Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Latin Mass’

2018 Solemn High Requiem Mass on All Souls Day (Latin Mass)

October 28th, 2018, Promulgated by Administrator

7:00PM Friday evening, Nov. 2nd!

Reprising the success of the All Souls’ Day celebration in 2017, again a Solemn High Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be held in All Souls Chapel at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery! 


Here are some memories of last year’s celebration, beginning with the first gasp from attendees as the three priests entered the Chapel in traditional black vestments, to the concluding Absolution over the Catafalque. 











A very special experience awaits those who love the Latin Mass — being able to attend in such an extraordinary setting!




      Celebrant 2017
 Father Peter Van Lieshout



Father Anthony Amato
     Celebrant 2018


















The Celebrant this year will be Father Anthony Amato, the Deacon of the Mass will be Father Peter Van Lieshout, and the Subdeacon will be Father Peter Mottola. 

The schola will again be under the direction of John Morabito.  

(Thank you to Bernie Dick for capturing these beautiful video  moments from last year!) 


Mass will begin at 7:00 PM on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018.




























»The Solemn High Requiem Mass will be offered for the souls of all deceased Rochester Diocesan priests.

   »The Chapel is located on the east side of Lake Avenue, nearly opposite the Lake Avenue entrance to the Cemetery.

      »Reception with light refreshments will follow in the Cemetery Gatehouse.

         »For more information on All Souls Chapel at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery click here.

“It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought

to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”

II Maccabees 12:46





This is one thing that keeps me Catholic.

September 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

web LMC FinalOne of the things that keeps me Catholic is the Church’s understanding and living out of the doctrine of the Incarnation: that God condescended to become man so that man might become God. This refers to the transforming effect of divine grace, the indwelling spirit of God, and the transforming affect of the atonement of Christ. It literally means that God becoming flesh transformed flesh to become more divine, more like God, or to take on a divine nature. At the moment of the Incarnation all flesh –indeed, the entire physical universe– was objectively made holy and capable of transmitting God’s grace and life.

By the Incarnation, humankind was really changed and not left as a pile of sin, as Luther, in his extreme teaching, taught.

People and their actions –as well as things like bread and wine, water, oil and other material things– became capable of communicating God’s graces, became capable of completing in one aspect what was “lacking” in the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ.

Catholic art expresses well the doctrine of the Incarnation. It often depicts transcendence by rich colors and details and patterns, serene expressions, or, the opposite– explosive exuberance. In worship, Catholicism employs smells like incense, sounds like the ringing of bells, heavenly chanting, kissing, bowing, processing, standing, kneeling –all aspects of being physically alive. It’s the material universe celebrating its redeemed status.

This is considerably different from some core Protestant teachings and practices which are suspicious of anything human or physical that could be seen as even having the potential for competing with God. In such teaching humankind is not changed by the Incarnation in any objective way. Some Protestant Churches that hold the “extrinsic justification” teaching dearly are often devoid of visual art and ritual, smells and bells. (Music and preaching, however, are sometimes exalted in such Churches.) Most mainstream Protestant Churches can be found somewhere in between the Catholic and more puritan versions of Christianity. The Orthodox, of course, are more with the Catholics concerning the impact of the Incarnation and we can see that in their emphasis on art and sensual liturgies.

In the end it is the Catholic understanding of the impact of the doctrine of the Incarnation that keeps me Catholic. Indeed, as local Catholic parishes divorce themselves from sacred art, chanting, incense and ritual, the more they push me into Orthodoxy.

Blessing of Throats at Thomas the Apostle

February 1st, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie
Father Dennis Bonsignore, Chaplain of the Latin Mass Community, blesses throats at the January 31 Latin Mass in Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit.

Father Dennis Bonsignore, Chaplain of the Latin Mass Community, blesses throats at the January 31 Latin Mass in Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit. A brief video of the blessing at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church can be viewed HERE.

Saint Blaise Blessing of Throats took place at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit at both the Ordinary and Extraordinary (Traditional Latin Mass) forms of the Mass. Father Dennis Bonsignore, Chaplain of the Latin Mass Community, devoted part of his sermon to explaining the long-standing tradition of the blessing of throats and its origin in the hagiography of Saint Blaise.

A short video of the life of Saint Blaise can be viewed HERE.







Gaudete Sunday @ Saint Thomas the Apostle Latin Mass Community

December 14th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

Follow the link to a brief video of clips from Sunday’s Latin Mass in Irondequoit, New York (Diocese of Rochester).

When you get to the link, select the video in the bottom right corner of the page.

Below is a clip showing the Cope and Chasuble worn at the Latin Mass Community Gaudete Sunday Mass at Saint Thomas the Apostle (Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Irondequoit, New York).

Read This Book

December 1st, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie



Click on pictures to see larger images.

IMG_20151130_0002 top

IMG_20151130_0002 bottom


Another thing I love about the Latin Mass….

April 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I do love the Latin Mass for many reasons, and one reason has nothing to do with the language: it is how Communion is received.  It isn’t just a matter of receiving on the tongue instead of in the hand.  One of the things I have come to really love about the Latin Mass, with everyone receiving on the tongue, is that I no longer see those horrible Eucharistic abuses.  I no longer wonder if I should run after someone who just put a host in his pocket, when I have just received myself and fear being disrespectful to the Lord whom I now tabernacle.  I don’t see someone chewing gum on the line for Communion.    There is no chalice to receive in hand and realize the outside of the cup is wet.  And I don’t see so-called Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (still called EEM’s in some places) trying to give blessings, dropping hosts, or allowing intinction or other abuses.  Such abuses no longer disturb my moment of receiving God Himself.  And I love receiving at an altar rail, because I can fully concentrate on that moment when the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ is laid on my tongue, without trying to get out of line quickly to make room for the next person.

I thought I could simply excerpt a few sentences from a homily given by Fr. Heilman in 2014, and which has been reprinted several other places since.   But so much of it is of value that it is difficult to delete anything,  so please do read the  whole homily. Here is a bit to whet your appetite, further revised from my original posting for the sake of brevity.

