Oceanside, CA: a priest who gets it

I received this nice note:

Dear Fr. Z,
 
Today, at the end of Mass, our pastor, Fr. Cavanna Wallace, spoke about what he said is now being called the "Gregorian" Mass. He directed our attention to the red Latin Mass booklets now in the pews (along with our usual missalettes), [Nice move!  Put them in the pews and let people get used to them.  Very good.] and talked about how it takes some work to get to know the older Latin Mass. (He also said it can’t really be called the "old" form because it was never outlawed, merely "set aside for a time–a relatively short time" in a Church history of two thousand years, and is therefore still current.) In order to help us get to know and understand this form better, he will be devoting his sermons at all Masses in the months of July and August to exploring and explaining the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (1962 Missal). He also mentioned that this understanding could lead to a "cross-pollinization" between the two forms.  (Is that a real word?)   [Yes.  I believe it is.]

I think this is terriffic!  [So do I!] I am looking forward to this homily series.  I have not yet been to the 6:00 Sunday evening EF Mass, but I do know that Father Wallace is posting two separate sermons on his website each week–one for the NO calendar, and one for the 1962 calendar.   (  http://printedaspreached.blogspot.com/  )  This is all happening at:

St. Margaret’s Catholic Church
4300 Oceanside Blvd.
Oceanside CA 92056

Parish website: http://oceanside4christ.com/

(Note: St. Margaret’s is in the Diocese of San Diego, whose bishop, Robert Brom, recently issued the memo that you discussed in your blog 

Fr. Wallace gets high WDTPRS kudos for this. 

Well done, Father! 

We hope for updates all along the way. 

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33 Responses to Oceanside, CA: a priest who gets it

  1. Richard says:

    Oceanside has the Benedictine Prince of Peace monastery, too. Now serious Catholics will have two places to go for their spiritual nourishment in that city. I heard once that Bishop Brom was not too crazy about all the folks who went to the monastery for Mass every Sunday. Perhaps having a TLM in Oceanside would detract from that phenomenon and garner the bishop’s support in that some of the folks would now be attending Mass at a parish.

  2. Richard says:

    FR. Cavanna is such a great guy =]. I hope Bishop Brom stops this madness. From my own experiences with him he seems like such a nice guy but then he becomes nasty over the Extraordinary Form.

  3. TJM says:

    Father Wallace is indeed the man! He represents the Catholic priesthood at its very finest. Tom

  4. Grateful Girl says:

    God Bless Father Wallace!

  5. Shane says:

    I don’t know…

    Using one’s homilies to do something other than expound upon the readings of the day is, well, a Liturgical abuse. Just because this is being done in favor of Liturgical tradition doesn’t change that fact.

  6. TJM says:

    Shane is it really an abuse? If such is the case, then most homilies are liturgical abuses. Tom

  7. Shane: Using one’s homilies to do something other than expound upon the readings of the day is, well, a Liturgical abuse.

    B as in B, S as in S. 

  8. m.a. says:

    I agree with Shane. I looked at the parish website and saw a fine youth Christian Ed program. However, I didn’t see an adult Christian Ed program though I could have missed it.

    My thought was that the teaching should be done within those programs and leave the Sunday homily to teach about the Readings of the Sunday.

  9. Shane says:

    Father,

    I call it an abuse for several reasons. For one thing, in the Ordinary form, there is no sermon, but there is a homily, the difference being that a sermon is a teaching on anything, whereas a homily is an exposition of a particular text. I don’t for a moment doubt you know this, but just for the sake of completeness I will quote from the old Catholic encyclopedia:

    Origen was the first to distinguish between logos (sermo) and homilia (tractatus). Since Origen’s time homily has meant, and still means, a commentary, without formal introduction, division, or conclusion, on some part of Sacred Scripture, the aim being to explain the literal, and evolve the spiritual, meaning of the Sacred Text. – Article entitled “Homily”

    However, the main reason I say that it is an abuse is because the General Instruction to the Roman Missal say that the homily is supposed to expound upon the readings of the day:

    65. The Homily is part of the Liturgy and is strongly recommended, for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners.

    Peace and God bless :)

  10. Michael J says:

    Shane,
    Given that the GIRM uses the word “should”, how can it be considered an abuse? [NB: The GIRM is in Latin. - Fr. Z] Had it said “The Homily is an exposition of some aspect of the readings…” I would agree, but it seems to me that the GIRM deliberately provides for exceptions.

  11. LCB says:

    So the homily is never supposed to be about anything other than exposition of Scripture?

    Surely that is not the case, Shane? No modern issues, no current moral concerns, no teaching unrelated to the scripture at hand? At a funeral, no discussion of the individual being burried? At a wedding, no discussion of the couple? At a confirmation, no discussion of the Sacraments in the modern world if the texts of the day don’t match? No discussion of the Saints except for their Scriptural teaching?

