Tuesday, January 28, 2020


We have a monthly "children's Mass" at our Sunday 10:30 AM High Mass. By High Mass in the Ordinary Form, I mean, everything is chanted including the priest's prayers. We also chant the propers. Incense is used.

At our children's Mass, we have young people as lectors, ushers and our excellent children's choir sings. We have a child cantor who is one of the best cantors we have in the parish with a well trained voice. She's excellent and often cantors at our normal Sunday Mass.

The homily is children friendly, to the point and also meaningful and challenging for the adults. They actually listen, both the children and adults!

This past Sunday was also the first ever Sunday of the Word of God. I invited parishioners to bring their Bibles to Mass. These were blessed at the conclusion of the Universal Prayer.

Monday, January 27, 2020



As I was looking for Mass photos on the internet, I saw a photo of an EF Mass at St. Joseph Church I celebrated several years ago. I clicked the link and the blogger, a young person who goes to the EF Mass, described what it meant to him. By the way, he uses many photos taken by my friend and parishioner Dr. Buck Melton who charted my life in photos at St. Joseph Church in Macon.

About Those Young, “Rigid”, Traditional Catholics

More and more, Millennial Catholics are flocking en masse to traditional practices and devotions, to the horror of many. But is such fear necessary?

You can read the entire testimony here but below is a soundbite: 

With the exception of a handful of wackos on the Internet, most of us who attend the Latin Mass are actually pretty decent people, if only by God’s grace. We are not liturgical idolaters, nor are we blind to the needs of our marginalized brothers and sisters. We do not hate community — we actually embrace it. After every Latin Mass I have been to in the past 6 months, there has been a coffee hour & social following. One parish I know of cooks meals every week for the homeless and economically disadvantaged. Another parish has mission trips to Appalachia, one of the poorest areas in the United States. Is this the work of individualistic, narcissistic haters of the marginalized? I don’t think so.

Then this morning I received this email from Dr. Felix Maher who is the MC for the Cathedral's EF Mass (which I celebrated yesterday):

Fr Allan,
I was at a neighbors dinner party tonight: the discussion in kitchen about the Latin Mass and how much it strengthens their faith and their life.  They are all under 30. 

My Comment: Maybe the EF Mass is the wave of the future! They say if you hear babies crying at Mass, your parish has a future. That's certainly true of the Cathedral's EF Mass!

Finally, after yesterday's EF Mass, a young man of about 22 years old came up to me and asked for a personal blessing. He is being prepared to become a Catholic. He was Baptist. A friend of his would invite him to an EF Mass at an FSSP parish in Ocala, Florida. He fell in love with the Mass which enhanced his already personal relationship with the Lord he cultivated at a Southern Baptist from northern Mississippi where there are few Catholics. He's a college student interning at Savannah's Gulf Stream Jet plant. He is an impressive young want-to-be Catholic who loves the EF Mass.


As well, the fact that Archbishop Nelson Perez is a priest of Philadelphia made him an odd candidate to become the city's archbishop. No diocese has a more pronounced reputation for clericalism, and his task is to continue to dismantle that clerical culture. Perhaps it is easier for someone to do it from the inside. During his installation sermon in Cleveland, he recalled what he had told the people at the church when he first became a pastor: "Do not make the mistake of making this about me." That kind of humility is a good antidote to clericalism. He went on to say, "Fifty years from now, I will just be a picture on a wall."

I copy the above quote from the nastiest commentator at the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR), Michael Sean Winters. You can read the complete nasty commentary HERE. He hates Archbishop Chaput because he teaches the Catholic Faith and is a culture warrior like so many saints of old (in the pre-Vatican II Church, many martyred for their Faith for be such, by the way).

Michael Sean Winters, though, seems to lament, the hypocrite that he is, that Archbishop Perez isn't a culture warrior in the "leftist" sense of the word, promoting a post Catholic Church that acquiesces to the culture rather than challenges the prevailing culture. That says much for Archbishop Perez, though.

However, I agree with what the new Archbishop of Philadelphia had to say about priests and bishops.

Certainly there were celebrity priests prior to Vatican II, but they didn't make their celebrity with the Mass, although they may have preached with a flair. Why wasn't the Mass all about who they are?

1. The Mass was/is ad orientem.

2. The Mass was in Latin

3. And if the priest sat down during Mass, it wasn't at a throne dead center and at the highest point of the church, it was off to the side and never facing the people!

The Ordinary Form of the Mass can learn a lot from the Extraordinary Form of the Mass about humbling priests and getting rid of clericalism during the Mass.

Look over the pictures above and tell me which one is about the priest and which one isn't.

Sunday, January 26, 2020


And look ma, electric lamps! And check out how the first two photos resemble the last two photos! Cool, no?


Two altars, two ways of celebrating Mass. When "new and improved" is an epic lie foisted on the Church by unscrupulous room decorators and unscrupulous liturgical theologians.


