D. of Charlotte, NC: TLM report

I received a nice note from Fr. Eric Kowalski, Pastor of Holy Angels in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC.

I hope priests continue to write in.  I would like their contributions to be a regular feature here.

Let’s have a look…

Fr. Z,
Greetings in the Lord!  Just wanted to share with you and your readers how things are going "brick by brick" in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC.  We had our first Solemn High Mass in the diocese on the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption [August 15th].  Since the Diocese of Charlotte is a relatively young diocese [founded in 1972], there is every indication that this historic Mass may be the first ever Solemn High Mass offered by a priest of the diocese since its’ inception.  The Principle Celebrant was Fr. Eric Kowalski, Pastor of Holy Angels, Mt. Airy, NC; assisting as Deacon was Fr. Robert Ferguson, FSSP; and assisting as Subdeacon was Fr. Christopher Davis, Pastor of St. Joseph, Asheboro, NC.  The Mass was held at Holy Family Church in Clemmons, NC [a relatively new church facility] with other diocesan clergy and seminarians in attendance.  Response to the Mass was overwhelmingly positive.  Pictures are included.

The number of Masses in the Extraordinary Form that are offered weekly is growing and we hope to have the opportunity to offer another Solemn High Mass somewhere in the diocese during the Easter season.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Eric Kowalski,
Pastor, Holy Angels

Excellent news.  And happy recent patronal feast day for your parish!

Let’s have a glance at the photos.

Note that the church is quite "modern", obviously constructed after the Novus Ordo was introduced.

That shadow of the Crucifix is quite dramatic, isn’t it?  You can see the bottom part of the Cross at the top of the photo.

And notice that the tabernacle is in the center of the "apse".

The altar is in the picnic-table style, but it can be used from either direction.  I wonder what side of the altar the inset stone is for the relics.  I was once at a parish which had one of these table altars, but the stone was set in top of the mensa in such a way that it was obvious that the altar was intended for ad orientem worship.

Note also that there is no Cross on the altar… but it is clear from the photos that it is dominating the whole sanctuary!

The vestments are fine.  It is always a pleasure to see maniples.  Tie One On!

Well done, Fathers.

You can see that modern spaces can be used for the older form of Mass.

I am not sure what they did for Communion.  Perhaps they placed some kneelers in front of the sanctuary.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Alli says:

    Deo Gratias!
    I was confirmed in the Diocese of Charlotte 3.5 years ago due in no small part to the reverence with which the liturgy is treated there. I was worried when H.E. Jugis did not come out with a formal response to Summorum Pontificum, but I was grateful to attend the first-ever TLM in the city of Charlotte. Things are coming along brick by brick, indeed!

  2. RichR says:

    Letters from priests are always my favorite blog posts on this site. They give me hope since I am in a part of the country that is ripe for a TLM, yet has no priests who feel able to offer it. I’m sure our time will come (with patience), but in the meantime, it is important to see results of SP so that we know progress is taking place somewhere.

    Thanks FrZ.

  3. Xpihs says:

    It is very interesting to see the traditional liturgy adapted to the new space, as seen in the second photo where the steps to the sanctuary are used as the steps of the altar.

  4. Manuel says:

    Great pictures. Since SP was issued I often wondered how in the world priests would celebrate TLM in a modern looking church. (I received first Communion in one very similar to this one, except carpet covered the whole sanctuary) I now see it is possible and still very beautiful.

  5. shane says:

    HEY!!! That subdeacon Father davis offers the MEF that i attend in asheboro! Many thanks for all your hard work fathers!!

    And father ferguson offered a BEAUTIFUL Missa Cantata in January in Our lady of grace in Greensboro.

    Unfortunately the local pastors in Greensboro are resistant and a bit hostile to the MEF, one the other morning called me out in his homily during daily mass and mentioned the ‘fluff’ in the MEF. BUT these fine priests are making me really think things are looking up!

    Thanks fathers!

    Shane Cobb
    Greensboro NC

  6. Robin says:

    Fr. Kowalski is the greatest! In addition to offering the MEF on Saturday evenings at his beautiful little church in Mt. Airy, he is also kind enough to drive 40 miles (each way) to Winston-Salem to offer the MEF twice a month there. We are so grateful for everything that he does.

    His Novus Ordo Masses are lovely, reverent, and ad orientem, too!

  7. RichR: They are indeed very interesting, aren’t they? I hope priests continue to write in. I would like their contributions to be a regular feature here.

  8. Dan says:

    “Unfortunately the local pastors in Greensboro are resistant and a bit hostile to the MEF, one the other morning called me out in his homily during daily mass and mentioned the ‘fluff’ in the MEF.”


