St. Louis: Kenrick-Glennon seminarians train for TLM… etc.

I found a rather interesting story in the St. Louis Review Online.

My emphases and comments.

January 11, 2008

Vocations: Kenrick-Glennon seminarians train to meet faithful’s liturgical needs

by Jennifer Brinker, Review Staff Writer

It’s important for the Church to meet the faithful where they are [Speaking psychogeographically, of course.] in their lives, say those involved in the formation of tomorrow’s priests.

The liturgy is one such area of importance to Catholics.  [Perhaps the most important aspect.] And whether the faithful, for example, prefer a Mass in English or Spanish, or have a liking for the traditional Latin Mass, the future priests at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary are becoming well-equipped to minister to them.

"A priest needs to be able to minister to whatever culture he serves," noted Msgr. Ted L. Wojcicki, president-rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. "We’re training seminarians to be understanding of the culture in which people live and to proclaim the Gospel to them. It’s important to understand the people, whatever their culture is, and to preach the Gospel in whatever way touches and challenges their hearts."

Seminarians currently learn several ways to celebrate the Mass, including in the extraordinary form, commonly known as the traditional Latin Mass, and the ordinary form, also known as the Novus Ordo, in both English and Latin. They regularly celebrate Mass in Spanish, too.

Instructing seminarians in the liturgy is just one part of the job for Father Thomas G. Keller, director of worship at Kenrick-Glennon. The priest oversees efforts to teach seminarians about all of the sacraments, as well as eucharistic adoration, the Rosary and other devotional prayers and activities.

Last semester, Father Keller began offering training to seminarians in the traditional Latin Mass. The effort is a response to Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter, "Summorum Pontificum," released last year and which allows for greater use of the Tridentine Mass.

"We have Mass twice a month in the extraordinary form, and the largest component is exposure as time goes on," said Father Keller. "The students who are closer to ordination will be given one-on-one training — as they are with the ordinary form of the Mass — to understand the rubrics and the customs and spirit of the liturgy."

The priest, who was ordained in 1997 and born well after the Second Vatican Council, said he, too, is new to the Tridentine Mass. Last summer, he visited the seminary of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, in Gricigliano, Italy, where he learned how to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass. He also has been assisting the institute’s priests at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in South St. Louis and the Benedictine priests and brothers at Oratory of St. Gregory the Great and St. Augustine of Canterbury at the Abbey of St. Mary and St. Louis in Creve Coeur.

"I have been extremely surprised and pleased with the beauty of the liturgy," said Father Keller. "It’s a different liturgical calendar and rubrics and language."

However, he added that "this is not designed to overthrow the ordinary form in which people worship, but to respond to the additional needs of the faithful."

Transitional deacon Michael Houser, a fourth-year theology student at Kenrick-Glennon, is one example of seminarians who have taken an interest in learning the traditional Latin Mass. Rev. Mr. Houser, who is serving his transitional diaconate assignment at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish in Oakville, said he first was exposed to the traditional Latin Mass as a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.  [Where, of course, there isn’t one.  Rather, students have to go to a nearby parish.]

"I think one of the things that attracts me to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite is the amount of significance that this rite has had in the history and tradition of the West," he said. "Just about every saint in our Catholic tradition, going back to the Council of Trent, celebrated this Mass or something similar. It’s important for me to have contact with this form of the Mass that was so very dear to our saints."

With his anticipated ordination for the St. Louis Archdiocese this May, Rev. Mr. Houser said that realistically he believes his ministry as a priest will focus on celebrating the ordinary form of the Mass in English. But he said he’s very encouraged by the Holy Father’s issuance of "Summorum Pontificum" and plans to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass in private celebration "and also when there might be a pastoral need for that to be offered."

Another area in which seminarians are being prepared for the priesthood is by learning about the Hispanic culture, along with a regular celebration of Mass in Spanish. Father Randy Soto, an associate professor of Scripture and native of Costa Rica, oversees Hispanic ministry efforts at Kenrick-Glennon.

"During their (Cardinal Glennon) College program, they choose their language track," he said. "They are required to take a modern language, and most will take Spanish. Some will take French or German." Once seminarians enter Kenrick School of Theology, they are presented with several opportunities to prepare themselves for Hispanic ministry.

One such example is that the Mass is celebrated in Spanish every Tuesday in the seminary’s main chapel, said Father Soto.

"The men get to be readers, cantors, acolytes and deacons," he said. "They get to serve the Mass totally in Spanish. The only thing that is in English is the homily." Certain feast days of importance to Hispanics, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Day of the Dead, or All Souls Day, also are celebrated at the seminary.

Father Soto also teaches a Hispanic ministry class, in which he shows seminarians "how to engage in Hispanic ministry in the parishes.

