Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ann Arbor’s Old St. Patrick Church Debuts Tridentine Mass at the Encouragement of Bishop Boyea

Tridentine Community News (September 19, 2010):
Just a few weeks ago, Diocese of Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea made a precedent by establishing a new Tridentine Mass Community in Lansing which has the possibility of becoming the first fully Extraordinary Form parish in this region. Apparently His Excellency had yet further plans in mind.

Since shortly after our Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, Summórum Pontíficum, took effect on September 14, 2007, there has been buzz that Old St. Patrick parish in Ann Arbor would commence an Extraordinary Form Mass. Old St. Patrick’s is a small, historic, architecturally intact church, well-suited for the Traditional Liturgy [photo below by Paul Schultz]. Pastor Fr. Gerald Gawronski had rebuilt the church’s Communion Rail and began to offer Holy Mass (in the Ordinary Form) ad oriéntem at the High Altar. A wedding had been celebrated in the Extraordinary Form by a visiting priest. Several members of the parish had been asking for a Tridentine Mass, as had a number of students from the University of Michigan and the since-relocated Ave Maria Law School. Yet it seemed as though a catalyst was required to make these ingredients gel into a Mass.

Two weeks ago, Bishop Boyea provided the final push that was needed by specifically asking Fr. Gawronski to start this long-anticipated Tridentine Mass. Less than two weeks after “the call”, Old St. Patrick’s held its first public Mass in the Extraordinary Form in over 40 years this past Tuesday, September 14 in honor of the third anniversary of the Motu Proprio. Over 50 faithful attended. In the spirit of teamwork that has characterized the start-up of so many of our local Extraordinary Form Masses, St. Josaphat Church provided vestments and training to help Old St. Patrick’s effort start on the right foot. At press time, a schedule for future Masses had not yet been set; we will report when we hear.

Old St. Patrick’s is home to some noteworthy traditional Catholic activities, one of the best known of which is its music program. Its young music director, Mara Terwilliger, enthusiastically embraces chant, sung Propers, and Latin in the Ordinary Form. She has fostered capable adult and children’s choirs, the latter of which has sung at St. Josaphat and St. Albertus. Mara is a student of organ at the University of Michigan, interns at the Music Department at Sacred Heart Seminary during the week, and maintains a blog addressing traditional musical and liturgical matters:

The establishment of a Tridentine Mass in Ann Arbor answers the longtime prayers of many in the area. In less than two months, Bishop Boyea has established two Extraordinary Form Mass sites. Let us pray for this proactive and supportive member of our episcopate.

Sacred Music Farm Team at the University of Michigan

While we are on the subject of Ann Arbor, it is worth noting that the U of M Music Department has produced no less than four young organists who have made names for themselves on the local Latin Mass scene: Joe Balistreri, Dr. Steven Ball, Dr. David Saunders, and Mara Terwilliger. Others from U of M are also indicating interest. Consider that the music at two of the four simultaneous Tridentine Masses that were held on Tuesday, September 14 (Assumption Grotto, Assumption-Windsor, Old St. Patrick, St. Josaphat) was led by members of the above [organ] “bench team”. Dr. Ball, who teaches organ at U of M, deserves particular credit for involving his students in local liturgical events, as it is in the service of the Church’s great repertoire that an organist’s skills are best put to use.

While we obviously must pray for and encourage vocations to the holy priesthood, we should also pray for talented and motivated music directors, skilled in Gregorian Chant, sacred polyphony, and organ, to provide traditional sacred music in the future.

LLA Convention Recordings Available

CDs and DVDs of the talks and Pontifical Mass from the Latin Liturgy Association Convention are now available from Ferndale’s St. Michael’s Media, who recorded the event. You may order by calling (248) 545-5716 or on-line at:

The Wanderer Covers the LLA Convention

Thanks once again to the efforts of Debbie Bloomfield, The Wanderer, a weekly national Catholic newspaper, ran a story about the LLA Convention on the front page of its August 5, 2010 edition. With positive coverage of our host churches and activities, this is surely good publicity for our local Latin Masses and for metro Detroit.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 09/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Ss. Eustache & Companions, Martyrs)
Tue. 09/21 7:00 PM: High Mass at both Assumption-Windsor and St. Josaphat (St. Matthew, Apostle)
[Comments? 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 September 19, 2010. Hat tip to A.B.]


Anonymous said...

"…They must also ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite and enriched by it" (SC 11).

It's important for all, "…to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4, SC5).

With the shortage of priests and closing of parishes, is it appropriate single out a parish that would single out many faithful that would understand Latin and those who would not?

Anonymous said...

What wonderful news. The next time we're in town, we'll have somewhere much closer for Mass.

May his tribe increase.

May we continue to have more desire for the Latin Mass than there are priests to meet that desire -- but let there be always an increase of vocations!