Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Solemn High Masses in Lander, Wyoming

As many readers know, Wyoming is one of the largest States in the country, vast and beautiful, and yet the least populated of all 50 States. This contributes to Wyoming’s palpable sense of solitude, remoteness, and ruggedness, which is ideal for outdoor adventures as well as for people seeking a slower pace of life in the midst of more contemplative surroundings -- like the famous but practically inaccessible Carmelite Monks.

Numbering about 10% of the population, the Catholics in the State generally live quite a distance from the kind of populous urban centers in which it is relatively easy to muster forces for (not to mention interest in) solemn liturgical functions. Fortunately, the presence of Wyoming Catholic College, with its strong Catholic commitment, emphasis on the traditional liberal arts, and devotion to the glories of Western culture, has drawn many students, faculty, staff, and families to the small town of Lander (pop. 7,732) over the past decade. This, in turn, has provided the incentive and the infrastructure for the celebration of many magnificent liturgies, including the classical Roman Rite (celebrated frequently here), the Ordinary Form with Latin chant, the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, and, this summer, a Mass celebrated according to the Anglican use by a visiting priest. The local parish, Holy Rosary, has been most supportive and generous all these years in allowing the College to utilize its church as our main chapel, and parishioners, too, have taken advantage of the many opportunities afforded by the college’s chaplaincy.

This summer, we rejoiced to welcome back a priest who has visited Lander several times before, Fr. Joseph Bolin of the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria. Fr. Bolin’s presence, together with the parish’s deacon, made possible the celebration of Solemn High Masses for both the 11th and 12th Sundays after Pentecost. The local pastor expressed his support by attending the first Mass in choro. These Masses were, in all likelihood, the first Solemn High Masses according to the 1962 Missale Romanum that have been offered in this church since the postconciliar changes. The ceremonial richness and immense reverence of the liturgies, decked with the fullness of their Gregorian chants, reminded all present, once again, how fair is the portion the Lord has given His people, and how glorious is our inheritance as Roman Catholics. May the Lord bless all those who worked behind the scenes to make these Sundays possible as well as all who assisted at the Masses.

Mass for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, Lander, Wyoming

Mass for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost

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