Friday, October 15, 2010

St. Paul on the Lake Hosts Tridentine Funeral Mass

Tridentine Community News (October 10, 2010):

It is a paradox in life that sometimes a sad occasion can also be an occasion of joy. Such a situation took place last Saturday, October 2, when the first Extraordinary Form Mass in over 40 years was held at Grosse Pointe Farms’ St. Paul on the Lake Church. The Liturgy was a funeral Mass for Thomas Ambrose Carey, the father of Brian Carey. Brian and Anita Carey and their family are members of both St. Paul and St. Josaphat Parishes.

St. Paul is yet another one of our area’s beautiful historic churches. A restoration of the church undertaken in 2002 won an architectural design award. It still retains its High Altar, Side Altars, Communion Rail, plus a rather new pipe organ. One interesting change made to the building was the replacement of hanging light fixtures with high-intensity lights recessed in the ceiling. While not exactly traditional, the result is a bright church, with lighting reminiscent of the great Roman basilicas.

As its name implies, St. Paul is located on Lake St. Clair, nestled between the grand mansions of Lake Shore Road. Its expansive parish campus encompasses an elementary school, separate parish offices and priests’ residence, and the adjacent, independent Grosse Pointe Academy, a Montessori, elementary, and middle school originally known as the Academy of the Sacred Heart.

The funeral rite began with the reception of the casket at the entrance to the church, followed by a Requiem Mass at which the Dies Iræ was sung. Absolution at the casket followed, after which In Paradísum was sung as the casket was removed from the church. At the cemetery, concluding prayers were said from the Extraordinary Form Ritual. The celebrant for the Mass was Fr. Peter Hrytsyk, assisted by choir members and altar servers from St. Josaphat and Assumption-Windsor.

Special thanks must go to St. Paul pastor Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny, who graciously permitted the use of his church. Msgr. Halfpenny is a former rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and is currently the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Episcopal Vicar overseeing the Office for Clergy and Consecrated Life. As many of our readers know, Msgr. Halfpenny has celebrated the Tridentine Mass at St. Josaphat Church. Thanks are also due to Assistant Pastor Fr. Mark Hamilton, who efficiently helped to set up the church for the Mass.

Special event Masses, especially in our historic churches, serve the important purpose of demonstrating continuity with our liturgical heritage. High Altars are more than decorative stands which surround a tabernacle, though that may be the experience which many Catholics have of them. Communion Rails have a real function of separating the actions of the Sacred Liturgy from the profane and mundane. Special event Masses give clear visual evidence why the traditional church layout and architectural elements specified by St. Charles Borromeo in the sixteenth century should be preserved in this post-Summórum Pontíficum era.
[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 October 10, 2010. Hat tip to A.B.]

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