Triumph in Miami

On 2 February, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there was a Pontifical Mass in Miami, celebrated by His Excellency Most Rev. Thomas Wenski.

Before I get to the liturgical eye-candy and some commentary on the meaning of this Mass, Archbp. Wenski said in his sermon:

Today, the witness of the Church on behalf of the dignity and right to life of the human person from the first moment of conception till natural death is itself a “sign that will be contradicted” – and is in fact contradicted in the present mandate of the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate to deny a religious exemption to Catholic institutions and thus force us to violate our consciences and to make us accomplices in evil.

WDTPRS kudos!

A couple shots from the website of the Archdiocese of Miami.

Archbp. Wenski


Archdiocese of Miami

On the Archdiocesan website, there is some commentary from Father Chris Marino, pastor of St. Michael Church in Miami. Among the helpful things he said is this:

“What’s happening tonight should give us an indication of what should be happening in our parishes every Sunday — the dignity, the solemnity, the pageantry, if you will. But it’s not about entertaining people, it’s about worshiping God, along with the tradition and continuity of the faith throughout the ages.”

Spot on.

In a “liturgical aid” issued to clerics participating “in choir” there is an interesting note which touches on something I have been talking about ever since Summorum Pontificum was issued in 2007.

“”All priests are welcome to attend. This wonderful celebration is an opportunity to experience beautiful music in its intended spiritual setting, but also to be immersed in the rich symbolism of the Tridentine Mass. It is the Archbishop’s hope that this event will serve as a means for “mutual enrichment,” as Pope Benedict XVI has noted, between the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. By becoming more familiar with and deeply rooted in the Mass of the 1962 Missale Romanum, we can better understand the Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI and its accompanying ars celebrandi.

The provisions of Summorum Pontificum are needed today not just to promote the wide-spread use of the pre-Conciliar forms, but also to teach those who use mainly the Novus Ordo something about a proper ars celebrandi consistent with our Roman tradition, our Catholic identity.

In other words, as one of my correspondents put it, “the last sentence (in the quote above) crystallizes Pope Benedict’s primary reason Summorum Pontificum — to rescue the Mass of Paul VI from the ‘deformations’ to which it has almost universally been subjected.”

For a video of the Mass go HERE.


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  1. EXCHIEF says:

    Nothing but admiration and envy from one who lives in a Diocese where the Administrator has done everything possible to subvert the few TLM’s that were once celebrated here. Leaving in a few minutes for the first TLM to be celebrated in the Diocese in months…with the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that, infrequent as the TLM is here, this may be the last for quite some time. The only Priest who is allowed to celebrate it (and only because he is a Canon Lawyer and stood up to the Administrator) is being called to Rome. Upon his return, unless by some miracle he comes back as our Bishop (highly unlikely) his schedule will almost certainly be too busy to allow for future TLM Masses.

  2. Finarfin says:

    I watched most of the Mass. It was a great! Thank you for telling us about it, Fr. Z!

  3. acardnal says:

    I watched the entire liturgy live via the internet. It was fantastic! I especially appreciated the voice-over commentary by Fr. Goodwin, FSSP. He explained with great devotion what was happening and why.

  4. discerningguy says:

    It was a very nice mass. You could tell it was Abp. Wenski’s first, as he was a little rough around the edges with the rubrics and Latin, but he did quite a good job IMO, and hopefully he will do many more in the future.

  5. rcg says:

    Hey, if every priest will get Fr Marino’s words tattooed on his fore arm, I’ll pay for it.

  6. Dr. K says:

    Were only the cappa longer!

    All kidding aside, this is amazing.

  7. digdigby says:

    Dr. K

    You call that a cappa? before 1952 when Pius XII put his foot down (so to speak) A cappa magna could be 50 feet long, (now only 15 Feet). THIS is practically a poncho.

  8. Mike Morrow says:

    When I posted here about this Mass two days ago, I noted that one of the interesting aspects was the completely-filled church…SRO…with more than a thousand present. It was apparent that the EF experience was new to the vast majority of clergy and laity present. The MC had his hands full at the altar! I wonder if it was explained before Mass started that there would be no group-grope around the Pater Noster, no cafeteria serving line at communion, no communion-in-hand, no amens from the communicants, no wine-sipping, et cetera. One wonders what thoughts were carried away after the three-hour experience by those who had just experienced their first proper Mass…a very rare and atypically complex version at that.

