19 June: NYC – Pontifical TLM

From a reader:

On Friday, June 19th, 2009, Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Bishop Fernândo Rifan (Campos, Brazil) will celebrate a (traditional) Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Throne at the Church of St. Jean Baptiste (East 76th and Lexington Avenue) at 7 PM.

This Mass would be the first Pontifical Solemn Mass in a long time in NYC. There will also be a Conference on devotion to the Sacred Heart and a Dinner in honor of Bishop Rifan on Saturday, June 20th, 2009.

For more information about this Mass and other events related to it, see the attached flyer. Or, you may also visit: http://sacredheartconfraternity.org/

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


    Will you be speaking at the conference as indicated on the flyer?

  2. chironomo says:

    This is an excellent development! This would at least be one good reason to live in NYC….

  3. Clement says:

    I will be there.

    His Excellency Bishop Rifan has helped me understand the Sacrament of Penance and supplied jurisdiction in a most salutary way.

    The Church of St John Baptiste is a magnificent church.

    I hope that many of you make it there on the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

  4. Scott says:

    People always say that tradition doesnt have a bishop that is licitly ordained with ministry (thats if one excludes the SPPX, which Rome does) But isnt Bishop Rifan such a Bishop for tradition?

  5. Brian says:

    Wow – another reason to come to NYC. Will be there Dec 9th for the Sheen Foundation memorial Mass at St. Patrick’s. This is turning into a very good year!

  6. Is it not amazing how quickly things move when the Pope is Catholic? John Paul “the Great” had twenty-five years and he had no interest in accomplishing what Benedict has accomplished in four.

    As the Mother of God promised in the Third Secret of Fatima which should have been released in 1960, this punishment would end as her “Immaculate Heart will prevail”.

  7. Matthew says:

    This is good news.

    William: (Not that I know what God is thinking but…) I think John Paul’s mission was very different from Benedict’s. I think God provides to humanity as we need it. During JPII’s reign, we needed someone to combat the evil of communism. Now, it seems that it’s time to get back to the basics of what it means to be Catholic.

  8. William H. Phelan: I wonder whether the statement “John Paul … had no interest” doesn’t suggest an unintentionally pejorative connotation. As compared, for instance, with raising the possibility that he did not emphasize so explicitly and fully the role of “saving the liturgy” in “saving the world”. Since surely there’s no difference in goals, rather a difference of approach or style. (And, perhaps, vive l’difference.)

  9. Ok, I have a question. What does a Pontifical High Mass entail? What is required? Obviously, you don’t need the Pope there. But what sets it apart from an “ordinary” High Mass? (Not that there’s anything ordinary about a Mass, high or otherwise, you understand).


  10. Ken says:

    Nice. The parish has a notable organist, and The Chamber Orchestra of New York gives concerts there. Any intel on what the music will be for the Sacred Heart?

  11. Michael R. says:

    To be fair, the Apostolic Aminstration in Campos was established while John Paul II was the Pope, and I think that Bishop Rifan was consecrated a bishop during the same pontificate.

  12. JGKester says:

    Just a question, and I really am not griping, this is wonderful, but why is this Mass being celebrated at the throne rather than at the faldstool? I know a bishop can give permission for a visiting bishop to use his throne (though usually without the aid of assistant deacons) but it is odd for a throne to be erected for a visiting bishop at a non-cathedral church. I know a pontifical at the throne is much more grandiose and fun, and not often seen, but isn’t this fibbing just a little. Even the prefect of CDW celebrated at the faldstool recently.

  13. What does a Pontifical High Mass entail?

    In this context, pontifex means “bishop” (and the Pope is the pontifex maximus).

    So a pontifical Mass is one celebrated by a bishop. Fortescue et. al. has separate chapters on a solemn pontifical Mass celebrated at the throne (by a bishop in his own cathedral) and at the faldstool (otherwise).

    There is additional ceremony — beyond an ordinary solemn Mass — with additional ministers and servers required, a total of twenty three (!) by one count, if all the rubrics are observed rigidly.

