    It is well-known that in the Traditional Mass, the priest is said to face “Liturgical East” when he faces the altar in the same direction as the people (hence the “oriéntem” in the term “ad oriéntem”). East represents the rising sun as well as the Son, in Whom we have our hope.

    It follows that “Liturgical North” would be facing the 9:00 position, if the 12:00 position is East. Notice that when the altar missal is moved to the Gospel (left) side of the altar, it is angled to the left, versus when it is on the Epistle (right) side of the altar, the missal sits parallel to the front of the altar. Also notice that when the MC or Subdeacon holds the Last Gospel card for the priest, it is held angled to the left. Even more significantly, in a Solemn High Mass, the Deacon chants the Gospel while facing directly towards the 9:00 position.

    All three of these rubrics serve the same purpose: They represent the historic need to preach the Gospel to the pagan North Countries of Europe. A gentle reminder from Holy Mother Church that the Gospel should be used to evangelize those not already practicing the True Faith.

    New Communion Rail in Mississippi

    It’s always good to see un-wreckovation taking place. This week historic Our Lady of the Gulf Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, site of October’s Extraordinary Form celebrant and choir training, (re)installed a Communion Rail to support their recent debut of weekly Tridentine Masses. [Photo above by Bill Cork]

    Second of Two Detroit Episodes of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo

    Episode 14 of Extraordinary Faith – Detroit Part 2 of 2 – is now available for viewing on the Extraordinary Faith channel on YouTube and Vimeo. We tour Old St. Mary’s Church, learn about the structure of the Traditional Mass from Fr. Lee Acervo and hear about vestments from Fr. Mark Borkowski at St. Florian Church, visit the ornate and domed St. Hyacinth Church [pictured], and meet the energetic volunteers who purchased and are restoring St. Albertus Church.

    Hani Sarweh’s Mass Setting Also to Be Sung at Old St. Mary’s

    In addition to its previously announced debut at the 2:00 PM Mass at St. Alphonsus Church in Windsor next Sunday, December 8, the late Hani Sarweh’s Mass of St. Michael the Archangel in E Minor will also be sung by the St. Benedict Tridentine Community Choir this Friday, December 6 at the 7:00 PM First Friday Mass at Old St. Mary’s Church in Detroit.

    More Masses at St. Mary of Redford

    Additional Tridentine Masses have been scheduled at St. Mary’s of Redford Church: Next Sunday, December 8, there will be a High Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at 6:00 PM. On Saturday, December 14, the usual weekly 8:00 AM Low Mass will be replaced by a 7:00 AM Solemn High Roráte Mass. A Roráte Mass is a Votive Mass of Our Lady celebrated by candlelight before dawn during Advent.

    [Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for December 1, 2019. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

    Tridentine Community News - The Advent Wreath; St. Benedict Tridentine Choir to Sing at Assumption Church Midnight Mass; Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

    "I will go in unto the Altar of God
    To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

    Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (December 8, 2019):
    December 8, 2019 – Immaculate Conception

    The Advent Wreath

    Most Catholic churches nowadays place an Advent Wreath in their sanctuaries. This practice has been questioned by some Catholics. Some contend that this is a Protestant custom, not found in Catholic churches before Vatican II. Is this a matter warranting concern?

    There are contrasting stories as to how the Advent Wreath came to be. Some maintain that it evolved from ancient Germanic and Scandinavian winter prayer wheels, which beseeched pagan gods for a return to days of longer light. Others claim that it had its origins in the Middle Ages, with modern forms of the wreath developing in the 17th century. Definitely Lutherans, and apparently some Catholics, began to employ it in that century. Still others believe that it began as a 19th century German custom with 23 candles representing all of the days in December before Christmas. Later it was abbreviated to only four candles, to represent each of the Sundays in Advent. Various documents indicate that Advent Wreaths began to attain popularity in Catholic churches and homes in the mid-20th century.

    The current form is meant to help us anticipate the joy of Christmas to come. The use of evergreens symbolizes life through arid times. It is preferable not to include flowers, as they are prohibited on the altar during Advent except on Gaudéte Sunday; it would be premature to express the exuberance that flowers represent.

    The anti-wreath position notes that the Prayer of Blessing of an Advent Wreath is not found in the Extraordinary Form Rituále Románum, the Church’s official book of prayers, blessings, and sacraments. Because the blessing is found in the Ordinary Form equivalent, the Book of Blessings, it is argued that the practice has only begun to be encouraged post-Vatican II.

