Literally brick by brick: the new FSSP chapel

Your the Brick by Brick file from the Journal Star with my emphases and comments.

Consecration at Denton seminary to celebrate ‘crown jewel’

By ERIN ANDERSEN / Lincoln Journal Star

Sitting atop a hill in Denton, Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary is visible for miles around.

Passers-by sometimes confuse it with a hotel.

But in this sprawling complex of multicolored brick and glass live 72 men studying to become priests of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite — priests who perform the traditional Latin Mass. [I admire the chutzpah in this phrase, but no Roman priest is ordained for a book.  Latin, Roman priests are not ordained for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  We are ordained for the Roman Rite, which – juridically at least – has two forms.  If a man is in a group which uses only one form, that is another matter.  And we can debate whether or not there is really only one Roman Rite from a theological point of view.  But we are all priests of the Roman Rite.  So… that corrective in mind, let’s move along in reading the article, which from the first paragraph shows that the writer did some homework…]

Wednesday, the Catholic Church marks the completion of the $14 million seminary with the consecration of its newly finished Chapel of Saints Peter & Paul. It is the first U.S. chapel built for seminarians in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in 40 years, said Father Joseph Lee, former seminarian and now ordained priest serving in Kansas City. [Kanasas, I think.]

Lee and others refer to the chapel as "the crown jewel" of the seminary.

Designed by Thomas Gordon Smith Architects, the 10,000-square-foot chapel reflects a contemporary rebirth of classical Catholic architecture.

That includes wooden choir stalls facing the center of the chapel, rather than church pews facing the altar. The stalls seat 92 priests and seminarians. Chairs will be set in the back of the chapel for laity and visitors.

The seating, and the four-story-high ceiling, provide ideal acoustics for the awe-inspiring Gregorian chants through which seminarians present the liturgy. [Hmmm… okay.  Perhaps "pray the liturgy" might have been a little clearer, but that’s fine.  The good point here is "awe".]

An elevated white marble altar, featuring a 31-foot marble canopy or baldachin, stands at the end of the chapel. The ornately carved structure once sat in a Quebec, Canada, church that was decommissioned in 2000. Seven smaller altars named for saints are throughout the chapel. A choir loft sits in the back. [Do choir lofts sit?  Yah… picky, I know.]

The Denton seminary is operated by the Lincoln Roman Catholic Diocese. It is one of two southeastern Nebraska seminaries overseen by the Lincoln Diocese. St. Gregory the Great Seminary opened in Seward in 1998 – the first free-standing diocesan seminary to open in the U.S. in decades. It teaches priests mainly for the Lincoln Diocese.  [Do you get the sense that in Lincoln someone has his head screwed on in the right direction?]

Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, which opened in 2000, teaches priests from all over the world to celebrate Mass in Latin. It is the only seminary in the United States devoted exclusively to teaching the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, Lee said.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the English-speaking seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an international community of priests dedicated to the traditional Latin Mass. The fraternity was established in 1988 by Pope John Paul II. The fraternity has two seminaries, one in Denton and the other in Bavaria, Germany.

Before 1962, Catholic Mass was always in Latin. But reforms by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) allowed priests to celebrate Mass in the language of that country.  ["Allowed" that parts of Mass sometimes be in the vernacular.  The Council did not oblige this or that all the Mass be in the vernacular.  Indeed, the Council required that Latin remain the language of worship and that pastors should make sure their flocks knew to sing and speak the parts pertaining to them in Latin and their mother tongue.]

In the early 1980s, Pope John Paul II asked bishops from around the world how this new form of liturgy was being accepted. People stood on both sides – some liked hearing Mass in their language, and others said the traditional Latin Mass was more meaningful, explained Father Calvin Goodwin, Latin instructor at Our Lady of Guadalupe.  [This focuses on the language, but leaves apart the other issues of changes to the theology of the prayers.]

In 1984 the pope made some initial and cautious steps toward the re-emergence of the traditional Latin Mass, he said. Four years later, he expanded permission for Catholic churches to return to the Latin Mass.  [Remember!  The newer form of Mass in Latin is also "the Latin Mass".]

"In 1988 there were about six regular celebrants authorized for Latin Masses," Goodwin said. "By 2005, there were around 250 Latin Mass celebrants."

Since then, Pope Benedict XVI has made it possible for all priests to celebrate Latin Mass if they choose, [They always could, in the Novus Ordo, use Latin… clean up these terms when using them yourselves.] and has made it obligatory for churches to provide a Latin Mass if Catholics request it[Well… that has a long way to go yet.]

"Weekly up to around 400 churches celebrate Latin Mass," Goodwin said. "It has grown steadily over the past 20 years, as has our community (the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter). We started with 10 to 12 priests; now we have well over 200 priests."

