D. Albany: First TLM – PONTIFICAL! – in Cathedral in decades

For your brick by brick file

I received this good news from a reader:

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger celebrated the Extraordinary Form in his Cathedral Saturday.  This was the 1st time Mass has been celebrated in Albany’s Cathedral in decades.


The New Evangelization takes a step forward.

Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Scharfenberger.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “This was the 1st time Mass has been celebrated in Albany’s Cathedral in decades.”

    Oh dear….freudian slip? ;)

  2. Trad Tom says:

    And look at that great turnout!

  3. steveesq says:

    I am truly stunned. Just a few short years ago, the former bishop Hubbard celebrated the inauguration of the adulterous, divorced and stridently abortion-promoting and gay marriage governor Andrew Cuomo of the formerly great state of New York, where the bishop proclaimed him to be the great hope for the people of the state. The bishop gave Holy Communion to the heretic Cuomo and his concubine. That sums up the situation in this diocese for decades. Now we have a new Francis-appointed bishop and we get this! I hope this bodes well for the future because the last thirty years here have been disastrous, to put it kindly.

  4. JTH says:

    This from a Francis-appointed Bishop? Progressives in Albany must be having a conniption fit.

  5. Christ_opher says:

    Wow! In the photograph, even the lights seem to be shining more brightly.

  6. MacBride says:

    My husband and I drove 2.5 hrs from the Adirondacks to go. It was a glorious Mass. Deo Gratias! The place was full, although many of the seats were removed from the last renovation. The place still has its beauty: http://www.cathedralic.com/ -check out the photo gallery.

    A few points of interest; during the lesson, which was very long, they had a priest with his biretta on reading the lesson in English at the ambo while the bishop read in Latin (with the microphone off); the gospel was done in Latin, then English before the homily. The servers and priests did the second confiteor. They had very nice booklets for everyone that had the Mass in order with all the propers and ordinary in English/Latin. There were explanations of what the celebrant was doing. The only drawback was there were no instructions on when to sit, stand and kneel, so there was a little confusion amongst the congregation.

    Before the Mass, an older priest came out to speak. I am not sure what his point was, but he said the Roman Canon in the EF Mass was about 1000 years old, while the second Eucharistic prayer in the OF was from the third century. He pretty much indicated, to my memory, that both forms were equal. Biological solution?

    Overall, it was very well done.

  7. Papabile says:

    McBRide, what you describe as th e concurrent reading of the Epistle in both Latin and English was actually quit common before the Council — in Europe and particularly France.

    I have wondered if this is what Benedict was referring to when he said it could also be read in the vernacular.

    With respect to the second Confiteor, that was never removed from the solemn high Mass.

  8. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Good news, and a milestone for two reasons: (1) I had been told that up until recently this was a very, very liberal diocese. And the new Bishop was a Francis appointment, which proves that we’re getting a few good bishops from Francis.

    (2) When the EF in the Mass comes to such a place, then the future of the EF Mass is good.

    Now we need to work on the Divine Office, be it EF (for those who have the time) or the OF. Especially the pre-1955 Tenebrae needs to be recovered for Holy Week. The parish of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, a FSSP church in Rome, has permission to use the pre-1955 rites for Palm Sunday and the Tenebrae. It must be the only place on the face of the Earth where the pre-1955 Tenebrae is used. For the Tenebrae should be a night office, and so it it in the pre-1955.

  9. Joseph-Mary says:

    Deo Gratias!

    I bet this bishop knows a bit of push back from this long time off the rails diocese. May Our Lady protect him!

  10. Priam1184 says:

    Considering the previous state of that diocese I have to think that some icicles might be forming in the realm of the enemy of the human race.

  11. John Nolan says:

    The priest you refer to is quite simply wrong. The Roman Canon is the oldest anaphora which has come down to us. EP II is loosely based on a prayer which may or may not be by the third-century Hippolytus (and unless you use its proper Preface you lose even more of it). The Greek original has been lost, and liturgical scholars no longer believe it was an anaphora in the first place.

    Fr Cipriano Vaggagini, who composed the new Eucharistic Prayers in the 1960s disliked the Roman Canon and is probably responsible for the myth (which I remember being peddled 45 years ago) that EP II is ‘the Canon of Hippolytus’. EP IV is an altered and watered-down version of the anaphora of St Basil the Great. But to read this magnificent prayer in its original form (translated from the Greek) is to realize that what appears in the 1970 Roman Missal is a pale imitation.

