Brick by Brick: Another parish implements Summorum Pontificum. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

For your Brick by Brick file.

A reader sent me a link to a story in the St. Louis Review (a publication of the Archdiocese of St. Louis) about a parish which as started up a Traditional Latin Mass.

‘Mysterium tremendum’ | St. Barnabas begins offering the Traditional Latin Mass

With a single intoning of the bell, Mass had begun at St. Barnabas.

But this was no Ordinary Form of the Mass.

“In Nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti …”

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass — better known as the Traditional or Tridentine Latin Mass — is being celebrated at the northern O’Fallon parish. In January, Father Raymond Hager began offering the Mass at 10 a.m. on Sundays, after a group of parishioners wrote a letter last January requesting it.  [See what happens when you ask?]


“At the first Mass, people had tears in their eyes,” said Father Hager. He said that all of this is “directed toward God and what’s called the ‘mysterium tremendum,’ or the tremendous mystery. [the sort of “tremendum” which makes one shudder with awe…] The sense of the sacred, and the mystery of God becoming present in His most sacred Body and Blood is proclaimed profoundly in and through the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

[This part might sound familiar to longtime readers here…] “In the Eastern Churches they have the iconostasis … where you can’t see everything that’s going on, because what is happening is so holy it should be veiled. When the elements of the bread and wine become Our Lord’s Body and Blood, you’re not seeing that at that moment, but you do see Our Lord and God at the elevation of the consecration in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It really speaks to that sense of mystery.”


Ordained in 1997, Father Hager taught himself how to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Born in 1960, he has no memories of going to the Traditional Latin Mass as a child. As a seminarian, he would occasionally visit St. Agatha, where the Latin Mass was offered in St. Louis at the time. “I was blown away by the beauty and sacredness of the liturgy,” he said.

The process of learning the language and rubrics took several months. Father Hager approached Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, who connected him with Canon Michael Wiener, rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, one of two churches designated specifically for the Latin Mass in St. Louis. Canon Wiener, the episcopal delegate for the implementation of the Traditional Latin Mass in the archdiocese, offered his guidance.

Father Hager also watched videos, read books and sought help from several others, including Sister Michaleen Vomund, CPPS, PSR director at St. Barnabas, and Bill Guelker of the Latin Liturgy Association, a local organization that promotes the use of ecclesiastical Latin in the liturgy. Several changes had to be made in the sanctuary, including moving the nearly 1,500-pound altar back four feet and adding a communion rail.  [Well done!  And it was worth all the effort.]


Read the rest there.

We need as many celebrations of the older form of the Roman Rite as possible in as many places as possible as soon as possible.

These are trying times, and there is a lot of confusion right now.  Some people are showing signs of defeatism.


This is precisely the time to get to work.  Let’s keep our eyes focused on what is really going to make a difference.  I think that is located in exactly the vision that Pope Benedict XVI offered us.

So, I will repeat what I have been saying for some time now.

Make things happen.  Work with sweat and money to make them happen. If you thought you worked hard before, forget it.  Work harder.  Pope Francis wants some “lío”?  We’ve got some “lío” right here.  ¡Hagan lío!

Get involved with all the works of charity that your parishes or groups sponsor. If Pope Francis wants a Church “for the poor”, then we will respond, “OORAH!!” The “traditionalist” will be second-to-none in getting involved.  “Dear Father… you can count on the ‘Stable Group of TLM Petitioners-For-By-Now-Several-Months” to help with the collection of clothing for the poor!  Tell us what you need!”

Pray and fast and give alms. Have you been doing that?  Do more.

Form up and get organized.  Find like-minded people. Put in your request for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.  Raise the money to help buy the stuff the parish will need. Make a plan. Find people. Execute!

Get your ego and your own little personal interpretations and preferences out of the way.  It is team-work time.  If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.

The legislation is in place.  Young priests and seminarians are eager to get into this.

Give them something to do.

As I have written before, Pope Benedict gave us, boys and girls, a beautiful new bicycle!  He gave us a direction, encouragement, and a running push.  Now, take off the training wheels and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE!

Meanwhile, Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Raymond Hager and St. Barnbas parish!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Be The Maquis, Benedict XVI, Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gratias says:

    Money will also make a difference. If you can get to a Latin Mass make a strong donation. You can find their location at Wikkimissa. If you can attend periodically, register for parishioners’ envelopes. Donating to your local Una Voce group also helps. Father Z is also a great investment.

  2. About defeatism…

    I’ll steal a line from my homily this coming weekend — paraphrasing what our Lord said and did in the Gospel: “shut up, devil, and get out of the way!”

  3. Recalling a project our genial host entertained some time back, my last remark might make a splendid episcopal motto. I wonder what it would sound like in Latin?

  4. Roguejim says:

    The traditional Catholics of southern Oregon, very recently, lost their only TLM. It was offered 6 times a year by a visiting priest from another diocese. We’ve been waiting since Abp. Sample’s installation in the Portland Archdiocese for him to send us a priest to offer this Mass on a regular basis, but alas, nothing yet. Here is the Southern Oregon Una Voce’s blog announcement dated Dec. 19, wherein, we learned we no longer have a TLM.

