Recognition of “shared Catholicism”

I was alerted that on the blog RV Traveller there is a little note about WDTPRsers!

There are photos at that blog.

At the Extraordinary Form Mass, meeting Henry

We arrived at St Theresa’s church in Clinton, TN. I was very happy to find the church, which I had learned about from a fellow Fr Zuhlsdorf Fan and pen pal, Henry. Fr Z has a website where many conservative Catholics congregate to read and comment.

This little church, normally an OF [Ordinary Form] parish, holds a EF [Extraordinary Form] Mass on Sunday afternoons. For those unfamiliar with the EF, its the old Mass said before the Vatican II changes, and my preferred Mass. The priest faces the Tabernacle and there are many more detailed prayers, more candles, more altar cloths. This Mass is more full of the expression of the Faith, in my opinion.

I found Henry at the back of the Church as he had predicted and we tentatively introduced ourselves, having never met. A joyful first meeting! We then sat and readied ourselves for Mass. The Sanctuary was fittingly set up. Mass started with the Asperges [maybe Vidi aquam?  For Eastertide?] as Father blessed the congregation with holy water and the little choir sang nicely the Latin. The Missa Cantata included all the sung propers and ordinary parts of the Mass, which the congregation joined at times. Many women wore veils, all dressed modestly, everyone was quiet, attentive, and reverent. The little choir sang familiar favorites including O Lord I am Not Worthy and Mozart’s Ave Verum. Since there was no altar rail, Holy Communion was received in the first pew so we could kneel[Good solution in a pinch!]

After Mass, we spoke again with Henry. He introduced us to Father John Orr.   This little ‘club’ of Fr Z fans hit it off instantly, as we recognize immediately our shared Catholicism and similar devotion to its important details. [Henry called it a ‘Z-fest’.] Not only that, but there is a shared sense of humor. Then again, I like anybody who laughs at my stabs at humor.

We would have liked to spend much more time with Henry and his wife Alice, as we found much to discuss…but it was getting late, and Dennis and I had to get on to the next destination.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “Z-fest” just made my day! Had a hilarious mental image of a “flash-mob”, where crazy people who meet online turn up at a prearranged time/place for some crazy dance, song, wacky stunt, etc.

    Is there a parish near you that could use a Z-mob? Congegratio-Z.

    (Just kidding!)

  2. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Hey, Tina, coming my way anytime soon?

  3. Let me add that it was just a wonderful treat and pleasure to meet Tina as a fellow Z-fan, after having admired her keen insight in comments here and having corresponded at a distance. My wife and I were so glad that she and her husband were able to pause in the Knoxville area on their way west. As for our “Z-fest”, here is a note that I wrote to Father Z about our rendezvous both holy and joyful:

    “Father Z: One of the rewards of WDTPRS is the sense of community it fosters among far-flung but like-minded Catholics who without your blog would never have a chance to know (or even hear of) each other. But, given an opportunity to meet face to face, find that they instantly hit it off like long-lost friends, relishing especially the consciousness of shared Catholic identity and perspective that your efforts have kindled among so many of us.”

    “This past weekend ‘Tina in Ashburn’ and her husband traveled through the Knoxville (TN) area on their cross country RV trip. Before and after a nice EF high Mass celebrated by Fr. John Arthur Orr, the esteemed chaplain of the Knoxville Latin Mass Community, we enjoyed sharing some instant camaraderie and fond Z-memories. It was a small Z-fest, only the two of us and our spouses and Fr. Orr, but where even two or three are gathered …..”

    Finally, for any traditional purists who may be reading here, I might mention that we don’t ordinarily have vernacular hymns during a Missa Cantata — apart from a recessional following the concluding Marian antiphon (Regina caeli during Eastertide). This Sunday, however, we had a first Holy Communion, so the choir sang the “O Lord I am Not Worthy” as is traditional for this happy question.

  4. Fr. Angel says:

    Fr. Z,

    Thank you for posting this tidbit of Tina and Henry’s “shared Catholicism.” It made me think back to seminary days. Someone asked me once if social class or race was ever a cause for tension in the seminary. On the west coast, there has always been more diversity of background and therefore more potential for tensions.

    Yet, as I thought about the “traditional gang” of seminary students, and how they were from European, Asian, Hispanic, rich, middle class, and poor backgrounds, I remember that they got along fine. They all saw each other as Catholic and while they might have cracked jokes about their ethnic and social differences, were very united.