Many of those priests are younger; the average age is 36. Among other priestly fraternities, the average age is 65 to 75, Goodwin said.  [As I have been saying, younger men want this.  Even those not in the ranks of a specialty group want our Church’s patrimony.  In another few years, maybe five years or so… we are going to see something remarkable happening.]

Much of the demand for Latin Mass comes from younger Catholics seeking a return to the old ways of worship[Not just "old" ways, but "Catholic" ways… "traditional" ways… "continuous" ways.]

Experts may see Latin as a "dead" language, but it is ideal for the church because the meaning of the words stand the test of time, Lee said.

"Thus Latin is excellent for theology and the transmission through succeeding ages of the unchanging – and unchangeable – doctrines in which the continuity of precise meanings is necessary among different cultures and times," he said.  [Well said.]

"Also, one finds the sound of Latin to be sublime and lofty, devoted as it is uniquely to the worship of God."

Catholics do not need to understand Latin to appreciate the Latin Mass, Goodwin said.

In fact, it was only when Mass was said in the language of the community that "people drifted to the idea that the primary point of Mass was to understand everything that was said and going on," he said.

"Mass is not a lesson or a class, or a primary form for the exchange of information.

"The primary point (of Mass) is not to understand it for the information conveyed. The primary point is to be present with your heart and soul as our lady St. Mary and St. John were present at the foot of the cross," Goodwin said.  [We can add a lot to this, but I think that Fr Goodwin hit it on the head by steering the point of Mass away from the didactic.]

Mass is the re-presentation, in an unbloody manner, of the sacrifice of Calvary in which Jesus offered his life to atone for the sins of all humanity, Lee said.

Catholics attend Mass to "understand the experience and the reverence and the devotion and the solemnity that are proper to the worship of God," Goodwin said.

 

Well done.  And WDTPRS kudos to the Fraternity for their new jewel!

Brick by brick.

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31 Responses to Literally brick by brick: the new FSSP chapel

  1. Golatin5048 says:

    I can not wait until Latin is used again (at least in some of the mass) , I am a young Catholic and would love to have a Latin mass at our church or any church for that matter.

  2. TNCath says:

    This looks like it is going to be a beautiful chapel in the classic, traditional style. I can remember, as a kid growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when these modern monstrosities were being built, asking priests, “Why can’t we build churches like they did in the past?” and being told, “We can’t build them like that anymore. It’s too cost prohibitive. We have to build churches that are functional and practical.” How wrong they were, and thank God for it! Keep those bricks coming!

  3. RR says:

    That chapel looks great. Classic but not a reconstruction, holy and Catholic but not overwrought or too ornamented. These contemporary Catholic architects in the classic mold do such excellent work.

  4. Ef-lover says:

    For those who don’t know EWTN will be broadcasting this Mass of Consecration

  5. Mitchell NY says:

    The number of Priests since its’ inception has grown dramatically. That is good news. A good formation, full classes, and seminary life adds to the spiritual health of the whole community. I often think of how dreadful it must have been in the late 60’s and 70’s when you entered a seminary and walked around empty halls, half full classes and sealed off, no longer used portions of buildings that were only but a few years ago thriving. That had to lead to a depressed environment for studies. Like a ghost town sort of. What wonderful news for them and the community as a whole. Wish we would get a Seminary like that up here in New England. I would love to see the Consecration Ceremony. I assume local community members will be allowed to attend?? Yes, No ??

  6. The Egyptian says:

    ignorant question i know but why are the pews or stalls facing each other, should they not face the “east”. honest I just don’t get it, attending the mass and having to turn sideways seems senseless, I am sure there is a good reason. Anyone?

  7. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Father Goodwin and a deacon, whose name escapes me, were interviewed by Fr. Mitch Pacwa on EWTN and took questions from those assembled and phone calls. Their explanations of the whys and wherefors of the EF were excellent. Fr. Mitch plugged the broadcast of the consecration. It will be on at 11am Eastern time. Since it goes on for five or six hours (and Fr. Goodwin went through the steps), I don’t know how much will actually be televised. Check online for the EWTN schedule of special events.

  8. Ted says:

    gloriainexcelsis: Deacon Rhone Lillard, who is to be ordained this coming May.

  9. boko fittleworth says:

    THE CHOIR LOFT comes
    on little cat feet.

    It sits looking
    over nave and sanctuary
    on silent haunches 5
    and then moves on.

  10. joebebopper says:

    I am thrilled to see they saved the baldachin from a closed church. I wonder if there is a warehouse somewhere with discarded communion rails.