    Incidentally, I’ve heard that EWTN plans to broadcast it’s first EF pontifical high Mass this summer.

  14. Mitchell NY says:

    Already wrote it down and will be there…I am going to pass the word to others….It may be the only Pontifical Solemn Mass I may see in my lifetime…It should be wonderful.

  15. Jay says:

    Since some “traditional” people were so skeptical/critical of Archbishop Dolan, maybe now would be the time for them to commend him?

  16. Thank you, Henry and Ken!

  17. TJM says:

    This is one beautiful church building. It is difficult to tell from the parishes website but do they otherwise offer chant and do some of their Masses in Latin?

  18. Henry,

    I think it would be accurate to say that Pope Benedict has a much heavier emphasis on liturgy than Pope John Paul II and certainly he wrote a lot more. I don’t believe that JPII had liturgy at the top of his priority list nor was he an expert on liturgical matters like Pope Benedict. This is not to say that he was tolerant of abuses but I think his mindset leaned much more towards “as long as we correct liturgical abuses everything will be ok” whereas Pope Benedict is certainly more along the lines of “the manner in which the Novus Ordo was constructed and implemented were unpastoral to say the least”.

  19. jarhead462 says:


    Semper Fi!

  20. Biff says:

    Mr. Phelan:

    I understand why people are put off by your comparison.

    However , I’ve mulled it over a little bit. If I close my eyes and try to envision the reaction of mainstream coreligionsts to the name Bsp. Rifan just 5 years ago. It would take +Williamson to elicit that response today.

    The miraclous think about Benedict is that he has so many fewer friends at the top to work with than were available when these opportunities were first squandered.

  21. PMcGrath says:

    In this week’s (23 April) issue of Catholic New York — cover story: Archbishop Dolan’s installation — there’s an ad announcing Bp. Dolan’s Solemn Pontifical EF Mass, and the Conference: “Renewing Devotion to the Sacred Heart” for the following day (20 June). Speakers: Father Z; Gloria Anson of the Sacred Heart Apostolate; Father George Rutler; Father Joseph Koterski SJ of Fordham University; and Dr. Timothy O’Donnell of Christendom College.

    Talk about a high-powered conference.

  22. I hate to quibble but the correct term is Solemn Pontifical Mass as opposed to Pontifical Solemn Mass.

  23. Jon says:


    Surely you meant to say “‘Bp. Rifan’s’ Solemn Pontifical EF Mass,” and not “Bp. Dolan’s?”

  24. Oremus says:


  25. sacerdos in germania says:

    If he were to “say the black and do the red”, as he should, he would pontificate from a faldstool…

  26. Oremus and Sacerdos, a Bishop can licitly and in accordance with the rubrics pontificate from the throne outside the place of his jurisdiction with the permission of the local ordinary provided he is not the auxiliary, vicar general, or member of the cathedral chapter, etc. of the place (see Fortescue, O’Connell, Reid pg. 198 in the 15th edition.)

  27. Carlos Palad says:

    When was the last time that a Pontifical Mass according to the 1962 Missal
    had been said in NYC by a bishop in full communion with Rome? I can think
    only of the 1992 (St. Agnes) and 1996 (St. Patrick’s) Pontifical Masses of
    Cardinal Stickler.

  28. Joe Gallaher says:

    Greetings all.This is wonderful news.We plan on attending.Maybe all the fellow WDTPRS who are attending can can get together with Fr.Z,if he agrees, and share a bottle of wine or a couple bottles of beer,over dinner of course.So Father if you read this please let us know if you have time and are willing to share some time with us.Hope to meet any and all WDTPRSers at Mass and the conference.

  29. David, O’Rourke and sacerdos,

    He can justify it by showing that the Archbishop of NYC gave permission for the use of the Throne and the Crozier, which in this case was granted. Otherwise, the Mass at the Faldstool would be the one being promoted.


    The two terms seem to be used interchangeably often. For a Low Mass said by a Bishop, it is “Pontifical Low Mass,” it would make sense then to replace “Low” with “Solemn” and say: “Pontifical Solemn Mass.” However, the other term is also used a lot.

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