TLM in Raleigh’s Sacred Heart Cathedral

There is an interesting article in the The News Observer which deals with the TLM in Raleigh, … which seems to be getting a lot of WDTPRS coverage these days… and our friend Fr. Parkerson.

What is great about the page I link about is that there is a brief audio clip available.

My emphases and comments.

Latin Mass revives an ancient Catholic rite

A Raleigh cathedral celebrates Tridentine Mass for the first time in years

Yonat Shimron, Staff Writer

Roman Catholics filled Sacred Heart Cathedral to overflowing Sunday afternoon to celebrate Mass in a language not heard in that church in nearly 40 years: Latin.

It was a historic moment for the Raleigh church, a chance to experience the Mass as it was celebrated in Catholic churches for centuries.

Worshippers arrived appropriately attired: men in suits, women wearing lace head coverings, and many clutching dusted off missals — prayer books containing the Latin and English texts of the Mass.

They sat in the church in silence as tradition dictates, contemplating God before the priests arrived wafting incense through the sanctuary. There were some awkward moments as worshippers fumbled, not knowing when they were supposed to rise, sit and kneel. But that was to be expected. The rhythms of the ancient rite are no longer second nature to Catholics. [But we can fix that.]

Last year, Pope Benedict XVI gave permission to broaden the use of the so-called Tridentine Mass. Since then, Catholic churches across the country have been gradually [Brick by brick!] adding the service alongside the now common English- and Spanish-language Masses.

"It reminds us of our roots and our tradition and where we come from," said Bishop Michael Burbidge, who delivered the homily at Sunday’s Mass. Burbidge said he has received 50 to 75 requests from Catholics asking for the Mass in Latin since he arrived in Raleigh about a year and a half ago.

From now on, the Latin Mass will be provided monthly at Sacred Heart and monthly or weekly at three other churches across the diocese, which spans 54 of North Carolina’s eastern counties.

To prepare for the additional services, 15 of the diocese’s 115 active priests will participate in a three-day seminar, beginning Tuesday, to train them in performing the Mass in Latin.

An olive branch

The addition of the Latin Mass is aimed at ending a liturgical dispute that has alienated traditional Catholics for decades.

By allowing the old rite, the church is, in effect, extending an olive branch to people who felt left out after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 conference that deliberated how the church should function in the modern world.

"I’ve been waiting for the Latin Mass for more than 30 years," said Barbara Padovano, 66, as she stepped into the tiny stone cathedral on Hillsborough Street.

Fans of the Latin Mass [I wish they wouldn’t put it this way.  This simply contributes to the segregation of Latin away from the Novus Ordo.] said they appreciate the sense of solemnity and pageantry in the old rite in which the priest [with the congregation] faces the altar and chants the prayers and Scripture readings in Latin. Since 1970, when the new Mass was published in English, many traditions associated with old rite disappeared.

Called Tridentine after the 1570 Council of Trent in which it was standardized, the Latin Mass [grrrrrr….] is elaborately choreographed. The ritual includes rules called "rubrics" that call for kneeling, bowing and making the sign of the cross. To many Catholics, that careful attention to detail connects them more intimately with the purpose of the Mass, which is receiving the Eucharist, or the bread and the wine transformed into the body and blood of Christ, according to the Catholic faith.  [Pretty good for a secular paper.]

"It makes you realize there’s solemnity going on at the altar," said Stan Wesner, 61, of Raleigh, who participated Sunday.

Unlike in the modern Mass, parishioners take communion by kneeling at the altar rail and receiving the wafer on their tongue.

But traditionalists aren’t the only ones who like it. Catholics too young to remember the rite were well-represented at Sunday’s Mass. They are people such as 28-year-old Erich Engel of Cary, who said the English Mass is lacking in spirituality, in large part because parishioners feel obliged to hang on every word the priest says — an experience they say places the priest rather than God at the center of the service.  [Sadly this is often the case, though I am not sure it need be that way.  Celebrating Mass ad orientem would help a grat deal in this regard.]

The Latin Mass [grrrrrr] is not entirely new to the diocese. In 1988, Pope John Paul II gave permission for the Latin Mass [grrrrrr] to be celebrated in its traditional form with the consent of the local bishop.