The Truth About Communion in the Hand While Standing

by Fr. Richard Heilman 

Fr. Richard Heilman

Fr. Richard Heilman

“On May 28, 1969 the Congregation for Divine Worship issued Memoriale Domini, which concluded: “From the responses received, it is thus clear that by far the greater number of bishops feel that the present discipline [i.e., Holy Communion on the tongue] should not be changed at all, indeed that if it were changed, this would be offensive to the sensibility and spiritual appreciation of these bishops and of most of the faithful.” 

“[….] the pope would not authorize Communion in the hand. He was, however, open to bestowing an indult – an exception to the law – under certain conditions … the Holy See set down seven regulations concerning communion in the hand; failure to maintain these regulations could result in the loss of the indult.”

Fr. Heilman sets forth in exquisite detail the machinations of Archbishop Joseph Bernardin and the NCCB to produce a 2/3 vote among U.S. Bishops for receiving in the hand.  That section is worthwhile reading just for validation that Machiavellian techniques are not obsolete, even in the Church or in US elections, where absentee ballots sometimes win the day. The author understandably reaches the conclusion that some of Pope Paul VI’s conditions were not achieved, at least in the US.  He notes three in particular:

1) Respecting the laity who continue the traditional practice:  “Reports are now widespread of priests refusing Communion to those who wish to receive kneeling and on the tongue. Even reports of priests berating people for this.” 

2) Maintaining the laity’s proper respect of the Eucharist.  The author cites e.g. a deacon’s experience with a number of ‘lack of respect’ situations.  “The Vatican does not allow communion in the hand … one reason is because tourists were taking the Holy Eucharist home as a souvenir of their trip to Rome.”

3) Strengthening the laity’s faith in the Real Presence:  “In 1950, 87% believed in the Real Presence. Today, that number has plummeted to a mere 34%. The abusive and hurried manner in which the practice of Communion in the hand was imposed after Vatican II lead to a widespread lack of reverence for the Eucharist …

Fr. Heilman offers a fascinating quote from Pope Benedict, regarding kneeling and its importance. (more…)

Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form with Bishop Scharfenberger of Albany

February 17th, 2015, Promulgated by b a

From a reader:

Dear Ben,
Appreciate your website very much! If you are wondering how your friends in the Albany diocese are faring under our new bishop, take heart! Bishop Scharfenberger will celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy on Saturday, March 14th at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. This will be the first time in decades that this has occurred at the Cathedral. We are very blessed to have this wonderful man, who regularly shows up at pro-life gatherings, and who, months ago, as one of his first public acts as bishop, organized and led a rosary march of 1,000 people around the State Capital building in Albany. If you decide to note this on your website, I prefer to be anonymous, just a reader from the Albany diocese. We are so blessed!

For more info see the event “Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form with Bishop Scharfenberger” posted by the facebook community “The Extraordinary Form in the Albany Diocese”

Candlemas in East Bloomfield

February 9th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

collage_edited-1Here is a link to a video of portions of the Candlemas celebrated in Saint Bridget Church of Saint Benedict Parish, in East Bloomfield, the evening of February 2. The blessing of the candles was followed by a Mass in Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass). The Mass setting was William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices. (See related post here.)

Follow this link to the video.

Candlemas: Latin Mass and Blessing of Candles

February 1st, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris



The above was today’s cover page of  the bulletin for St. Benedict’s parish (St. Mary Canandaigua and St. Bridget in East Bloomfield).  It is from Father Peter Mottola, who will be the celebrant at the Candlemas Mass in the Extraordinary Form: 6PM Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at St. Bridget’s (15 Church St.)


The Silent Canon: Is Worship Supposed to be Awful?

January 5th, 2015, Promulgated by Bernie

A post from the New Liturgical Movement website.


Harris (Charles Harris) brings forward an abundance of quotations from the earliest liturgical sources to support his contention that the silent recitation of part or all of the Anaphora or Canon of the Eucharistic liturgy became the norm very early on in both East and West. This evidence—and more importantly, the underlying theology and spirituality to which it points—is a clarion call for Catholics of the Roman Rite to continue to work zealously for either the preservation and spread (in the usus antiquior) or the reappraisal and restoration (in the Novus Ordo) of the silent Canon. This ancient and longstanding custom, like the ad orientem stance and the exercise of liturgical roles by ordained ministers, expresses the great reverence due to our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Blessed Sacrament.

Harris first talks about the psychology of silence…

Read the entire post here.

Update on Ontario County Latin Mass

December 16th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

There are two upcoming events in the Ontario  County Latin Mass Community of which to take notice.  Both are being held at St. Bridget in Bloomfield with Fr. Peter Mottola.

On Monday, December 22nd, there will be Mass in the Extraordinary Form at 6:00 PM.

On Monday, January 5th, there will be Solemn Choral Vespers at 6:00 PM in celebration of the Epiphany.

All are invited to attend.


Update on Latin Mass Community / STA

December 15th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

These updates on the Latin Mass Community at St. Thomas the Apostle Church ScreenShot368 are only temporary until that community has its own website. Then we will add their website address to the “links” here.

(You might want to revisit the “Useful Links” if you haven’t been there in a while.  Basic resources, in particular, have been updated. Suggestions are welcome.)

Meanwhile, as a community service, here is some information announced yesterday, Dec. 14, at Mass at STA.

1. Registration:  Those who previously registered at St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish and now want to be members of the Latin Mass Community (which includes the English Mass at 9AM and the Latin Mass at 11:15AM each Sunday), and have their donations counted for that Latin Mass Community and receive a year end contributions statement,  should put name and address on the bright colored registration forms found at STA, and write in large letters across the form “Latin Mass Community.”  They need not fill in anything else, and they will be transferred at St. Kateri to the Latin Mass Community registration.  They should also use the Latin Mass (blue) envelopes in all collections.

2. Mass Scheduling:  To have a Mass said for a particular intention, call 585-484-1810 (or email ) and leave a message including the name of the person for whom the Mass will be offered, if the person is living or deceased, date and time of Mass desired (9AM or 11:15AM) and a phone number to reach you.

3. Christmas Confessions: Will be held at STA on Monday, December 22, 2014, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.  Confessors will include Fr. Bonsignore, Fr. Helfrich, and Fr. Van Lieshout.

In other news, children’s clothes and toys for ages newborn to 14 years will be collected on December 21st at the STA entrances. Info: 467-8747.  

