Sunday, April 27, 2014

Extraordinary Community News

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

Tridentine Community News (April 27, 2014):
Plenary Indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday

Holy Mother Church has designated Low Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, as Divine Mercy Sunday. It is one of a handful of days in the liturgical year which are enriched with a Plenary Indulgence. The faithful who take part in public devotions in honor of Divine Mercy in a church on this Sunday are granted a Plenary Indulgence, under the usual conditions of reception of Holy Communion, Confession within 20 days, prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions, and freedom from attachment to sin.

Book Review: A Modern Guide to Indulgences

This is therefore an appropriate day to mention an informative book written by Dr. Edward Peters [pictured right], Professor of Latin and Canon Law at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary: A Modern Guide to Indulgences: Rediscovering This Often Misinterpreted Teaching provides a comprehensive overview of the theology and current norms for gaining these graces bestowed from the treasury of the Church.

Published in 2008, the book has two main parts, the first being an explanation of the history and doctrine of Indulgences, and the second being a listing of the prayers and acts that gain Indulgences. The book resolves many but not all of the questions raised by the official books on the subject: The Vatican’s Enchirídion Indulgentiárum, available in English as The Manual of Indulgences. Those original, invaluable books provide not only the letter of the law, but also the texts of the currently indulgenced prayers and works. Yet the official books raise many questions and seem incomplete.

In a relatively brief 107 pages, Dr. Peters strives to answer some of the questions the faithful may have after reading the official publications. For example, he clarifies that if a particular Plenary Indulgence requires prayer of the Our Father, the Our Father must be prayed a second time to count as a prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions. Not all FAQs are answered clearly, however: For example, Peters does not make it clear whether one can gain an Indulgence for a specific soul in Purgatory, or if it must be directed to the Poor Souls in general, letting God decide which soul will benefit.

It is important to stress that A Modern Guide to Indulgences is not a substitute for the official books. It does not contain the texts of the Indulgenced prayers, for example. Rather, it is a companion work, meant to enhance the understanding of the faithful. In this role it has no peer and is thus recommended to those wishing to learn more about this great gift of the Church.

Crisis Magazine Article: Saving Catholic Culture from Destruction

An article dated April 3, 2014 on the web site of Crisis Magazine,, begins with the tantalizing opening line, “What kind of mindset built all the immigrant Catholic parishes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Americas?”

The article, entitled “Saving Catholic Culture from Destruction”, makes a cogent argument for the preservation of historic Catholic churches. Focusing on a group of the faithful intent on saving the now-closed St. Ann Church in Buffalo, New York, the writer cautions against “the replacement of a spiritual battle mentality with a corporate management mentality”. Perhaps it’s more efficient and cost-saving to build less ornate churches in a modern idiom, but such edifices fail to express the fullness of the Catholic faith as clearly as the traditional designs. Grand Gothic and Romanesque churches engage the senses and communicate the Faith in a way that mere words cannot. Indeed, such a timeless “multimedia” expression of Catholicism should certainly qualify as part of the New Evangelization.

Of course, the preservation of inspiring historic churches is not simply a matter of will. It’s also a matter of money and willingness to work. Locally, we have the vivid example of St. Albertus Church, sold in 1990 by the Archdiocese of Detroit to a group of the faithful who labor with amazing zeal to maintain this awe-inspiring but gargantuan structure. The volunteer effort involved is staggering, rivaled only by similar efforts at the Shrine of St. Joseph in St. Louis, Missouri, and St. Alphonsus Church in New Orleans, Louisiana.

One commenter suggests as a commendable example the still-unexecuted plan put forth by Mary Our Queen Parish in the Archdiocese of Atlanta: The pastor is trying to raise funds to purchase, disassemble, and move the shuttered, Roman basilica-style St. Gerard Church from Buffalo, New York, down to Georgia to serve as the new parish church. Impressive thinking, perhaps, but one out-of-the-box idea cannot compare to the dedication of our ancestors, who scrimped and saved from their meager incomes to contribute toward the building of so many magnificent Catholic churches from approximately 1870-1955.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. Paul of the Cross, Confessor)
  • Tue. 04/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (St. Peter of Verona, Martyr)
  • Fri. 05/02 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (Sacred Heart of Jesus) – First Friday
  • Sun. 05/04 9:45 AM: High Mass at Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel, Bloomfield Hills (Second Sunday After Easter) – Debut of new weekly Sunday Mass site. Confessions will be heard before Mass, beginning around 9:00 AM. Reception after Mass.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for April 27, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

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