Since 2004, it has been celebrated monthly, and now weekly, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Dunn. There, the Rev. Paul Parkerson was trained to celebrate the Mass in Latin after retired Bishop F. Joseph Gossman gave him permission to do it.

Last year, two churches — one in Rocky Mount and another in Wrightsville Beach — added a monthly Latin Mass. [Novus Ordo?] But there is no plan to incorporate the Latin Mass [grrrrrr] at each of the diocese churches or to substitute the Latin Mass [grrrrr] for the regularly scheduled English- and Spanish-language Masses.

"We’re already stretched thin and overworked," said the Rev. Patrick Keane, vicar to Hispanics, a large and growing group in the diocese. "In our diocese I would love to see more priests learn Spanish. I can’t imagine a whole lot of us learning Latin."  [How about celebrating more Masses, Novus Ordo even, in Latin so that both groups could pray together?   Wouldn’t that cut down the work?]

Keane, like 14 other priests, signed up to learn the Latin Mass nonetheless, mostly as a way to educate himself about it.

For some priests, such as Parkerson, who celebrated the rite at Sacred Heart on Sunday, the tradition has renewed and transformed his faith.

"It is similar to discovering in your 20s and 30s who you really are," said Parkerson, 37. "You discover you’re a descendant of a royal family, and there’s a whole lot more to your identity than what you’ve been taught to believe about yourself."  [YES!] or (919) 829-4891

I have been saying again and again that Summorum Pontificum is really for priests, more than it is for lay people.  Of course both benefit.  However, when younger priests learn the older form, or older priests relearn it, they begin to understand something more about who they are as priests, what Mass is, how the priest and Mass fit together.  Since the way we pray has a reciprocal relationship with what we believe, who the priest is, who the people and the priest perceive him to be, and how he says Mass has an incalculable effect on a congregation.  Through the priest, who is altar Christus, the Church is formed around the altar of Sacrifice.  Time and again I hear stories about priests discovering something new about themselves as they learn the older form.   This is, I am convinced, one of the insights which lead the Holy Father to issued Summorum Pontificum in the face of so much opposition.   Aside from all the issues of unity, and justice to tradition, and continuity, and organic development of liturgy, the priest himself is the true beneficiary. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. danphunter1 says:

    That lead picture in the article is a photo of my wife, in apparent ecstacy, during the Solemn High Mass at Sacred Herat Cathedral in Raleigh.
    I wish I could have been next to her, but I was singing with the choir.
    Isn’t she angelic?
    Thank you, Happy Epiphany and God bless you.

  2. Jeremy says:

    The Latin Masses in Rocky Mount and Wrightsville Beach are the extraordinary form.

    Father Keane’s quote could be read out of context. He has been interested in learning the extraordinary form for a while.

  3. danphunter1 says:

    To my knowledge there is not a single Novus Ordo Mass in Latin in
    the whole Diocese of Raleigh.
    I have absolutely no problem with this, since the offering of the Tridentine Mass is growing very rapidly here.

  4. Chris T says:

    I’m a priest in a church out of communion with Rome — my wife is a Roman Catholic. Some priests in our church (myself included) use an English translation of the pre-conciliar Mass (actually pre-’55 reforms), but it was my wife’s first experience with the extraordinary form.

    Anyhow, the Mass was beautiful, and the Cathedral was *packed*. I wish continued blessings for the RCs in the area and much gratitude from a non-communing fellow traveler. :-)

  5. Peterk says:

    just a suggestion, but folks should send an email to the reporter (individually) as well as to the Raleigh paper for doing the story. Don’t be nitpicking with some of the details. Journalists appreciate hearing from their readers especially when the writer does a good job

  6. Tom says:

    But there is no plan to incorporate the Latin Mass at each of the diocese churches or to substitute the Latin Mass for the regularly scheduled English- and Spanish-language Masses.

    “We’re already stretched thin and overworked,” said the Rev. Patrick Keane, vicar to Hispanics, a large and growing group in the diocese. “In our diocese I would love to see more priests learn Spanish. I can’t imagine a whole lot of us learning Latin.”