    I could be wrong, but I did not pick up that same espirit de corps from the “spirit of Vatican II” seminarians. At times, I had the impression that they wanted little to do with you if you didn’t share their “vision of church.” In other cases, they detached from seminary life and ran around with “empowered laity” so as to avoid “clericalism.”

  5. Central Valley says:

    There is usually a “Z-Fest” after the extraordinaty form of the Mass in Bakersfield, Ca. every Sunday. Those of us in the Bakersfield area were blessed to have Fr. Z serve here several years ago. To this day there is compliment and priase for Fr’s Z, Angel and Ralph who have gone above and beyond in service to traditional catholics in the diocese of Fresno. They serve and served us when other clergy ridiculed us.

  6. I am proud to be a member of Saint Therese in Clinton parish and Father Orr as my pastor. I have never seen a more holy or devout priest! We all love Henry and Alice too!

    Pope Saint Pius X – Pray for us!
    Sacred Heart of Jesus – Make our hears like Your Heart!

  7. Mark says:

    So I guess this means that Fr. Z is becoming a meme.

  8. Rob says:

    It was the Vidi Aquam, not the Asperges.

  9. mysticalrose says:

    This post provides a good opportunity to say “thanks” for all you have done with this website, Fr. Z. So many of us who felt like satellites at our local parishes now realize that we are part of a bigger community. This is such a wonderful apostolate! Thanks! :)

  10. Marcio says:

    “The little choir sang familiar favorites including O Lord I am Not Worthy and Mozart’s Ave Verum”

    Which reminds me of my last visit to Rome. I entered St. Peter’s for the 5 PM Mass, it was an ordinary weekday, nothing special. But there was an organist and a choir (not from St. Peter’s, I guess; probably a group of pilgrims). And for communion they sang Mozart’s Ave Verum. This one is going to be in my wedding Mass!

  11. Clara says:

    The Latin Mass community at St. Therese in Clinton is indeed a delightful thing to find. Not the largest or most established of Latin Mass communities, to be sure, but it’s full of good people who love the liturgy and the faith. My husband and I were very lucky to be among them for the first year of our marriage! Fr. Orr is a great pastor who truly cares about the spiritual well-being of his flock. And the tireless efforts of Henry and Alice keep everything running smoothly. Nice to see them all mentioned here!

  12. Blessed Karl says:

    Fr Z, I am a young college Catholic and I would just like to give a shoutout to you for this blog and all the work you do! Thanks for being a priest! Your blog really does bring everryone together and educates many of us. Thankyou so much! You are in our prayers!

  13. Christa says:

    mysticalrose remiiiinds me that I want to give a huge “THANKS” to Father Z. As a convert, this site has been extremely valuable to me, as well as providing a place where there are like-minded people.

    So thanks, Father Z! May God continue to bless you!

  14. Ann says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I found myself very much wishing I could meet up with some of the people who post here. “Shared Catholicism” is a wonderful thing! God bless!

  15. Brian says:

    Wow, quite a group of readers on here who go to Clinton. I’m impressed.

  16. Frank says:

    Fr. Z’s efforts have certainly made the world a little smaller! (I’m writing this from Vancouver, BC.) I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Henry Edwards for the e-newsletter that he sends out every week, and to let Clara know that my wife and I always look forward to her articles at the Cornell Society blog.

  17. PaulJason says:

    Just down the road the from Clinton in Cleveland Tennessee at St. Therese of Lisieux there is an EF Mass on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month.

    St. Therese of Lisieux was the parish of my youth and when I return I love to see the wonderful things Fr. MicGinnity has done.

  18. Carolina Geo says:

    I live about three hours from Knoxville and am planning to get to the traditional Mass in Clinton soon – just to “check it out.” The fact that St. Theresa’s is a regular NO parish but that the congregation dresses appropriately for Mass is heartening. At my local traditional Mass (at a NO parish), the congregation is speckled with people dressed highly inappropriately for Mass. It is sadly distracting.

  19. TJM says:

    Father Z is becoming a matchmaker of sorts – introducing Faithful Catholics to other Faithful Catholics. Kudos! Tom

  20. irishgirl says:

    Hey, that sounded pretty cool!

    Thanks Fr. Z for all the good work you do!

  21. Megan says:

    We also frequently attend St. Therese (though since we live 2 hours away, we’re only able to get there about once a month). We love it! It was a very nice surprise to see a post about it here on our favorite blog. What a small world this is proving to be! Perhaps a Z-Fest should become a regular occurrence!

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