    Advent Wreath supporters point out that the very fact that the wreath is composed of three violet candles and one rose candle points to its Catholicity. These are, after all, the Catholic Church’s liturgical colors of Advent. Any Protestant denomination using an Advent Wreath with the same colors is merely adapting a practice originated by the Catholic Church. If a Protestant group modifies the wreath design, for example by changing the candle colors, then for purposes of this discussion, it is not comparable to the Catholic version of the Advent Wreath and should not be cited in comparison. Furthermore, the Extraordinary Form Rituále’s “Blessing of Any Object” prayer may be used to bless an Advent Wreath, just as it is often used to bless various religious objects which do not have their own particular blessing prayers. The Catholic Church supports, and in some cases embraces, sacramentals and practices consistent with the Faith. These evolve over time; for example, the Divine Mercy devotion has only been approved by the Church for approximately 30 years, yet it enjoys popularity among many of those who prefer the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass. Some of the most popular English hymns employed at Extraordinary Form Masses have Protestant origins. Thus, just because something is new, or partially or wholly created by Protestants, does not mean that it is not compatible with the Catholic Faith as taught throughout the ages.

    There is nothing inherently Protestant about the Advent Wreath. It is an optional, para-liturgical component of our churches. So are Christmas trees and a Nativity Set, yet those are also seen in virtually every Catholic Church. None of these objects suggests anything contrary to Catholic belief. While we should not clutter our sanctuaries with every imaginable item that might evoke some religious concept, there is nothing wrong with judicious use of popular customs compatible with our Holy Faith.

    St. Benedict Tridentine Choir to Sing at Assumption Church Midnight Mass

    For many years, Assumption Church in Windsor had an impressive choral program, singing the traditional Latin repertoire at their 11:00 AM Sunday Ordinary Form Mass and even producing the occasional recording. Several years ago, however, parish leadership disbanded this choir and terminated the employment of the organist/choir director. Assumption has since offered a contemporary repertoire without organ at all of their Masses. It was therefore encouraging to learn that the St. Benedict Tridentine Community Choir has been invited to provide the music for the Christmas Midnight Mass at Assumption Church this year. It is both an honor for the St. Benedict Choir, which until 2014 had been based at Assumption Church, and hopefully a recognition that some parishioners might appreciate more traditional music.

    Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
    • Tue. 12/10 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Feria)
    • Sat. 12/14 7:00 AM: Solemn High Mass at St. Mary of Redford (Roráte Mass)
    • Sat. 12/14 7:30 AM: High Mass at St. Matthew, Flint (Roráte Mass)
    • Sat. 12/14 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Feria)
    [Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for December 8, 2019. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

    Tuesday, November 19, 2019

    Et Cum Spiritu Tuo

    R. R. Reno, "Failed Leaders," First Things (December 2019):

    Et Cum Spiritu Tuo

    I don’t know more than a few Latin words and ­phrases. A former Episcopalian, I take for granted the liturgy in the vernacular. I’ve never been punctilious about ritual. I can’t tell you the difference between the “Introit” and the “Gradual.” The names for clerical regalia escape me. And there is little in my theological outlook that would attract me to the old form of the Mass, often called the “Tridentine rite” because it arose out of reforms mandated by the Council of Trent. I went to the Latin Mass two or three times in years past. I was disoriented and put off. In spite of all that, I’ve been attending a Latin Mass in Manhattan for more than a year.

    My initial reasons for switching to the Tridentine rite had to do with the revelations about Theodore McCarrick in the summer of 2018. I was angry, exasperated by the feckless leadership of bishops and their tolerance of moral corruption in their own ranks. But anger, however righteous and fitting in the moment, can turn into bitterness, even despair, corroding faith and undermining the spiritual life. So I knew I had to find an affirmative way to express my disgust with the status quo in the Catholic Church.

    Under these circumstances, I turned to the Latin Mass. In church parlance, it is called the Extraordinary Form, as opposed to the order of the Mass established after Vatican II by Paul VI, which is called the Ordinary Form. These terms are exactly right. The Ordinary Form is the almost universal mode of worship for American Catholics, while the Extraordinary Form marks the exception. Thus, my decision to make the Tridentine rite my regular Sunday Mass was a vote of no confidence in the status quo, but not one that pushed the Church away. Going to the Extraordinary Form was a way of drawing nearer, entering into the great storehouse of the Catholic tradition.

    There are Mass booklets for the Extraordinary Form that allow you to follow along with a facing-page translation. Even with this aid, it takes time to get oriented. It is not easy to know where you are in the Mass amid the cascading Latin, long silences, and sudden shifts from kneeling to standing. It took me a couple of months before I was comfortable enough to begin to appreciate what the Latin Mass has to offer.

    From the outset I was romanced by the long silences. The Tridentine rite emphasizes the priest as mediator. He faces the altar, not the congregation, and he speaks many parts of the Mass in a whisper. His words are directed, on our behalf, toward God, not toward us. This dynamic of prayer—a dialogue between priest-as-representative and God—affects the worshiper in subtle ways. It encourages each individual member of the congregation to enter into his own silent conversation with the divine. This is especially true during the consecration of the elements.