"The seminarians get to prepare presentations on every country in Latin America. They get to know all of the different subcultures of the Hispanic culture. We teach them grammar in Spanish, but the orientation will be more liturgical Spanish."

In addition, third-year theology students are sent to a seven-week immersion program in Mexico City. During that time, they learn the language and cultural differences and serve in local parishes. Kenrick-Glennon began offering that program two years ago, said Father Soto.

Some theology students, as part of their parish assignments, will go to local parishes that offer Hispanic ministry, such as St. Cecilia in South St. Louis, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Ferguson and Holy Trinity in St. Ann. "They get experience on a weekly basis in Hispanic ministry," said Father Soto.

Transitional deacon Scott Hastings, a fourth-year theology student, said his training in Hispanic ministry will be very beneficial when he returns to his Diocese of Omaha, Neb., after his expected ordination in May. Of the roughly 220,000 Catholics in Omaha, Rev. Mr. Hastings said there are roughly 50,000 who are Hispanic.

"That’s about one in four and a half people who are Hispanic," he said. "But that number is grossly underestimated. We have no idea how many truly come in. We have Masses where people will stand outside" because of a lack of seating in the church. "We sometimes have 200 people waiting to come in and go to Communion."

Deacon Hastings currently is serving his transitional diaconate assignment at St. Cecilia, where he noted the two Masses in Spanish at 10:30 a.m. and noon are "absolutely full." He also has assisted at other parishes that have a significant Hispanic membership, including Holy Trinity, St. Charles Borromeo in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist, where he taught at the parish high school.

"Oftentimes, there is an assumption that the Church doesn’t have an obligation to people who speak Spanish," said Rev. Mr. Hastings. In today’s ministry to Hispanics, for example, "the children I teach in school are not quite bilingual," he noted. "What we’re seeing is a shift, but it’s unreasonable to think that we wouldn’t offer things in another language.

"The choice to do Hispanic ministry or the traditional Latin Mass is often taken as an idea that one (form) is better than another. But that is simply not the case. The Church is a large place, and it’s very important to meet people where they are. And people are in very different places."

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  1. Brian Mershon says:

    “Mr. Houser, who is serving his transitional diaconate assignment at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish in Oakville, said he first was exposed to the traditional Latin Mass as a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. [Where, of course, there isn’t one. Rather, students have to go to a nearby parish.]”

    Mr. Houser, I believe, was a former seminarian (or closely connected with) the Legion of Christ, is a poster on this and other forums. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but he would have been exposed to the TLM only by driving more than one hour each way to Pittsburgh, the nearest indult parish to Steubenville at the time.

    One other comment on an otherwise positive article. This entire “meeting people where they are” approach completely turns Catholicism on its head. Priests and bishops are supposed to teach and present us the full Faith in its entirety, including its liturgy. If everyone had access to, and was catechized in, the TLM, there would be no reason for Spanish, English, Vietnamese, Russian, Polish, French, German language Masses. One priest could ably serve all and Mass would be in Latin.

    Why is that so difficult for everyone to understand?

  2. Tom says:

    “With his anticipated ordination for the St. Louis Archdiocese this May, Rev. Mr. Houser said that realistically he believes his ministry as a priest will focus on celebrating the ordinary form of the Mass in English.”

    Also from the article in question: “They get to serve the Mass totally in Spanish. The only thing that is in English is the homily.”

    Where does that leave Vatican II’s teaching that the Ordinary of the Mass is to be offered in Latin with Gregorian Chant given pride of place during the Liturgy?

    Why do we continue to shatter the Latin Church’s liturgical tradition?

    I know. I know. I am impatient…step-by-step…step-by-step.

    Sorry…but the reality is obvious…the “Latin” Mass will remain but an option as all-vernacular Masses will remain the reality 99 percent of the time.

    Is it good that Catholics in St. Louis can at least find a “Latin” Mass? Yes.

    It is good that Archdiocese reacted in positive fashion to the Motu Proprio? Yes.

    Is it good that in reality, all-vernacular Masses will remain the norm for 99 percent of Catholics within the Archdiocese? No.

    Why does the “Latin” Church continue to Balkanize itself via vernacular liturgies?

    Why does the “Latin” Church continue to ignore its own liturgical Tradition regarding the importance of offer Mass in Latin?

    As so-called “liberal” Pope Blessed John XXIII declared: “Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies . It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.”

    Why do we opt as “Latin” Catholics for all-vernacular liturgy? Why do we opt for segregation at Mass…the one place at which we should be together?

    When will we implement Vatican II’s liturgical teachings?