    At this Mass I enjoyed the slower liturgical Latin delivery that was caused, no doubt, by some lack of familiarity. Often during EF Masses, even ones I attended or served before Vatican II, the celebrant and servers seem to be in a Latin speed contest. Here the Latin was deliberate and paced, reverent and respectful. Excellent!

    This Mass seemed a very good and encouraging sign from an unexpected source, in an unexpected arena. It would never have been possible after 1965, save for Benedict XVI.

  9. JordanH says:

    Mike Morrow,

    “…, no wine-sipping, …”

    That’s a rather flippant way to refer to partaking of the Most Precious Blood.

    Perhaps returning the frequent availability of the Most Precious Blood to the laity was a great thing about the reforms.

    As you noted, the EF was not always being celebrated reverently in the pre-councilor Church. Now, I think it would not be celebrated except by those who would do it with the greatest care. Perhaps it was lost it until we could gain the proper respect.

    One thing that has given me pause with the recent antics of the SSPX is that while reverent liturgy might be important, it’s not sufficient to foster holiness. Is it possible that some have made an idol out of tradition and all the upheaval is to shake us up and remember that it is God that is being worshiped and not a specific form of liturgy?

  10. jhayes says:

    Fr. Marino quoted on the diocesan website:

    “He and Jesuit Father Christian Saenz offered a mini-workshop on the extraordinary form of the Latin Mass just before the Pontifical High Mass got underway. Aside from explaining what people were about to see, Father Marino said he highlighted the continuity between the pre-Vatican II Mass and the post-Vatican II Mass which is formally known as the ordinary form of the Latin rite – “ordinary” because it is the one celebrated today in nearly every parish around the world.

    “A rupture did not take place in Vatican II,” Father Marino said. “Vatican II was all about continuity, bringing into modernity the ancient faith of the Church.”

  11. I watched it and loved it. It was worth every minute of those three hours. The women’s schola did a very good job. I especially liked the commentary. I did, however, wish that when the archbishop was at the altar, they would have laid off with the camera angles from behind the altar, facing him, especially during the consecration. After all, ad orientem-ness is one of the best parts of the Extraordinary Form.

  12. JLCG says:

    Many times I reflect about the fact that Europe apostatized not at the end of four hundred years of Tridentine mass but during those years. By 1950 the problem had become so obvious that Pius XII established the worker priests that were supposed to evangelize the laboring masses and soon the priests themselves seeing the actual conditions of life deserted the church. Then Pius XII began the liturgical changes, the afternoon masses, the Paschal vigil. Then John XXIII carried this movement further and through the Council attempted to turn the tide. I guess it was too late. The mass meant less and less and the moral injunctions of the church were despised.
    A good deal of good came from the Council, many priests and nuns left the church, they were suffocated by decisions in many occasions taken under cultural and family pressure.
    Now we have the spectacle of a mass having to be explained to the faithful exactly as it happens before some opera productions.
    The mass in English is super. Plain, simple and devoutly celebrated. I am happy in my church. I have probably attended two thousand Tridentine masses and never got anything out of them.
    I understand the worst time has passed and more and more young men are joining the novitiate. I hope they are not turned away by pressures that they should know what verbs use the dative .

  13. mibethda says:

    Although I have not seen an account of the number of seminarians from St. Vincent dePaul Seminary who were present in choro along with the diocesan priests, it appeared that there may have been quite a few. This bodes well for the future. When our E.F. pastor in Palm Beach County (where the seminary is located) invited the seminarians to attend one of the regular Sunday Masses a few months ago, we saw a turnout of about 30-40 – and this from a seminary which a decade or so ago tilted well to the left. It indicates that the new crop (excuse the term) of priests may number more than a few with an interest in the E.F.

  14. acardnal says:

    JLCG Above Said: “I have probably attended two thousand Tridentine masses and never got anything out of them.”

    Seems like a rather self-centered way of approaching the Holy Sacrifice. Perhaps it’s not about you but about HIM.

