Friendly competition

Over at open book, Amy wrote a piece on my friend of many years and onetime companion of (my American) seminary Fr. Altier.  I want to have a little fun with something she wrote,

"…the parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN, a parish famous among even people who have never been there in the same sense that St. John Cantius of Chicago and Assumption Grotto in Detroit are – well-known for traditional liturgy and fine music."

Respondeo dicendum, it might be better to say, "St. John Cantius and Assumption Grotto are known for liturgy and music in the same sense that St. Agnes is". 

My point is that St. Agnes has been at this a lot longer and, perhaps, with a more ambitious schedule, at least as far as sacred music is concerned. 

I remember occasions when the pastors of both St. John’s and the Grotto came to St. Paul to visit the former pastor of St. Agnes.  They wanted to pick his brains and see how things were done so they could implement programs in their own places.  Keep in mind that I know both the pastors of those wonderful places.  I count them as friends and admire them a great deal.

On a more international note, we had the rector of the famous Brompton Oratory as a visitor to the house I live in here in Rome.  When he learned that I was from Minnesota he asked me if I knew Msgr. Schuler (of St. Agnes).   We exchanged some tales and wound up with the amusing quip that rather than St. Agnes being known as the Brompton of America, Brompton is sometimes called the St. Agnes of England!  Very often here I meet people from all over the world who know about St. Agnes and ask all about it. 

There is nothing wrong with some healthy competition and ribbing, of course.  Here is the important thing to keep in mind: the success of one place takes nothing away from the successes of other places.  When something truly works then everyone benefits.  The more people who do things which work the more people benefit.  The pie is made bigger and more delicious by the wonderful slices we take from it, not smaller or limited.    This applies to many good things by which we nourish our faith.  Even blogs!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tim Ferguson says:

    Add to that the sad fact that neither St. John Cantius nor Assumption Grotto (nor Brompton Oratory as far as I understand) have Booya in the Autumn, and the case is clear: God favors St. Agnes! :)

  2. Tim: I am unaware one way or another about the status of booya at any of the abovementioned non-St. Agnes places. Thus, I will not pronounce myself as to the present mind of God on the matter. This was, however, a sharp eyed insight into the whole issue.


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