  3. danphunter1 says:

    The Tridentine Mass is perfect for the Hispanic people.
    It is clser to their sensibilities than the NO and closer to their language in form.
    Also since they have such an attachment to Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Juan Diego assisted at daily Mass in the Tridentine form, the Mass would hold a great attraction for them.
    God bless you

  4. Brian Mershon says:


    You are absolutely right of course. The post-Vatican II liturgy has brought about discrimination of the worst sort and destroyed unity among Cathoilics. It is the new Tower of Babel literally and a punishment for our disobedience, arrogance and stupidity in the name of “meeting people where they are.”

    Sacrosanctum Concilium is a dead letter. It will never be implemented.

    Even many “conservative” priests are against the Latin Novus Ordo, not to mention the TLM.

    Liturgical “news” in our diocese from a well-known Catholic convert turned priest was that the parish where he serves (with another well-known “conservative” Novus Ordo priest who HATES the TLM and traditionalists particular) was the parish would soon see “ad orientem” Masses completely and totally.

    I responded under my breath, “We’ve had that for six years now with the TLM.” It is nice to see, but… How long, Lord? How long?

  5. Chironomo says:

    Yes, I too have wondered how much more could have been done if the Episcopal Conferences and Vatican offices had not been occupied for the last 20 years tackling the myriad “translations” of the Mass books. If people could get past the “dead language” cliche, they would see very quickly that the use of ONE language for the liturgy everywhere in the world would solve a great many of our ills, and get us closer to being a truly “Catholic” church rather than the U.S Catholic Church, The French Catholic Church, The Chinese Catholic Church, The South American Catholic Church, The African Catholic Church….

  6. Andy P. says:

    Though I am a great lover of the TLM, its use would not obviate the need for spanish instruction in seminaries and for spanish language masses — after all, there is still the homily.

  7. Tom says:

    “Though I am a great lover of the TLM, its use would not obviate the need for spanish instruction in seminaries and for spanish language masses—after all, there is still the homily.”

    I don’t have any problem with people who wish to learn Spanish, English, French…and so forth.

    My point is that even within the confines of the TLM-friendly Archdiocese of St. Louis, it has been made clear by Churchmen that Archdiocese’s liturgical future lies with all-English and all-Spanish Masses.

    Therefore, the future there does not lie with Mass offered in Latin, with Gregorian Chant given “pride of place,” in accordance with Vatican II.

    Pope Benedict XVI has declared that Vatican II does not represent a break with Holy Tradition, particularly regarding liturgy.

    Therefore, why do our Churchmen continue to indicate that English-only and Spanish-only Masses will remain the liturgical norm, at least within the United States?

    I thought that our Churchmen have insisted that Catholics who worship at the Traditional Latin Mass WILL accept Vatican II.

    Whenever the TLM is offered, our Churchmen are quick to state…”this does not mean that we are abandoning Vatican II…non-Latin Masses will remain the norm…those attached to the “Latin Mass” WILL be expected to accept Vatican II.

    The following reality is undeniable.

    The issue regarding the acceptance of Vatican II, particularly in regard to liturgy, isn’t a problem among Catholics who worship at “Latin Masses.”

    The real issue is that our Churchmen don’t accept Vatican II teachings regarding the employment of Latin and Gregorian Chant in the Liturgy.

    Therefore, liturgical continuity within the Latin Church, in regard to Vatican II, has, in practice, been broken by our Churchmen.

    Learn English…learn Spanish…then speak Latin (homily aside) during Mass.

  8. EDG says:

    I spend a lot time in Spain (and speak Spanish and understand Catalan), and one of the worst things about VatII was that it made language an issue. One of the reasons Spain has lost tons of Catholics is that the border areas (Catalunya y Pais Basco) suddenly became the property of leftwing “nationalists” (aka, lefty separatists) who used the Church to advance their agendas. The left-wing bishops were only too happy to help them, of course, which is why the Archdiocese of Barcelona had virtually NO vocations for the last X number of years. They have a new bishop now, who has actually dumped the lefty linguistic stuff and is attracting people to Catholicism rather than Catalanismo again, and therefore is getting vocations.

    I don’t mind the readings, the sermon and even the propers in whatever people feel to be the local vernacular (but it should respect everyone – in Barcelona, a mass in Spanish was becoming about as hard to find as a Latin mass!). But keep the rest in Latin, because that kneecaps the nationalists.

  9. John F. says:

    Why the harsh attack by Mr. Mershon regarding where and when Rev. Mr. Hauser has attended the TLM. I know many Roman Catholics that drive MORE than one hour to attend the Extraordinary form. The only reason to bring up all of these points would be to cast doubt on the Rev. Mr. Hauser’s attachment to the liturgy. I have seen Rev. Mr. Hauser at the Oratory I attend and spoken with him. He will be one of our greatest assets after his ordination. He is obedient to the Holy Father and shows patience along with humility. The traits exhibited by Rev. Mr. Hauser are what will advance our cause. All of the whining and complaining and impatience of others will only mire our cause within the universal Church.

