Your prayers are requested for the soul of Fr. Ulysse A. Lefaive, a priest of the Diocese of London, Ontario, who passed away on Saturday, September 25. One of Metropolitan Detroit’s most vocal and energetic advocates of the Extraordinary Form, Fr. Lefaive was the Chaplain of the Windsor Tridentine Mass Community from 2001-2006. Below we reprint, with updates, some biographical notes about Fr. Lefaive that originally ran in this column in 2006.[Comments? Please e-mail email@example.com. Previous columns are available at www.stjosaphatchurch.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for October 3, 2010. Hat tip to A.B.]
Ordained in 1949, this holy and humble priest came from an era when classes at London’s St. Peter Seminary were taught in Latin. You read that right: The classes themselves were conducted in Latin; unimaginable in our day. The Latin language and love for the traditional liturgy were in his bloodstream.
Fr. Lefaive began serving the Windsor Tridentine Mass Community during a low point: The Mass was held in the modest chapel of the Villa Maria Nursing Home. Shortly after he started, the SARS epidemic broke out; you could not enter the nursing home without signing a form declaring that you had not been in contact with SARS patients, or even traveled to Toronto or the Far East, where breakouts had occurred. Even more humiliating, you had to be sprayed with a disinfectant before being allowed into the building. Morale was affected and attendance plummeted to barely 15 people, but Fr. Lefaive urged the community to continue on, even refusing a stipend when finances were in peril. The mustard seed of the then-tiny Windsor Tridentine Mass Community has since produced many direct offspring, the first of which was St. Josaphat’s Tridentine Mass, whose inception greatly pleased him. He always believed the Traditional Liturgy would regain popularity.
It wasn’t just the Sacred Liturgy that Fr. Lefaive defended; he was one of the few advocates of traditional ecclesial architecture after Vatican II. His greatest legacy in this arena was during his pastorate of Windsor’s historic St. Alphonsus Church [pictured below], located at the entrance to the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel. Fr. Lefaive resisted pressure to rearrange the interior of the church after Vatican II, and instead pushed through a restoration of the interior to its original condition. Thanks to his foresight, as the adjacent photo makes evident, St. Alphonsus today stands as one of our region’s architectural jewels, its ornate altars, oil paintings, and stencilwork stunning in an era of forgettable modernization jobs elsewhere.
St. Alphonsus Church, Windsor
Fr. Lefaive took his love for Holy Tradition across the border, as well. As a member of a “priest’s club” in Detroit, he promoted the Tridentine Mass to fellow clergy on both sides of the river and softened some obstinate hearts in the process.
When Fr. Lefaive’s health began to decline, he set an example for the rest of us by soldiering on. At St. Michael’s Church, the next home of the Windsor Tridentine Mass, he even continued to set up the church for the Extraordinary Form every week on his own. He was a remarkably positive individual: in over five years of working with Fr. Lefaive, this author cannot recall a single complaint coming out of the man’s mouth. What an example for so many of us who whine so easily.
A Funeral Mass for Fr. Lefaive in the Ordinary Form was celebrated at his beloved St. Alphonsus Church on Thursday, September 30 by Diocese of London Bishop Ronald Fabbro. A Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be scheduled at Windsor’s Assumption Church soon. Let us pray for the repose of the soul of this dedicated, courageous, and pioneering priest.
Réquiem ætérnam dona ei Dómine, et lux perpétua lucéat ei.
Bishop Boyea to Celebrate EF Masses Next Sunday
Next Sunday, October 10, Diocese of Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea will celebrate two special Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form. At 11:00 AM in the crypt chapel of Lansing’s St. Mary Cathedral, His Excellency will celebrate the opening Mass of the Blessed John XXIII [Latin Mass] Community. At 4:00 PM at All Saints Church in Flint, Bishop Boyea will celebrate a Pontifical Low Mass commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Flint Tridentine Mass. All Saints Church is located at 4063 W. Pierson Road, one block east of I-75, on the north side of Flint.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
Mon. 10/04 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Francis of Assisi, Confessor)
Tue. 10/05 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Requiem Mass for Emily Hrytsyk with Absolution at the Catafalque)
Wed. 10/07 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Our Lady of the Rosary)
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Fr. Ulysse Lefaive, RIP
Tridentine Community News (October 3, 2010):