An Apostle, Not a Doubter

December 1st, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie

The Inaugural Masses of the Latin Mass Community at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church

Here are a few video clips from last Sunday’s (English and Latin) Masses at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church of the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Irondequoit, New York. You have no doubt read of the amazing move of the Traditional Latin Mass Community into its new home at Saint Thomas the Apostle. The church has been effectively closed for four years. An English Novus Ordo Mass will also be celebrated each Sunday at 9 A.M. in addition to the Latin Extraordinary Form Mass at 11:15. The move was made last Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent.

Brief Video Clips: (Click on the Links)

Father Bonsignore’s Homily During the Novus Ordo English Mass at 9 A.M.

Entrance Procession at the Novus Ordo (English) Mass

Offertory Incensing at the Latin Extraordinary Form Mass at 11:15 A.M.

Preface, Sanctus, Agnus Dei of the Latin Mass

Consecration and Elevation at the Latin Mass

Holy, Holy, Holy – Lord I am not worthy – Final Blessing and Dismissal of Novus Ordo English Mass


Updates on TLM and STA “together”

September 1st, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

At yesterday’s Mass in the Extraordinary Form, celebrated at St. Stanislaus, Fr. Bonsignore announced that, instead of a sermon, he would give an update on where the situation stands regarding a move of TLM to St. Thomas the Apostle.  As I heard/received the information, it seemed to be divided into three parts:  1) History 2) Input and 3) Meetings with DoR.  If anyone who was in attendance can add or correct the following, please do so with a comment, and I will revise.  Many rapid-fire points were made, and it was hard to cover it all by note-taking.  Where needed for clarity, I’ve put certain clarifications in parentheses.  I have also added, in red, a subject in which a few listeners heard “different” things, and input is especially solicited on that matter. There were also subjects of concern that had been raised, about which no mention was made.  And, at the very end, concerning the next meeting with DoR, please consider your input to Fr. Bonsignore.  He did not ask for further input, but seemed open to continuing communications.


Father Bonsignore began by explaining the original proposal from Bishop Matano.  He noted that on August 10th he had submitted (to the Latin Mass Community) the Bishop’s proposal that TLM move to the STA “building” and that Masses would be said (under both forms on Sundays)  “at a morning hour.”  He noted that both forms are “equally valid.”  Thus, TLM would “join with the former St. Thomas parishioners.” Father Bonsignore would be named “Chaplain” of the TLM community (at a point in time to be clarified) and he hopes and expects the community would grow, to be “one parish entity in the future.”  (Now those were the words I wrote down, but another listener who reviewed this post heard that it would not (eventually) become a parish, and would remain part of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.)

Father Bonsignore told those present: “You understood and reacted”, with “depth and insight” in the spoken discussion, offering ideas and showing “passionate commitment” to the TLM.  He continued:  “I asked for a show of hands and an overwhelming majority” reacted positively (to the proposal at that first meeting). Further, Father Bonsignore also had invited written input, which he characterized as having  “intelligent and forceful comments.”  He stated that he had read “every single one” and again mentioned “overall support.”  He hoped we would hear some of our own inputs as he summarized.


Father Bonsignore characterized the written input “main issues” as follows:  (Some answers were given and are in parentheses).

-repairs and maintenance; (St. Kateri will pay for the roof repair)

-engineering report on the building (he noted this had been done already)

-questions of how finances will work -part of St. Kateri? (answer: yes) (future maybe separate parish?)

-Holy Day Masses? (yes)

-Triduum? (no)

-What about the school  (tenant needed asap)

-Can facility be used for other meetings (not decided) -Operating expenses?  ($100,000 per year for STA (!) Much financial analysis is needed on this estimate.)

-“Atrocious acoustics” (but Father says excellent for Gregorian Chant)

-Will Fr. Helfrich be there at STA?  (Father Bonsignore answered “I hope so.”)

-How will conflicts be settled?  (“needs to be discussed”)

-We need a “chain of command” was another input.

-We will need “advertising of the move and the Mass time”

-If 3 years to become a parish, how will we measure success?  This relates to the prior question of whether or not there is a “parish” light at the end of the tunnel, and what exactly did Father Bonsignore say on this matter?  Please comment.

-Written comments included caution about “working out details as we go” (much needs to be decided in advance.)

Father Bonsignore said there are a “huge number of ideas to process.”


August 20th:  Father Bonsignore met with Father Condon (Chancellor)

August 27th:  Father Bonsignore met with Fathers Condon and English, and  Lisa Passero (diocesan finance officer).  Bishop Matano joined part of the meeting. Discussed some of the issues raised (see answers in parentheses shown above). Other comments:  “STA no longer exists … now TLM would be …  “at the St. Thomas site.”

September 10th:  Next meeting, to be focused on financial and budget concerns. (Input to Father Bonsignore before that meeting is appropriate, even though unsolicited.) Fr. Bonsignore closed with these comments:  “This proposal/plan/project is not simply picking up and moving a few things. There are complex issues and hard work.  We need to work AND pray. As the Psalm says:  ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain.’   Good topic for Labor Day weekend.”  

Father Bonsignore said that, as he was leaving the diocesan meeting, that Father Condon said to him: “We want you to succeed”.  (It is unclear if Bp. Matano was in the room at this point.)  When Fr. Bonsignore said he was looking slightly disbelieving “like Thomas,” Fr. Condon repeated his words, saying “Have faith.” Father Bonsignore avowed he has no problem with “faith” and urged us to have “faith.”

My own personal comment on the closing statement is this:  I have never found dealing with the Diocese to be an issue of faith.  Rather, I have consistently found it, under the prior administration, of which parts and pieces remain, to be an issue of trust.  As the Psalms say:   “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help.”   

MIA:  I heard no discussion of the patrimony of St. Thomas Apostle being repatriated to STA, believed to be over a half million dollars, which apparently resides under control of St. Kateri, and those who voted to close STA.  It would seem that without such settling of the parishioner-mandaters’ complaints to Rome, that TLM would be stepping into the middle of a canonical lawsuit, and be divisive with the perception of having intruded in the matter.  That would not seem to be an auspicious beginning, nor a way to work with or win prior parishioners to the TLM.  For example, would former STA parishioners want to pay toward $100,000 costs per year, when their prior patrimony has been taken away? Perhaps it is better to wait until that matter is definitively settled?  What do you think?  

