Traditional Latin Mass Returns to Lithuania thanks to Summorum Pontificum

Here is a nice story.    My emphases.

Traditional Latin Mass Returns to Lithuania

8/19/2007 – 08:39 PST

CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 19, 2007 – Fr. Scott Haynes, S.J.C. [These are the canons of St. John Cantius in Chicago] offered the Tridentine Latin High Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Siluva on 8-11-07. This was the first time the Traditional Latin Mass was offered at there since the Communist Occupation of Lithuania. Participants of Ad Fontes (, a study-week of Gregorian Chant for young people, sang Gregorian Chant and rededicated themselves to their Catholic faith.

After attending the High Mass, all received the blessing of Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius SJ, the Archbishop of Kaunas, Lithuania. As His Excellency confirmed our commitment to the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, he encouraged us to have devotion to Our Lady of Siluva, and fidelity to Our Holy Father. He asked us to continue our study of the Sacred Liturgy.

This shrine has an interesting history. The Protestant Reformation swept over Europe in 1532, the local governor became a zealous Calvinist as did many nobility. The Catholics of Siluva were weak and did not resist the repression of their Catholic Faith by the powerful gentry. Church property was confiscated and the land turned over to the Calvinists.

With these terrible developments, a parish priest of Siluva found a large rock on his parish property and buried there a chest containing a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child, the vestments for Mass, and church documents. He had hope that these again might be used when the persecution ended.

Eighty years later, in 1608, with no active Catholic faith left, Our Lady appeared to a number of children standing on that same rock. She was holding the baby Jesus in her arms. She wept bitterly. Later the Blessed Mother appeared in front of the Calvinist pastor and a large group of people weeping in the same way. The Calvinist pastor asked, “Why are you weeping?” She replied, “There was a time when my beloved Son was worshipped by my people on this very spot. But now they have given this sacred soil over to the plowman and the tiller and to the animals for grazing.”

The eldest man in the community was now about 100 years old and he remembered that it was on that spot under the rock that the Catholic priest had buried the Icon, the vestments and the documents. When the old man, who was blind, opened the chest to see the beautiful image of Mary, he at once regained his sight. This would prove to be the first of many miracles.

The people understood. The Mother of God had appeared in person to chide them for their neglect of the Catholic Faith. The people heeded Mary’s message and began to return to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by her Divine Son, Jesus Christ.

Like that wise elder who opened the treasure chest, Our Holy Father Pope Benedict, in his wisdom and charity, has re-opened the ancient treasure chest of the Traditional Roman Rite.

Nice touch at the end, no? 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. CraigK says:

    I have to say, that article brought a bit water to my eyes. God preserve us from a similar fate!

  2. Mary says:

    Father, yes the bit at the end is lovely. It calls to mind that piece by Joe Cullen you used a while back:

    It was in those years, the late 1960s, when the western world experienced profound tumult — a true cultural hurricane. When a hurricane is bearing down, you wrap your old treasures up and find a safe place for them, usually the attic, and you leave them hidden until the storms have certainly passed.

    English Jesuit Father Hugh Thwaites is especially fond of this analogy because much of the blame for the collapse that Catholicism experienced in many places in those years would have fallen disproportionately on the Latin Mass — had it been around to take the hit.

    Instead, the classic form of the Mass was out of sight and safe, and now those who remember it and those who are just discovering it, are reaping what the poet Casini foresaw in 1976 when he predicted the return of the Tridentine missal with the same confidence that he placed in tomorrow’s sunrise:

    “It will rise again, … the Mass will rise again … because it is the sun, and God thus established it for our life and comfort.” When it happens, he said, our eyes will be found “guilty of not having esteemed it worthily before the eclipse; our hearts guilty for not having loved it enough.”

  3. Tracy Hummel says:

    Actually, the traditional mass was already in Lithuania. See page 21.

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