Sunday, February 15, 2009

National Shrine of the Little Flower to Host Special Extraordinary Form Mass

Tridentine Community News (February 15, 2009):
In perhaps the most amazing example yet of local fruits of our Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, Summórum Pontíficum, the landmark National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak will be holding a special Tridentine Mass on Wednesday, March 18 at 7:00 PM. The celebrant will be Msgr. George Browne, who regularly celebrates the Traditional Mass not only at St. Josaphat, but also at Sacred Heart in Yale and St. Edward on the Lake in Lakeport.

Shrine is one of few pre-Vatican II churches to be constructed in the round. The altar is at the center of the church, surrounded by a communion rail. A ceiling-mounted baldachino is suspended above the altar. Seating is available on the main floor as well as in a balcony surrounding the church. One of the Archdiocese’s largest pipe organs is built into the building, with some pipes even installed below the floor. Because of these architectural details, very little was done to modify the church after Vatican II to make it possible to celebrate Mass facing the people, despite the parish’s ability to afford modifications. And thus we have a church perfectly suited to the Traditional Latin Mass today.

Shrine has always had a contingent of devotees of the Extraordinary Form. This group has been quietly asking for a Tridentine Mass there since the 1990s. Many of them now attend St. Josaphat. Gregorian Chant classes have also been offered in the past. It is not surprising that the seeds of their low-key advocacy are bearing fruit. The scale was tipped when Shrine’s RCIA Director, John LaCroix, decided that it would be beneficial to expose his students to a wider variety of Catholic liturgy. The Tridentine Mass in one example. He also plans to hold an Eastern Rite liturgy there soon.

What makes Shrine especially newsworthy as the site for a Tridentine Mass is that it is one of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s largest parishes in terms of the number of registered families. With over 12,000 parishioners and elementary, middle, and high schools, it’s a busy place. Its unique architecture and convenient suburban location make it a marvelous setting in which to expose a great number of people to the Church’s Historic Liturgy.

Every Celebration of the Extraordinary Form Is to Be Commended

It is important that all Tridentine Mass celebrations be given due credit, whether regular (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) or special occasion. Indeed, it is special occasion Masses that can create new interest in the Extraordinary Form, as more Catholics become aware of their liturgical patrimony.

We applaud the National Shrine of the Little Flower for taking this initiative. We encourage all of our readers to attend Shrine’s historic Tridentine Mass on March 18.
[Comments? Ideas for a future column? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for February 15, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

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