ROME DAY 6: Pontifical Mass with Card. Burke

Today we had a Pontifical Mass at the faldstool celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Leo Card. Burke. There was a visiting choir from Ireland for the music. The Mass was in the Basilica of San Nicola in carcere, which is where I was ordained to the diaconate in 1990 by the late, great Card. Mayer. While in seminary, I was assigned to help at the church on Sundays and I directed an all female schola canentium.


The texts for the Mass were the rarely seen Votive Mass for the Betrothal of Mary and Joseph which fell on 23 January, found in an appendix of older editions of the Missale Romanum.

A few pics of the Mass. More will be available soon.

First, the basilica is built into an ancient temple in the ancient Greek zone, where there were fora for oil and vegetables.  A reconstruction.



In a side chapel there is one of the oldest copies of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, brought here in the early 1600’s and decorated with gold from the New World.  After Mass, it was taken down and presented to us for our veneration.  It is a crowned image, and Merry Card. Del Val did the honors.




The Cardinal’s sermon dealt with the meaning of Mary and Joseph’s betrothal, how it was an actual marriage, not just an engagement, though before they would have lived together in any way.   He explained the importance of Mary’s viriginity in that marital context, and then spoke about the Synod and the importance of understanding what marriage is and what cannot be considered marriage.



It was difficult to have a Pontifical Mass in this small space, up in the apse.  The Mass was celebrated ad orientem, in respect to the altar, but versus populum.  That is, this is one of those Roman basilicas which is so arranged that the altar is close to the confession.  So, basically, people in the nave don’t see too much of what’s going on, but they hear it!

I had not been subdeacon for Mass at the faldstool before.  There were some changes to be made, but it went along pretty well.


You can see the basilica’s umbrella.

After, lunch with friends.

I can’t resist good mozzarella here.


Also, bits of warm cod and chickpeas in oil and herbs.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    It must have been a privilege to assist at Holy Mass with His Eminence.

  2. YorkshireStudent says:

    Such a lovely antidote to the horrid comments I have been seeing about His Eminence! They included rather low attacks at his use of correct liturgical dress (the people making them were of the mindset which seems to abhor liturgical rules), but from these pictures all I get is a deeper appreciation of the beautiful vestments.

    Thank you for sharing, Fr.

  3. Joseph-Mary says:

    How wonderful for you!!!! Personally I consider Cardinal Burke one of the holiest living men.

  4. chantgirl says:

    Is there any possibility of getting a copy of that homily? I hope you gave His Eminence a holy fist-bump from all of us.

  5. jameeka says:

    What a great example His Eminence Cardinal Burke is, staying on offense!

  6. Gratias says:

    Subdeacon to Cardinal Burke!

    Farher Zhulsdorf, you bing distinction to the Traditional Latin Mass. God bless you for your apostolate.

  7. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    good photos of you, Fr Z, as deacon. Judging by the blue ring in the plates, you’re back at Hostaria Costanza. I’ll plan to eat there when I’m back in Rome. [Nope! not today! A place at Margana.]

    On his Facebook, Fr. Ed Tomlinson had a photo of you and him; glad that you met him!

  8. Matt R says:


    I am pleased to say that I have met Cardinal Burke as well as Fr. Z. and Fr. Melcher, who was the deacon of the Mass.

  9. Per Signum Crucis says:

    “The Mass was celebrated ad orientem, in respect to the altar, but versum populum”.

    I’m a bit confused by this. Does it basically mean that the basilica was ordered the wrong way round?

  10. frjim4321 says:

    Cool, I did not know you were a musician. Kudos!

    Nice food pictures as well.

    As to the unreformed mass, I’m not a fan as you know . . . but to each his own.

    The cod and chickpeas looked marvelous!!!

    I would admit that the vesture, which is not my style, seemed to be of extraordinarily high quality.

    If I ate all that food I would be way over the red line as far as my daily weigh-in is concerned!

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    Fantastic photos Fr. Z. Please do pass along our love and appreciation to Cardinal Burke, and keep some for yourself!

  12. Cyrillus Mariae Cheung says:

    That’s fantastic!!!! I mean both the Holy Mass and food.
    btw, what is the colour of the vestments? Is it cream or white? just curious..

  13. Bea says:

    What a joy for you!
    Those photos of you and him are a keepsake.
    Long Live the TLM
    I’m sure you told him how much we appreciate, love and admire him for his courage and love of the Truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Long Live Card. Burke and Fr. Z.
    Greetings to Mons. J.O.B. if you see him.
    I’m glad you enjoyed your lunch. Food for the Soul and then the body. Perfect day.

  14. I’ve been keeping this courageous man of God in my prayers. May he continue to be a light in our darkness.

  15. laud1645 says:

    For those confused by the facing the East and the people, this may help

  16. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    The green stripe in the plate says “La Taverna degli Amici”. But what do I know? I’m just a country boy.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    I still think he will be Pope someday…after a huge schism washes away the libs and heretics….fantastic photos.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Oppsie, should have clarified Cardinal Burke rather than Father Z for Pope.

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