    Then Vatican II’s teaching (and GIRM’s) that the Ordinary of the Mass be prayed in Latin with Gregorian Chant given “pride of place” will not be obeyed throughout Raleigh’s Latin Church parishes. The Vatican II teaching that priests acquire an understanding of Latin is also by the boards.

    Why doesn’t the good Bishop of Raleigh correct the above problem…correct the above statement from the priest in question?

  7. smonaco says:

    I too was at the Cathedral for the Mass after driving 3 hours to get there. It was truly wonderful. Not sure how long it would take to get there, I arrived earlier enough to attend the Spanish language N.O. Mass as well. It was just dreadful… so loud that I could not even hear the Priest on the altar, and worse, the priest was hardly able to sight-read Spanish, let alone speak it (and they say that priests need to “take a test” to read Latin!)

    The priest’s homily consisted of telling them it would be very short so because the three Kings would be arriving. I remember sitting there distraught that such a religious ethnic group was being so robbed of a good liturgy… and sure enough, before the final blessing, three “Kings” wrapped in robes arrived from behind the altar and they lead all the children and their parents out of the Church without receiving the final blessing!

    Alas, what a difference when the Choir began its rehearsal and the organ peeled its strains… it was a piece of heaven on earth and one could feel the presences of the angels prostrating in the aisles as the sacred liturgy took center focus.

    One last question since one of the earlier comments posted here came from a member of the choir. During the Sanctus, at both the Mass at the Cathedral and both of the Masses on EWTN, the choir has immediately continued on to the “Benedictus qui venit…” without waiting until after the elevation. I always understood that the “Benedictus” was to occur after the elevations, am I confused?

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    smonaco: I always understood that the “Benedictus” was to occur after the elevations

    In every high Mass I recall offhand, the full Sanctus/Benedictus has been concluded before the consecration if simple Gregorian chant, while with a polyphonic or musical setting too lengthy for this, the Benedictus has been delayed until after the elevations.

  9. anne scanlon says:

    Out of the mouths of babes…when I asked my 13 year old grandson why he liked going to the Tridentine Mass, he answered, “Because the priest pays more attention to God” Thank you Holy Father, Bishop Burbidge,Fathers Parkerson and Mears…..there is great hope for the next generation.

  10. danphunter1 says:

    It is amazing that within the space of a couple of hours there could be an liturgically abusive spanish Mass, and then an exquistely reverent and holy rubrically correct Tridentine Mass.
    Yes, what a travesty and a lack of charity for the poor Spanish people.
    Talk about racism!
    Why would this be allowed in the Mother Church of the Diocese of Raleigh.
    I to arrived early enough to hear the end of the spanish Mass or should I say applause.
    Thats all I could hear was yelling and applause! Immediately after Holy Communion!
    Also the immodesty was unbelievable: women wearing low cut and tight dresses and jeans that left the concience reeling, and the men wand boys for the most part where wearing t-shirts and jeans.
    I realize that many of these poor people cannot afford expensive clothing, but you can get a cheap suit anywhere or a good used suit.
    I did this for many years.
    Pastors must instruct their flock to dress modestly and to wear apropriate clothing to the Holy Sacrifice of the King of Kings.
    Kyrie Eleison!

  11. CJM says:

    The Diocese of Raleigh is slowly, but surely returning to orthodoxy under the guidance of Bishop Burbidge. I’ve attended the Extraordinary Form several times at St. Therese in Wrightsville Beach and it was absolutely beautiful. The service was well attended, and people tended to know the responses. St. Therese has yet to institute Gregorian Chant, but it is a small parish and they are already doing the Wilmington area a great service to begin with, so I cannot be too particular. I hope His Excellency, Bishop Burbidge, presses for greater reverance at the Ordinary Form masses as well. Too many services in this area are sorely lacking in it.

  12. Greg Smisek says:

    Fans of the Latin Mass [I wish they wouldn’t put it this way. This simply contributes to the segregation of Latin away from the Novus Ordo.]

    Personally, I’m all for the flabella.

  13. Pleased as Punch says:

    Don’t lose hope with all those “Grrrrrr”s, Fr. Z!

