Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Quandary of Personal Parishes – Part 3 of 3 Ghetto or Paradise? Personal Parish Compromises and Their Repercussions

Tridentine Community News (December 18, 2011):
In a number of dioceses, the Personal Parish is one of few, if not the sole location for traditional liturgy. That doesn’t mean it’s liturgical paradise. For every St. Francis de Sales Oratory, St. Louis’ grand, Gothic Personal Parish, there is a Christ the King Church, Sarasota, Florida’s new Personal Parish housed in a small edifice that would disappoint readers of this column who are accustomed to our stunning historic churches (see The element of the vertical may be lacking; there might be no bell tower or pipe organ; the sanctuary might be cramped. If the edifice is lacking, its appeal will be limited to some extent. How can a world-class music program be established in a small church with poor acoustics? The same choir that sounds impressive and has gained renown at Windsor’s Assumption Church sounds dead in Flint’s non-reverberant All Saints Church.

Is it better to be the sole occupants of a smaller, compromised Personal Parish church, or the shared occupants of a grand edifice? This writer’s opinion is the latter. Is a thriving Personal Parish in a compromised building better or worse than having the Extraordinary Form spread throughout a diocese, as it is here? Are we striving to create a liturgical paradise for ourselves, or to expose the maximum number of people in a region to the Traditional Liturgy?

To show how widespread the concept is, below we present a list of the Personal Parishes and sole-church-occupant Extraordinary Form Communities in North America of which we are aware:

1. Mater Misericórdiæ, Phoenix, AZ (FSSP)
2. St. Gianna, Tucson, AZ (ICRSP)
3. Holy Family, Vancouver, BC (FSSP)
4. St. Stephen the First Martyr, Sacramento, CA (FSSP)
5. St. Anne, San Diego, CA (FSSP)
6. Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Santa Clara, CA (ICRSP)
7. Immaculate Conception, Colorado Springs, CO (FSSP)
8. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Littleton, CO (FSSP)
9. Christ the King, Sarasota, FL (FSSP)
10. St. Francis de Sales, Mableton, GA (FSSP)
11. St. Joan of Arc, Coeur d’Alene, ID (FSSP)
12. Shrine of Christ the King, Chicago, IL (ICRSP)
13. St. Rose of Lima, Quincy, IL (FSSP)
14. St. Mary, Rockford, IL (ICRSP)
15. St. Philippine Duchesne, Kansas City, KS (FSSP)
16. St. John Vianney, Maple Hill, KS (FSSP)
17. Blessed John XXIII, Lansing, MI (Diocesan, in formation)
18. Ss. Gregory & Augustine, Creve Coeur, MO (Benedictines)
19. Old St. Patrick, Kansas City, MO (ICRSP)
20. St. Francis de Sales, St. Louis, MO (ICRSP)
21. St. Francis of Assisi, Lincoln, NE (FSSP)
22. Immaculate Conception, Omaha, NE (FSSP)
23. Mater Ecclésiæ, Berlin, NJ (Diocesan)
24. St. Anthony of Padua, West Orange, NJ (ICRSP)
25. Holy Family, Dayton, OH (FSSP)
26. Queen of the Holy Rosary, Vienna, OH (FSSP)
27. St. Clement, Ottawa, ON (FSSP)
28. Queen of Angels Oratory, St. Catharine’s, ON (FSSP)
29. St. Damien, Edmond, OK (FSSP)
30. St. Peter, Tulsa, OK (FSSP)
31. St. Michael, Scranton, PA (FSSP) [the only inverse Personal Parish – it hosts an Ordinary Form Mass on Saturday only!]
32. Mater Dei, Irving, TX (FSSP)
33. St. Joseph the Worker, Tyler, TX (FSSP)
34. St. Benedict, Chesapeake, VA (FSSP)
35. St. Joseph, Richmond, VA (FSSP)
36. North American Martyrs, Seattle, WA (FSSP)
37. St. Joseph, Green Bay, WI (ICRSP)
38. St. Stanislaus, Milwaukee, WI (ICRSP)
39. St. Mary, Wausau, WI (ICRSP)

The FSSP and ICRSP are remarkable groups, without a doubt. Their selectiveness allows them to admit and train the best of the best candidates for the sacred priesthood. They bring a certain cachet to a parish: for instance, St. Margaret Mary Parish in Oakland, California had long offered a Sunday Tridentine Mass celebrated by diocesan clergy. When the ICRSP arrived – it was a shared-parish arrangement, not a Personal Parish – their “celebrity value” and implementation of weekday Masses caused Sunday attendance to increase from approximately 130 to 300. That would not necessarily happen in our area, however, as Oakland had no other Tridentine Mass sites in close proximity. The FSSP is also known for starting and administering parish schools. If a school is a long-term goal, St. Hyacinth and even St. Albertus are candidates, though the latter’s needs major restoration work. St. Josaphat’s property cannot accommodate a school.

It is this writer’s belief that a Personal Parish would not be economically sustainable in the Archdiocese of Detroit under present conditions. If sharing a parish continued to be the goal, the ICRSP would have to be excluded; they do not want that kind of arrangement any longer. Even the FSSP is not as willing to enter into those sorts of arrangements as they used to be, though their arm might be twistable in a large Archdiocese like Detroit. A shared apostolate for an FSSP priest, serving multiple regional Tridentine Communities, is almost certainly viable. Discussions over the advantages of diocesan vs. FSSP clergy aside, considering the FSSP might be unavoidable should availability of celebrants decline. In other dioceses, the FSSP has offered a trial arrangement over a few months to determine what the actual demand would be. We also have a handful of diocesan clergy who might be interested in a full-time, multi-site Tridentine apostolate.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 12/19 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Greater Feria of Advent)

Tue. 12/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Rosary Chapel at Assumption-Windsor (Greater Feria of Advent)

Wed. 12/21 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Thomas, Apostle)

Sun. 12/25 Midnight: High Mass at St. Joseph

Sun. 12/25 9:30 AM: High Mass at St. Josaphat

Sun. 12/25 2:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the Windsor Assumption Catholic Church bulletin insert for December 18, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sharing church between two rites causes a lot of issues. I am not surprised that ED priestly communities no longer want to start this kind of arrangements.
Typically the hours of Old Mass celebrations are usually better for NOM-goers. The best solution is the personal parish that tries to expand and acquires more and more churches.
BTW, I used to create a webpage: .