Pontifical Mass in Lake Charles. A brief and yet optimistic rant from Fr. Z.

I saw a great entry at NLM about a Pontifical Mass in Louisiana.  There are good photos. Check it out.

His Excellency Glen Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles celebrated a Pontifical Mass in their cathedral.

Writing about it, Greg DiPippo aptly adds (me emphases and comments):

Anyone who has ever served this rite of Mass knows that it is especially hard work, something which requires a good amount of organizing and rehearsal to do properly; the reward for such work is, of course, a ceremony which truly impresses upon one, forcibly and unmistakably, the power and majesty of what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass truly is. We can all take encouragement once again from the fact that none of the people who are making the effort and commitment to put this together are old enough to be doing so from any sense of “nostalgia”; what we see here is a true and sincere love for the richness of our Catholic liturgical tradition.

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

And they had to work around that free standing altar, too.

Many kudos to the Bishop and to the priests and servers.

I would like to think that, perhaps, just maybe, there is a chance that the work we have been doing in Madison, and the fine example set by the Extraordinary Ordinary Bp. Morlino has been an influence on priests, groups of lay people who get organized, and even on Bishops.   Just maybe?   Perhaps priests and lay people out there have looked at the photos here and at the TMSM site and have thought, “Okay.  WE can do that!”  And they get to work.

It seems to me that – recently – more bishops are willing to celebrate the Traditional Roman Rite than even a few years ago.

In any event, I know that we are all mutually encouraging each other in this effort of ours to promote beautiful and transformative sacred liturgical worship.

We are all helping each other.

UPDATE 18 July:

I have some good news from France…

A priest friend is training up in the TLM the new rector of a seminary.  He also wrote about the bishop of a French diocese who says the TLM regularly.   I don’t want to add names or just post his text, unless he wants me to.  However, let’s just say that his news was very good.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Very impressive, especially considering the remote location of the diocese and the lack of a TLM personal parish in the state to assist. Kudos, Lake Charles!

  2. ex seaxe says:

    Ok Father so you are a Latin scholar in the mould of Augustine, who did not like Greek, [I detest it.] but Oxford Dictionaries says :-
    Kudos comes from Greek and means ‘praise’. Despite appearances, it is not a plural form. This means that there is no singular form kudo and that the use of kudos as a plural, as in the following sentence, is incorrect: he received many kudos for his work (correct use is he received much kudos for his work)

    [I know, but don’t care.   o{]:¬)   And since you are being censorious, I can return the favor. What think you of the topic of the post?]

  3. discipulus says:

    I pray we get someone like-minded in my part of California, as our bishop passed away last week.

  4. PTK_70 says:

    @Kenneth Wolfe….Depending on one’s perspective, the Diocese of Lake Charles may be the center of the universe. In any case, it’s barely more remote from Rome than, say, Boston.

    Notice that the cathedral, while small, is lovingly preserved. Having lived some years in Louisiana, my impression is that in the southern states, lovely Catholic churches built before the council remain lovely today. The wreckovation bug didn’t take hold. I call it the sanity of the South.

  5. Joy65 says:

    “I call it the sanity of the South.”

    THANK YOU JESUS that our Faith down here is strong and we try to keep it getting stronger each and every day.

    Lafayette, Louisiana (which is just down the interstate from Lake Charles) was just named the most Catholic city in the whole U.S.A.

    THANK YOU JESUS for the Catholic Faith of our ancestors and being thankful for and PRAYING UNCEASINGLY for those who keep the Faith alive today: laity, Priests, Religious Brothers & Sisters, Deacons, Seminarians, our Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and all discerning vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life. WE NEED Priests and Consecrated Religious so badly.

  6. Father, this is a great idea except there is one practical/monetary snag … not all the pontifical liturgical items are available to purchase for a TLM! I have been able to purchase a bugia and germinal, found on eBay a used basin and ewer, and I k kw some independent sellers sell/make pontifical gloves. However busking and pontifical sandals … nada. It seems the only people making buskins in the world are Gammarelli. Pontifical sandals … forget it. So what do we then do to hold a pontifical TLM?

  7. Julian Barkin: So what do we then do to hold a pontifical TLM?

    Fret not.

    Here’s my advice.

    First, do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. You do your best with what you have, always with an eye on improving and enriching.


    Here in Madison, the Extraordinary Ordinary has a pair of white shoes which he uses for Pontifical Mass in place of the old fashioned pontifical sandals. We have had made the caligae, or pontifical stockings or buskins, in the different liturgical colors. So, the bishop winds up with white shoes even when he has one the red vestments. Oh well. That’s something that we can live with. I have thought about getting shoes in different liturgical colors for him. Maybe I’ll move ahead with that.