    I know that the pastor of, Our Lady of Grace in Greensboro, wants the Gregorian Rite of Mass offered at OLG.
    He has told me so on several occasions.

    His problem seems to be, as Father has told me, that he cannot find a priest to offer it there.

    Yes, that High Mass that Father Ferguson offered and which Mass Father Kowalski was in choir, was a stupendous triumph, with over 400 assisting, in a church that seats slightly less.

    Both Our Lady of Grace and the mother church of Greensboro, St Benedicts, are superbly set up for the Gregorian Rite, what with an intact altar railing in both and magnificent high altar at least at OLG.

    Have confidence.
    The Mass will be there soon.
    Thank you Rev. Fathers Kowalski, Ferguson and Davis.

    Deo Gratias!

  9. Sid Cundiff says:

    Thanks to Fr. Z for posting this information, thanks to Fr. Kowalski for writing Fr. Z, thanks to Fr. Ferguson FSSP for training so many of the Charlotte Diocese’s priests, and thanks to all who made this MEF possible! I have a email list whom I keep informed about the MEF in NC. I serve often as usher at NC MEFs, as I so served at this Mass back on 15. viii. Some additional information:

    The church is indeed new, finished 2005. The altar is Italian marble,and its works pretty well for the MEF. As the second photo shows, the Blessed Sacrament is reserved on an altar behind the main, an altar also in marble, and one that occupies a central position.

    Granted there is no altar rail. Four prie-dieus were used. Some folks knelt on the floor. It all worked well.

    Our little local (Winston-Salem) women’s schola, whom we gladly call “The Singing Sisters of St. Gregory”, did a splendid job singing from the Liber Usualis, and the director, Robin Shea, sang the Schubert Ave Maria. Our schola needs more members, so if you’re a woman, in the area, and would like to sing, let us know. We thank also our organist, who came the 90 miles on a workday from Charlotte.

    158 souls, so the other usher’s told me, came to this Holy Mass — not bad at all!, considering that it was workday, at 12noon, and NC isn’t traditionally a big Catholic area.

    Several Hispanics attended. I need help. I make available at the MEFs where I usher copies of the Latin English Missalettes, and I have an extra Baronius Press Missal which I also make available to whomever wants it. I’ve ordered 10 copies of the Misalito latín-español. This lacks the Propers. Does anyone know how and where I might order a complete Misal latín-español 1962?

    One writebacker has expressed frustration in proceeding forward with new MEFs in the Charlotte Diocese. I share his discontent. AND at the same time, I remind that one year ago, 03 Oct 2007, we had MEFs in the Charlotte Diocese a grand total of a number that resembles the shape of an egg. Compare that with the current list for the Charlotte diocese at http://honneurs.free.fr. So we’ve made much progress.

    Finally thanks to Bishop Jugis in Charlotte and Bishop Burbidge in Raleigh, it’s mighty fine to be a MEFer in North Carolina!

  10. Ken says:

    Bishop Jugis, the current ordinary in Charlotte, replaced Bishop William Curlin five years ago. Curlin, as some D.C. natives may remember, was the pastor of the church in the 1970s where the traditional Latin Mass is now said in Washington. He did as much to destroy the interior (including, as parish legend has it, snapping the crosses off each station of the cross) as he could on an inner-city budget. It took us a long time to restore the place. You are fortunate to have new leadership down there.

  11. shane says:

    We have much to be grateful for! THank you Holy father and thankyou Bishop Jugis!

    Also thank you Father Z For your Wonderful Blog! It is a Daily must during my morning cup of Coffee!

  12. Alison Hugh says:

    We are so blessed to be under Bishop Jugis for many reasons in the Diocese of
    Charlotte. He is a very holy Bishop! Please let us not comment negatively on
    Bishop Curlin. He is a man in love with Jesus Christ and the Church. He was
    one of Bl. Mother Teresa’s spiritual directors. Perhaps now he might wish he
    had not done that in the 1970’s, who knows, but I prefer to give the benefit
    of the doubt to him as I think we all wish to receive.
    For sure I have confessed much about that time
    frame in my own life. Charity, humility, honesty. God bless everyone!

  13. Antiquarian says:

    “Parish legend” about then-Monsignor Curlin notwithstanding, his time at Old St Mary’s in DC was preoccupied with keeping a badly deteriorating church building open and active. I have no idea who came up with the idea that he “did as much to destroy the interior… as he could,” but as someone who worked in the neighborhood from the 70s through the late 80s, and knew him well, I can say that it’s not true. He, and Msgr Petrini after him did their best to preserve St Mary’s through some very hard times, and it’s thanks to them that the then-indult TLM found a place so well-suited. How disheartening to hear that those who now benefit from his long labors sneer at him for not having done enough to satisfy their aesthetic preferences.

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