Thursday, 17 January 2008

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. celebrates first Missa Usus Antiquior!

Twenty years ago I lived in Ottawa. I was a young turk on Parliament Hill working for a dynamic Cabinet Minister, traveling the country and close to the levers of power. It was there that my long and continuing journey away from the “cafeteria” began. I was thirty and had not been to the Sacrament of Confession for the second half of my life at all. Well, those “Oratorians” changed that! One Thursday afternoon, feeling down I found myself not far from my Lowertown apartment walking into an old beat up church named St. Brigid's.

I met a man in a cassock and biretta who had just finished singing what I later learned to be Vespers. That night, I attended my first choir practice. The Religious Brother is now a priest in Vancouver and his name is Father Lawrence Donnelly. It is to Father Lawrence that I owe my thanks because he first taught me to sing Gregorian Chant. The next Sunday I met the four priests. Fathers Ashley, Parsons, Teeporten and the late Father Neilson, may he rest in peace. He was probably forced into an early grave at a difficult time for a group of serious Catholic priests trying to start an Oratory of St. Philip Neri in a place where they were not wanted.

During the battle, the then Archbishop of Ottawa, the late Joseph Aurele Plourde accused me and others like me of "suffering from nostalgia neurosis!" Yet, I was just 30 and it was the Novus Ordo liturgy I could barely remember and knew little of the Usus Antiquior and hey, we just wanted to sing Gregorian Chant and Palestrina!

It did not seem likely then that twenty years later (it was only that long then from the destruction of the liturgy) the Archbishop of Ottawa would publicly celebrate a Traditional Latin Tridentine Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962. But then, not likely to us...but with God...

Deo Gratias!

By Deborah Guyapong
Canadian Catholic News
Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast celebrated the traditional Latin Mass for his first time during a visit to St. Clement's, a parish that has had a special waiver or indult from the Vatican to celebrate the Tridentine Rite since 1988. (Of course there is no longer an "indult" but it is the right of every priest according to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum to celebrate the usus antiquior. Further, there has been a Tridentine Mass in Ottawa at St. Clements--though at a different location and pre-FSSP since the early 1970's thanks to the then French Ambassador to Canada and the saintly Father Mole.--Vox)

"I had never celebrated the 1962 Mass as I had been ordained in 1972 and we were in a new liturgical era then," Prendergast said in an email interview. As a former teacher of Latin and Greek, he did not need help with the language, but he did need assistance with the rubrics of the Mass, such as the prescribed order for the incensing. On the Thursday preceding his Jan. 12-13 visit, Prendergast did a reconnaissance mission to examine the layout of the church.

"The priests reassured me that they and the servers would make sure it all went well," he said. "I think it did."

"Before my arrival the fathers loaned me the Latin ritual books to brush up on my rubrics for this beautiful and reverent liturgy," Prendergast said.

"Even though it was his first time celebrating the traditional Mass, we in the congregation could not have known it from watching and listening," said parishioner Desideria Desjardins Caron. "We were all delighted that he came to St. Clement''s and that he wanted not just to visit us, but to celebrate Mass as well."

As comfortable with modern praise songs accompanied by electric guitars as he is with more traditional forms of worship, Prendergast has encouraged the use of some Latin in familiar prayers and hymns in response to the pope's apostolic exhortation last spring to bring back more reverence to the celebration of the liturgy, including the use of Gregorian Chant.
Archbishop Prendergast is the Canadian Bishops' representative on the Vox, I mean, Vox Clara Commission overseeing the re-translation from the trite, banal and theologically compromised ICEL translation of the 1970 Roman Missal.



Ela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
antyfraza said...