  5. Fr. Fox: How about something like, “Tace, Diabole (Damnate), et Discede!”

    Or, we could use the “Comic/Legal” or “Future” Imperative and say, “Taceto et Discedito!”

  6. Rob22 says:

    I think indeed those invested in the Traditional Mass should do 2 things. First, evangelize! Get converts/reverts into the Traditional Mass. Build large such communities.

    Coming from an evangelical background I was shocked at the lack of evangelistic outreach by the Catholic church. Still am after 7 years.

    I have not heard of large, growing SP communities. Even those with dedicated churches stall out at 400 or 500 members. I could be wrong on that as I am not an expert.

    BTW, large traditional parishes can happen. I visited Phoenix a while ago and there was a beautiful new Southwestern style church about completed. Huge. A large boulevard stopped me from crossing to see it closer cause the sun was setting. I say a lot of men in long black cassocks in the front of the new structure. Next day I went by and up to it. I assumed it was an FSSP church but turned out to be a new SPPX church built to seat 1000 with plenty of room to grow and plans for grade and high school.

    So it seems it can be done.
    Second is to integrate into the larger parish community and get involved in whatever outreach there is.

    When I joined the Catholic church the only outreach my parish had was through Catholic charities. Counseling lower income people on Medicaid, Medicare and their, if applicable, legal residency status. I got training in Medicare/Medicaid and helped many. I chose not to get involved in the immigrant stuff as, personally, I think a lot of it is fraudulent.

    In any case, all the volunteers were liberal. This was a Catholic Charities site but on election day it was clear that supporting the Democrat candidates in this part of California was encouraged. This at a Catholic outreach! So orthodox Catholics need to get involved here as I have seen far too few of them compared to the progressive Catholics who, I have to admit, seem far more willing to give of their free time and volunteer.

  7. Matt Robare says:

    The Latin Mass Society of Boston College is trying to raise money to buy vestments, candlesticks, altar cards and other equipment neccesarry for the EF.

  8. frjim4321 says:

    I was confused for a minute thinking this was the O’Fallon on the other side of the river (Diocese of Belleville) where there is a stunningly church on a wide plane, visible for miles around (St. Claire).

    If I was living back in the year of my birth when the the unreformed was the only game in town I probably would have appreciated it. Even now, if it all wasn’t so much about throwback, I could probably appreciate it a little bit.

  9. frjim4321 says:

    = “… stunningly beautiful church…”

  10. jflare says:

    ” We’ve been waiting since Abp. Sample’s installation in the Portland Archdiocese for him to send us a priest to offer this Mass on a regular basis, but alas, nothing yet.”

    I have the impression, roguejim, that Fr Z’s thought is for we laity–and some of the clergy also–to make the effort needed to make it happen. I don’t pretend to know much about Abp Sample, but my off-the-top guess is that a bishop of any variety has many responsibilities, many needs to address. If Abp Sample hasn’t yet sent a priest, might he be able to accept some volunteers?
    If you were to contact local priests, offering to make arrangements for their training and do what you’re able to help fulfill other needs, I’m thinking you might manage to have a priest a little sooner. Just a thought.

    “…if it all wasn’t so much about throwback…”

    I think, frjim, some of this rests in the eyes of the beholder, does it not?
    I consider the degree of head-scratching moments I experienced with the Novus Ordo between ages 11 and 31 (roughly). I find most of the “throwback” to be..mostly something insisted upon by someone after 1980. Most of the time, the “old” stuff seems to me to make at least as much sense as the new, if not more. I attend Mass at a traditionally-minded Novus Ordo parish; if I had more time on weekdays, I’d attend a TLM offered at another parish.
    I do so because I’ve grown weary of walking into the average parish, then, lest I should start critiquing things or people, keeping my mouth clamped shut.
    Tougher to be in communion with others that way, sure, but considering how much most people seem to be willing to consider things seriously….

  11. robtbrown says:

    FrJim4321 says,

    Even now, if it all wasn’t so much about throwback, I could probably appreciate it a little bit.

    Obviously, you prefer the throwback Protestantism of the new liturgy to the throwback Catholicism of the old.

