Saturday, 27 February 2010

Getting There From Here

To shock you into where we need to go from here, it is important to preserve this evidence lest we forget what is at stake. Now this is an extreme liturgical abuse and clearly not indicative of the Mass in Toronto but it was allowed to happen. It took place on July 2, 2006 (prior to the appointment of Archbishop Thomas Collins). This is a magnificent century old stone classical Church in the east end of downtown Toronto, St. Ann's.

On February 2, 2009 at St. Brigid's not far from St. Ann's but as far as what you saw above as could be short of a Missa Pontificalis, Father Howard Venette, FSSP assisted by transitional deacons and seminarians from St. Augustine's Seminary celebrates as Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
This is the most true Catholic worship to Almighty God. The first three pictures are a matter of sacrilege and false theology that is more pagan than Catholic.

While the FSSP will leave Toronto, the Mass will continue at St. Theresa Shrine Church on Kingston Road at Midland. The Mass will continue at 1:00 with a retired priest as a Low Mass. The goal is a stable and consistent parish where, if not exclusive, at least the shared and integrated existence where both "Forms of the Roman Rite" can co-exist and compliment each other in a normal parish life.

Father Michael Eades, C.O. celebrating his first Solemn High Mass at The Oratory (St. Vincent de Paul Church) on Pentecost Sunday 2009. Father Eades, C.O. was ordained at The Oratory (Holy Family) by Archbishop Thomas Collins on the feast of their founder, St. Phlip Neri only a few days before, Father Eades first Mass the next day was in the Extrordinary Form.

This already exists in Toronto and it is at The Oratory (above photo). The good Fathers there in addition to their own House and Seminary operate two diocesan parishes, Holy Family and St. Vincent de Paul. The usus antiquior (ancient use) is offered daily at Holy Family as a Missa Lecta and Sunday at St. Vincent's as a Missa Cantata and moving more frequently towards the Missa Solemnis. This is the ideal and what Pope Benedict XVI hopes for by his motu proprio; that the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms can co-exist side-by-side integrated into parish life. At this place, there is no rancour or dispute or debate about which is "better" or brings one "close to God." There is no "us and them" mentality; no pre or post Vatican II Church. There is only the one Church. Go to Vespers and you will find people that attend both Forms. Go to the 8:30 on Saturday to the usus antiquior and you'll find someone there who was at the 5:30 Novus Ordo the afternoon before. No complaint, just sinful people trying to be better and working at their salvation in fear and trembling and accepting and praying and doing that which the Church asks.

Present them both, let the Holy Spirit do His work.

To be sure, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is a wonderful grace. Similar is the Institute of Christ the King. The challenge though, which has been clearly evident at St. Theresa Shrine parish is that before and after the FSSP's arrival, the Traditional Latin Mass there has been ghettoized. Very few attendees actually lived within the boundaries of the parish and those who did rarely ventured in at 1:00. To the "real" parish, it was like these people were intruders at worst or didn't even exist at best.

When I first arrived as Cantor and to build the choir in Advent 2008 (and singing from the front it was easy to see) there were on some Sundays 40 maybe 50 people. It's an old habit of choir directors from the loft to count. In the summer of 2009, I was embarrassed to see it even drop to about 30. But then something happened. More publicity was being created on blogs and the internet about the Mass in other parts of the North America and around the world. The motu proprio was becoming more known and the word was getting out. EWTN continued to broadcast from the Shrine special Masses by the FSSP and people came to realize that the Fraternity was actually here. We were consistent with our Missa Cantata on Sundays and Feast Days and Solemnities and the Chaplain worked to cultivate the vineyard. By autumn it started to increase, slowly. Throughout January 2009 the attendees were consistently moving up to 70, 80 even a few more.

Lest anyone forget their math. If we said that typical attendance was 40 in December 2008 and in January 2009 it was consistently 80 that is a 100% increase in attendance. It was my view that by next Christmas we would be up a similar amount. That is how fast it was growing.

And better still, they were not little ladies with doilies on their heads (forgive me please). These new congregants were younger, with children and they were not even born before 1970. They could hardly be accused of "nostalgia neurosis" as was said once by a long since retired Ottawa Archbishop Emeritus about Gregorian chant. Some going tto St. Theresa's for years and sitting up front insist they always had 80 to 100 people. This is simply not true. Before the arrival of the Father Howard Venette, before the fully implemented Gregorian chant, the choir and the publicity, this little Latin Mass community was on life support. The laity there did little to nothing to promote the Mass or support Una Voce Toronto, lobby, write or encourage anyone to attend. It was a closed and quiet little group and if we are not careful, that is what it will return to. People attending the usus aniquior in other parts of Toronto did nothing to support these or Una Voce. All have been pretty passive and complacent.

As a fruit of the last 19 months of the Fraternity's presence, there are two young men who are discerning a call to the priesthood. Yes, you read that correctly. Two. Young. Men. Discerning the call to the priesthood. In 19 months!

The responsibility now to move forward lies with all the laity there. Una Voce Toronto requires more support. There are people attending St. Theresa Shrine who do not belong to this most important international association. There are people attending the Latin Mass in other parts of Toronto who have not joined.

Join the Toronto Traditional Mass Society-Una Voce. Now!

Join Latin Mass Toronto on Facebook. Now!

