Monday, August 29, 2011

Thomas More College Introduces the Usus Antiquior this Autumn -- And You Can Help Them

Many of our readers will be amply familiar with the Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts (TMC) in New Hampshire. I had the opportunity to visit this college last autumn when I delivered a talk on the new liturgical movement and was quite impressed with what I found there. Fr. Thomas Kocik was recently involved at the school for a symposium on Catholic art, and of course, David Clayton is the college's artist-in-residence where he runs the Way of Beauty programme.

My positive experience and impression of the college was continued when I learnt that the liturgical life of the college was now expanding to further include the usus antiquior.

What generally encourages me is the "both-and" approach being fostered here, and it is in a few regards: first, as regards the use of the two forms of the Roman liturgy; second, the use of the liturgy of Roman West and Byzantine East; third, that their liturgical life includes both Mass and the Divine Office; finally, that their approach encompasses both the sacred liturgy while also giving presence to Catholic devotions.

The NLM is pleased to share the following announcement which we requested of TMC when we were informed of this development. Please note, there is an appeal following the announcement. I would encourage you to consider showing your support for Catholic colleges which take the sacred liturgy seriously.

I know there are other Catholic colleges who would fall into this category: we at the NLM want to hear from you as well.

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Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts

Introduces Extraordinary Form

One may be surprised to learn that the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts has not offered regularly the Extraordinary Form of the Mass on its campus. After all, this is a College centered tightly on the liturgy of the Church, beginning each day by chanting Lauds, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass just before lunch, and singing Vespers upon conclusion of the day’s classes.

Thanks to the recent clarification of Summorum Pontificum by the Holy Father in Universae Ecclesiae, Thomas More College will now celebrate the Extraordinary Form, and will commence with a special celebration on October 7—the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Mass will be offered in accordance with the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum.

Thomas More College is one of the few institutions committed to exposing its students to the full treasure of Catholic liturgy with the values of the new liturgical movement of Pope Benedict XVI in mind, especially in regards to the dialogue between the two forms and additionally by giving exposure to both Western and Eastern Rites.

Masses at the College are celebrated ad orientem with some offered in Latin and others in the vernacular. The student body as a whole chant the responses. The Divine Office is chanted in both Latin and the vernacular. Inspired by the new Anglican Ordinariate, the chant in the vernacular looks to the tradition of Anglican chant—and its roots in the Pre-Reformation Sarum use. The Melkite liturgy is also offered once per month and is well attended by students and faculty. In Rome, our students stay in an Eastern Catholic monastery and are able to participate daily in the Maronite liturgy.

Upon taking the helm as president of Thomas More College two years ago, Dr. William Fahey deepened the College’s focus on the Faith. In addition to daily Mass, the Divine Office is chanted daily and Catholic devotions are encouraged. The College is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is offered weekly, and regular retreats introduce students to such practices as Lectio Divina and the practice of “compunction of the heart” (The Rule of St. Benedict recommends this especially during Lent). Students are encouraged (but not obliged) to participate in spiritual direction, which is available from the College’s three chaplains, to assist young men and women in developing a well-balanced spiritual life.

Of course, as an institution of higher education, Thomas More College’s chief mission is the education of students. As a Catholic institution, its chief responsibility is to form young minds and souls consistent with the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. But the College uniquely recognizes that the liturgy of the Church permeates all aspects of life—including the intellectual life—and so it has renewed its own liturgy consistent with the principles of the new liturgical movement.

Dr. William Fahey, President of Thomas More College, is quoted as saying, “Thomas More College is committed to furthering the principles of the reform of the reform. Through public lectures, symposia, retreats, and by setting an example, we are calling our students and the wider public to greater engagement with the truths of the Catholic Faith. Liturgical renewal is crucial to this engagement.”

An Appeal

As the College prepares to offer the Extraordinary Form each Friday, it has launched a small campaign to raise $5,000 in funds to purchase items necessary for this celebration, including altar cards, copies of the Ordo for Mass and Divine Office, servers’ manuals, vestments, a vesting prayer card, a biretta, Missal stand, and other items.

If you are willing to assist the College in purchasing these items, you may donate via the College’s web site here. For questions, contact Charlie McKinney at (800) 880-8308 or by email at

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