Brick by brick in NYC: Pontifical Mass at the Throne

Yesterday evening there was a fine Pontifical Mass at the Throne in the Extraordinary Form in NYC beautiful St. Jean-Baptist Church on the East side.

Archbishop Emeritus of Cap-Haïtien, Haïti, Most Rev. François Gayot was celebrant.  He was ordained a priest in 1954 for the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (the Montfort Missionaries).  He was ordained a bishop in 1974 and became an Archbishop in 1988.  He retired as Archbishop of Cap-Haïtien, Haïti in late 2003.

The choir at the Church of St. Jean Baptiste, under the direction of organist and choir master, Kyler Brown, sang Victoria’s Missa O Quam gloriosum est regnum  along with several motets, including Messiaen’s O Sacrum convivium.

Here are a few inside shots and details.

I will have to wait for photos from others to be able to show you more.  I was busy as the first assistant, or honorary deacon for the Mass (that means I put the miter on the bishop’s head a lot and a couple times took it off).

The music was splendid.

The pace of the Mass was slow, partly because our bishop for the Mass, 84 years old, was a bit infirm.  However, on the way out of the sacristy he said to me very quietly, "This is the first time I have ever done this.".  He has been a bishop for well over 30 years, and now, at last, he has offered Holy Mass in the full Roman rite, a Pontifical Mass. 

I suspect that such an experience must change a bishop’s view, even a priest’s view of himself and of Mass changes as he learns the older, traditional form.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Liz F says:

    It’s so beautiful, Father. I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of these masses.

  2. Liz F says:

    p.s. What a good and humble bishop he must be. It’s never too late to learn.

  3. ikseret says:

    In many ways, this Pontifical Mass seems to have a built an admirable respect for elderly prelates. The bishop does not have to be histrionic or dance around. His job is to lead us in prayer and sacrifice. And so, he is ministered to and has numerous assistants to ensure that he can fulfill his job with the least fatigue.

    In our culture that worships youth, the Traditional Mass could teach us respect not only for tradition, but for our elders.

  4. Mitchell NY says:

    Wow, I can’t believe he said that this is the first time he has ever done this !.I guess he means the 1962 Missal, not just the Cappa Procession. It was a beautiful Mass and the vestments were more splendid in person. This Church is so well fit for the Extraordinary Form Mass. I do have a question. Is the celebrant supposed to circle the Altar when detached from the wall? It looked as though the Altar at St Jean Baptiste, the High Altar that is, is detached. However I also noticed the pace and the weakness in His Excellency’s gait and was wondering if perhaps it was not feasible for him to incense and circle the Altar. I stand to be corrected if need be. There were quite a few people there. I am not picking, I am just becoming more and more aware of all the elements in the Extraordinary Form and was wondering if I am off base.

  5. Wayne NYC says:

    I was also blessed to be at St.Jean’s last night.
    My prayers and thanks go out to you Fr.Z and
    everyone involved in bringing this Mass about.
    It was intensely beautiful as befits the
    Feast of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  6. HighMass says:

    First of All PRAISE AND GLORY TO GOD, For the resoration of the TLM, And Continue to PRay for OUR HOLY FATHER! He has been such a Blessing to the Church, and we must continue to pray for the Reform of the Reform…

  7. joan ellen says:

    Such reports warm my heart and are most encouraging.

  8. Sacristymaiden says:

    The first thought that comes to my head: Those are some GORGEOUS vestments and vessels!!
    God bless Archbishop Emeritus, Most Rev. François Gayot! This is wonderful!

  9. Oneros says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but how was it at the throne outside his own diocese?

  10. JohnMa says:

    The ordinary may give his permission to a visiting prelate to celebrate from the throne. In this case, it appears that Abp. Dolan gave His Excellency permission to use the throne.

  11. TJerome says:

    How absolutely splendid. How wonderful that in the twilight years of his episcopacy, Archbishop Gayot was at long last able to celebrate this form of Mass. Deo Gratias.

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    Those vestments are outrageously, incredibly, ineffably splendid.

