Friday, July 06, 2007

Fr. Cipolla on the MP and a Recent Pontifical Mass

NLM Guest Piece by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla

As we approach the new situation of the post-Motu Proprio Catholic world, I would like to share a recent event in which I participated that will perhaps be a paradigm for what needs to be done in the future by those of us who are convinced that the Traditional Roman rite of 1962 must gain its proper place in the liturgical life of the Church for the good of the Church.

I was contacted by Dean Applegate, the choirmaster at the Dominican parish of Holy Rosary in Portland, Oregon. He told me that Bishop Steiner, the auxiliary bishop of Portland, had agreed to celebrate a Pontifical High Mass in the 1962 rite on the feast of SS. Peter and Paul. This was a gracious act on the part of the bishop, who is not known as a traditionalist, to support the fine liturgical tradition of this parish that is an oasis for so many Catholics seeking beauty and truth within the celebration of Holy Mass. They did not have anyone who would be able to co-ordinate the Mass and help the bishop with his own role as celebrant. Bill Riccio from the St Gregory Society in New Haven, MC extraordinaire, and I accepted this invitiation and flew out to Portland. We had three lengthy rehearsals including one with the bishop alone to "re-teach" him the 62 rite. The altar servers, all young men, were beautifully trained and were enthusiastic. The Dominicans were gracious and went out of their way to help us in any way they could.

The Mass went beautifully, given that this was the first time this Mass was celebrated there. The Propers were sung to a setting by William Byrd. The Ordinary was Mass IX. The church was filled, and the congregation sang the Ordinary with force and heart. This was a truly spiritual event for all who participated. The bishop, a humble and charming man, told me that he was so very pleased to have done this and was certainly open to doing it again.

Perhaps this is what the future will look like after the Motu Proprio is published. Those of us who know and love the Traditional Mass must become like missionaries to those who are open to learning this Mass. We cannot take the attitude: "We have what we want now, so there is nothing else to be done." The Pope has given us freedom. May we use that freedom fruitfully and wisely.

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