    The article uses the phrase, “the Latin its traditional form,”
    which at least implies the existence of a Latin Mass in a non-traditional
    form! Sloppy language *is* lamentable, but it doesn’t necessarily mean
    people don’t understand what they’re talking about. It’s just a sort of
    shorthand for most.

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    dan: Yes, what a travesty and a lack of charity for the poor Spanish people.

    Or does it indicate a higher regard for the needs of Latin Mass Catholics as opposed to Spanish-speaking Catholics? Considering that a Latin Mass celebrant must (in many dioceses) be tested to verify that his Latin proficiency is adequate to satisfy the presumed high standards of TLM devotees, whereas any kind of wretched Spanish spoken by a priest who can hardly read it aloud, much less understand it, is deemed adequate for Spanish speakers.

  15. Beth V. says:

    Danphunter 1:

    The Novus Ordo in Latin is now being implemented at St. Joseph’s in Raleigh by Monsignor John Williams. He began in December gradually at a 7:30AM Mass on Sundays (about every other Sunday). He noted in the bulletin that it was at the request of parishoners. He has always incorporated quite a bit of Latin in the Mass particularly at the regular Wednesday night Adoration, Rosary and Novena masses. I hope that it will not be too hard on him now with a 9:00AM and 11:00AM Mass as well.
    The next Novus Ordo in Latin is this coming Sunday, January 13th at 7:30AM.

  16. Royce says:

    Fr. Z,

    I really like your idea of Latin Masses being able to bring together English and Spanish speakers. However, isn’t there still a big problem with that? Do you have any idea how you would handle it if you knew that half the people at Mass didn’t speak English?

  17. Henry Edwards says:

    Royce, at a Latin Mass some people may have Latin-English missals, some Latin-Spanish missals, and others Latin-German missals. They have no need to speak to each other at Mass, so Latin is “a uniter, not a divider”. So I’m wondering what problem you have in mind.

  18. brenda says:

    Only problem I can see is the sermon – but there are solutions. Last time I visited, the TLM parish in Ottawa Canada was trilingual (and I suspect lots of others are as well) – Latin for the Mass, sermon in both English and French.

  19. Sid Cundiff says:

    The face of my friend Elena Hunter is indeed angelic, as is the voice of my friend and her husband, Dan Hunter.

    We all who were present felt lifted indeed to the angels. I must say that this was the most beautiful Mass that I have attended in the USA. Te Deum.

    The western half of North Carolina is getting into gear also. Next Sunday, 13 Jan, at Our Lady of Grace, 330pm, Fr. Robert Ferguson, FSSP — who served so wonderfully yesterday in Raleigh as the subdeacon — will offer a High Mass (the Mass in the Extraordinary Form).

    We’re also trying to get a schola together.

    For now: God Bless Bishop Burbidge!

  20. Royce: Do you have any idea how you would handle it if you knew that half the people at Mass didn’t speak English?

    I suppose you are talking about preaching.  On weekdays this isn’t a problem.  Also, some of us can preach in more than one language.  Otherwise, I really don’t know.  One thing I do know, however, is having groups in parishes segregated away from each other for worship nearly all the time.

  21. kat says:

    I was there as well, my 5 little ones were remarkably good considering Mass was about 2 hours long.

    It was really lovely seeing Father Ferguson. He substituted at St. Benedict’s in Chesapeake, Virginia (former indult parish) several times when our priest, Father Damian (RIP) was ill. We have had the pleasure of attending the TLM and hearing homilies by 6 FSSP priests in the last few years and I have to say that they are all good, holy men who strive to serve God at the altar. I hope and pray that the men who are training this week are like-minded. What a historical time we are living in!

  22. JeremyChen says:

    This discussion makes me wonder how the Chinese bishops will handle the issue of Latin. And I’m talking strictly linguistically here. Underground or otherwise, China now has more Catholics than it did before 1949, and most of those Catholics have been raised in a Novus Ordo, vernacular world. It’s sort of the exception to the general rule that Vatican II and the liturgical “reform” damaged church attendance (and so much more) over the last forty years. One question that I really would like to have answered is: what happens if the vibrant vernacular Chinese communities are suddenly presented with the opportunity to worship in a language other than Chinese? I’d genuinely appreciate some insights into this.