    Clearly that is not the intent of the Church, and so it is clearly seen by all that the homily extends to matters beyond the Scriptures of the day.

  12. Shane says:

    Michael J,

    The only thing about that is that the GIRM uses language like “should” all the time when dealing with things that are not merely matters of suggestion, at least in the English edition. I am not certain what the Latin behind this is in the official edition. For example:

    59. By tradition, the function of proclaiming the readings is ministerial, not presidential. Thereadings, therefore, should be proclaimed by a lector, and the Gospel by a deacon or, in his absence, a priest other than the celebrant. If, however, a deacon or another priest is not present, the priest celebrant himself should read the Gospel. Further, if another suitable lector is also not present, then the priest celebrant should also proclaim the other readings.

    Note several very important points about this paragraph. First, it provides alternatives to the “shoulds,” specifying precisely under what circucmstancecs these alternatives are to be used. The act of declaring what should happen if the first instruction is not possible to follow adds a lot of weight to the first, making it clear that it should be happening other than in these cases. I hope I am clear on this, as it was difficult to put into words.

    In any case, the more important point is that the text uses the word “should” in reference to an absolute requirement in the end: that the priest must read the readings if nobody else is present to do so.

    Now I may be wrong about this. I am just giving my first thoughts. I will attempt to research this because I am sure that there is something somewhere which speaks in more depth concerning homilies.

    Peace and God bless

  13. Shane says:

    the homily is never supposed to be about anything other than exposition of Scripture?….

    Certainly this is not the case, because a homily ought not simply be a Bible study, but something which brings the Scriptures of the day from the dead letter of the page to an ongoing and living exercise in the world. It should address the readings, and get at their meaning, and then draw that meaning out for practical application. A homily shouldn’t simply teach us that Jesus was humble in situation X, but ought to use His example to inspire us to greater humility.

    My priest, and the priests on EWTN (for example), regularly do this. They expound upon the readings, and then draw out from these readings teachings about current moral issues, about the saints who exemplified certain aspects of the readings, and so on. If a priest wants to catechize on the Extraordinary form in his homilies, he ought to do so by drawing from the material in the Scriptural readings and connecting them to the Missal.

    Peace and God bless

  14. LCB says:

    “Scriptures of the day from the dead letter of the page”

    Scripture is not dead, it is living. It is fully the Word of God, and thus alive. Check CCC, somewhere between 105-110.

    If it can be about more than the mere exposition of Scripture, then the Good Father is doing a very good pastoral job of shepherding his people by teaching them about the Mass, which breaths scripture at every turn. Since the Homily also relates to the mystery being celebrated (the Mass), and relates to the particular needs of the faithful (as discerned by their pastor), then it is clear such a course of action is appropriate.

    A major function of the priestly office is teaching.

  15. Shane says:

    LCB,

    Scripture is not dead at all. However, it is when it merely exists as words on a page rather than words being read, understood, and applied. The Bible on my shelf is “dead” if I never pick it up. It is not dead in substance, but insofar as it is only perceived as a series of stories to a person, it is dead in his life. The point I was making is that a homily ought to take the readings and bring them out to the people who may not understand them – to bring out the life contained within the words of Sacred Scripture and to apply them to the contemporary issues facing the faithful and to the timeless needs of their souls.

    The issue is not about whether or not the homily can touch on things not explicitly mentioned in the readings, but about the fact that it must address the readings in some way. In the Ordinary form it is not a sermon as in the Extraordinary form, where the priest may teach or comment on anything he deems appropriate, but a homily where the priest is to present an exposition on the Scriptures. That exposition may well reach into other things – indeed I believe it really ought to, rather than remaining merely a commentary on the Scripture. It should take what God has to say to us in the Scriptures and unpack it, drawing it out into all that it means for us, all that it meant for the saints, all that it means for our world, and so forth.

    This ought to be done so as to “take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners,” but this does not mean it does not need to be done at all. The GIRM says that it should be an exposition on the Scripture or the Ordinary or Propers and take these things into account, not be and exposition or take them into account. The idea is to make an exposition on the Scriptures which addresses the needs of the listeners. That is why I said that if it is a need of these listeners that they learn about the Extraordinary form, that this priest ought to do it by applying the readings on Sunday to the EF.

    Peace and God bless

  16. Shane says:

    darn, just the “and” and the “or” were supposed to be bold.

  17. TJM says:

    Shane are you a canonist or expert in liturgical matters, or are you just providing your varnished opinion? I think I’d trust Father Z on this one.
    Tom

  18. Joseph says:

    I attended father Wallace’s TLM mass yesterday, and it was absolutely beautiful. Father Wallace also gives some very weighty homilies on the readings of the day. No touchy feely fluff from this great priest, a true man of the cloth.