  11. Girgadis says:

    That the Mass is an opportunity for us to be present while Christ “renews sacramentally His sacrifice on the cross without shedding His blood” is something that I never grasped until I started to attend the TLM on a regular basis. Whether that failure is because of poor catechesis or my own lack of attention is a matter of debate. I would agree with Father Goodwin that you don’t need to understand Latin to appreciate the Latin Mass. It hasn’t happened overnight, but in a relatively short period of time, I have a greater appreciation of what it means when we say “the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”. One of our newer priests who regularly offers Mass in the EF echoes what Father Goodwin said about being present in the way the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John were at the foot of the cross. I feel that by silently reading the prayers in English while Father says them inaudibly in Latin enables me to be wholly present and attentive as I should be. The fact that we are all facing the same direction helps.

  12. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Thanks, Ted. I was going to remember the name of the River Rhone to help me, but I forgot! Regarding the arrangement of the seating: I think that is for chanting the Hours. They sit “in choir,” on either side of the altar with the cantor in the middle. Choir I and Choir II sing antiphonally the verses of the Psalms. If I’m wrong, someone will correct me.

  13. ghlad says:

    @The Egyptian, the traditional arrangements of seminarians and members of religious communities is to have them split in half and facing each other like this, so when they participate in the Mass and sing the Office Prayers (which FSSP does – they use the chants to sing the Office in Latin) they sing back and forth to each other, I believe. I had an opportunity to spend a weekend at St. Mary’s seminary for the Houston archdiocese, which is similarly arranged, and I must say, attending Mass in such a manner was a real treat.

    The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is so awesome. God is great and surely has a unique plan for the FSSP.

  14. TonyLayne says:

    It’s funny. I grew up in Omaha, spent 35 years there as man and boy, and was never aware that there was a town called Denton, Nebraska, let alone that a seminary was being built there. (Oddly enough, I now live in Denton, Texas.)

    Fr. Z.: Do you get the sense that in Lincoln someone has his head screwed on in the right direction?

    That would be Bp. Fabian Bruskewitz, that staunch defender of the faith. When he retires, which will probably be in the next year or so, he’ll be sorely missed.

  15. Sedgwick says:

    What a great joy to read this. We are awaiting a traditional FSSP parish in Cincinnati, please pray for us.

  16. Maltese says:

    *Before 1962, Catholic Mass was always in Latin. But reforms by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) allowed priests to celebrate Mass in the language of that country. [“Allowed” that parts of Mass sometimes be in the vernacular. The Council did not oblige this or that all the Mass be in the vernacular. Indeed, the Council required that Latin remain the language of worship and that pastors should make sure their flocks knew to sing and speak the parts pertaining to them in Latin and their mother tongue.]*

    Very true, but I would say we should be thankful to the conillium for this small reason: If, as VII called for, the TLM were tinkered with, and slowly changed, it might have disappeared into a mutated, adulterated form–a hybrid rite of sorts. Instead, by superceding it with the Bugnini form, it was actually thereby preserved, as in amber (by the likes of Lefebvre), to be discovered and revered anew, in its original form.

  17. wolfeken says:

    For a local secular paper, I think this was a wonderful article. There is no need to confuse readers with the distinction between a traditional Latin Mass and a novus ordo that happens to be said in Latin, the latter of which is almost non-existent.

    Moreover, I thought she did a fine job explaining the FSSP says the traditional Latin Mass exclusively and have been trained to do so. Unless the FSSP teaches the novus ordo (they do not) there is no need to confuse readers with hair-splitting.

    I understand some people don’t want to let go of a vision of the traditional Latin Mass existing side-by-side with the novus ordo in Latin, but there is almost no base of support or interest for the latter. Therefore, precious ink shouldn’t be wasted on the subject.

    A fine job by this reporter. And kudos to EWTN for agreeing to broadcast the consecration. I hear it is going to be a glorious, magnificent (and long!) event.

  18. FranzJosf says:

    Of course, it is not the only seminary in the US devoted exclusively to the TLM. Let us not forget St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary (SSPX), in Winona, Minn., which is also thriving.

  19. johapin says:

    @wolfeken – Great points! The average Catholic has never attended a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin. So much, that any reference to “Latin mass” is mostly associated with the Extraordinary Form. The average reader gets the point without the need to reiterate over and over that the Novus Ordo was meant to be said in Latin. The reality is that it is rarely celebrated as the council intended.

