Thursday, January 08, 2009

First Masses in the Extraordinary Form

Very welcome news comes via the excellent Italian blog Messa in Latino from the Ligurian diocese of Albenga-Imperia. This diocese and its bishop, Mons. Mario Oliveri, have been noted before on the NLM: Mons. Oliveri has apparently been very accomodating to religious communities which has helped to bring about a situation in which even the smallest parishes of the diocese today have one or more priests in residence, which is very rare even in Italy these days. Last year, he has also received the new foundation of the Benedictines of the Immaculate of Dom Jehan de Belleville, who are attached to the usus antiquior, into his diocese (cf. NLM articles here and here). Mons. Oliveri himself has celebrated Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form in his Concathedral (cf. NLM report here). Interestingly, Mons. Oliveri, who also wrote a contribution for a recent book on Romano Amerio (cf. here) is a member of the Roman Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The news is that this coming Saturday, Mons. Oliveri will ordain four new diocesan priests in his Cathedral. The notable thing is that two of these will celebrate their First Masses on the following Sunday, 11 January 2009, in the usus antiquior. Especially one of these, it seems, will be a rather splendid occasion: Soon-to-be-Father Francesco Ramella will celebrate his First Mass as a Solemn Mass in the parish church of St. Thomas the Apsotle in Dolcedo, the completely intact sanctuary of which you can see to the right. Mozart's Spatzenmesse will be sung by a choir, as well as Adorabunt Nationes by Himmel, and Ave Verum and Te Deum again by Mozart, whereas the Gregorian propers will be sung by the Benedictines of the Immaculate. Some of the canons of the Cathedral and of the Concathedral will attend.

The remarkable point here is of course not just the splendid Mass itself, but that this shows that not even a year and a half after Summorum Pontificum has entered into force, the usus antiquior is beginning to become a normal part of the life of the Church, not only for "special interest" groups, and not only in parishes, but also in dioceses. Admittedly, this is true as yet only in a very small number of dioceses (certainly not in mine), but the movement is unmistakable, and we have every reason to hope that with our own prayer and work it well steadily spread.

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