    As for the Roman Canon dating only from the 11th century, tell that to Pope Gregory the Great!

  12. laurel says:

    Re: good bishops from the Pope
    Cardinal Bergolio was elected March 13, 2013
    Rev. Edward Scharfenberger was announced as bishop of Albany February 11, 2014
    So we have a period of about 11 months; the process of selection between the elevation of one to the other.
    I understand selection of a bishop usually takes about 9 months.
    Was this selection the current Pope’s ? A selection that was long in the works by interested parties? By Pope Benedict XVI?

  13. MacBride says:

    @Papabile: Questioning weather this was a high Pontifical Mass…There was a scola and chanting, but no incense. Seemed to be more like a missa cantata.

  14. Traductora says:

    Love it! And Albany used to be a total wasteland where faithful Catholics suffered enormously. Wonderful change.

  15. Michael says:

    A couple posts back, I said stories about Hosts being found on the floor make me want to pray all the more earnestly for an end to Communion in the hand and a return to patens. Well, stories like this make me want to pray all the more earnestly that my diocese will get a Pontifical TLM in its cathedral!

  16. William Tighe says:

    “… but he said the Roman Canon in the EF Mass was about 1000 years old, while the second Eucharistic prayer in the OF was from the third century.”

    For the Roman Canon, 1400 years old is for certain, and 1500+ years is likely (barring some minor alterations by Pope Gregory the Great); EP II is as old as 1969, although much of it is taken from the Verona Palimpsest


    of the Fifth Century. The EP in that manuscript was by many attributed to the Roman presbyter (and perhaps schismatic rival of Pope Callistus) Hippolytus (who died a martyr together with Pope Pontian ca. 235), but even if this is the case, most scholars have come to think that the EP was subsequently touched up by those (perhaps the northern Italian Arians who produced the liturgical material contained in the “Mai Fragments”) who made use of it a couple of centuries later; nobody then thought it worthwhile to copy old EPs out of purely antiquarian interest. An expanded version of that EP survived in use for centuries and is still in use among the Ethiopian “Oriental Orthodox.”

  17. Rich Leonardi says:

    As a native of the nearby Diocese of Rochester, which long suffered under +Hubbard’s fellow Jadot-Bernardin appointee Matthew Clark, I can only marvel at the transformation taking place in upstate New York. As for Bishop Scharfenberger being a “Francis appointee,” one should bear in mind that the queue of episcopal candidates takes years to fill, and Pope Benedict XVI took a special interest in this region due to his familiarity with Bishop Clark’s “theological” work while prefect of the CDF. It’s worth noting that he accepted +Clark’s offer to retire almost immediately, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’d been familiar with +Hubbard’s abuses given the affinity of the two dioceses and their shepherds.

  18. KylieP says:

    As clarification: This was not Pontifical, but was rather a High Mass celebrated by a Bishop.
    It can be done, folks. There are rubrics for it and we used ’em! :)
    Such an incredible event!!

  19. It wasn’t that long ago that I wandered into the Albany diocese and witnessed a Sunday Mass that was a virtual compendium of every aberrant practice inflicted upon the Novus Ordo. This is great news!

  20. Latinmass1983 says:

    KylieP says:
    15 March 2015 at 5:45 pm
    As clarification: This was not Pontifical, but was rather a High Mass celebrated by a Bishop.
    It can be done, folks. There are rubrics for it and we used ‘em! :)

    KylieP, can you point out where the Rubrics for this (“Pontifical Sung Mass”) are? The Roman Rite only has a Bishop celebrate either a Pontifical Low Mass or a full Pontifical Solemn Mass. The first time the possibility (permission) of such a thing is not part of the Roman Rite until 1965 (post-1962).

  21. Athelstan says:

    …he said the Roman Canon in the EF Mass was about 1000 years old, while the second Eucharistic prayer in the OF was from the third century.

    Emphatically, profoundly wrong, and Robert Nolan and William Tighe have given sound, brief explanations as to why.