  20. lucy says:

    I was fortunate to have spent a week at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary a month ago. Unfortunately, the author of the article is a little ahead of herself when she states that this will be “complete” the seminary. There are still plans for other structures at the facility, including a priests’ retirement house. Still, this will be a wonderful complement to the rest of the seminary.
    While I was there, the chapel was far from complete, but I was still in awe at the beauty of the chapel. I wish I could be there for the consecration. Congratulations to Fr. Van Vleet, FSSP for his work and commitment to the construction of the chapel.

    Sent by Lucy’s Husband

  21. Zosimas says:

    @FranzJosf

    That is so,
    but this Seminary is the only one in a regular Canonical position.

  22. Henry Edwards says:

    In case anyone wants to warm up for the 4- or 5-hour EWTN broadcast of the chapel consecration–starting at 11 am this coming Wednesday–by watching Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s EWTN live interview this past Wednesday night with the great Fr. Calvin Goodwin FSSP (and with the transitional deacon who will be the MC for the consecration), you can go to

    http://origin.ewtn.com/audiovideo/index.asp

    and scroll down to the Archived Video for EWTN Live. At least the first half hour — before they opened it up to audience questions — is well worth the time. Indeed, I myself was inspired to go to

    http://ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/multicast/audio/mp3/latin830.mp3

    and listen for at least the 10th time to Fr. Goodwin’s epic Summorum Pontificum day (9-14-2007) sermon which remains to this day the best single explanation in current context of the ethos of the TLM.

  23. gloriainexcelsis says:

    joebebopper – I don’t know about altar rails – maybe – but Fr. Lutz in Columbus, Ohio, to save items from a local church (in which he grew up), rescued a lot from the church. This has grown to be the largest repository of church art and artifacts. From what he started, people started sending things from other churches on the destruction course. It is now called the Jubilee Museum and Catholic Cultural Center. It is open to the public and even has exhibits on loan. You will find statues, ambos, Stations of the Cross, sacred vessels, missales, organs (being repaired), stained glass windows, medieval books and many works of art. It is a labor of love. I don’t know where St. Stephen’s got its interior furnishings, but they did come from discards – the reredo, stations, statues, just about everything was rescued from being sent to the junkyard. It’s beautiful.

  24. Maltese says:

    *The average Catholic has never attended a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin. So much, that any reference to “Latin mass” is mostly associated with the Extraordinary Form.*

    Why on earth would you choose a NO mass in Latin over the Extraordinary form?

  25. Jeremy says:

    The stalls face inwards because it is a collegiate building: the worshippers are there as fellow-members of the college, so they sit in choir, like canons or monks, which is the best arrangement for singing the offices. Normally the Dean’s (or equivalent person’s) stall would be at the west end, facing east, and his second in command similarly on the other side; that does not seem to be the case here.
    (By the way, Calvin, you’ve come a long way.)

  26. FranzJosf says:

    Jeremy: Yes, and most often on the Epistle (south) side, but not always.

  27. robtbrown says:

    It’s funny. I grew up in Omaha, spent 35 years there as man and boy, and was never aware that there was a town called Denton, Nebraska, let alone that a seminary was being built there. (Oddly enough, I now live in Denton, Texas.)

    It’s no surprise that you never heard of Denton, NE–there’s not much to it.

    Fr. Z.: Do you get the sense that in Lincoln someone has his head screwed on in the right direction?

    That would be Bp. Fabian Bruskewitz, that staunch defender of the faith. When he retires, which will probably be in the next year or so, he’ll be sorely missed.
    Comment by TonyLayne —

    Bp Brusk is a very good man, but he took over a good situation from Bp Flavin. Although Bp Flavin didn’t allow the TLM, he left a diocese in good shape, with plenty of good, young priests. When I was in Rome, Lincoln always had two priests studying there.

    Bp Brusk took a really good diocese and made it even better.

  28. robtbrown says:

    Also: Denton only has about 200 people, but it has a bar and grill where you can get a really good pork tenderloin.

  29. Henry Edwards says:

    Maltese: Why on earth would you choose a NO mass in Latin over the Extraordinary form?

    Because Vatican II directed that Latin be preserved in the liturgical revision? You wouldn’t want the actual directions of Vatican II to be ignored, would you?

  30. Amerikaner says:

    Somebody asked earlier if local folks can attend. The answer is yes but that they will have limited seating in the chapel for laity. That’s why they’ll have viewing areas set up in the seminary for spillover crowds. You can also access a booklet at the seminary website – http://www.fsspolgs.org – on the seminary news page.

  31. Ted says:

    Good article but the author made at least one mistake in saying “The Denton seminary is operated by the Lincoln Roman Catholic Diocese.”

    Actually, the seminary is run by the F.S.S.P. North American District with the permission of the diocese. Bishop Bruskewitz was gracious enough to allow the F.S.S.P. build and operate there, but the diocese is not involved in the operation.