Fr. Clint McDonell elevates the host during a traditional Latin Mass on July 31 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. The Mass, during which Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron gave the homily, was the second hosted at the cathedral by the burgeoning young adult group Juventutem.
Michigan chapter, first in U.S., leads nationwide growth in devotion to Tridentine liturgyKarla Dorweiler | Special to The Michigan Catholic
Detroit — While scores of young adults spent July 31 socializing with their peers in downtown Detroit, members of the Michigan chapter of Juventutem were doing the same — in a very different way.
Juventutem is an international organization of Catholic married and single men and women, ages 18-35, who share a devotion to the traditional Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass or the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
On July 31, the group hosted its second Latin Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit with Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron and celebrant Fr. Clint McDonell of Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
Nearly 175 people attended the Mass, with Juventutem members accounting for about 75, with cathedral organist Joseph Balistreri and members of the Archdiocesan Chorus providing sacred music.
Archbishop Vigneron, in his homily, noted the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola and urged members of Juventutem to imitate the saint’s zeal for evangelization.
“Like St. Ignatius, we, too, are called today to be ‘all in’ in our discipleship,” said the archbishop. “To have an unconditional commitment to the Lord, to be intrepid in our devotion.”
In March 2012, five local young adults formed the first chapter of Juventutem in the United States, and since then, the organization has expanded to include 12 other chapters across the country, hosting Latin Masses in cathedrals, basilicas and churches that might not have seen an extraordinary form Mass since the 1970s. The group has attracted the support of bishops across the country for its devotion to the sanctification of young people, and its efforts to promote community and liturgy.
Juventutem Michigan has since grown to roughly 30 registered participants, though many young adults attend regularly without becoming formal members. The group meets on the last Friday of each month for a sung Mass and fellowship. The monthly gatherings draw 40-60 young men and women.
Registered members of Juventutem commit to six tenets, including daily prayer for the sanctification of youth, weekly adoration, and attendance at a Traditional Latin Mass at least once each year.
Paul Schultz, 32, who helped found Juventutem Michigan and serves as secretary for the International Juventutem Federation, the umbrella organization for all Juventutem chapters worldwide, noted such commitments have a profound impact on members.
“It’s been my personal experience, as well as my observation in others, that praying every day for the sanctification of young adults brings about a deep closeness with God,” he said.
That closeness has even started to bear fruit in terms of vocations, with former Juventutem members in formation with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest or the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, two societies of apostolic life that promote the sanctification of priests through the use of the traditional liturgy, and others in formation for the priesthood with local dioceses.
Appreciating Catholic traditionsFr. David Bechill, associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Farmington, served as subdeacon during the July 31 Mass and said he became interested in the extraordinary form as a teenager.
“In high school, my grandparents gave me one of their old daily missals that was pre-Vatican II,” Fr. Bechill said. “It led me to wonder how we got from that to what we do every Sunday at Mass.”
Fr. Bechill assists with Juventutem Masses several times each year.
“Even though the extraordinary form of the Mass may seem concerned with the rubrics and gestures, it really does reveal what the Mass is, and that is everything that Jesus is,” Fr. Bechill said. “Celebrating both forms of the Mass has helped me pray the Mass better.”
Kyle Kulik, 25, who attends St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Ann Arbor, said it was his fourth time participating in a Juventutem event.
“There’s just a lot of beauty in the Latin Mass,” Kulik said. “The chanting is like the voice of heaven.”
Ryan Fitzgerald of Assumption Grotto Parish in Detroit was a first-time attendee. Newly married, the 29-year-old and his wife recently moved to the Detroit area from Texas.
“I think the Latin Mass community can help restore a sense of reverence,” Fitzgerald said. “It helps unite you with the whole tradition of the Church.”
For 35-year-old Erin Hughes, a member of Juventutem Michigan for more than a year, the experience is one of tranquility.
“I hadn’t been exposed to Latin Mass since I was 6 years old,” Hughes said. “It brings a lot of peace to my life.”
Growing group, growing needs
As the membership roster increases, Juventutem Michigan has begun to expand its activities to include retreats, workshops and “alternative spring break” service opportunities for students. To make these efforts possible, last month the group launched a fundraising campaign, “Show the Beauty of the Latin Mass,” on GoFundMe.com.
The campaign is “aimed at emphasizing the beauty of the traditional Catholic liturgy as a way of meeting God,” as well as to help lwower-income young adults afford such additional activities and opportunities, Schultz said.
In addition, Schultz and fellow organizers hope to buy vestments and traditional Mass items to use at parishes that do not own such items, and donations will also support Juventutem activities at the 2016 March for Life in Washington, D.C. To date, the crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $9,000 of a $17,000 goal. Part of the money went toward hiring the Archdiocese of Detroit’s television station, the Catholic Television Network of Detroit (CTND), to record and edit the group’s Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, which it will use to promote future events.
“We have been so blessed in our years thus far with donors helping us bring young adults to meet Jesus Christ in this way, and blessed by the way the priests and bishops have joined us,” Schultz said. “The focus of the campaign allows us to take on larger projects.”
In June, 70 young men and women learned English Country Dance after a traditional Latin Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brighton with Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea.
Madonna University student Emily Lizzio, 21, first heard about the group through friends and decided to check it out.
“(Juventutem) sounded like an amazing Catholic community so I wanted to see what it was about,” Lizzio said. “I’ll definitely be back to more events.”
Bringing young adults together to pray and socialize seems like a good idea to Fr. Bechill.
“It’s important for us to have a community of faith. This group provides that for these young adults,” he said. “We have a lot of young, smart, faithful people in this area, and anything we can do to help them strengthen their faith — I’m all for it.”
Karla Dorweiler is a freelance writer from Farmington Hills.
Beginner’s guide to the Latin Mass
To learn more about the traditional Latin Mass, visit www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/extraordinary-form-101.
More information about Juventutem Michigan can be found at www.juventutemmichigan.com. Information about the group’s crowdfunding campaign, “Show the Beauty,” can be found at www.gofundme.com/latin_mass.
- Aug. 28: Pontifical Mass and dinner at St. Paul on the Lake Parish, Grosse Pointe Farms
- Sept. 25: Monthly Mass and dinner at St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Livonia