Thursday, December 05, 2013

Juventutem DC Celebrates Feast of St. Ambrose with Day of Recollection

Juventutem DC follows up its successful Day of Recollection for All Souls Day with a December sequel: a special traditional Latin Mass and Day of Recollection for the Feast of St. Ambrose on Dec. 7.

The Chapter plans to mark the feast day of this Doctor of the church with a Low Mass at 8:30am at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Washington, D.C. (a short distance from the Woodley Park Metro station), celebrated by the chaplain of Juventutem DC, Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth. It also plans, however, to follow the Mass with a “Day of Recollection” – a spiritual conference drawing important lessons on the day – moderated by Sister Maria Kiely, O.S.B., an instructor at Catholic University of America and expert on St. Ambrose, in the St. Thomas parish hall. Light refreshments will be available.

This emphasis on spiritual formation reflects the particular priorities of the DC Chapter, which received its official word of affiliation with Juventutem International only on Sept. 29. While promotion of traditional Masses is important to the chapter, it places an even higher priority on spiritual formation, catechesis and instruction for potential celebrants, servers and scholas. The chapter is keen not to merely duplicate the efforts of other traditional groups, which already have proliferated in the region – even as it is happy to cooperate with them where possible.

"Our chapter wants to put a joyful face on Catholic tradition and plumb the depths of all it has to offer for young adults today – spiritual formation and instruction, not just Masses,” says Chapter Coordinator Daniela Petchik. ‘We hope that our programs focusing on the spiritual life of young adult Catholics will be a leaven for evangelization in the greater Washington area, providing a basis for more of these kinds of things in the future. We are all about ‘Extraordinary joy, extraordinary youth, extraordinary form.’"

The group has grounds for hoping for a large turnout from Beltway-area Catholics either familiar with, or merely curious about reconnecting with traditional Catholic liturgy and formation. Msgr. Wadsworth celebrated a Solemn High Mass for the Assumption on August 15 to stage interest both in forming a Juventutem chapter, as well as future such events. The result was a nearly full church, and several dozen young Catholics who showed up for an informational meeting afterward, despite limited publicity. Continued successful turnouts for these Days of Recollection could lead to more such events on a regular basis.

The All Souls and St. Ambrose events also mark a new beginning for the host church, which is now the home also of a new community-in-formation for the Oratory, of the Congregation of St. Philip Neri. America’s newest Oratory joins ones formed in St. Louis and Maine this summer, and includes Msgr. Wadsworth, the moderator, and the new pastor of St. Thomas, Fr. Richard Mullins. Msgr. Wadsworth is perhaps best known as the Executive Director of The International Commission on English in the Liturgy, the group charged by bishops conferences in the English-speaking world with preparing English translations of the Church’s Latin liturgical books.

Juventutem (Latin: Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem) is an international movement of young Roman Catholics who are attached to traditional Catholic liturgy and spiritual life. The aim of Juventutem is to sanctify young Catholic laity through these traditions, by pious undertakings by its members, by the liturgical texts in use up until 1962, and by traditional doctrinal formation, inspired by St. Thomas Aquinas. Juventutem was founded in the Year of the Eucharist, decreed and inaugurated by Pope John Paul II in October 2004 and concluded by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2005. Juventutem now includes dozens of chapters around the world, and sends large contingents of young Catholics to every World Youth Day.

Catholics in the greater Washington, D.C. area – be they young or not – are warmly encouraged to attend both the Day of Recollection conference and the Mass of Requiem. No charge or registration is necessary to attend either event. Confessions will be available a half hour before the beginning of Mass.

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