Mass in the Extraordinary Form 7 September 2014 in Corning NY

August 25th, 2014, Promulgated by b a

Father Peter Mottola will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form also known as the Traditional Latin Mass, at St Vincent de Paul Church in Corning NY on 7 September 2014 at 12:30pm. The Mass will be a Missa Cantata, a sung Mass, with an accompanying Schola. Come experience this timeless form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is the second in the three Masses scheduled this year. The last one is scheduled for 23 November at the same time and place.

An Expanded Comment on “TLM and STA – together?”

August 13th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I had promised in the post on TLM and STA   to add my comments to the others.  Then I realized that I had more that I wanted to say (and some pictures to share) so here is a post instead.  Do look at the Bernie’s beautiful pictures of STA, shown below, and please read the original post which follows further below if you have not already done so.  And add your thoughts and comments to the collection basket at St. Stan’s this weekend, as Fr. Bonsignore requested.



I’ve been pondering for several days how to comment on this risk, opportunity, and challenge.  And, indeed, it is all three!  But first I want to share something that happened on Tuesday, July 29th.  I was driving from Rochester to Boston on a business trip, and stopped off in Fonda, N.Y., the location of the National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.  I have a heart for the people of STA, even though I have only been to Mass there a few times.  But my own experience under pastoral planning, the suffering of my own community (Our Lady of the Lakes, OLOL) under less than honest leadership, erroneous financial analysis, and soul-rending manipulations which deeply wounded many relationships during diocesan-driven pastoral planning, perhaps give me a better understanding for what the STA community has endured, and a realization of what they would face in re-entering the larger parish at whose hands they’ve suffered.  I’ll say more about my own experience when appropriate, but now only share that unless one has walked in these moccasins, one just can’t know the pain.

Chapel at the National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Sanctuary at the National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Arriving in Fonda, I had at first no particular agenda, except to visit where I’d never been and to pray for the people of STA.  Somehow, during prayer, I found myself asking St. Kateri to “let go” of STA, that it might be freed and once again become a strong, vibrant and faithful witness to God.  It wasn’t that I thought St. Kateri had done anything to “take over” STA, only that the forced, new parish structure is under her patronage.  Therefore, there was some legitimacy in asking her for this deliverance.  I hadn’t gone to Fonda intending to pray this particular way, it happened during prayer and it felt right and appropriate to me then and now.  In learning more of Kateri’s own story, I now know she was treated poorly by her contemporaries due to her conversion to Christianity and her deepening love of Jesus.  The faithful of STA have much in common with Kateri, and perhaps she has a heart for them too.


St. Kateri Prayer Alcove

St. Kateri Prayer Alcove

While there, I knew of the TLM meeting, less than two weeks away, but it was far from my consciousness as I prayed for STA.  I want to make it very clear that in no way do I think my prayer, simple and short as it was, had any impact except for me.  Obviously, the wheels were already in motion by the Lord.  But I do think it is a gift when He invites us into the stream of His work, even when we don’t know what we are doing!  After Fonda, I got to spend a few hours in Auriesville at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs, another beautiful experience.  And I have been carrying the relic card of St. Kateri ever since this trip.  Imagine how surprised I was last Sunday when Fr. Bonsignore related Bishop Matano’s proposal to reopen STA in conjunction with the TLM community.  Now for some thoughts on risk, opportunity and challenges.


  1. RISK:  TLM community began by taking a major risk 21 years ago.  At any moment the prior bishop could have withdrawn permission, which was needed before Pope Benedict gave all priests the right to celebrate Mass in the EF.  At any moment, the hospitality of St. Stanislaus community to TLM could have been withdrawn.  Without the ability to strongly build community, everything could have eroded and lost vitality.  That TLM has survived to this point is, I believe, a testimony to the Holy Spirit’s care and tending.  We have never been orphans.  Risk?  The greatest risk is NOT to flow where the Holy Spirit wants to carry us.  But, of course, we must pray mightily to discern if and where He is carrying us.  With so much that has been so right in just over 7 months of Bishop Matano’s shepherding, we already have a very strong indication that we can trust where the Holy Spirit is leading this local church.


  1. OPPORTUNITY:  We have the opportunity to be a blessing to others, not only for ourselves.  Who would have ever thought that adding TLM would be an answer to the prayers of a Novus Ordo Community?  Doesn’t it simply show that we are all one in the Body of Christ? We are Catholics!  It is perfectly reasonable that not all plans are in place at this time, cost of roof repairs, moving the high altar back into place,* financing and so much more.  Open and generous hearts should be able to show their gratitude by working out these details. Let us not think too small, too meagerly.  Let us not be like Peter who doubted and began to sink, but rather to know that the Lord’s arm is there for us, to bear us up.   Sometimes parish communities take on aspects of their patron saints.  As Saint Thomas himself showed, it is easy to doubt, but how much greater is the lesson he brought to us about trust.  That is what the STA people have done for 4 years, what we have done for 21 years.  My Lord and my God!  This character of both communities bodes well for working together.  We have suffered; we have been blessed.  It is impossible to imagine all that could be at this point, but it is an opportunity to show what people rooted in the Faith can do together in Jesus Name when the machinations of the prior farce of diocesan “pastoral planning” is not present in the situation.   And that leads me to the challenges, and the practical implications.  *deletion is made with apologies for the confusion, and thanks to Monk for calling my attention to it.  Apparently there have been no changes to the Sanctuary, and I misunderstood that the “table” altar (my words, just to be descriptive) has been used for both the EF and for the Novus Ordo.  On the prior post, further comments on the altar, and other questions, have been added in replying to Monk’s post.  dh


  1. CHALLENGES:  And first, another preface.  We all have our opinions on these matters, and of course I will express mine as well (never having been good at NOT expressing my opinion!)  Opinion is just that, opinion.  But I will also venture to offer advice, based on experience and not merely opinion.  As background, I’ve spent over 30 years in strategic planning, mergers, financial analysis etc.  I can’t ignore what I have learned from that and it would be unjust for me to do so.  And having had the personal experience of the wounding of communities and souls in the unfair and manipulative way in which the Rochester Diocese carried out its “pastoral planning” in the past, it is natural to reach some conclusions.  I’m going to state these in the way I would if I were consulting with a client, trying to successfully merge organizations or cultures, but applied to TLM and STA.