  12. Romuleus says:

    What an “interesting” post. I LOL when I read it.
    I am a member (canonical and otherwise) of this “St. Claire” church. In the past, it called itself “St. Clare Catholic Community”. I rarely go there unless a blizzard hits O Fallon IL and it is too dangerous to drive the 40 miles round-trip to my real spiritual home, the “throwback” St . Francis De Sales Oratory in St. Louis. Many from St. Clare do the same.
    I avoid St. Clare because of the sketchy liturgy found there that is all too common in “suburban” Catholic parishes: Movable pews arranged “in the round”, dancing Girls (comical Liturgical Dancers), bad (Haugen) hymns, crumbly “homemade” Communion bread of questionable validity distributed by armies of EMHCs (and frequently crumbs end up underfoot on the floor) and a “throwback” liturgy forever stuck in the 60s and 70s where we must greet our neighbor before this liturgy starts or we will be labeled “unwelcoming”. BTW: There is so much emphasis on exhortations to be “welcoming” and “inclusive”, God and the reason why we are there sometimes gets ignored.
    Recently, when Cardinal Burke was attacked for telling the truth about the feminization of our parishes and liturgy, I thought of St. Clare. The majority of altar servers and banner carriers (what is it with banners at these Masses?) are girls and typically, when 12-13 EMHCs storm the altar at Communion, 8-9 are usually women. It is a decidedly woman-dominated parish from the liturgy to the parish councils. The whole parish life and culture does not speak to men.
    To be fair, the pastor (“coincidentally” also named “Fr. Jim” … imagine that!) throws in a little incense on Sundays and some Latin in Lent and once a month provides overnight Eucharistic Adoration.
    Concerning your “throwback” swipe: I suggest you go to St Francis De Sales sometime and look at the crowd there who are on the whole younger than the parishioners that typically show up at at “St. Claire”. And you will see a plethora of men actively engaged in the Latin Liturgy in the pew and at the altar and at the service of this parish.

  13. Mike says:

    In an attempt to improve the accuracy of its decision algorithm, I added this entire column to NATOCATRANS’ database this morning.

    That may have been a mistake. Now when I feed it “throwback,” all I get is some gripe in a hillbilly-Thomist accent about Modernism eating its young.

  14. Mike says:

    Missed the link to NATOCATRANS in the previous post. Sorry for the confusion, especially as I know that unchecked links are justly apt to rate a baleful glance from the blogmaster.

  15. scholastica says:

    ” a group of parishioners wrote a letter last January requesting it. [See what happens when you ask?]”

    Several months ago I wrote a letter to our pastor incorporating the thoughts and desires of a group of parishioners at our small rural Paris which politely requested the pastor to consider offering a first Saturday mass in which we could gather as a community to honor Our Lady’s requests at Fatima. Many in our group had recently made or renewed their Marian consecration and were sincerely motivated. About a dozen people signed it from a parish of 60 families, many of the people representing their entire household. The pastor threw a spittle-flecked nutty, gave us the staredown and responded that he”didn’t know petitions were the Catholic way”. (The religious community which serves our parish normally has 2-4 priests conlelebratng the sat am mass at their main parish, so priest availability was not an issue.)

    The pastor is very devoted to Our Lady himself, but clearly didn’t consider this the proper way.Sadly, he was so rarely available, we didn’t know of a better way to communicate with him. Months before this I had made a verbal request for a Latin rite Mass at a time when we had a priest who could pray this mass and only got an “I’ll think about it”. Thus it seemed better to make a formal request with some numbers hoping we would not be so easily dismissed. In these situations it is hard not to feel defeated, though I know that we are on Our Lady’s side and she will not be defeated.

  16. majuscule says:

    Two bricks forward one brick back…

    We have a priest who has been celebrating “private” EF Masses at random weekday times as his schedule permits. We have attendance from two to two dozen people and an email notification list of over 30 people with more being added all the time. Everyone is welcome to these “private” Masses.

    His regular parish OF Masses are very reverent. I am not privy to the details but recently the new pastor has told this priest that he may not use the altar crucifix for his OF Masses (he was the only priest doing so). In previous conversations with said pastor I know he is not friendly to the EF either–his Masses are more casual and “friendly”. (Not meaning to denigrate him. Some people like that type of OF Mass.)

    So we are treading lightly with the private EF Masses at times and places (there is more than one church in this parish) that might be more inconvenient for those who love the EF.

    I really really wish we could try a Sunday EF Mass just to see how many attend.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    frjim, I’m glad you appreciate it that little bit. :)

  18. Mike says:

    Nothing to add here, except that today, coming out of a Whole Foods in Reston, VA, I spotted a “Save the Liturgy, save the World” bumper sticker in the lot.

    It was a delightful sight!

  19. Pingback: Pope Francis Can't Change Church Alone by Eamon Duffy

  20. bookworm says:

    Just spotted in the “Official Appointments” column in the Catholic Times newspaper of the Springfield IL Diocese:

    Three priests of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago have been appointed (with approval from their superiors and the Chicago Archdiocese) to St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Springfield (a merged parish comprised of two churches in the inner-city neighborhood). The appointment will be effective July 1. One priest (Fr. James E. Issacson) will be pastor and the other two (Fr. Kevin Mann and Fr. Scott Thelander) parochial vicars.

    But wait, there’s more….

    “The priests will be introducing Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form (also known as the Traditional Tridentine Mass) on Sundays at Sacred Heart Church of St. Katharine Drexel Parish, while continuing to provide English and Spanish Masses in the Ordinary Form at Sacred Heart Church and English Mass in the Ordinary Form at St. Patrick Church, starting in July.”

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