A landmark point in local Tridentine Mass history will be passed this October when the first post-Vatican II Tridentine Mass group in metropolitan Detroit celebrates its 20th Anniversary.[Comments? Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns are available at www.stjosaphatchurch.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for August 28, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]
From its beginnings in the chapel of Assumption College High School in 1991, to the humble days in the chapel of the former Villa Maria Nursing Home, to the growth era at St. Michael’s Church, to today’s home in the grand, historic Our Lady of the Assumption Church, the Windsor Mass has been the seed from which many other Tridentine Masses in our region have sprung, including the regular Masses at St. Josaphat and St. Albertus, the special occasion Masses at St. Joseph and Sweetest Heart of Mary, and “grandchildren” such as Ss. Cyril & Methodius (Sterling Heights) and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Wyandotte). Today, the Mass at Assumption Church sets the local standard via its music program and year-round professional choir, its collection of vestments and liturgical books, its resource-filled web site, and the dedication of its enthusiastic priests and volunteers.
It is only fitting that this occasion be marked with a special program and a notable special guest.
Celebrant & Keynote Speaker: Fr. Jonathan Robinson
If you have been around the Latin Mass world for a while, you have most likely heard about London, England’s Brompton Oratory. Perhaps the most renowned church in the world for Latin Liturgy, the London Oratory offers both Extraordinary and Ordinary Form Latin Masses, public and private, at their magnificent high altar and a plethora of side altars, throughout every day. All Masses are celebrated ad oriéntem. Frequent opportunities for Confession, Vespers, Benediction, several children’s and adult choirs, and educational and social events, all create an atmosphere rarely encountered anywhere else. Cardinal John Henry Newman established the first Oratory in Birmingham, England in 1848. Fr. Frederick Faber, author of the familiar hymn Faith Of Our Fathers, founded the London Oratory one year later. An Oratory in Oxford was founded in recent times, in 1990. All follow a similar liturgical model.
In 1975, an enterprising priest of the Archdiocese of Montreal embarked upon a project to bring the liturgical and community life of the Congregation of the Oratory to Canada. Today, the Toronto Oratorians boast a number of priests and administer two parishes, St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Family, both of which offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form; the latter offers Latin Masses in the Ordinary Form as well. This priest also founded and served as rector of St. Philip’s Seminary, an Oratorian-run minor seminary serving vocations to the Oratorian Fathers as well as vocations to religious orders and the diocesan priesthood. In 2005, this same priest gained notoriety for authoring a book, The Mass And Modernity, which explains that modernism and its influences and effects have no place in the Church’s liturgy. In all, this priest has arguably contributed more to reverent celebrations of the Holy Mass in contemporary Canada than any other.
We are honored that this holy and accomplished priest, Fr. Jonathan Robinson, will be the celebrant of the 20th Anniversary Solemn High Mass at Windsor’s Assumption Church at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 23.
A dinner will follow the Mass at which Fr. Robinson will speak about the founding and growth of the Toronto Oratory.
Befitting this special occasion, the most ambitious music program yet assembled for a local Tridentine Mass has been planned. Louis Vierne’s grand Messe Solennelle will be sung by Assumption’s Tridentine Mass Choir in conjunction with additional guest singers. The Vierne Mass is known for perhaps the most majestic Kyrie ever composed, one that is intended to convey the omnipotence and fearsomeness of our all-powerful God.
Sunday Mass will begin as usual at 2:00 PM. Dinner will be served in the basement Social Hall of nearby Holy Name of Mary Church after Mass, starting at approximately 4:15 PM. The talk will follow the dinner.
Tickets for the dinner are $15 for those 16 and older; $6 for children 5-15; children under 5 are free. Tickets may be purchased at the missal tables of Assumption and St. Josaphat Churches after Sunday Mass. Checks should be made out to “Windsor Tridentine Mass Association”. U.S. and Canadian currency and checks are both welcome. Tickets may also be purchased by mail; please e-mail the address at the bottom of this page or call (519) 734-1335 for further information.
We hope you will be able to join us for what promises to be a fascinating afternoon. U.S. residents who wish to attend will need a Passport, a Passport Card, a Nexus Card, or an Enhanced Driver’s License to cross the border. The latter is the easiest and least expensive to obtain ($35), and may be ordered at any Secretary of State office. Please allow three weeks for delivery of the upgraded license after the order is placed.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
Mon. 08/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Beheading of St. John the Baptist)
Tue. 08/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Rose of Lima, Virgin)
Fr. Jonathan Robinson of the Oratory, The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward (Ignatius Press, 2005) -- From a review by Dom Alcuin Reid, OSB:"The present condition of Catholic worship has come about because it has been shaped by principles and attitudes of secular modernity. The result is that the Liturgy, instead of providing an alternative vision of life to that provided by secular modernity, now cooperates with and disseminates principles that are destructive of Catholicism."
"Modern liturgical practices are defective, and they are in place, and they reinforce people's understanding both of their faith and of how the faith should relate to the modern world."
Strong words, but true. Father Jonathan Robinson doesn't avoid the grim reality of the state of the Liturgy in the modern world. Rather, he subjects it to the scrutiny of a Catholic philosopher (himself), and comes up with a detailed if disturbing diagnosis.
However a correct diagnosis is the necessary prerequisite for a cure, and whilst it may be unpleasant, we are indebted to Father Robinson for his inscisive work. This book should form part of the liturgical formation programme of all clergy and religious and be studied by any laity seeking a qualification in the Sacred Liturgy. It is philosophically demanding, but all that more important for so being.
Whether or not one agrees with Father Robinson's practical suggestions - and with these there is scope for much discussion - his cry of alarm is prophetic.