    1. Act with timeliness.  Time works against successful merging of cultures; i.e. the longer it takes, the less likely it will be successful.  GE used to have a formula that required start-to-completion in 100 days or less, credited for much success.  On the other hand, the OLOL parish took 36 months of discussion before even having the first set of recommendations!  It was a disaster.  No plan will be perfect, but most things can be corrected.  Loss of time can never be corrected.  It has no shelf life.  And much else is neglected as time passes.
    2. Participants need to have a stake.  If this merging of TLM into STA is to happen, knowledgeable and focused individuals who have a STAKE IN ITS SUCCESS need to evaluate the information, make decisions and recommendations to Fr. Bonsignore and to Bishop Matano.  Many (though not all) of the problems I witnessed in OLOL were related to diocesan staff who seemed poorly equipped and without a strategic bone in their bodies, and who burdened the process with their own personal problems, using trite high-school facilitation methods to build lukewarm consensus that did not reflect the needs or cares of the community.  If one of those diocesan facilitators is involved in the TLM/STA process I would predict a very poor outcome.  I have seen that those who have only their own meager raises and employee evaluations as a stake in the process have already destroyed much that was good with false financial statements, repeated lies and sham consulting.  It is bad enough when church communities and liturgical space are destroyed for the sake of someone’s bragging rights, but injury to souls is beyond calculation.
    3. Transparency should be the rule of the process.  That means transparency in and completeness of financial statements, openly giving input (as we are right now), and fair and honorable communications.  What I had witnessed previously failed on all counts.  A key question related to STA is to honestly and openly determine to which church the funds taken from STA really belong.  If there were any fraud in the transfers, it should be undone.  It should be righteously re-distributed.


In my OPINION, the above REALITIES lead to the conclusion that the failed process in so-called pastoral planning (which I experienced elsewhere and which many STA parishioners say they experienced previously in their own community) is a warning sign that St. Thomas the Apostle should be stand-alone from St. Kateri Tekakwitha.  The challenges of working with all the St. Kateri parishes (without TLM) would be overwhelmingly difficult.  With TLM, perhaps it is impossible.  To expect people to come back together again who have participated in an opaque and warped process which ignored them and destroyed their church community is asking too much and an unnecessary burden on TLM.  If this were a business situation, I would strongly advise against it.  And although we are all called to forgiveness, we are not called to stupidity.  We are not called to wasting time and effort and losing the opportunity the Holy Spirit seems to be offering us.  (On a more mundane level, as the saying goes, lied to once shame on you; lied to twice, shame on me.)


For example, with multiple churches involved and having similar votes in parish council, parish councils then can veto just about anything.  This would be a great danger to TLM as well as to STA .  The process and structure has already shown itself untrustworthy.  Moreover, and I am being very frank, the fingers from outside STA point to both Basilians, Father Tanck and Father English, as having been obstructive and non-cooperative with the people of STA, ignoring needs and/or taking punishing actions.  The story is told, for example, of STA finally getting long-awaited approval to hold a funeral Mass in the (closed) church.  So, accordingly, the church was opened, but the bathroom was locked.  There are many stories and many injuries.  It is not my purpose to reopen old wounds, but four years without healing or restoration, and without any visible CARING about healing, have very likely put achieving reconciliation beyond human reach.  Moreover, even if it were achievable, such efforts would dilute the attention needed on the serious merging of STA and TLM, putting that entire endeavor at risk.  It seems most logical to leave the current active St. Kateri churches under Fr. English, and provide new pastoring (without the baggage) to someone who can be consistently committed to realizing the opportunity being offered, fair to both communities, and who can build trust.

In conclusion, I hope that all our attention, recommendations and comments won’t just be on the survival and thriving of TLM.  The people and parish of St. Stanislaus offered us shelter for these many years and, costs/expenses notwithstanding, we should be grateful for the opportunity we had, and recognize that removing our financial support is bound to create a financial challenge for St. Stan’s.  Let’s not leave them out of our prayers.


Chapel at The National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Fonda, NY

Chapel at The National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Fonda, NY

TLM and STA — together?

August 10th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

For the last several weeks, The Latin Mass (TLM) Community bulletin has announced the following; “At the request of Bishop Salvatore Matano…all attending, participating and contributing members of the St. Stanislaus Latin Mass Community are urged to attend an informational meeting with Father Bonsignore regarding our continued and secure future as a worshiping Family in the Diocese of Rochester… Sunday, August 10, 2014 immediately after the Latin Mass, in the Church….”

ScreenShot192Today was the day!  The meeting was 1 hour and 40 minutes. After briefly reviewing basic TLM Community finance for the past year, Fr. Bonsignore introduced the very important news, what he called a “providential sequel” to the 21 years since the founding of TLM Community.  He said that on June 24th, Bishop Matano had called him into his office and “completely surprised” him.  Fr. Bonsignore made sure everyone understood that our Bishop fully supports TLM, and “what we do here.”  Then, he said,  Bishop Matano made the following “proposal”  and asked for TLM Community’s input.  Fr. Bonsignore requested all comments in next weekend’s collection basket (1 page, in writing.)  He mentioned that Bishop Matano had proposed growing TLM by having a more convenient Mass time (11:15 AM) and in a “suburban” location (St. Thomas the Apostle (STA) !) in order to achieve our “full potential.”  At those words, the approximately 100 people in attendance broke into spontaneous and prolonged applause.

Fr. Bonsignore went on to state that the Bishop is concerned “not only for us” but for those STA parishioners who have drifted away from their former parish.  STA is described as a “semi-closed” worship site which now belongs to St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish.  Fr. Bonsignore noted how the STA parishioners have been praying for a long time and petitioning for the reopening of STA.  What Bishop Matano is said to be proposing is two Sunday (only) Masses — the Novus Ordo at 9:00 AM and the Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) at 11:15 AM.  In the current proposal  is no provision for any weekday Masses.  Fr. Bonsignore described the STA community as orthodox, having a reverent sense of the sacred.  The implication is a compatibility between the two communities.  These are not separate rites; these are two forms of the Roman rite.  The possibility for Holydays of Obligations, Feast Days and even the Triduum are not yet discussed.  Catechetical plans need to be established too.  We were told that baptisms, weddings and funerals would be done under either (both) of the forms. There are obviously many details to be worked out, including reported repairs needed to STA, which has been effectively closed for several years.  There will be a role for volunteers (and some even volunteered before they left today.)  Fr. Bonsignore noted the importance of “Charity in Everything” as we approach these matters.