    Especially the inserted panels. Embroidered? The colors are so bright and clear.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    I love Victoria’s Missa O Quam gloriosum est regnum and Messiaen.I know the Mass is not in Heaven, but this looks like Heaven to me.

  14. May these Pontifical Masses in the Extraordinary Form multiply and prosper!
    They can only give more witness to the glory of God Almighty and the beauty of the tradition of the Roman Rite.
    Thanks, Fr. Z. for this!

  15. Maltese says:

    Awesome Father!

    Thanks for upholding Tradition!

    It’s a funny thing (to some) but Sacred Tradition is just as important as the Scriptures are to the Church Christ founded some 2,000 years ago (in addition to the Magisterium.) So, thank you so much for passing these things on, which, really, started with the first Bishops–the apostles, and the first priests–the disciples (though not all disciples were priest’s, of course, but many were), on to future Christians!

  16. AAJD says:

    What is this ‘honorary deacon’ business? I’ve never understood how it is in the EF of the Roman Rite that priests can pretend to be deacons, deacons can pretend to be subdeacons, and laymen can pretend to be subdeacons. What is the theological rationale for that?

  17. Gail F says:

    “on the way out of the sacristy he said to me very quietly, “This is the first time I have ever done this.”

    I thought that was a very moving comment. Many things have been lost that are being found. How wonderful that he had this opportunity, and how wonderful for all the people who were able to be present at it.

    Are the vestments (not just the cape) new? I am a big fan of embroidery, these are amazing. I can understand why it is practical and sometimes preferable to be less formal than what used to be the norm. But when did we decide that making the best and most beautiful things that we could was NEVER a good thing?

    I went to a great mass yesterday — not EF, not all in Latin, but really satisfying nevertheless. Quite a bit of Latin, and the Kyrie in Greek, although I did not know the chant melody (do you call it a melody in chant?) and it was so long that I couldn’t remember it to repeat it. Nothing that hearing it a few more times wouldn’t fix. Great old hymns and one new one that fit in very nicely. If every mass was like that, it would be a great thing!

  18. AAJD: Clearly you are confused. Hopefully you will get some help, here or elsewhere.

  19. ErnieNYC says:

    “I’ve never understood …that priests can pretend to be deacons, deacons can pretend to be subdeacons”

    AAJD: No one is “pretending” to be anything! Every priest is first ordained a deacon…and that mark of Holy Orders never goes away…even though he may have been ordained a priest, or reached the fullness of Holy Orders by being ordained to the Episcopate. Witness: Cardinal Deacons, Cardinals that perhaps run major dicasteries of the Curia, but are/were not Metropolitans.

    Honorary deacons serve, I believe, in addition to the deacon of the Word and of the Chalice. They walk behind the celebrating prelate. Again, no pretending…

  20. JohnMa says:

    AAJD: Just to add to what Ernie said. When a Deacon celebrates mass in the EF he wears the dalmatic and tunicle underneath the chasuble. This is to show that he has the fullness of holy orders, including the office of subdeacon and deacon. In the same manner, a priest has also been ordained a deacon and can serve as a subdeacon. It is not pretending just to exercise an office you hold, even if it is not the highest office you hold. The best analogy I can think of is in the House of Commons in the UK. It is not pretending for the Speaker of the House to act as MP and answer his constituents problems, even if he holds the higher office of speaker.

    As has been mentioned in previous threads, a layman cannot serve as subdeacon. An installed acolyte can serve as a straw subdeacon. In such cases he does not wear the maniple nor the biretta. He does not perform some duties that a cleric would perform if serving as a subdeacon.

  21. JohnMa says:

    I obviously meant “When a Bishop celebrates Mass”

  22. michelo76 says:

    Here are some more pictures. I wish there were videos of this mass.

  23. AnAmericanMother says:

    Thanks for the link, michelo.

    According to that blog, the vestments appear to date from 1925. That seems to be about right, judging from the dress of the lay individuals that appear in the inlays, as well as what appears to be a portrait of Pius XI (seems too substantial a person for Benedict XV, but perhaps it’s a generic Holy Father).

  24. irishgirl says:

    What beautiful vessels and vestments! Only ‘the best’ for God and the service of His altar!

    How I wish I could have been there!

Comments are closed.