    It is distressing that we have what appears to be a case of an unhappy priest intervening to foul the Mass organizers’ (and Bishop Scharfenberger’s) hawse, as Captain Aubrey might put it; the naked disdain that so many priests of certain generations have had for the Roman Canon remains a great tragedy. But that doesn’t diminish my delight in this great undertaking by Bishop Hubbard in what has been a rather barren liturgical land these last few decades. Hearty congratulations to all involved. May this be the first of many more in Albany.

  22. Athelstan says:

    Correction to my last: This undertaking was by Bishop Scharfenberger, and not Bishop Hubbard, who I assume would rather be dragged over carpet tacks than celebrate Mass in this form. (Old habits die hard.) We must pray for him, too.

  23. Athelstan says:

    P.S. Rich Leonardi is right: Progressives won’t be fooled by the Scharfenberger appointment, and neither should we – this was clearly an appointment in the “Benedict pipeline” for episcopal appointments, and these pipelines take a while to shift in direction, save by the most energetic intervention (which popes rarely have time or energy to apply). Smaller dioceses are also less likely to get such attention than larger ones.

    The appointments of McElroy and Cupich should be reminders to us that there remains a considerable supply of more liberal prelates available for episcopal appointments in America, notwithstanding the generally more conservative trend in younger clergy underway. You might have to look harder for them than during the Jadot years (when you couldn’t throw a rock blindly in a USCCB meeting without hitting one), but they are very much out there.

  24. Vincent. says:

    I attended this mass with my 3.5 year old son and my father-in-law. We sat just a few rows back so that my son could see. I asked him what he liked best and he responded that he like the big candles on the altar the best.

  25. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    I’m delighted to see this. Let’s pitch in and get them a baldachin!

    I sincerely believe that we could achieve all we want in liturgical reform with:
    A.) a baldachin over every free-standing altar
    B.) a reconcilliation of the old and new caldendars, and
    C.) a requirement to celebrate the on old mass on certain days ( e.g. the Feasts of St. Gregory, St. Pius V), such has they have for the Divine Liturgies of Ss. Basil and James in the Eastern Church.

  26. greasemonkey says:

    @ Latinmass1983

    You of course are correct. Inter Ocumenici was the first document that suggested a bishop publicly celebrate in the manner of a priest. This liturgy was celebrated more or less “In the Manner of a Priest”. The Pontifical Mass at the Throne takes many clerics, plus servers. Of course any good liturgist knows a Low Mass should be avoided at all costs! Ha Ha Ha.
    We more or less used the ceremonial for the Pontifical Low Mass, and brought in what was possible with our resources from the High Mass. The proper was sung by the choir.
    It is interesting though, I found these rubrics online: http://acss.sspxusa.org/rubrics/highmass/HighMass-Offered-by-Bishop.pdf

    Organic Development?

  27. Bea says:

    Great news, indeed!

    My husband was especially pleased.
    Bp. Scharfenberger’s great uncle, Fr. Phillip Scharfenberger, was pastor at St. Benedict’s in Brooklyn, NY when my husband made his first holy Communion back in 1941.

  28. MacBride says:

    BTW, I believe it was Fr Pape (the rector of the Cathedral) who spoke before Mass. Maybe someone from the Albany area can confirm that.

  29. greasemonkey says:

    I can confirm that. Fr. Pape has been a gracious, and accommodating element that led to the overall success of Saturday’s mass. His comments about EP2 aren’t surprising, as this is what most were taught.

  30. Agathon says:

    What a beautiful picture. I look at it and think to myself, Why would anyone want Mass to be *other* than this?!

  31. KylieP says:

    @MacBride – yes it was Fr. Pape who spoke before the Mass. We were all very surprised when he arrived in a cassock and biretta to prepare for Mass. Please pray for him as his health is deteriorating, and please pray for God to bless him for participating in this Mass.
    In reply to the comments about what Fr. Pape said with regards to EPII, from what I was taught while I was with the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (saintbenedict.com) as a postulant, he actually is correct. However, just because it’s older doesn’t mean that it’s a better choice for an EP. The Roman Canon is certainly more reflective of the glory of the Mass and Transubstantiation than the second EP, which was taken loosely from the Didache. Fr. Neil Roy was our chaplain and taught us about Church history. This was covered in one of our classes.

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