    The Extraordinary Form uses the old lectionary, which means that the Sunday readings differ from what the rest of the Church hears when worshiping in the Ordinary Form. The old rite also has two readings rather than three, one from the Epistles and the other from the Gospels. The Old Testament is present only in brief verses, usually from the Psalms, chanted at various points in the liturgy. The reform of the liturgy after Vatican II restored the Old Testament to its place in the Liturgy of the Word—an important and salutary change. Nevertheless, I’ve been enriched by the pairings of Scripture in the old lectionary, which tend toward resonances that are more mystical and evoke the Church Militant more often than does the new lectionary.

    For example, during Lent last spring, one of the Gospel readings was Luke 11:21–22: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace, but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoils.” The reading sharpened the focus of my Lenten preparations for the triumph of Christ over sin and death. Jesus is that stronger man. He is a triumphant warrior, defeating the fell powers that would hold us in thrall.

    Many priests are suspicious of the Latin Mass. Some are hostile. These responses are understandable. Going to the Latin Mass requires me to decide against attending the Ordinary Form, which is of course widely available throughout New York. And because the priestly vocation comes into its most intense focus in the sacrifice of the Mass, this decision can easily be seen casting doubt on the education and formation of priests over the last fifty years.

    But my experiences with the Extraordinary Form have been otherwise. The more familiar I have become with the old rite, the more I see and feel the profound continuities with the new one. The elements of the Mass are the same in both. Furthermore, my experience with the Tridentine Mass allows me to appreciate the intentions of the liturgical reformers of the twentieth century. The old rite is colder and less immediately communal. It ­presumes a well-catechized congregation. By contrast, the use of the vernacular, the more fulsome lectionary, and the clear articulation by the priest of all the elements of the liturgy make the Ordinary Form more effective as a means for inculcating into the faithful the basic teachings of the Church about the nature of God and the role of Christ as the sacrament of our salvation. And not just the faithful. The Extraordinary Form has an other-worldly allure that might attract unbelievers, but both the Latin language and the ritual remoteness of the rite make it difficult to hear the gospel message. By contrast, the Ordinary Form makes the gospel audible.

    At the same time, by attending the Extraordinary Form on a regular basis I have learned more about what has been lost. In the Latin Mass, the priest risks tending toward the caricature of remote hierophant engaged in mysterious rites at a distant altar. In the Ordinary Form, he risks tending toward the caricature of mediocre TV host chatting with his daytime audience of distracted housewives. If forced to choose between the two perversions, I vastly prefer the former.

    The Extraordinary Form may lack Old Testament readings, but it is closer to Old Testament realities than the Ordinary Form, at least as it is currently celebrated. Aside from Yom Kippur, synagogue services retain few echoes of the temple sacrifices in Jerusalem. By contrast, a priest celebrating the Tridentine Mass operates according to ritual patterns that reach back to the Old Testament priesthood. The altar, however close to the congregation in physical terms, is spiritually remote. The priest engages in careful, precise ritual preparation before entering the Holy of Holies to offer the sacrifice of the Mass. All of this is present in the new Mass but attenuated by the imperative of congregational engagement.

    In simple terms, the Extraordinary Form invites a more transcendent orientation in worship. There is something about the liturgy in Latin that discourages the use of childish Andrew-Lloyd-Weber-goes-to-church melodies, bad folk-inspired praise songs, and felt banners. In the Tridentine rite, the priest faces God, not the congregation, and this lends itself to an unturned countenance—not just his, but that of all engaged in worship. The solemnities of silent prayer invite contemplation. The faint whispering of the priest reminds us of the mysterious, intimate commerce between God and man made possible in Christ Jesus, a commerce into which we, too, can enter in our own stumbling, barely audible words.

    Benedict XVI observed that the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms are two usages of the ­self-same Roman rite. This does not mean that they do not have distinct charisms, as it were. The Ordinary Form is well suited for evangelization and catechism. My own entry into the Catholic Church was greatly eased by the accessibility of the Mass in the vernacular. Its more horizontal orientation encourages a sense of Christian community, as the liturgical reformers intended. The reduced emphasis on ritual precision shifts attention to the central gospel truths announced in the readings and reiterated in a liturgy readily heard in the language of the people. All these elements enrich the ­Catholic Church.

