"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"
Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (September 4, 2016):
September 4, 2016 – Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost
The Institute of Christ the King to Take Over Detroit’s St. Joseph Church
There is a big change coming to our local Tridentine Mass scene: Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron has invited the Institute of Christ the King to take over Detroit’s St. Joseph Church, effective October 15. In 2013, St. Joseph, St. Josaphat, and Sweetest Heart of Mary Parishes were merged into Mother of Divine Mercy Parish; now St. Joseph will be un-merged into the new “St. Joseph Oratory” personal parish, the first fully-Tridentine parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Founded in 1990, the Institute is the second-largest community of priests in the world devoted to the Extraordinary Form, the largest being the Fraternity of St. Peter. The Archbishop decided to invite them because Mother of Divine Mercy Parish is in need of over $1,400,000 to restore St. Joseph, and it became questionable whether the parish could raise that level of funding given the needs of the other two churches. The sobering numbers and the correspondence between the parish and the Archdiocese on the subject of restoration is posted for all to see in the Archive section of the Parish Council Minutes page of the parish web site: http://www.motherofdivinemercy.org/minutes.html
In its early years the Institute was able to restore many historic churches – albeit with the assistance of a wealthy donor who is no longer around – and thus acquired the reputation of being able to fix such things. The Archbishop likely chose the Institute over the Fraternity and the Canons of St. John Cantius because of this reputation and because of his previous experience with them at St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland, California. More recent experience, such as at their apostolate in Chicago, indicates they are no longer assured of being able to save the churches entrusted to them quite so quickly.
The Institute’s arrival will necessitate some juggling among the three current churches of Mother of Divine Mercy. Surprisingly, Tridentine Masses are planned to continue at St. Josaphat. Conversely, an Ordinary Form English Mass will be held at St. Joseph on Saturday afternoons, celebrated by an outside priest. The idea is not to jar those who have an attachment to those churches. Such arrangements may very well change as demand is assessed over time. Think of the Institute as a global franchise, with recognizably unique characteristics not unlike the Dominicans or Norbertines. Early on in its existence, the Institute hired a professional marketing director and crafted a high-gloss image, with a monthly newsletter, a fancy web site, and strong branding in its parishes. Just as we now have the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, so you’ll see the Institute’s name prominently displayed alongside the parish’s own publications. The Institute even has its own vocabulary, not unlike Starbucks. Most of us now know that “grande” means medium. At the Institute, a parish is an “oratory” [a proper canonical term for a non-territorial parish], a priest is called “Canon” and not “Father”, and a brother is called “Abbé”. They even have their own version of the Juventútem young adults group, called Sursum Corda.
The Institute encourages the faithful to follow the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales and is known for revitalizing parish life. We will likely see daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form, alongside offerings for families, invitations to join national Institute retreats, and a catechism program. All that costs money, of course, so expect some fundraising initiatives, both for the restoration of St. Joseph Church and for operating these new activities. Indeed, the new parish will start with little if any money at all, so even paying the salaries of the priest(s) who will be assigned there will be a challenge.
Mass goers will notice several differences at an Institute Mass, some rather controversial: Altar servers wear elaborate light blue vestments, seemingly from another century. Ceremonial rubrics differ from the 1962 standard that Masses in the Extraordinary Form are supposed to follow: for example, this writer was once chided for ringing the Sanctus bells at an Institute Mass ... at the Sanctus. While this can annoy those who strive to be faithful to Vatican regulations, it may not matter to most of the faithful.
One of the beautiful things about the flourishing of the Extraordinary Form in Detroit and Windsor is that there is an ever-increasing spectrum of options. One location may offer more parish activities, another may offer a superior music program, another may enjoy more camaraderie among its faithful. Proximity to one’s home is also a factor. Hopefully the Institute’s arrival, along with the new Mass at Our Lady Queen of Angels mentioned below and the forthcoming Masses at St. Paul Albanian Church in Rochester Hills, will result in an ever-increasing number of Catholics being exposed to, and developing affection for, the Church’s liturgical traditions.
New Monthly Tridentine Mass at Detroit’s Our Lady Queen of Angels Church
Starting today, September 4, Sacred Heart Seminary Assistant Professor of Theology Fr. Clint McDonell will offer a monthly First Sunday Tridentine Mass at 2:00 PM at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church [pictured], located at 4200 Martin St. in southwest Detroit. [Photo by Mark Nemecek]
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
- Mon. 09/05 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Lawrence Justinian, Bishop & Confessor)
- Tue. 09/06 7:00 PM: Low Requiem Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead)
- Sat. 09/10 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (St. Nicholas of Tolentino, Confessor)