  19. Joseph says:

    I attended Father Wallace’s TLM mass yesterday, and it was beautiful. Father Wallace also delivers some weighty homilies on the readings of the day. No touchy feely fluff from this great pastor, a true man of the cloth.

  20. TJM says:

    Shane, oh Shane, where are you? Tom

  21. Matt Q says:

    Joseph wrote:

    “I attended Father Wallace’s TLM mass yesterday, and it was beautiful. Father Wallace also delivers some weighty homilies on the readings of the day. No touchy feely fluff from this great pastor, a true man of the cloth.”

    )(

    This is great, Joseph. Will you tell us a little about the Mass, and how it worked in a church like that? From the pictures of the church, which we have seen earlier, it’s beautiful and has much to be appreciated but it has quite the Novus Ordo commitment. The altar appears to be rather small for a Tridentine Mass, but that could be only the perspective it takes on in the photos.

    Look forward to your input.

  22. dcs says:

    65. The Homily is part of the Liturgy and is strongly recommended, for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners. [my emphasis -DCS]

    Clearly Fr. Wallace is expounding upon the Ordinary of the TLM, taking into account the particular needs of his congregation to learn about the traditional Mass.

    Hope this helps.

  23. Adam says:

    Matt Q – In response to your question about how the EF went – I have not attended an EF at St. Margaret’s but attended the Solemn Mass that was the precursor to the EF. The altar is square, but a deep square at that. To your point, though, it is in the intersection of the nave and transepts rather than at the back. It is three steps higher than the main floor, and I have heard from others who have attended the EF that an altar rail has been added. I should note that there is room for side altars in several areas of the church.

    If you have seen the other recently built churches in the Diocese of San Diego (e.g. San Rafael in Rancho Bernardo, St Francis of Assisi in Vista), you’ll see that this church represents progress. It may not be perfect for an EF, but for a church built in 2007, it works!

    With respect to the comments on whether it is a liturgical abuse to use the homily to preach on the EF: using that logic (that the homily must be tied to the readings somehow or the homily represents an abuse), wouldn’t any visiting diocesan priest/missionary priest/bishop who does not confine himself to the readings of the day commit a liturgical abuse? Somehow that doesn’t seem reasonable.

    Adam

  24. Shane says:

    TLM,

    I haven’t been home, sorry. I am neither a Liturgist nor a cannonist, merely one with a deep interest in the Liturgy. If Fr. Z believes I am wrong in my citation from the GIRM, he’s free to explain why he believes so, and I’d be more than happy to see what he has to say. I believe that his opinion is certainly of value.

    Clearly Fr. Wallace is expounding upon the Ordinary of the TLM, taking into account the particular needs of his congregation to learn about the traditional Mass.

    Well, yes, this is true, but I do not believe that the GIRM is referring to any ordinary, but to the ordinary of the Roman Missal for which it was produced. In other words, I don’t believe it would really be licit for a priest to offer a homily in which he simply explains the ordinary for a Byzantine Divine Liturgy. I’m not saying he couldn’t comment on it or draw from it for some reason, but I’m saying that if that’s all he did without any context, it would be problematic, to merely get up there and begin speaking about some prayer from the Divine Liturgy without there being some application to the people present, no?

    Peace and God bless

  25. martin says:

    Regarding Father Wallace’s anticipated homilies/sermons regarding the extraordinary form, why don’t we simply wait and see. I have attended the extraordinary mass at St.Margaret’s. Although the altar is square and not rectangular, it still works and powerfully, drawing attention to the vertical rather the horizontal. In fact, the church’s altar reminds me of the ancient altar of San Clemente’s in Rome. If Pope Gregory the Great celebrated Mass on such an altar, the Gregorian Rite has found its natural home at St.Margaret’s.

  26. Richard says:

    Shane:

    It’s not as if I’m the first one to respond to this, but:

    “…The sermon, moreover, SHOULD DRAW ITS CONTENT MAINLY FROM SCRIPTURAL OR LITURGICAL SOURCES, for it is the proclamation of God’s works in the history of salvation, which is the mystery of Christ ever made present and active in us, especially in the celebration of the liturgy.” Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 35 (2)

    One could definitely say Father Wallace is drawing the content of his homilies from liturgical sources, which is certainly allowed by Sacrosanctum Concilum here. Besides, notice that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says that the sermon should draw its content from scriptural sources, which does not necessarily mean strictly from the readings of the particular Mass. Notice also that it says that the sermon should draw its content MAINLY from these sources, not ONLY from these sources.

