Sunday, January 02, 2011

Having a Plan Really Works: The Cincinnati Story

Tridentine Community News (January 2, 2011):
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, Ohio has been in the news over the past few months for having made two generous gestures towards Tridentine Mass Communities in his diocese. First, in Dayton, Ohio, His Excellency gave Holy Family Church to the exclusive use of the local Extraordinary Form group. Holy Family is a beautiful historic church built in the style of Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside The Walls. Holy Family had been the (non-exclusive) home of the Tridentine Mass several years ago, so in a sense the community is returning home.

More recently, Archbishop Schnurr announced that he would be giving St. Mark Church in Evanston for the exclusive use of the Cincinnati Tridentine Community. Like Holy Family, St. Mark is another Roman Basilica-like historic edifice.

Much like Detroit and Windsor, metropolitan Cincinnati straddles two dioceses. Similar to our geography, the Ohio River separates the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on the Ohio side from the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky on the other. [Did you know that the Cincinnati Airport is actually located in Kentucky?]

One of the English-speaking world’s best-known Tridentine community leaders is at the center of the storm: Mr. Ashley Paver. Paver is an Englishman who first gained renown for having co-founded Baronius Press, the company which publishes one of today’s finest hand missals for the Extraordinary Form. He moved to Cincinnati in conjunction with a decision to attend an American law school.

Not limited to Cincinnati activities, Paver is a member of the San Diego, California chapter of the Brothers of the Little Oratory of St. Philip Neri and travels there to assist with various special liturgies in the Extraordinary Form. This group is affiliated with the Brompton Oratory in London, England; the “Little Oratory” portion of its title is the name of a small church on the London Oratory campus.

Like many of our volunteers here, Paver is actively involved with Tridentine Masses on both sides of the river. He was part of the team that secured relocation of the Covington Tridentine Mass from the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption to the more suitable St. Bernard Church in 2007. Since that time the Covington Mass has moved again, to All Saints Church in Walton.

On the Ohio side of the river, Tridentine Masses have been celebrated at Sacred Heart Church, with occasional Masses at Old St. Mary’s Church, also home to an Ordinary Form Latin Mass.

Some readers may recall a point this writer made at the Latin Liturgy Association Convention in a talk about the history of the Tridentine Masses in metropolitan Detroit: Things are more likely to happen when organizers have a detailed plan. While we acknowledge and indeed emphasize the importance of prayer in advancing the cause of the Extraordinary Form, prayer without action tends not to accomplish much. We saw that first hand in the Detroit area when the only Tridentine Mass to gain approval before 2004 was one proposed by a joint committee of Canadian and U.S. individuals to the Diocese of London. A full “business plan”, and not just a request, had the credibility required to obtain approval for the Windsor Tridentine Mass in 1991. Requests in the Archdiocese of Detroit went nowhere until numerous parties created a plan in 2003, ultimately leading to approval in 2004.

Paver and his colleagues in Cincinnati had obviously learned this lesson. They quietly proposed to Archbishop Schnurr the acquisition and restoration of an historic church for the purpose of establishing a fully Extraordinary Form Mass parish. All financial responsibility would be theirs. The diocese would do nothing except provide the church and assign a celebrant. Indeed, His Excellency’s letter announcing the St. Mark’s project made repeated reference to the “plan” that had been presented to him. Groups with similar ambitions should pay heed to this experience.

The Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper ran a story about the effort, featuring the adjacent photo of Paver standing in front of St. Mark’s. For further details and photos, such as the one pictured left, see the web site that has been created for the project:

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 01/03 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria in Christmastide) [Celebrant may elect a Votive Mass]

Tue. 01/04 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Feria in Christmastide) [Celebrant may elect a Votive Mass]

Thu. 01/06 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Feast of the Epiphany)
[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 January 2, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

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