    To quote St. Francis de Sales “Cook the truth in charity until it tastes sweet.”

    All traditional Roman Catholics should heed this advice and make it the basis for all their interactions with others especially the liberals in the Church.

  10. Henry Edwards says:

    Brian Mershon: ” ….. the parish would soon see “ad orientem” Masses completely and totally.”

    Would this be St. Mary’s in upstate SC? Which has close to the most reverent vernacular Novus Ordo I’ve observed anywhere, and which I thought (in two visits a couple of years ago) lacked only ad orientem celebration to optimize the ordinary form.

  11. kcj says:

    John F. – “Why the harsh attack by Mr. Mershon regarding where and when Rev. Mr. Hauser has attended the TLM.”

    I don’t think Mr. Mershon is attacking Rev. Mr. Hauser. I think he is noting the irony that, at the “conservative” Franciscan University of Steubenville, Rev. Mr. Hauser had to go off campus to attend an Extraordinary Form Mass.

  12. a seminarian says:

    I just want to remind everyone of two of Fr. Z’s “rules of engagement” and provide some simple thoughts after them.

    First, #3:
    “Show genuine Christian joy. If you want to attract people to what gives you so much consolation and happiness, be inviting and be joyful. Avoid the sourness some of the more traditional stamp have sadly worn for so long.”

    That said, I wonder how many of the sour grapes here actually attended the seminary in St. Louis and saw what it was like in Deacon Houser’s first years. I wonder whether you have given any consideration to the fact that he is not ordained yet and, as a result (since not all of the higher-ups like the MP), he must watch his words very closely. I wonder, lastly, what you would say if there was no TLM Mass OR TLM instruction at the seminary. Wouldn’t you be singing the same song? Rejoice, for heaven’s sakes!!!

    Second, #4:
    4) Be engaged in the whole life of your parishes, especially in works of mercy organized by the same. If you want the whole Church to benefit from the use of the older liturgy, then you who are shaped by the older form of Mass should be of benefit to the whole Church in concrete terms.

    Now, why would Fr. Z place this Rule on his website? Perhaps because he knows that caritas often speaks louder than words. Similarly, it is love that really draws people into the Mystery of Christ. St. John Bosco once said: “get the children to love you and they will follow you anywhere.” In a world that is repulsed by any organized religion, is ruled by emotion-based “reasoning,” and is too easily turned away from things that are not readily understood, sometimes we Catholics have to speak to them in ways that they understand. We give them “honey” before we give them solid food.

    A simple thought: God could have given the world His Son immediately after The Fall. But instead, He slowly taught humanity through ages of time until the Fullness of Time had come.

    Patience, people. Do not confuse restraint with weakness.

  13. Brian Mershon says:

    to John F. “Cook the truth in charity until it tastes sweet.” Yes, the Institute of Christ the King and Msgr. Schmitz are great and right on in quoting St. Francis de Sales.

    Regarding Mr. Houser, I was not attacking him at all. He posts here and elsewhere all the time and I always find his posts enlightening, as well as his migration toward Tradition from the Legion of Christ, which was similar to my own experience. I have no issues with Deacon Houser.

    kcj was correct about the Steubenville-TLM correction. He was exposed to it while at Steubenville, but not AT Steubenville, most likely.

    Henry Edwards: That would be a pretty good guess. Now if there were only some Gregorian chant and the 1962 missal were used like the parish down the street, everything would be perfect, wouldn’t it?

    Seminarian: What in the world is all of this about? To whom are you directing this? The point is that the Tower of Babel is here with us now since the advent of the vernacular in the liturgy. All the other stuff about “progress” at the Seminary is well and good, but St. Thomas talks about making distinctions and it seems you are wanting to gloss over them in the name of “watching words” so one can get ordained.

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    Brian Mershon: Now if there were only some Gregorian chant and the 1962 missal were used like the parish down the street, everything would be perfect, wouldn’t it?

    Maybe the parish clergy there are embarked on a journey similar to the one you mentioned previously. Who knows? I heard recently of a pastor who in the past had seemed quite hostile to the older form but — as a result of taking the motu proprio seriously — his position has softened remarkably. Perhaps this sort of minor miracle is happening more than we yet know.

  15. Brian Mershon says:

    Henry: I hope and pray that to be the case. If it is happening, there was no indication of it from the priest (former Anglican convert to Catholicism lay apologist)I mentioned who said the “ad Deum” orientation was coming soon.

    Truly, I hope and pray for that to be the case. It would certainly be a minor miracle!

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