Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Preview: Today at STA

November 30th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

WOW may not be the canonically correct word, but WOW!  I attended both Masses at St. Thomas the Apostle today, and was awestruck at the sense of coming together, of the Divine Presence, of the gratitude, of the joy!  It seemed at moments as walking around inside of a dream, especially for those returning to STA after four years of closure.  The perfection of detail was everywhere evident, and the sense of reverence in the sacred space, before and after Mass, was telling.  There will be some quibbles about numbers of attendees.  My personal estimate is very close to 1000, overall, with maybe 3/4 at the Novus Ordo, and 1/4 at the Extraordinary Form.  I didn’t count; I hope someone did with accuracy.  Sometimes the number of hosts consumed is a more reliable index.  There was video coverage which I was told came from Time Warner, so perhaps that is worth searching out for additional information.


Archive 2014 4Q 003


Father Bonsignore gave simple, gracious, warm and direct preaching that was welcoming and inclusive.  I have the impression that many at the 9AM Mass had never quite experienced (or at least not recently) the Novus Ordo celebrated with such care, devotion and joyous ritual.  We can hope that all will continue to be hungry for more of such meaningful liturgy.   For myself, it was the first time, ever, that I experienced the “hermeneutic of continuity” in anything other than an intellectual way, between the two forms of the Mass.  I am not going to try to analyze it further; only to share that I experienced it in a real, convincing and overpowering way, and not just regarding the two forms of the Mass but connecting to our heritage as well.

I only took a few pictures when I saw that much better photographers than I were present.  They are invited to post as much as they can of the photo documentary.  In the meantime, I share (above) the picture of the altar prepared for the ad orientem celebration of the Latin Mass.  And, below, is a picture I received from the Anglican Ordinariate who were invited by Bishop Matano to use the 9AM Mass for that community to continue to share worship, in the absence of having their own new celebrant.  After Mass, Bernie Dick took the following picture of some of the members of the Anglican Ordinariate with Father Bonsignore.   How did this experience touch you?  Please share, and add your comments.


Anglican Ordinariate at STA 11-30-14


6 Responses to “Preview: Today at STA”

  1. avatar CPT Tom says:

    My Wife, my two youngest and I went to the 11:15 EF Mass, up from Corning. Wow is right. I’ve never been to St Thomas before, and frankly, I was anxious about the EF presented in a 1960s Church. But my goodness, what a lovely and peaceful place for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! We sat in the second row of the South side of the Churh. The music, presentation and Celebration of the Mass by Father Bonsignore was marvelous and pain stakingly good. My children were in quiet awe, and positively loved it. My wife and I were very moved by it all. The best thing is the Mass was out of time and at the same time it was compact at only an hour and 15 minutes. I have been to and sung at (in Schola) and assisted at the Vetus Ordo before, this was tops. My prayers for the continued success and growth of the St Thomas community! We will be back!

  2. avatar annspazz says:

    We were home for the holidays. I was very difficult for us to make the 1:30 Mass at St Stans because we had a 6 hr drive ahead of us to get back home. My husband and myself were a little concerned about the modern setting for the Mass. But, when done right (and it was done to perfection) the setting does not matter. It seemed like everything else just melted away and all there was was the Mass. Well Done! We will be back. BTW, the church building took us off guard, it was transcending.

    …And it is always great to see and hear all the children..something noticeably lacking in most parishes today.

  3. avatar JLo says:

    My husband and I attended the 9 a.m. and did not stay for the 11:15… so wish we had. Our son attended the 11:15 and said it was perfection.

    The peoples’ awareness, thus reverence, and Fr. Bonsignore’s celebration all match the majestic yet simple grandeur that sacred space offers to God during Holy Mass.

    We all experienced the amazing music… aaaah, that choir!! Amazing sounds; heavenly.

    Thanksgiving weekend was certainly special for some thousand people this year. Our prayer now? That one day we will have daily Holy Mass celebrated there.

  4. avatar Sid says:

    Nice write-up, Diane. I am a bit surprised that such a large fraction (and absolute number) were at the OF Mass. Obviously, those attending the EF Mass had a former home at St. Stan’s and are very well-connected to each other, so knew very well about the move. But who made up the crowd attending the Novus Ordo Mass? One would think they would not as well-organized (yet, anyhow) and information flow about the new offering would be a little more haphazard at first. I’d say that is a great first week attendance.

    So where were most of those folks drawn from? Do you think they are former STA parishioners who had been reluctantly attending other St. Kateri sites over the last few years and are now “going home” to STA? Or are they from elsewhere? Those are pretty impressive numbers for (mostly) word of mouth as it seemed that St. Kateri didn’t make too much of a sales pitch for TLM Community’s reboot of STA.

    Congratulations and good luck to all!

  5. avatar Diane Harris says:

    At the 7:30 AM Mass at the Carmelite Monastery this morning, Father Bonsignore reprised last Sunday’s experience and his preaching, and commented that attendance was estimated at “about” 650 for the Novus Ordo and 300 for the EF. Since a bit different from my own “estimates” above, it seemed that I should post these here as well; his numbers are doubtless more accurate.

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