Univ. of Notre Dame: application of Summorum Pontificum

UPDATE:  16 January 2008 21:28 GMT

The blog of The Sober Sophomore has this, which is rather amusing.  I like the title of the entry:

Notre Dame Magazine – or – "I survived Fr Z!"

I’m sure by now most of my usual readers have either read on Fr Z’s blog or in the Notre Dame Magazine itself a wonderful article featuring myself and Johnny.

I was quite pleased with the article, and even more pleased that Fr. Z actually complimented it! What an honor! You can read Fr. Z’s comments over at WDTPRS.

And here are those comments, below!


I got an e-mail reporting that the alumni magazine of the University of Notre Dame published something about the "extraordinary form" of Mass.  We have looked at Notre Dame University before on WDTPRS. 

From what I hear, Notre Dame is taking a very different approach than that of both Franciscan University at Steubenville and Ave Maria University in Florida.

Let’s have a look at this positive article with my emphases and comments.

Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf – here is an article in Winter 2007-08 Notre Dame Magazine (the alumni mag of my alma mater) about the Extraordinary Form Mass that is being said on campus. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised how fair-minded and even favorable it is to the Mass; when I first noticed the story, I was expecting the worst. But it is very respectful.

An Extraordinary Liturgy Returns to Campus

by John Nagy

The Mass is celebrated publicly about 176 times each week at Notre Dame when the University is in session, says Father Richard Warner, CSC, the director of campus ministry. Different Masses meet different spiritual needs. Congregants may pray together in English, Spanish or Latin and choose from a sampler box of musical styles and aesthetic surroundings. All of these Masses are celebrated according to the reformed Roman Missal of Pope Paul VI introduced in 1970.  [Hmmm…  this could sound a little like division also, but … okay… this also shows how flexible the Church’s liturigy is.  One Mass, many expressions.]

All except one, that is. At 8 a.m. on October 14, some 100 people gathered with Father Thomas Blantz, CSC, in the Saint Charles Borromeo chapel in Alumni Hall to participate in what was likely the first Tridentine Mass on campus in nearly 40 years.

"It’s very exciting," says senior Mary Elizabeth Walter. "Had you told me three years ago we would be having the Tridentine Mass here on campus I would have said ‘Yeah, right, I wish.’"

For years, pockets of Catholics have secured permission from local Church authorities to celebrate the Mass using the 1962 Missal of Blessed John XXIII. The reforms issued under Paul VI had turned the priest toward the congregation, [Alas.] allowed translation of the entire Mass into the vernacular, changed other important customs and prompted reactions from the faithful that ran the spectrum from elation to acceptance to devastation.

Unlike most Catholics born after Vatican II, Walter grew up with the Tridentine Mass at her family’s parish in Baltimore, which she says also offers Sunday Masses in English and Lithuanian and brings all three communities together for vibrant parish functions.  [That is very important.]

Church leaders hope Walter’s experience of unity in liturgical diversity [This seems to be the writers real point.] is the norm. At Notre Dame, the decision to initiate Sunday celebration of the old Mass came swiftly last summer after Pope Benedict issued Summorum Pontificum, an apostolic letter affirming it as the "extraordinary form" of the Roman rite established after the Second Vatican Council.

The move also reflects the persistence of students, [Again and again we see that it is young people who really drive this movement and who are instituting a reform from below and from within.] who have expressed their interest to Warner and his staff in person over the past few years. Recently, more than 150 students showed their support on Facebook, the social networking website, by joining a group called "I am interested in having the Tridentine Mass at Notre Dame."  [An internet site used as a tool to attain their rightful aspirations.  This is instructive.  University students – pay attention!]

Brett Perkins, who runs Notre Dame’s programs for Catholic peer ministry and outreach to Protestant students, says many of these students are as attracted to contemporary prayer services as they are to older devotions. "They’re not willing to be . . . labeled as a particular type of person," he says. "What they are is fully Catholic."

For students like Walter, love for the old Mass and its reverence for God’s transcendence runs deep. Some critics of the pope’s letter have dismissed their preference as "nostalgia," a take that makes Walter cringe. The history and medieval studies major started exploring the Mass more critically in high school. "I wanted to check it out for myself and make sure it wasn’t this irrational attachment just because my parents loved it," she says. "They’re both the Mass. They’re both beautiful. But there’s a particular richness to the Tridentine Mass. The prayers are so much deeper there. It heightens your awareness of the sacred."  [A good explanation for her own reaction.]

"It’s an acquired taste," [Isn’t everything?] says John Gerardi, a sophomore classics and philosophy major who is one of six volunteers qualified to serve the old Mass because of his knowledge of Latin and his training in the traditional gestures, or rubrics. "I know the first time I went I was lost. . . . Once people get comfortable with it, you see a lot who start really preferring it."

Gerardi’s experience — more than six years’ worth — is hard to come by, which is one reason Benedict’s letter will have limited impact on Catholic parish and campus life. [This is an inherent contradiction in the article.  On the one hand, experience with the older Mass comes from participation over a while until you get used to it.  On the other hand it is "hard to come by".  The thinking is a little crossed up here.]  Eleven priests attended a training session that Perkins and Father Peter Rocca, CSC, rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, set up to prepare for the Mass. Some were older priests who wanted to get reacquainted with rubrics they hadn’t practiced in decades. Others were younger priests who, Father Nicholas Ayo, CSC, warns with a smile, will have "quite a bit of homework" to do.

Ayo celebrated the old Mass for 11 years after his 1959 ordination and, though he prefers the new missal and believes Catholics would get more out of it if they were better instructed, [Of course they would!  And they must!] volunteered because he was capable. "If we’re going to do it at Notre Dame, we’re going to do it right," he says.  [Well said!]

