Sunday, December 19, 2010

Survey Says: Local Tridentine Masses Appealing

Tridentine Community News (December 19, 2010):

A few years ago, this writer attended a symposium at which Francis Cardinal Arinze spoke about the importance of adherence to the rubrics of the Ordinary Form Missal. A couple seated nearby began talking about their frustration with their suburban parish. They were almost in tears as they described how they longed for solemn liturgy, Latin, and Gregorian Chant. It was clear that their parish was going in the opposite direction liturgically.

It didn’t take long for this writer to tout the Tridentine Mass at St. Josaphat Church. They lived a scant 20 minutes away via I-75. “Hop in the car and drive down some Sunday for the 9:30 AM Mass – it has what you are looking for.” All of a sudden, their faces turned rather dour. “Oh, no, we can’t do that. We won’t drive downtown. Mass has to be nearby.”

This couple is not alone in their sentiment. In June of this year, a survey of 800 Catholics in the U.K. was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the French organization Paix Liturgie. The questions were designed to determine awareness of the Motu Proprio, Summórum Pontíficum, and interest in attending Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form. While only 39.4% were aware of our Holy Father’s letter, an impressive 83.6% of those surveyed stated that they would attend the Tridentine Mass at least occasionally if it were offered in their parish.

Far fewer than 83% of Catholics are attending the Latin Mass today, even if only on occasion. Lack of awareness is part of the problem; people cannot be expected to seek out something they don’t know is available. Lack of convenience is the other challenge; just as some folks won’t drive beyond a five mile radius of their homes for most aspects of their lives, so will some not venture beyond their local parish for worship opportunities.

If you required surgery, and the best place to have that surgery was a one-hour drive from your home, would you settle for a less competent physician who happened to be five minutes away? Probably not. The good of one’s soul is of even greater importance than the health of one’s body, and so in this era when most local parishes do not offer the Extraordinary Form, it is an act of Christian charity to invite ... and even offer to drive down ... to our churches friends and family who might be edified by the Traditional Mass. The Masses of Christmas in particular provide an opportunity for us to expose those who may not otherwise have occasion to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form to do so via exceptional liturgy and sacred music.

Christmas Tridentine Mass Schedule

As in previous years, three Masses in the Extraordinary Form will be celebrated, at three different times, at three different churches, to accommodate everyone’s schedule and preferences. Each Mass will feature a full choir and chamber orchestra.

Sat. 12/25 Midnight: High Mass at St. Joseph
Sat. 12/25 9:30 AM: High Mass at St. Josaphat
Sat. 12/25 2:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor

Random Interesting Musical News

At the Mass of ordination to the Permanent Diaconate on October 2, musicians at Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral played parts of Gregorian Mass VIII – the Missa de Ángelis, not heard there before in recent memory.

During a recent weekend event for prospective seminarians at Sacred Heart Seminary, a schola provided Latin chant for part of a Mass. One can thus conclude that the use of Latin was considered a selling point.

At the recent Christmas Concert at Sacred Heart Seminary, Gregorian Chant and Latin polyphony comprised approximately 20% of the program, far more than would have been imaginable just a decade ago.

Recently at Walt Disney World, one of the selections played in rotation as background music in the parks, along with Jingle Bells and Let It Snow was an instrumental version of ... O Sanctíssima.

Web Site Developer Steps Forward

Thanks go to Mike Dunne, who has volunteered to take over the development and maintenance of the St. Josaphat Church web site. Mike is preparing a new design for the site, which will debut shortly. The content will remain the same for now. If you have any suggestions or subject matter that might improve the usefulness of the site, please e-mail Mike at:

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 12/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Advent)
Tue. 12/21 7:00 PM: High Mass at both Assumption-Windsor and St. Josaphat (St. Thomas, Apostle)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for December 19, 2010. Hat tip to A.B.]

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