I have been catching up on e-mail: it pours in. I wish I had seen this one earlier!
A kind reader sent this. Enjoy!
Edited (the letter was from a scan and had to be cleaned up) with my emphases and comments.
Great news – it finally happened! This morning our vicar general was at St. Lawrence in Harrisburg to read the below letter from Bishop Rhoades. … There were about 300 people in the congregation this morning, and only a few dry eyes. He said he personally greeted the news he was about to read "with great joy." He read the letter before Mass began, and when he was finished, he stepped away and knelt, asking Father Parrinello, FSSP, for his blessing. Father complied, blessing him in Latin of course.
I’ve been asked by the parish to forward the letter to you and every other Catholic blog/paper out there. Father Parrinello has given his blessing. The statutes I faxed you in September remain the same.
So, if you’d like to add Bishop Rhoades’ letter to the blog, you’re now free and clear.
Thanks again Father for all you do, and a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
DIOCESE OF HARRISBURG — office of the Bishop
4800 Union Deposit Road — Box 2153 • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-2153 (717)657-4804
November 15, 2007
Dear Friends in Christ,
On July 7, 2007, Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, promulgated motu proprio, the Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum. The norms contained in this letter became effective on September 14, 2007. In this letter, our Holy Father defined two forms of the rule of prayer (Lex orandi) of the Catholic Church of Latin Rite: an ordinary form, as contained in the Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI, and an extraordinary form, as contained in the Missale Romanum promulgated by Blessed John XXIII. The guidelines previously provided by Pope John Paul II for the use of the Missal of Blessed John XXIII are now replaced by the new norms promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI. I am certainly grateful to the Holy Father for the clarity of the norms contained in Summorum Pontificum.
In my first year as Bishop of Harrisburg, I was happy to grant permission for the celebration of Holy Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, at Saint Lawrence Chapel in Harrisburg. I am very grateful to Father Thomas Rozman and the Cathedral Parish for their openness and hospitality in providing for the use of this beautiful church for the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII these past two and a half years.
In light of the prescriptions of Summorum Pontificum, it is my joy to announce the appointment of a full-time Chaplain for the pastoral care of the community of the faithful that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite at Saint Lawrence Chapel. At the presentation of Father George Gabet, superior of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in the United States, I have appointed Father Frank Parrinello full-time Chaplain of the community, with residence at the Saint Patrick Cathedral rectory. I am deeply grateful to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter for providing this priestly ministry in Harrisburg.
It is also my joy to announce that the community of the faithful which worships at Saint Lawrence Chapel according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII shall be called the Mater Dei Community, in honor of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God. The Mater Dei Community will officially come into existence on the First Sunday of Advent of this year, December 2, 2007. Within the diocesan structure, this chaplaincy will fall within the Secretariat for Catholic Life and Evangelization.
With the priestly ministry of a full-time chaplain, the Mater Dei Community will have the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass daily as well as the celebration of all the sacraments and other rites of the Church according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, according to the prescriptions contained in Summorum Pontificum. The chaplain of the Mater Dei Community will be available for visitation of the sick, both the homebound and the hospitalized. He will also be available for pastoral counseling and other priestly ministries as needed and requested.
The Mater Dei Community will begin programs of sacramental preparation and catechetical instruction and may host other activities and programs under the direction of the chaplain. It is my hope and prayer that the spiritual life of this community will flourish and bear many good fruits for its members and for our diocese.
Catholics who so desire may choose to register as members of the Mater Dei Community, thus assuming rights and obligations which parallel membership in a parish. [Note two things. First, it is not a parish, which is a canonical structure. Also, these folks now have the burden of making it work: all of the bonus and all of the onus. It is up to them.] The Mater Dei Community has the financial responsibility to provide the salary and benefits for the chaplain as well as rent and utilities for the use of the Saint Lawrence Chapel facilities of Saint Patrick Cathedral Parish. The Mater Dei Community will also be assessed for the Bishop’s Annual Lenten Appeal and for students of the Community who attend Catholic schools. Those who attend the liturgy according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII who choose not to register as members of the Mater Dei Community will retain membership in their territorial parishes with the rights and obligations that pertain to that membership.
I wish to extend my fervent best wishes to Father Parrinello and to all who choose to become members of the Mater Dei Community. As this new chaplaincy begins, please know that you are especially remembered in my prayers. I offer for your reflection the following words of Pope Benedict near the end of his beautiful Apostolic Letter, Sacramentum Caritatis: the most holy mystery of the Eucharist "needs to be firmly believed, devoutly celebrated and intensely lived in the Church. Jesus’ gift of Himself in the sacrament which is the memorial of His passion tells us that the success of our lives is found in our participation in the Trinitarian life offered to us truly and definitively in Him. The celebration and worship of the Eucharist enable us to draw near to God’s love and to persevere in that love until we are united with the Lord whom we love."
May the Holy Eucharist, the wondrous sacrament of charity, be the center of the life and mission of the Mater Dei Community. And may the Mother of God intercede for you as I commend your community to her loving care!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades Bishop of Harrisburg
Happy Thanksgiving indeed!
What a blessing for these people.
I was speaking with a friend the other day, who said that with Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum, we have a Pope who treats people like grown ups.
The people at this new community have now all the joys of the rites, and all the joys of the responsibilities as well. It is theirs, now, to make to creep, crawl, toddle, walk, and run… or fall face first to the floor, either to rise or to die.
I am deeply thankful for this great news.
Thank you Bp. Rhoades.