  15. haribo says:

    I think you are right to point out that the Tridentine Missal was the Mass that accompanied the disintegration of Christian culture. It shows that the Mass alone isn’t the solution to all of the modern world’s problems. But it would be wrong to ignore the fact that the same liturgy, virtually identical in form and structure, nourished the culture of the Middle Ages for hundreds of years, and the “Latin” Mass for over a thousand. As history has shown, the traditional liturgy does have the capacity to serve as the foundation of our spirituality. Furthermore, the liturgical apathy many older Catholics describe as characteristic of the pre-conciliar era hasn’t gone away because of the Novus Ordo. In fact, it’s become even worse. At least people attended Mass in the past, now most of them don’t even come. And even though this can be attributed largely to cultural factors beyond the Church’s control, it shows that turning around the altars and replacing familiar forms of worship with new ones hasn’t fixed anything. Besides, it was the Tridentine Mass, not the Novus Ordo, that packed this church in Miami with 1200 people on a Thursday night, so I think the traditional liturgy might have something going for it.

  16. Mike Morrow says:

    JordanH: “Perhaps returning the frequent availability of the Most Precious Blood to the laity was a great thing about the reforms.”

    How odd this “great thing” wasn’t noted many centuries earlier…I guess “they” were not as smart as “we” are now!

    But, exactly what *is* the defect, if laity does not take wine? One maintaining that there is a defect without wine consumption by the laity holds the position of some Hussites 700 years ago, followed later by early protestant dissenters. This was condemned by the Council of Constance and, 150 years later, by the Council of Trent. We are not talking about accommodating celiac disease here!

    “Second specie for the laity” was simply one of the many unnecessary affectations stirred in to the novus ordo plaster to support its pretense to antiquity.

  17. wmeyer says:

    JLCG, I think you oversimplify, and confuse correlation with causation. All of Europe was deeply in love with socialism in the first half of the 2oth century, a fact which may be much more significant to their apostasy than any possible dissatisfaction with the traditional Mass. My childhood and youth were spent with the traditional Latin Mass, and I only departed when the plywood altar, guitars, folk music and other banality drove out the proper reverence.

    I’m back, but quite disgusted with the contemporary music, and especially with the high noise level before Mass, most of which is gossip and cackling from the choir.

  18. JordanH says:

    Mike Morrow,

    I never said there was a “defect” with consuming in one specie only. I rarely partake the Most Precious Blood myself.

    I know of others who feel partaking of both specie completes the sacrament. If they feel that way, I see no reason it should be denied them.

    I was reacting to your apparent detraction from something that is, in fact, very sacred. I would have reacted similarly had you referred, as some Protestants do, to “all that wafer munching” that Catholics do.

  19. digdigby says:

    The Linacre Institute study “After Ascetiscism: Sex, Prayer and Deviant Priests” is the ONLY plausible explanation for the abuse scandal, for moral laxity and the virtual collapse of vocations. VII and the sexual revolution merely ‘precipitated’ a deadly mixture.

    The study proves to my satisfaction that the introduction of ‘therapeutic culture’ in the Fifties and even earlier displaced a whole range of ascetic practice, strict regiments, fasting. Many hundreds of years of ascetic practice essential to the Godly celibate life simply vanished overnight. The replacement of ancient ideas about sex, prayer and spiritual friendship with non-spiritual psychology and ‘therapy’ ended up as the world of ‘Goodbye Good Men’.

  20. The 2 hr 52 min video is well worth a look. In addition to Father Z’s direct link, it is available for download at

    where it is suggested that you may want download the file (1.04 Gb) for viewing later (if your bandwidth is insufficient) rather than trying to view it online.

    Probably few Catholics alive now have ever witnessed the full pontifical ceremonies of Candlemas, with the entrance with cappa magna, the blessing of candles with all the traditional prayers, the Candlemas procession with all the specified antiphons chanted, then vesting of the bishop while pontifical Terce is sung, and finally the solemn pontifical Mass itself. I felt that the eloquent but unobtrusive commentary throughout by Fr. Calvin Goodwin FSSP, explaining incisively the Sacrifice of the Mass generally as well as pontifical ceremony specifically, was so informative as to be worth the time.

    Especially impressive was the number of diocesan seminarians (25-30) and priests (about 45-50 present), mostly young ones showing the future of the Church. Also the Gregorian chanting of the propers and the polyphonic ordinary by a choir of young nuns from the diocese.