    I have heard people say before that priests may only give homilies on the readings of the particular Mass, but I am starting to think that this is the sort of thing taught in second rate diocesan seminaries where teachers have taken the prescriptions of Vatican II and spun them beyond recognition from what the Council actually prescribed.

  27. Shane says:

    Richard,

    I appreciate your quotation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, and were this the only law in effect then I would agree with you. However, I am referring to the General Instruction to the Roman Missal, which narrows this down a bit more to the readings or the propers of the day, or the ordinary of the Mass.

    Peace and God bless :)

  28. Richard says:

    Oh, I see.. GIRM 65. Those seminary teachers aren’t all wet after all.

  29. dcs says:

    Shane writes:
    In other words, I don’t believe it would really be licit for a priest to offer a homily in which he simply explains the ordinary for a Byzantine Divine Liturgy.

    But of course we’re not talking about a separate rite here. The TLM and the NOM are two uses of the one Roman Rite as our Holy Father says.

  30. mother undercover says:

    I belong to St. Margaret Parish. Thank you all for your good wishes and prayers. I’ll try to answer a few questions to the best of my ability.

    First of all, Fr. Cavana Wallace would never knowingly commit a liturgical abuse. If you were to meet him, you would realize how absurd the notion is. If I were to speculate, I’d say that Fr. will simply abbreviate the scriptural homily in order to devote time to the lesson. Fr. Cavana is not a fan of the six minute homily and our OF Masses usually last around 75 minutes–no drive-by communion at this parish! As for the lessons themselves, I know that I requested them when the MP was first released and I’m sure I’m not the only one to do so. Fr. Cavana has also encouraged those of us attending the 6 p.m. EF to study the responses in order to participate in the dialog Mass. Father instructs and guides us as a pastor should.

    I believe the church is well suited to the EF. I admit the alter is “T” shaped (like a fashion runway) but the rood screen at the top of the “T” lends the shape dignity. With the alter rail (kneelers) set up on three sides of the alter, communion can be distributed efficiently by one priest. As for the size of the alter, when viewing the photos, your perspective will be more accurate when you realize that the church seats 1500, with standing room for several hundred more. This is not a small church!

    I am not an expert in the EF, but I will try to describe the 6 p.m. Mass at St. Margaret’s. It is a low Mass in the dialog form (I’m not sure what the correct name for that is). I’ve heard we will be transitioning to the Missa Cantata, but I don’t know when. There is a schola of sorts, though they obviously don’t sing Mass parts at this time. The congregation is a fabulous mixture of people from all walks of life. There are large families with young children, older people, very modern-looking young people and everyone in between. Ethnically, the congregation is as diverse as the community itself.

    Someone noted the great web pages for our youth and wondered about adult faith formation and fellowship. I believe the parish does a fabulous job offering fellowship and formation for everyone, though you can’t really see that on the internet. The youth pages were created by a volunteer and, if you look carefully, you’ll notice that they are not actually hosted on the church domain. Though we have a big fancy church now, we are still a modest parish. If you’re in the area and would like to know what’s going on in the parish community, please stop by and grab a bulletin. We have an advertisement-free monthly (not weekly) bulletin. Some of the regular programs (like CCD) are on summer hiatus, but the June bulletin announces a Tuesday morning park day for families and a Friday evening spaghetti dinner for all. Better yet, if you’re in the area, stop by for Mass and stay to chat. I’ve found everyone at St. Margaret’s is very friendly and welcoming.

  31. Cal Brian says:

    I went to the EF of the Mass at St. Margaret’s for the first time this last Sunday. I also was impressed by the group’s diversity and range of ages in the pews. Although I’m probably a poor judge of crowds, I would estimate that there were well over 100 people there. The church is rather large, and appeared perhaps 20% full?

  32. martin says:

    Do I get the impression that even before he has opened his mouth there are actual people anticipating the crime of liturgical verbal abuse? Smacks of the movie Minority Report! Check out Father Wallace’s homilies on the parish blog, http://printedaspreached.blogspot.com. This pastor has the art, rather the grace, to preach the Scriptures in such as way that the homilies always point to the Mass. BTW, has anyone bothered to check the readings for July and August. I haven’t, but I won’t be surprised if this pastor has and determined that there is good homiletic material within them to point our attention to a renewed appreciation of the Mass.
    Yes, this church building is large with a seating capacity for 1200 and a few hundred more for standing. I estimate that there were around 200 at the EF Mass last Sunday, maybe more, and a very diverse group including Hispanics and Asians. The pastor is also Spanish speaking, so when he throws some Spanish into the homilies I think some presume it’s Latin! Its a win/win for everyone.

  33. Taximom says:

    I am also a lucky parishioner of St. Margaret’s. God bless Father Wallace and the good work he does every day.