  8. hwriggles4 says:

    Last fall I attended a Fatima celebration in the Dallas Fort Worth area. I happened to meet a group of young Catholics (many between 25 and 35) who were from the Lake Charles area and embraced traditional practices. All of them had very positive comments about Bishop Provost (I also have great respect for Bishop Strickland of Tyler).

    I also prefer traditional architecture. Many newer parishes where I live (after the worship center is outgrown) are building churches that look like churches. St. Anne, St. Francis of Assissi, and St. Jude even house more parishioners than the Cathedral.

  9. ex seaxe says:

    Fair question to me Father, I am very unclear about my answer. I don’t think I have ever attended a Pontifical Mass in the Traditional Rite, so this is speculative.
    Pretty sure I would not want to serve, I would find the duties distracted me from worship.
    As one who was, at least initially, energised by the changes after VII I still tend to share the viewpoint expressed by Pope Francis at his election, summed up by ‘the time for flummery is over’ (even if that is not what he actually said). So fussing about buskins makes me very uneasy, hence I welcome your advice above, do the best you can with available resources.
    On the other hand I deplore the travesty of liturgy so often found in parish churches, or even in cathedrals and monasteries. And I find the flouting of liturgical law in texts of unapproved hymns outrageous and poisonous. (Lex orandi, lex credendi).
    — broken off to go to Mass 7.30 pm, 8 in congregation, 27 minutes including over 10% silence. EP3, brief homily on Mt 11:25-27, the folly of those who imagine themselves clever and wise. —
    So as to this post, I welcome the signs that more bishops are comfortable with celebration in the EF, and that my archbishop has ordained three priests for the FSSP in the last 15 months. I share the desire expressed by Pope Benedict that the two forms should influence each other positively. And I do what little I can by cajoling greater use of chant and of Latin in the OF, particularly congregational singing of the Ordinary.

  10. ex seaxe says: Pretty sure I would not want to serve, I would find the duties distracted me from worship.

    Right. I think that is fair. And it is not unusual. It is realistic.

    The musician in the orchestra doesn’t enjoy the music in the same way that the audience member does. However, the musician can indeed enjoy.

    Similarly, the server at Mass must concentrate on what he is doing and do it right. Hence, he might not be able to pray in the same way that a congregant might in the pew. But he can pray.

    There is a point at which we burst through the wall.

    When an activity becomes so comfortable that we are no longer obliged to place the full weight of concentration on the task at hand, then we enter into a new relationship with the activity. The musician develops muscle memory. The playing of the Bach Unaccompanied Sonata becomes something more than getting through the notes.

    The server at Mass relaxes into the details and the details themselves become the prayers they are meant to be. In every gesture and word of Holy Mass, Christ is acting, moving, singing, speaking.

    By baptism we are He and He is we in liturgical worship, now in this mode, now in that mode.

    That’s rather awesome.

    We are in the phase of recovery of something that many of us never knew.

    That’s really hard.

    Furthermore, what we are recovering won’t be the same as it was before, because we can’t recover what we can never have in the same way. We are regaining the same thing as there was, but it changes in our recovery of it.

    I remember a specific moment when I finally got the inhering genius of the Roman Rite, which, like a Platonic cave shadow I had discerned along my path into the Church, in the Church, for the Church as a priest.

    I had from before my formal conversion served at Mass. I had all the Latin, the musical skills. Learning the traditional form was, for me, a breeze, at least in its simpler forms. Then, as a priest, I had to learn how to teach it, train others, carry out complicated rites. But I lacked something and nemo dat quod non habet.

    Then I experienced a Solemn Mass celebrated by a deeply experienced priest (though he had had to learn what he never knew as well at one point) with the their group’s US MC as deacon and their European MC as subdeacon, with well-trained altar boys, who had basically not been distracted by the glorious spiritual fruits of the Novus Ordo. I was mesmerized. The ministers knew their roles so well, had been there so many times, that there was perfect ease. There was a flow that revealed the inner Thing of the Roman Rite, its Romanitas. That’s when the nickle dropped for me.

    It is still hard to build up big Pontifical ceremonies. However, I have noticed that – slowly but surely – the guys here in Madison are getting it, as they get more repetition. Repetita iuvant. We have managed to celebrate well a couple of these big Pontifical rites with only a wisp of a practice beforehand. It is sinking in. Sure, we still stumble and we have to concentrate. But I can feel that it is starting to happen. We are coming up to that barrier.

    As we approach it, I am sure the Devil will interfere.

    Anyway, I get your point.

  11. Semper Gumby says:


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