Perhaps not everything hoped for can be achieved at once but it is “a start” he said, what Fr. Bonsignore called “a generous invitation” from Bishop Matano.  It would be a step, he said, in moving toward “full parish life” which TLM has not been able to have at St. Stanislaus.  Although, this proposal would seem to be the “best opportunity to succeed,” Fr. Condon was quoted as calling it a “3-year experiment” and if it didn’t work out, TLM could move back to St. Stan’s, lowering the risk. Fr. Bonsignore also explained that several accommodations would need to be made for his own chaplaincies, and for priests to serve a newly formed community.  There would be an effort to re-rent the empty school building (a source of income), and the Church and Adoration Chapel/Community Center would be accessible.

Before the dismissal, Fr. Bonsignore asked for a preliminary show of hands and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Obviously plans need to be developed, Fr. English  may be invited to supply more details on STA to the TLM Community, and a timeline needs to be developed.  Fr. Bonsignore expressed the hope that this could happen in the autumn, completed “this year.”  Nevertheless, input and reactions and ideas were again solicited, to be added as one page in next week’s collection basket. We were reminded to pray over this matter, and to remember that the final decision belongs in God’s Hands.

Finally, I would mention that there were extreme opinions in both directions and emotional concerns which understandably are a product of individual experience, surprise reactions, even fears.  That is not to say they are without merit.  But it does the larger community of TLM and STA no benefit to document those on either side at this point, as each person is invited to think, pray, and submit concerns in writing.  It is too early in any bonafide process to polarize any part of the community. We were assured of Bishop Matano’s sincerity and concern for both communities.  May we receive his gift with grateful hearts.

I invite the Cleansing Fire Community to add thoughts, ideas and information as comments, in the spirit of Charity requested of us.  Please correct any errors I may have made in my notes.  I will save my own personal thoughts for the comment section.  God bless!

The Eternal Liturgy vs. Contemporary Worship

April 15th, 2014, Promulgated by Bernie

Here is a very informative and clearly written description of the biblical basis of the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Church. I think it also applies to the Latin Rite, as well, especially the traditional Latin Mass.  The comparison, however, is by far with contemporary Protestant and non-denominational worship.

Orthodox Worship vs. Contemporary Also OT eternal pattern

photo: from the Preachers Institute

by Robert Arakaki

 Within the past few decades, a new form of worship has become widely popular among Christians.  Where before people would sing hymns accompanied by an organ, then listen to a sermon, in this new worship there are praise bands that use rock band instruments, short, catchy praise songs, sophisticated Power Point presentations, and the pastor giving uplifting practical teachings about having a fulfilling life as a Christian.  This new kind of worship is so popular that people come to these services by the thousands.  They go because the services are fun, exciting, easy to understand, and easy to relate to.  Yet this new style of worship is light years away from the more traditional and liturgical Orthodox style of worship.  How does an Orthodox Christian respond to this new worship?  Is it acceptable or is it contrary to Orthodoxy?  How should an Orthodox Christian respond to an invitation to attend these contemporary Christian services?


According to the Pattern

First we need to ask: Is there a guiding principle for right worship?  St. Stephen, the first martyr, gave a sermon about the history of the Jewish nation.  In this sermon he notes that Old Testament worship was “according to... READ MORE

We Are in the Middle of a Love Story – Latin and its Place in the Roman Church

September 8th, 2013, Promulgated by Gen

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the Mass is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, states similarly that, “every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others” (SC I.1.7). Throughout the entire history of the Church, this sentiment has ennobled our sacrifice of praise, directing us to offer to God the best that we possibly can. The goal in doing so is not to render each Mass a performance, or to “show off” our abilities. Rather, the sole purpose to offering Mass is the salvation of souls. Indeed, this is why it is the “source and summit,” for it gives us Christ to bring us to Christ. The Mass is the total offering of the Son by the Father for the remission of our sins, a commemoration of the Paschal Mystery wherein Christ ransomed us back to Himself.

tlmAnd so it is not entirely surprising that our Masses are often termed “celebrations.” The common question in sacristies around the world is, “who’s celebrating Mass today?” And celebrate we must, for the Mass is the setting in which God comes to us under the guise of bread and wine. He comes into our midst, into our very bodies, at the request of His servants, his clergy. “O admirabile commercium!” Our joy at such a reality ought to be brimming over, unbounded and uncontainable. The energy, the adrenaline, are surely there for the faithful whenever the priest holds aloft the host and the chalice saying, “Behold the Lamb of God.” The Scriptures are filled with accounts of uncontainable joy and enthusiasm. The psalms often highlight the praise of God “with timbrel and harp,” exhorting us to “clap our hands” and “be glad!”

So, glad we must be. Glad we are. Blessed are we who are called to the supper of the Lamb. Christ summons us personally to His altar to receive Him worthily, and this invitation ought not to be turned down. He gave Himself wholly for us; all that remains is for us to give ourselves wholly back to Him. And that is where the nature of sacrifice enters into our Earthly liturgies. If this encounter between God and man is the “source and summit” of our lives as Christians, does it not follow that we should actually make it seem as such? Are we not called to channel our joy and Eucharistic zeal in such a way as to lift up our souls just as the priest lifts up the Blessed Sacrament?

This is one of our universal calls as Christians. Every person has an invitation from God to serve Him in some way unique to the individual. Some are to be spouses, others monks and nuns, still others priests. There are an infinite number of vocations God gives to His people, but the one that links us all is a call to do Him homage in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The Church recognizes this universal call, and does so even so clearly as to recognize it in Her very name: the Catholic Church. This call, this catholic, universal, borderless summons of the Almighty, binds us one to another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We all approach the same God; we all approach the same altar.