    The charism of the Extraordinary Form is needed as well. At a time when all the institutions of the West, ­including the Church, are wobbling, the antiquity of the Tridentine Mass anchors corporate worship deep in the Church’s past. The remoteness of Latin, a “dead” language, builds a spiritual wall around the Church that helps protect her from capture by the whims and fashions of the contemporary world. The vestments, incense, and ritual create another world, in which it becomes easy to see oneself entering into the precincts of the divine, a prospect at once daunting and joyful. Centuries of use have tuned the Latin Mass to a near perfect pitch. In its more elaborate forms, the orchestrated layers of music, movement, and prayer interweave into a liturgical ­Gesamtkunstwerk, which is why, although the Mass I now attend is thirty minutes longer than the Ordinary Form liturgy, it seems shorter.

    I have not become an ardent proponent of the Extraordinary Form. It has limitations, which is why it was reformed in the last century. But I have come to think the Latin Mass can make a contribution to the Church’s renewal. In the twentieth century, influential theologians called for ressourcement, a return to the sources of our Christian faith. We need always to soak ourselves in the living water of the tradition. The Tridentine rite offers an opportunity for ressourcement. This is not an opportunity to be shunned, because Ordinary Form, too, has it limitations, as most of us know only too well. Those limitations are to be expected. We are only at the first stage of what will be an ongoing refinement and perfection of the Mass in the vernacular. And this process, so needed in order to realize the full promise of what was begun at Vatican II, can be enhanced by the example and inspiration of the Extraordinary Form.

    Sunday, November 10, 2019

    Tridentine Community News - Dr. Victor Salas Talk at OCLMA; St. Benedict Tridentine Choir to Perform at St. Vincent de Paul Choir Concert; The Monastère Saint-Benoît; First of Two Detroit Episodes of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo; Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

    "I will go in unto the Altar of God
    To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

    Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (November 10, 2019):
    November 10, 2019 – Twenty-second Sunday After Pentecost

    Dr. Victor Salas Talk at OCLMA

    On Sunday, November 24 at a reception following the 9:45 AM High Mass of the Oakland County Latin Mass Association at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel, OCLMA member and Sacred Heart Major Seminary Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Victor Salas will give a presentation on Thomas Aquinas: A Model of the Theologian in Turbulent Times.

    St. Benedict Tridentine Choir to Perform at St. Vincent de Paul Choir Concert

    For the second year in a row, the St. Benedict Tridentine Community Choir has been invited to participate in a concert of local Catholic choirs being held at Windsor’s St. Alphonsus Church this Friday, November 15 at 7:00 PM. The event benefits the local chapter of St. Vincent de Paul, which operates a well-utilized food pantry for the poor at St. Alphonsus Church. These sorts of events help expose elements of the Traditional Mass to a wider audience who might not otherwise experience our liturgies.

    The Monastère Saint-Benoît

    The Monastère Saint-Benoît (in English: St. Benedict Monastery) in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France has attained quite a reputation in the few years of its existence. An English-speaking institution devoted to the Traditional Liturgy, the monastery was co-founded by liturgical scholar Dom Alcuin Reid, who serves as its Prior, and Bishop Dominique Rey. It has attracted vocations, served as the base of operations for the Sacra Liturgía conferences, hosted the Sacra Liturgía Summer School, and in the process, outgrown its original shared quarters. It is yet another example of how religious communities devoted to the Tridentine Mass flourish.

    The monastery has been given the opportunity to purchase a former Commandery of the Knights Templar, the 11th century Chapel of Saint-Christophe [pictured], located in its current diocese, as its new home. While spacious and well-suited to both the religious and hospitality needs of the monks, the property has been in private hands since the French Revolution and is in need of extensive restoration and renovation. The cost to purchase the property is €855,000, and initial renovations are expected to cost €400,000. A U.S. foundation has been set up to accept tax-deductible donations towards this acquisition, which may be made through the monastery’s Facebook page and PayPal account.

    For further information on this history, activities, and growth of the monastery, or to sign up for their newsletter, visit:

    First of Two Detroit Episodes of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo

    Episode 13 of Extraordinary Faith – Detroit Part 1 of 2 – is now available for viewing on-line. Along with the Windsor episode, this is the second of three episodes filmed in metro Detroit and thus features many familiar faces. Diocese of Lansing, Michigan Bishop Earl Boyea talks about the role of the Extraordinary Form in his diocese. We visit the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel in Bloomfield Hills and learn about the Oakland County Latin Mass Association, which holds weekly Sunday Masses there. Fr. David Bechill explains what first-timers can expect to see at a Tridentine Mass. We tour Detroit’s Roman basilica-like Holy Redeemer Church, pictured above, which hosts periodic Latin Masses, and we meet the author of sheet music that helps priests chant the Traditional Mass. You can find Episode 13 on the Extraordinary Faith channel on both YouTube and Vimeo.

    Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
    • Tue. 11/12 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (St. Martin I, Pope & Martyr)
    • Sat. 11/16 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (St. Gertrude the Great, Virgin)
    [Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for November 10, 2019. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]