    Holy Communion was interesting. The assisting clergy and priests in choir approached in pairs to kneel and receive over a cloth stretched before the archbishop by two acolytes. Then most of the 1200 in attendance appeared to receive, all kneeling despite the lack of an altar rail in the church. While there were a few prie deux at the side. most of the people simply knelt on the floor before the altar steps.

  21. mibethda says:

    In respect to Archbishop Wenski, it might be noted that, when he was bishop of Orlando, he undertook the reversal of the wreckovation of St. James Cathedral – a project which aided in the restoration of the liturgy in that cathedral (though I am not certain that that trajectory has continued under his successor).

  22. JMody says:

    Fr. Z says that the purpose of Summorum Pontificum is, among other things, to rescue the Mass of Paul VI.

    Dear Father — why? What if the right thing is for it to pass away? What if we try to rescue the Faith and our Catholic identity and souls? Why do people insist that this MUST be preserved? Why can we not acknowledge that a banal, on-the-spot fabrication might be, well, banal? Why can’t we do like the Second Council of Constantinople — and just let certain bad ideas or confusing things just fade into the sunset?

  23. JLCG says: The mass in English is super. Plain, simple and devoutly celebrated.

    Actually, the Mass of Paul VI is anything but simple. There are numerous options for many parts of the Mass, and which option is used depends purely on the pleasure of the priest. There, for example, are no fewer than ten (10) Eucharistic prayers, and, unless you know your priest and his preferences very well, there is no way to know which one he is going to use. All these options make it all but impossible to follow the Ordinary Form Mass in a missal.

    The Tridentine Mass, on the other hand, for all its pomp and ceremony, really is simple. The ordinary of the Mass does not change, except for parts that are added for High Mass or omitted for Low Mass. There is one Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon. The changeable parts of the Mass are governed by seasons and feasts. Unlike the Ordinary Form Mass, the Tridentine Mass is quite easy to follow.

  24. Ambrose Jnr says:

    Isn’t the real issue with communion from the chalice that it is administered non-canonically? The laity should not themselves dip the Holy Host in the chalice…instead the priest or deacon should dip it in the chalice before administering it to them, right?

  25. Denis says:

    To me this was one of the most important TLMs since Summorum Pontificum, and a sign that the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio on the TLM is being taken seriously by some in the non-traditionalist part of the Church. Archbishop Wenski and many of those present didn’t seem to be ‘traditionalists’ in the strict sense, and yet they went through the enormous trouble that it takes to organize a Pontifical Mass, and all of the other ceremonies associated with the Candlemas liturgy. I watched the entire thing on the internet, and it was the first time that I began to have some faith that the madness of the post-VII era–which is all I have ever known, having been born post-VII– might at last be coming to an end. A Pontifical High Mass in Miami, of all places, and in a church that was obviously built after VII, and for the Novus Ordo. I’m not sure why, but all of that seems loaded with significance.

  26. jbpolhamus says:

    God bless and save this good and holy prelate and his priests, religious, and people!

  27. JonPatrick says:

    JMody, the EF may be the Mass we use in the long run (probably not in my lifetime), but for now we are stuck with the Mass of Paul VI so the immediate goal is enrichment by the EF “rubbing off” on the OF. The aircraft carrier that is the Church cannot turn on a dime.

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  29. Denita says:

    I can’t comment as clever as all of you, but I’m so glad that this is getting more common. The OF Mass might be OK if only they’s drop all the lay paricipation-ie Communion ministers, etc- as well as those “Protestant” songs they play (with all due respect to John Michael Talbot)

  30. ocalatrad says:

    I was one of two cantors at this Mass and also formed part of the schola from Gainesville, FL which sang the ordinary. It was a sublime experience. The video does not capture the sheer numbers of people that attended and that stayed throughout the Mass. There was a surreal silence and reverence amongst everyone. This was truly a beautiful and unforgettable experience. Deep down, everyone desires such beauty in their lives.

  31. Supertradmum says:

    I am thinking of quoting the good bishop above in letters to some bishops who hold back the TLM.

  32. Supertradmum says:

    sorry, should have said priest– I accidentally gave Father Marino the mitre and bishop’s ring…

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