This is why unity in worship is integral to the Christian life, and infinitely beneficial to the Christian soul. We are all individuals celebrating Christ’s selfless gift on Calvary, but when we come together in prayer as a community, we must direct our enthusiasm in a single, refined direction. Just as a prism takes light and sends forth the colors of the rainbow, so must our worship function in reverse. The various colors of our worship must be fused, blended, refined, so as to produce one single ray of light, one beam, one unified vision. If we focus on the individual colors in our lives, if we define ourselves by “my parish” and “your parish,” we automatically shrink the scope of the Faith to a local thing, not a catholic experience of God.

    This is why the beauty of a Latin liturgy is just that: undeniably beautiful. It takes the thousands of tongues of praise with which God has gifted us, and unifies them, binding them in one so as to create a harmony of perfect sacrifice. For in this liturgical, linguistic union, we lose ourselves in the immensity of Christ and His Church, focusing not on our own limited capabilities or cultural experiences. The value of Latin in the liturgical life of the Church is that it strips us of our pride, minimizes our ego, makes the Mass entirely sacrificial and Christ-centered. Our Masses far too often seem to canonize the community, or worse yet, to worship it. Latin makes this impossible, due mostly to the fact that it is a foreign tongue. It makes us all equals in the eyes of the Church.

Latin is not meant to stifle our joy. Nor is it meant to appeal to a small circle of erudite priests and seminarians. It is the universal, the catholic language of the Church, and serves, as I have said, to gather our many disparate voices into one. The ancient people of the Old Testament attempted to build a tower to reach the Heavens, and were punished for their arrogance by a multiplicity of tongues. The Mass reverses that, and rewards our humility with a unification of tongues.

And not just “tongues,” but hearts and minds, as well. Latin is, by its very nature, perfectly suited to liturgical worship. A primary attribute is that it compels us to raise our hearts and minds precisely because it is foreign. It challenges us to be attentive, to think, to offer praise to God with our whole being and not sit back in our pews with a spirit of complacency. When we praise God exclusively in our own language, our praise runs the risk of becoming too casual, too “familiar” with God. While God gave Christ to be our friend and brother, He gave Christ, too, to be our King and Savior. Latin stirs in us this royal sentiment, addressing our sovereign and savior in a language which sounds fitting for such an instance.

Latin, also, is a beautiful, poetic, passionate language. While many languages are similarly beautiful, Latin eclipses them with its antiquity and its nobility. It has a clear ability to transcend the present and appeal to those things which are eternal. Latin is outside of our present-day existence on the street, and this is why it continues to be set apart for use in our liturgies. Just as our Jewish brothers and sisters have their own sacred language reserved for liturgy, so, too, do we. It is a language of poetic beauty, and therefore makes the Mass seem “entirely other.” Many of our brothers and sisters dislike Latin for just this reason, explaining how it makes them feel alienated. However, their focus remains on their own personal tastes and experiences, and fails to look up and take into consideration all the members of the Church. We must be an inclusive Church, and the boundaries of our inclusivity don’t end at the parish parking lot.

Latin is lofty, fitting for kings. Latin is beautiful, fitting for God’s creation. Latin is ethereal, fitting for the Mass. Latin is inclusive, fitting for use by the entire Church of God. To claim that Latin does not meet the needs of the Church, that it keeps the laity at arm’s length, is to have a regrettably narrow focus. If we feel intimidated by the use of Latin, the looming prevalence of chant and polyphony, the absence of vernacular hymnody, we should ask ourselves “why?”

The answer will invariably be along the lines of, “it makes me feel little.” We might feel lost, confused, isolated. We might feel wholly unwelcome at, even uninvited to participate in the Sacred Mysteries. But what we must realize is that we will only feel that way if we are unwilling to surrender totally to Christ. If we feel this way, we are placing ourselves, our own insular and limited perception, above that of Christ’s Church. Latin only makes us feel overwhelmed if we fight it out of a sense of entitlement. We must always approach the altar with a spirit of absolute humility. Rejoice, yes, but temper your rejoicing with the realization of who you are.  We are, each of us, sinners. We trust in God’s mercy. And we approach the Mass with a sense of great joy, but simultaneously, with some measure of hesitation. After all, we should be in awe when we attend Mass.

The depth of the Mass is unfathomable (hence “awe”). At the words of a mere man, Christ descends to our altars, in our very presence, and makes Himself wholly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Do we really feel that the merits of community singing outweigh the reverence and solemnity demanded of such an awesome gift? Do we really place more of an emphasis on our own desire to belong, on our own insecurities, than we do on approaching God with humility? Latin ensures just such an approach, and does so through its timelessness, through its beauty, through its foreign nature.

This is its allure to this current generation. For so long, our youth have been coddled, their Masses emasculated and robbed of their depth. On a subconscious level especially, they are rebelling against this vernacular status quo (given the opportunity, of course). Present any child, teenager, or young adult with Gregorian chant, and it will bring about a change in them. They may or may not be able to explain the nature of this change. It may not even be visible to our eyes. But what is of tantamount importance is that there is in his heart no animosity, no hostility, no resentment. There is an openness to Latin, to chant, to Tradition. And that is the main difference between our youth and the generations of the 60’s and 70’s.

  And so all that is left for us to do is reintroduce Latin, to expose our young people to the unquestionable beauty of the Faith, so richly embodied in her use of that venerable language to convey Truth. There is no reason to be shy in defending the use of Latin in the Church’s liturgical life. Bl. John XXIII, the Roman Pontiff who oversaw the first portion of the Second Vatican Council, stated in no uncertain terms that, “The Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular” (Veterum Sapientia). Champions of so-called “reform” attempt to point to him and his successor Paul VI as defenders of vernacular liturgy. However, this is far from the truth of the matter.

Indeed, the Second Vatican Council reconfirmed again and again that Latin is the universal language of the Church. It is the universal language of Christian prayer. After all, Gregorian chant has “principal place” in Catholic liturgy. Paul VI himself expressed this sentiment when he wrote, “The Latin language is assuredly worthy of being defended with great care, instead of being scorned; for the Latin Church it is the most abundant source of Christian civilization and the richest treasury of piety. We must not hold in low esteem these traditions of your fathers which were your glory for centuries” (Sacrificium Laudis). The two Conciliar pontiffs uphold the use of Latin, and direct us to defend its use.

