We have all heard of parishes which, though moribund, have been revived through the use of Catholicism. That is to say, hard identity Catholicism. That is to say, traditional devotions, clear preaching, sound priests and, in particular, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
As we come up to the 7th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, say a prayer for Benedict XVI.
That said, I bring to your attention a parish in England that is finding a new lease on life through the introduction of the older, traditional forms.
I like the headline:
Latin Mass could prove to be church’s salvation [Latin Mass could mean either the Novus Ordo or the TLM, but we know what they are talking about.]
A landmark church will step back from the brink of closure later this month when a leading priest makes a pilgrimage from Italy to celebrate Mass in Latin.
St Walburge’s in Preston, with its imposing 309-foot spire – the third tallest in the UK – looked destined to be decommissioned only months ago due to a dwindling congregation. [What do you want to bet that what was being done there was sort of a go-along-get catholicism?]
But now the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has moved in to save the 167-year-old church by offering Catholics traditional services seven days a week.
The new mission will begin on September 27 when Monsignor Gilles Wach, joint founder of the movement, flies in from the Institute’s base in Gricigliano in Tuscany to celebrate Solemn High Mass.
“This is a dream come true for me,” said traditionalist Jim Aherne who is one of around 50 regular celebrants of the Latin Mass at St Mary Magdalen Church in Penwortham.
“To see the Institute take over the biggest church in Preston is wonderful. I’ve always longed for this day.
“The congregation at St Walburge’s have done their best trying to keep the church going, but there was no way this dwindling group of good people could keep it going indefinitely.
“The Institute were invited to a church in New Brighton and what they have done there is nothing short of a miracle. I have a feeling they will do the same to St Walburge’s.”
[Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster said:] “There are some voices who tell me that the presence of the Catholic Church in inner Preston is finished. I cannot agree. We need to be here in a new shape and form and at the same time to strengthen our missionary presence and vitality.”
Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Campbell!
The New Evangelization is easier when you have a church open in the place you want to re-evangelize. So, the older form of Holy Mass and Summorum Pontificum are tools of the New Evangelization.