Sunday, September 21, 2014

Extraordinary Community News: Canadian Shrines Bus Tour Report

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

Tridentine Community News (September 21, 2014):
Ground was broken once again by the intrepid Mike Semaan, as his Prayer Pilgrimages bus tour operation brought the Tridentine Mass back to three landmark historic churches for the first time since the liturgical reforms of 1970, as part of his September 8-12 bus tour to historic shrines in Canada.

Monday was spent visiting churches in Ottawa. On Tuesday morning we went to Montreal’s St. Joseph Oratory, Saint Brother André Bessette’s church. This enormous edifice sits atop a hill. The faithful enter on the base level, where a crypt church seating around 800 welcomed our group for our first Extraordinary Form Mass. Saint Brother André’s tomb is outside the crypt, in a chapel filled with devotional shrines and hundreds if not thousands of votive candles. A network of escalators leads to the main upper church, which has been redecorated in a rather unfortunate abstract modern style. Later we visited Mary Queen of the World Basilica (Cathedral), modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Notre Dame Basilica's Sacred Heart Chapel

Wednesday began with a visit to the architecturally stunning Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. A Tridentine Mass was celebrated in the Sacred Heart Chapel [pictured above], as the throngs of tourists make it impossible to have Mass at the magnificent main altar [pictured immediately below] during the week. The sacristy [pictured second below] was one of the largest and most elaborate this writer has ever seen, with an atmosphere reminiscent of a formal dining room. The Basilica must charge admission to all tourists, because they only have between 100-300 people attending Sunday Mass. Maintaining such a glorious building obviously requires substantial revenue beyond what the parish itself would be able to raise from the Sunday collection.

Notre Dame Basilica, High Altar and Sanctuary

Notre Dame Basilica, Sacristy

Later Wednesday we visited St. Patrick’s Basilica, the historically Irish church in downtown Montreal. St. Patrick’s is known for hosting a longstanding Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form.

Ursuline Sisters' Chapel

Thursday we travelled to Quebec City. The first stop was the Ursuline Sisters’ Chapel [pictured above] and Museum. The museum is a detailed look at the Ursuline religious life and the evolution of the adjoining girls’ school over the centuries. Mass in the Ordinary Form was held at Quebec’s ornate Notre Dame Basilica (Cathedral), where pilgrims could gain a Plenary Indulgence by walking through North America’s only Holy Door.

Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Sacred Heart Chapel

Friday began with a Tridentine Mass at the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. This massive church has numerous chapels; our Mass was held in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel [pictured above], right after the daily Mass which is televised from that chapel. The cavernous upper level of the shrine [pictured below] contains a baldacchino-surmounted high altar and countless side altars, several in an ambulatory which runs behind and around the main sanctuary.

Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Upper Level

Special thanks to Fr. Louis Madey for celebrating all of the Tridentine Masses on this pilgrimage, and to veteran server John Tome for assisting at the altar.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 09/22 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. Thomas of Villanova, Bishop & Confessor)
  • Tue. 09/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (St. Linus, Pope & Martyr)
  • Fri. 09/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. James, Novi (Ember Friday) - Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
  • Sun. 09/28 12:00 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for September 21, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]