Unfortunately, we have seen no such realization of the Second Vatican Council. We have, however, seen its documents subverted for political agendas which run entirely contrary to the heart of the Church. Those who profess to serve “the Spirit of Vatican II” have, in most circumstances, never even read the documents it produced. Rather, they allow erroneous teaching to take up a home in their hearts. And why? It would seem counterintuitive to reject something so timeless as the “traditions of your fathers” for something so new and innovative.

The simplest explanation is that those who were entrusted with implementing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council had, many of them, long since ceased to realize their love affair with Truth. Saving souls took an auxiliary role in the Church’s mission. Community-building took primary place. No one who authentically loves the Church, the Mystical Spouse of Christ, would so zealously rob Her of Her majesty, and so dreadfully undercut Her sacred liturgies. Ven. Pope Pius XII reminds us that Latin “affords at once an imposing sign of unity and an effective safeguard against the corruption of true doctrine.” By placing the most sacred words ever pronounced in our own language, in making them seem suddenly so deceptively mundane, we lost that safeguard. And does a lover strip his love of dignity, of security, of beauty? Does a lover seek to diminish the complexity of his partner in order to appreciate her? No. If he loves her truly, he will strive to learn her ways, to contemplate them, to interact with them in such a way as to keep the flame of their love ever burning.

When priests and bishops stripped our liturgies of their natural language, of their chant, of their vestments, of their altars and sacramentals, they stripped the Bride of Christ of her wedding garments, and forced Her to stand there, mirroring Christ, unprotected and derided by the centurions. We force on Her brow the crown of thorns of feigned inclusivity. We place in Her hand the sceptre of castrated authority. This is not the act of a lover. This is the act of those whose love has run cold, if it has ever run at all.

The absence of Latin betrays a premature end to the love story of the Mass. When we cease to offer the best we are able to offer, when complacency rules our liturgical sensibilities, we must pause and ask ourselves why our affections have run cold. Why do we turn so ashamedly from our noble and rich heritage? Why do we shirk Tradition?

We do so because we do not know how to love. Latin is the Church’s language of universal love. It is, by its very nature, a language of poetic beauty, and therefore perfectly suited to communicate Christ’s love for us through His Church. It demonstrates, too, the victory of that love, for what was once a pagan tongue uttered by Romans over two millennia ago is now the pure language of the Church which rose up and choked out that culture of fear and lust. The Roman Empire fell, and was swiftly replaced by the Roman Church, which maintained the imagery and symbolism of the Empire in order to convey the absolute power and love of Christ, Who is Priest, Prophet, and King.

Indeed, in the Council document Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Church states, “Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs” (SC I.1.7). Latin is the bridge between worlds, in which this “perceptible sign” directs us towards a deeper understanding of the Sacred Mysteries. Through its veil of mysticism, we enter into a direct contemplation of the immensity and wonder of God.

And this is no mistake. Over 2,000 years, new vernaculars have come and gone, but the original vernacular of Latin has remained. It was that language that Pilate used to pronounce his sentence. It was that language that graced the sign above Christ’s head. It was that language that the martyrs breathed in their last moments. It is this language that transmits to us, unbroken, the entirety of our Tradition. And it is this Tradition that demonstrates to the faithful that we truly are “in the middle of a love story, and each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we have understood nothing of what the Church is.”

Traditional Requiem High Mass at OLOV/SJ

November 5th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

(See excerpts from the All Souls Day Mass HERE)

(Click on pictures to see clearer images.)

A requiem high Mass in the Extraordinary Form was celebrated last Friday, All Souls Day, at Our Lady of Victory/Saint Joseph Church in downtown Rochester.

The Mass, as my mother would have said, was “beautiful”. Mom certainly had some aesthetic sensibilities –she loved decorating the home- but she had no real formal training in design or knowledge of fine art. I don’t recall her having much knowledge of classical music, either, but she did enjoy familiar classical selections. But, I doubt she had in her mind the elements and principles of design when she referred to a Mass as beautiful.

We have discussed this idea of beauty regarding liturgical art in several past posts. Mom, I don’t think, ever tried to conceptualize what she meant by a “beautiful Mass”. She never explained it but I think the family always knew what she meant; the Mass was Catholic in its fullest sense; it was full of grace –of beautiful sounds, movements, smells, reverence, and infused with a sense of the sacred; it was uplifting; it was as if you were in heaven with the angels. It was Catholic; it was beautiful! Not necessarily elaborate and rich in ceremonial, but Catholic.

The All Souls Day Mass at Our Lady of Victory/Saint Joseph, however, was rich in ceremonial and music.

We can discuss the theology and doctrines of the Mass and explain this and that aspect of the liturgical celebration -the symbolism and typological constructions. Those things are part of a full understanding of the meaning of the Mass. But, the Mass is not really understood to our spiritual benefit unless it is also “enjoyed”. I don’t mean enjoyed as in “entertained” but rather “in-joyed” as in lifted up and filled with spiritual joy and transcendent happiness. That can happen at a very simple reverent celebration of daily Mass as well as at a “pull out all the stops” high feast day Liturgy. And, to a certain extent, is dependent on the predisposition of the individual participant, I suppose.

But, it is the elaborated ceremonial that most often results in the exclamation, beautiful!

I was talking with a man on Sunday who, as a member of the congregation, participated in the All Souls Day Mass on Friday. There were several times during the Mass, he recounted, when he was nearly reduced to tears. The Beautiful is profound and moves deeply; it draws us in and engages us at a very deep level. Can there be any doubt the man was actively participating even though, for the most part, he and the rest of the congregation were only, except for some responses, watching and listening (and sitting, standing and kneeling)?

The musical setting of the Mass was Gabriel Faure’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 performed by the parish’s choir and student singers and instrumentalists from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. Probably the most popular or familiar selection from Faure’s Mass setting is the Pie Jesu. The music, alone, of Faure’s Mass can bring tears to a listener’s eyes but when combined with the ritual of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in the context of All Souls Day, well… it is almost overwhelming.

The Requiem High Mass on All Souls Day at Victory was profound and, as my mother would have said, beautiful!

Mom was devastated when the Traditional Latin Mass was ripped away from her and replaced by hootenanny Masses. I’m sure she was part of last Friday’s All Souls Day Mass at Our Lady of Victory/Saint Joseph Church –as a joy filled beneficiary.

Incidentally, it was a packed church at Victory last Friday night.

(See excerpts from the All Souls Day Mass HERE)