"The language comes easily, [but] I’m having to look at the book and read what it tells me to do, when that should all be done by memory and routine," he says. "It would become contemplative for me, too, if it was just second nature."  [Repetita iuvant.]

Father Warner sees the reintroduction as a learning opportunity for students, too. Before the first Mass, campus ministry hosted a series of talks explaining the Eucharist, the history and theology of the Tridentine Mass and the meaning of the Vatican II reforms. "We had three excellent presentations, good questions and a lot of interest on the part of the students," he says.

Walter and Gerardi believe that interest will only grow in the years to come. [But above he said "impact will be limited".  Well… maybe immediate impact.] They hope the low, recited Mass in Alumni Hall may be joined by the occasional high, chanted Mass in the Basilica and by baptisms and weddings in the Tridentine form for those who request them. But for Warner, whether interest waxes or wanes over time is beside the point. "What matters for me is that people truly feel nourished by our encounter with God through the Eucharist."

This was a pretty good piece. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Students from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM were instrumental in getting
    the traditional Latin Mass to San Miguel Chapel, the oldest Catholic Chapel
    in the U.S.

  2. danphunter1 says:

    The Tridentine Mass at San Miguel Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is every Sunday at 2pm.
    Deo Gratias

  3. Charles says:

    I have just applied to the Medieval Studies program at ND (please pray for me to be accepted!) I was really pumped when I saw that piece last year about the older form being introduced there and I will definitely attend that Mass weekly if I end up there. Catholic universities especially should be solicitous to offer as many Catholic forms of worship as they can (including Eastern ones) since they are in the business of forming not only the minds of their students, but also their spiritual lives. IMO, a well educated Catholic cannot afford to be completely unfamiliar with the various forms of Catholic worship. Thanks for keeping us informed Fr. Z!

    Charles Robertson

  4. Andy says:

    “Recently, more than 150 students showed their support on Facebook, the social networking website, by joining a group called “I am interested in having the Tridentine Mass at Notre Dame.” [An internet site used as a tool to attain their rightful aspirations. This is instructive. University students – pay attention!]”

    A few friends/fellow students at my small college have done this such thing, in trying to help restore orthodoxy to the way Mass is celebrated both on campus and in the parish church.

  5. Paul says:

    As a current ND law student, I can say that the extraordinary form program here seems to be working quite well. It is awfully early in the morning (even if all you do during the week is study, like a first-year law student) and the chapel, although beautiful, is not quite laid out for the logistics of the extraordinary form (we have to use the very narrow front pew as an altar rail). Despite these drawbacks, the Mass is well attended and reverently said. It’s the only e.f. Mass to which I have ever been, and so it does take a little getting used to, but I’m excited to have the opportunity. I also echo Charles’s sentiment that there should be a greater Eastern Catholic presence on campus — I would love it if the university were to put together an institute on Eastern Catholicism and build a Byzantine chapel (I’m not Byzantine and don’t particularly want to become so, I just think the Eastern rites “cool”). That’s the sort of diversity I can support.

  6. Cosmos says:

    While it is not on campus, there is a wonderful Ukranian Byzantine parish (St. Michael’s) in Mishiwaka, IN about 10 minutes from Notre Dame. It is lead by an excellent priest, Msr. Dobrowolski, and a member of the ND Latin department (somewhat ironically) serves as the cantor. Anyone interested in the Eastern rite in South Bend should definitely visit.

  7. There is a certain irony that AM and FUS are being intransigent on this issue while ND is being more accomodating!

  8. Michael says:

    Sacerdos, any such irony was strong in the 80s.

    The ND of today is different. A certain diocesan and vocal priest whose phone number is the only one found in the roledexes of AP, UPI, NBC, ABC, and CBS reporters isn’t as vocal as he once was.

    If irony exists today it only goes to show that reputation (1980s) always lingers longer than actual fact (2008).

  9. Michael says:

    Fr. Z. One of the ND students has a blog, that I think you should have a look at.


  10. Thank you for the complements, Fr. Z! (and for the link to my blog, Michael) We are very happy to have the extraordinary form here – and we’re also delighted with the positive attention we’ve received. I enjoyed interviewing for the article, and am also very pleased with it. As Michael noted, it’s very unfortunate that the bad reputation of the 1980s still lingers today when so much good is happening on this campus. Hopefully that outdated perception will change soon and people will begin to see the real Notre Dame.

  11. Hoya1239 says:

    Wow, if only Georgetown´s Campus Ministry would have sessions on (gasp) the Eucharist!!
    As one of the students who has been trying to get the Tridentine Mass on Georgetown´s campus it has indeed been a frustrating struggle to get the aging hippies of the administration to realize their watered down liturgies and patronizing attitude are not for OUR generation! We demand a deeper understanding of our faith and bravo to ND´s campus ministry for recognizing this.
    With that said Georgetown is in the market for a new Director of Campus Ministry… will you please come, Fr. Z?

  12. LCB says:

    I heard Georgetown was planning to hire Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens to run campus ministry. Something about diversity.

  13. Hoya: I suspect they will want a Jesuit.

  14. Fr. J. says:

    Fr. Z–

    Thank you for this post. Notre Dame has come a long way in recent years. Fr. McBrien is no longer the face of the institution (not that he really was). I attribute the progress to the daily adoration available on campus.

    [Disclaimer: Contrary to common opinion, Fr. McBrien is not a Holy Cross priest but a diocesan priest from Conn. He in no way represents the Congregation of Holy Cross.]

  15. Christopher says:

    I just wanted to let everyone know that On my blog for NOV 4 2007 I have some pictures from my recent trip to ND and also a few pictures from the Extraordinary Mass that was prayed there

    Just FYI

    God bless

Comments are closed.