  23. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Heaps of politics in those comments, JeremyChen. Testing the waters, are we? I mean, really… wow… And your facts are… well, not facts.

    Just follow the MP. It’s called being faithful to the Holy Father. Oh, I forgot, respecting the Holy Father is a problem in China for the open, patriotic association crowd.

    The MP is already in place, even in China, for more than six months. Those who are faithful to Rome are not stupid. Your “if” is way, way, way out of place.

    China will be a force in the world because of the martyrs she continually presents before God, because of faithfulness to the Holy Father.

  24. God says:

    Thank you for sharing the historical moments of the Raleigh Church and its great to hear form your blog.

  25. JeremyChen says:

    Dear Fr. Renzo di Lorenzo:

    Rather hostile, aren’t we? I wasn’t testing waters at all — just putting a genuine question before this forum. There’s a lack of discussion about China here. In either case, my facts are correct. Go visit the Hong Kong diocese’s Holy Spirit Study Centre website for current and historical population figures on China’s Catholics. There are more now, then there were then, and that is a great blessing.

    As for what you refer to as the “open, patriotic association crowd” – I think it’s worth reminding you that upwards of 90% of China’s bishops are in communion with the Pope AND recognized by China’s Patriotic Association. Including, I dare remind you, the new bishops of Beijing and Guangzhou. Being faithful to the Holy Father, Fr. Renzo, also means respecting those whom the Holy Father has chosen to lead his flock. In the future, I hope you’ll consider that before denigrating them.

  26. Tony says:


    It is my understanding that, at least until very recently if not until this very day, at least the Patriotic Chinese Church exclusively conducts its Mass in Latin (ie the TLM). I am not so sure about the mainstream/Vatican approved Church.

    A friend of mine was a former Australian Consul-General in Shanghai in the 1990s, and I remember him telling me that it was far preferable attending these Masses than the clappy happy American Masses he was usually forced by circumstance to attend. Anyhow, my point being that I understand that latin is far from being unknown among the long-oppressed Chinese Catholic community, and that it is still being utilised there.

  27. JeremyChen says:

    Tony –

    Greetings from Shanghai. The history of the TLM and the Novus in China is actually quite straightforward. Until 1992, the Chinese government opposed the use of the vernacular (again, I’m talking linguistically here)out of fear that it would aid evangelization. Nevertheless, in September 1989, Father Joseph Zen – the current Cardinal Archbishop of Hong Kong – performed the first Chinese-lanaguage Novus Ordo in a government-registered church. By 1993, a Chinese language missal – prepared with the explicit input of Hong Kong church officials – was being published and widely distributed in China. The Novus has been ubiquitous here since the mis-1990s. There are a few elderly priests and a handful of younger ones who know the TLM, but largely, the growth in China’s Church – and it is growing! – has been among those who have only known Chinese in their churches.

    You are quite right: the Chinese Novus masses are far more serious affairs than what qualifies for a mass in the US. But, alas, Latin is not utilized here. That said, the demand for Chinese in the liturgy is deep, historical, and important to evangelization. During the 17th century, the Jesuits, believing that Chinese evangelization required local language liturgies, petitioned Rome for the right to say Chinese masses, and in 1615, Pope Paul V gave that permission. And that’s why I made my original post – the one that received the rude reply. The situation is complicated here, and very much contrary to what is assumed by Catholics outside of China.

  28. Little Gal says:


    The articles that I have read re: the Catholic faithful in China have been a great & inspiring lesson for all of us. Please know that the Catholic community in China is in our prayers.

    Re: the rude comments that you mentioned, others here have also had this experience. Perhaps Emerson’s comment is appropriate here:
    “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world (or their blog posts!) is also a confession of their character.”

  29. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    JeremyChen… no denigration of anyone intended. Nor was there rudeness. What put me off what you otherwise seem to have intended was the “if” in your original remark. It seemed from that “if” that you were implying that there was some other authority than the Holy Father that was important regarding the Motu Proprio. The laity have rights in the Motu Proprio. The derestriction cuts through any restrictive power which anyone, including bishops, of whatever background, might have thought they had (including anyone in the Religious Affairs Bureau).

