Monday, August 28, 2023

A Visit to St. Patrick’s Church in New Orleans, Home to the Latin Mass Since 1965

In terms of the history of the traditionalist movement, one of the most interesting places I had the opportunity to visit in Louisiana was St. Patrick’s in downtown New Orleans.

This church is a glorious artistic monument, built in 1833, and boasting an inspiring history. It is one of the few places anywhere on earth that kept the chanted Latin liturgy going from 1965 all the way to the present. There was a period (from ca. 1970 to 1984) when the Mass was the Novus Ordo in Latin, but before that period, and after it, the Roman Rite has held sway. All of the pastors from 1965 onward have been committed to keeping this tradition going; the archbishops have supported it, and the congregation is strong and healthy.

The parish is “bi-formal”; each day there is both the TLM and the NOM, and on Sunday the Novus Ordo is also celebrated ad orientem. The very sign announcing the Mass times is like a silent testament to Benedict XVI’s vision of paix liturgique, now shattered by his successor:

The Sunday 9:15am Solemn High Mass I attended filled the pews, with a high proportion of young adults and big families. The congregation sang the Ordinary and responses with gusto.

Some other photos of the church that I managed to get that day. The Tiffany stained glass is quite extraordinary, especially the orders of angels above the high altar, and the ornately carved wooden altar itself:

The Sacred Heart statue is truly one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Our Lord is depicted holding His arms aloft, His Heart gently laid bare, and He wears a golden crown to signify His kingship.

The windows on either side have the faded or muted color palette characteristic of Tiffany glass. (I don’t know the exact origin of the windows, but they all seem to match.)
The baptizing of the Native Americans under the patronage of Our Lady
A clever pairing of a window showing angels with a crown for Our Lady, directly above a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows.
The rectory, too, is built on a grand old-world scale. It was originally (mid-nineteenth century) the bishop’s residence.
Entry hall
One of the dining rooms
Ceiling decoration

Breakfast room
Upstairs to the guest rooms
Altogether, St. Patrick’s is a gem in the crown of New Orleans, and an example of the great things that can happen when bishops and pastors work together with the good of the faithful in mind, when long pastorships are allowed, and when beauty and reverence are given the foremost place. This combination of elements really shouldn’t be so rare, but sadly it is. Let us pray for a day when parishes like this are the norm rather than the exception.

Join Dr. Kwasniewski at his Substack “Tradition & Sanity.” Visit his personal site and composer sitehis publishing house Os Justi Pressand his YouTubeSoundCloud, and Spotify pages.

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