So what are the solutions?

  • In a perfect world, the Pastor at St. Theresa Shrine Church would simply undertake to celebrate the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The people after all, do take up the collection which goes to the parish.
  • If the above is not possible, then a "Chaplain" needs to be appointed to undertake this as a mission on Sundays.
  • The appropriate solution is that at St. Theresa Shrine Church or another church in the east of Toronto where the Sunday Mass can move, the Mass in the Extraordinary Form needs to be offered daily and on Solemnities and Feasts in the normal life of a parish undertaken by a visiting Chaplain or Parish Priest or Associate.
  • For the people of God, the importance of it being in one location, daily cannot be underestimated. This would also serve to re-invigorate a needy parish with more people, more life and more--dare I say funds! (The fact is, Latin Mass attendees, while they still may not tithe are usually generous so that they can preserve what they have).

The four points above are the short-term solution to the departure of the Fraternity of St. Peter from Toronto. The odds of a whole parish building being given over to the FSSP or the Institute of Christ the King (ICK) or there attendance here, at least in the short term, are not great. Further, the fact of the matter is that even if the congregation was 200 a week, the collection, may still not be sufficient to maintain the salaries of a priest and secretary and the property. Let's face it; there are some beautiful churches in east Toronto where this Mass could blossom, Holy Name, St. Ann's, Canadian Martyrs, Immaculate Heart of Mary to name four. All have declining attendance but taking over a building of the ages of these by a small group would not be sustainable. The "sharing" of a parish and "integration" is the short-term answer and this would also prevent the ghettoization which currently exists at St. Theresa Shrine.

The Archdiocese of Toronto also has a responsibility to fully implement the Holy Father's desires in Summorum Pontificum. Clearly it is a chicken and egg scenario. On one hand, if there is no demand what is the Chancery to do? On the other hand, if they do not promote SP how can people respond? So far, the growth has been because of individual discovery, probably through the internet. But is this really what the Holy Father wanted when he referred to the gravitational pull of "two forms of one Roman Rite?"

After the implementation of the four points above both the Archdiocese of Toronto and St. Augustine's Seminary should consider the following:d

  • Mandatory training of all Seminarians in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite at St. Augustine's Seminary in both its practicum and theology. I say "mandatory" so that these priests in the future can fulfill the obligations of Summorum Pontificum. Let us assume that a priest in Brampton establishes as part of the regular parish life through the request of a stable group or at his own initiative as announced last week by Ecclesia Dei; he is transferred to a new parish, the new priest arriving must be able to serve the people in the liturgical manner desired. How could a priest be appointed to tell an existing group of 50 or 200 that "I won't say the EF? This is not a good scenario.
  • Refresher courses for those elderly priests trained prior to the reforms who may wish to celebrate it; and, courses for priests who wish to learn it to implement it in their parishes.
  • Establishment of firm guidelines from a "liturgical" office on what is appropriate and what is not for example; the question of the distribution of Holy Communion (the hand and EMHC's are not appropriate liturgically and are within the purview of the Local Ordinary to regulate), gender of Altar Servers (see the last), manner of celebrating Missa Lecta with music (we are not sure how the 1967 Musicam Sacram applies to the 1962 Missal. Currently the Missa Lecta cannot have a sung ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, etc.) but it can have an opening and recessional hymn in English, Latin at Offertory and Communion but no Sung Propers or Ordinary). These are important questions which will need to be addressed, certainly locally but also by Rome. The prospect of these "indults" of communion-in-the-hand, the use of EMHC's (and their overuse) and Altar Girls would not allow us to move forward in peace and would provoke severe debate from those who desire the more traditional form of worship.
  • The eventual holding of a conference in and sponsored by the Archdiocese of Toronto on Summorum Pontificum.
  • In a perfect world, the eventual celebration of a Pontifical High Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral, (I hear they have a pretty excellent choir), thus showing to all Catholic in Toronto that this is part of the Church's life.d

In the Holy Father's letter accompanying the motu proprio Summorum pontificum he wrote "It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these."

He further added that "Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church or its leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden."

All of us need to move forward, but those who desire the liturgical ebb and flow and marking of the usus antiquior desperately need pastoral outreach. I think this is what the Holy Father refers to above.

This must never be a debate about which is better, the OF or EF? Many of you know I assist with my professional skills at both and when I usually attend Mass during the week it is in the Ordinary Form.

But one thing that has hardened "traditionalists" is at the top of this blog and what follows below.

In Summorum pontificum the Holy Father went on to write: "Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church"

In case we need a reminder of what Pope Benedict XVI, was referring to; what you see below occurred in June 2008 at the Jesuit Farm near Guelph in the Diocese of Hamilton, and this is a priest, Father Jim Profit, S.J., becoming "one with the earth." I don't think anything this bad happened in Toronto since the "hindu" Mass at St. Ann's as referenced above.

Fr. Jim Profit offers the sacrifice of the Mass as a sacrament which connects us to God's creation at the Jesuit farm in Guelph, Ont., June 1. (Photos by Michael Swan)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am surprised no one has commented. I'll take this opportunity to say, "Well done." As the the Jesuit in the field... Again, your post here was both appropriate and important. I will keep all of you in Toronto and the surrounding region in my prayers. Losing the FSSP is brutal. Words fail.