    I said nothing about any bishops of Beijing and Guangzhou. You did, subsequently. Interesting. So, with that, are you implying that they reject the Motu Proprio? I wouldn’t put that on them. Never did. Don’t think you do either. I accept what the Holy Father does for those in China. He wrote a brilliant letter to them, didn’t he? Absolutely realistic and, because of that, magnificent. Too bad the Religious Affairs Bureau edited it and ripped it down from web-sites.

    Perhaps we need to be reminded that it is not all niceness and warm and fuzzy togetherness in China. We must remember those who suffer repeated imprisonments, years of reeducation camps, torture unto death, AS WE HAVE THIS LITTLE CONVERSATION, all those bishops, priests and untold numbers of laity who want to remain faithful to the Holy Father but are, in fact, hindered in their worship, hindered in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (whether T.L.M. or any ever so vibrant N.O.), they being on the cross themselves. Using your figures, 10% of bishops are liable to be suffering at any moment or are now suffering already. That’s truly horrific. As long as this hell is going on, a distinction must be maintained between the Catholic Church in China and those who remain faithful to the open, patriotic association crowd because of the fact of it remaining faithful to the Chinese “Pope” over at the Religious Affairs Bureau over against Benedict XVI.

    You say that “The situation is complicated here, and very much contrary to what is assumed by Catholics outside of China.” I’m sure that is true.

    Again, it was your “if” that threw me off. That “if”, coupled with what seemed like a very nice, incomplete picture of religious freedom in China, and coupled with the gnostic word “complicated”, reminded me of untold numbers of Chinese priests and seminarians who, over the years, have insisted on the same complication and niceness with me. But they were always in good with the “chinese pope”. I’m not saying you are, Jeremy. Not at all. I’m just saying that you reminded me of this with your “if”, etc. The way you wrote your original entry was confusing.

    I remember asking a deacon about to be ordained a priest for the open, patriotic crowd (before the Supreme Pontiff’s letter) whether he thought that going to prison and being tortured for one’s faithfulness to the Holy Father was complicated for those not with the open, patriotic crowd, and whether his being ordained, while so many of his brothers in the diaconate and priesthood were being tortured to death, was something that made him proud.

    His response was desperately sad, a response I’ve encountered I don’t know how many times (it is always the same): “I have to call my superior.”

    The Mass is, or course, more than just an exercise in Latin, whether it is the Latin of the T.L.M. or the N.O. I support what the Holy Father does for China.

    Finally, Jeremy, you wrote: “It’s sort of the exception to the general rule that Vatican II and the liturgical “reform” damaged church attendance (and so much more) over the last forty years.” – – – Well, Jeremy, sorry, no. It’s not the vernacular. That is such rubbish (an in-your-face but not rude comment). If you want to know the reason for the growth of the faith in China, forget the vernacular, and try wading through the rivers of the blood of the martyrs that will soon bathe the whole world with faith.

    I find your mention of Shanghai interesting. Thanks for that.

  30. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    I would like to see if it is viable for the hundreds, sorry, thousands of members of the Legion of Mary, who were murdered because of their witness to the faith, may be proclaimed, as a group, matryrs for the faith, and be placed in the Universal Calendar of the Church for both the 1970 and 1962 MR. We can pray to them for our own conversion. I do, as I do stand in need of conversion. They are a great inspiration to remain steadfast and up front, even in-your-face, as was our Lord so many, many times, for our own good.

    God bless you.

  31. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    I just can’t imagine anyone coming up with the idea that the vernacular is the cause of the growth of the Roman Catholic Church in China. But, that’s my problem. I must learn to appreciate always more the contribution of the Chinese martyrs, for, if I did, I wouldn’t be surprised at anyone imagining such a thing. Still, it boggles the mind. It is the great Charity of God shining out in the souls of the faithful Chinese, those in union with the Holy Father, especially those who lay down their lives for the faith, who have brought increase to the Catholic Church in China.

    So, Jeremy. On another note. What is it that you do in Shanghai?

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