Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tridentine Travelogue: St. Agnes Church, St. Paul, Minnesota

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

Tridentine Community News (October 27, 2013):

One of the best-known parishes in the world for Latin Liturgy is undoubtedly St. Paul, Minnesota’s St. Agnes Church. This bustling parish – complete with K-12 school – incorporates one of the world’s most impressive liturgical music programs. Its German Baroque-style church is elaborately outfitted and was redecorated even more lushly several years ago by the crème-de-la-crème of liturgical painting firms, Conrad Schmitt Studios, who have a page on their web site filled with photos of the St. Agnes project.

The story of St. Agnes is also the story of the late Msgr. Richard Schuler, its long-term former pastor, who set about making St. Agnes a bastion of traditional liturgy in the 1970s, well before the Tridentine Mass was re-authorized in 1984. Msgr. Schuler was a leader in the Church Music Association of America for decades, and its magazine Sacred Music was published out of St. Agnes for many years.

The parish offers the Ordinary Form in English, the Ordinary Form in Latin, and the Extraordinary Form. All Masses are, and always have been, celebrated ad oriéntem at the High Altar. Even the parish’s more humble lower level chapel used for weekday Mass is constructed to permit only ad oriéntem celebrations.

There are five choirs in the parish, each of which sings for designated Masses. All quotes are from the parish web site:
1. The Children’s Choir, consisting of youth age 9-14. “The repertoire of the Children’s Choir will include various settings of the Ordinary of the Mass in both Latin and English, psalm settings, hymns, and sacred anthems appropriate to the season. Repertoire will be chosen from the rich tradition of sacred music of the Catholic Church spanning the eras of Plainchant, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern liturgical music.”

2. The Concert Chorale, consisting of high school students that sing a similar repertoire as the Children’s Choir, and also perform concerts locally, nationally, and internationally. For example, the Concert Chorale recently performed Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

3. The Chamber Choir, a women’s group. “The Choir’s repertoire includes more than a dozen Renaissance Masses and scores of polyphonic motets, both of Renaissance and contemporary composers.”

4. The Schola Cantórum, a men’s group which sings the Propers in Gregorian Chant year-round, and which sings Gregorian Chant Mass settings during Advent, Lent, and the summer months.

5. The Twin Cities Catholic Chorale: This unique choir is Msgr. Schuler’s most impressive legacy. Formed in 1956 and consisting of 65 volunteer singers, 4 professional lead singers, 15 professional orchestra members, and led by a professional Music Director, the Chorale sings elaborate polyphonic Masses on approximately 30 Sundays of the year. Equally impressive, the Chorale is a self-supporting, standalone non-profit entity, not dependent on the parish to pay its formidable operating costs. To this writer’s knowledge, there is no other church in the world which offers orchestral Masses this frequently, or with such a large number of musicians. The principal choral Mass at 10:00 AM on Sundays serves a full church, something not often seen.

Read more about St. Agnes on their web site,, as well as on the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale web site at:

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 10/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Ss. Simon & Jude, Apostles)
  • Tue. 10/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Votive Mass for the Sick)
  • Fri. 11/01 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (All Saints) [First Friday]
  • Sat. 11/02 9:00 AM: Low Mass at St. Hyacinth (All Souls) [First Saturday]
  • Sat. 11/02 9:30 AM: High Mass at Our Lady of the Scapular (formerly Our Lady of Mt. Carmel), Wyandotte, Michigan (All Souls)
  • Sat. 11/02 4:00 PM: Solemn High Mass at St. Hugo Stone Chapel, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (All Souls) – NOTE TIME CHANGE – At the parish pastor’s request, there will be no Mass at 5:00 PM, therefore the previously scheduled Low Masses at the Side Altars have been cancelled, and the Solemn High Mass has been moved to 4:00 PM.
  • Sun. 11/03 2:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Resumed Fourth Sunday After Epiphany) – Bishop Ronald Fabbro will attend and preach the Homily. A reception in honor of Bishop Fabbro and the 22nd Anniversary of the Windsor Latin Mass will be held in the Social Hall afterwards.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for October 27, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

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