Remembering Kobe Bryant: Formed and saved by his Catholic faith

SAN ANTONIO,TX - FEBRUARY 6: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers watches tribute at AT&T Center on February 6, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

Ronald Cortes/Getty Image

How a priest changed Kobe Bryant’s life

This article was originally published in April of 2016. Sadly, Kobe Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and the three others, passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. May they rest in eternal peace. 
On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest athletes of all time, ended his 20-year basketball career with a bang, scoring 60 points in his last game.
While Bryant’s stats can be recited by many — five-time NBA champion, two-time Olympic champion, 18-time All-Star and the third leading scorer in NBA history — few know about the role his Catholic faith played in helping him through one of his darkest hours.
Born in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant was raised in a Catholic household and even spent some of his youth in Italy. Drafted into the NBA at the age of 17, he eventually married Vanessa Laine at St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in Dana Point, California. Two years later they had their first child. Bryant was at the top of his game and everything seemed to be heading in the direction of his dreams.
Then he made a big mistake.
In 2003, Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a woman in his hotel room, while he was in Colorado for knee surgery. He admitted having sex with the woman but denied rape. A judge eventually dropped the charges, but the woman went on to file a civil lawsuit against Bryant that was settled outside of court. In the midst of it all, he issued a public apology, stating that he was sincerely ashamed of what he had done.
The incident had major consequences as numerous sponsors abandoned him and his reputation was tarnished. In 2011, his wife filed for divorce.
Yet during one of the darkest moments of his life, Kobe Bryant turned to his Catholic faith. In an interview with GQ in 2015 he explained:
“The one thing that really helped me during that process — I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic — was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ And that was the turning point.”
After some rough years, Kobe Bryant reconciled with his wife, and they remain married to this day. Together they have founded the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF), which is dedicated to, among other things, helping young people in need, encouraging the development of physical and social skills through sports and assisting the homeless. Asked about this commitment in 2013, Bryant’s answer would likely have made Pope Francis very happy:
My career is winding down. At the end of my career, I don’t want to look back and just say, “Well, I had a successful career because I won so many championships and scored so many points.” There’s something else that you have to do with that.
[The homelessness] issue is one that kind of gets pushed on the back burner because it’s easy to point the blame at those who are homeless and say, “Well, you made that bad decision. This is where you are. It’s your fault.” In life, we all make mistakes and to stand back and allow someone to live that way and kind of wash your hands of it … that’s not right.
Throughout all of his trials, and perhaps even in response to them, Bryant has realized that fame and fortune were nothing compared to the importance of faith and family. When everyone else in the world abandoned him, the Catholic Church was always there.
He may be an All-Star and NBA legend, but even superstars can use the foundational support of faith-formation, and a good priest to turn to.


I just had a comment on a post I had about Masses at St. Ignatius Church in Chicago in 1922! The commenter asked if I noticed the electric lamps on the altar with lampshades no less.

And no I did not notice these two lambshaded lamps which indeed are electric lamps.

I widened the photos and sure enough.

Keep in mind this is 1922 and maybe the lighting in the Church was very poor. I have seen light bulbs  affixed upon the six altar candlesticks in Rome and of course electrified, But I have never seen this before. If you look at these photos on an ipad or iPhone, you can widen it to see it along with the electric cord!

Cool for 1922:


Did you experience the debut of the Sunday of the Word of God that Pope Francis promulgated for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time each year? What's great about this, is that the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany are the same Sunday in both forms. I preached about it at the Cathedral's EF Mass today.

But this is what I did in my parish:

Last week I invited the congregation to bring their home and personal bibles to Mass today for a special blessing of these. At the time of the Universal Prayer, the last three petitions focused on the Bibles and God's word and the closing prayer was a prayer of blessing of the Bibles. Then I blessed them with Holy Water as the people held them aloft. Many brought their Bibles and many multiple Bibles.

But I got creative at the time of the Gospel, if you will forgive me!!!! It was a spontaneous gesture on my part. I don't normally chant the Gospel in the OF Mass, so I did so today.

But drumroll, please:  I know, I know it is illicit and reserved for bishops only in the Ordinary Form, but come on guys it is the Sunday of the word of God.  At the end of the Gospel, our custom at St. Anne is to sing the Alleuia again. And I thought to myself, "self, it is the first every Sunday of the Word of God" why not bless the people with the Book of the Gospel? Which I did. The Doctors of Liturgical Law: have at it!

Now let's turn to next Sunday's Candlemas which happily falls on a Sunday! This happens every six or seven years or so.

Did your priest tell you about it, first of all. And secondly did he invited you to bring home candles to church next Sundayfor the blessing?

Has your parish ordered enough vigil candles with wax catchers to be passed out next Sunday? In the OF Candlemas, the congregation holds lighted candles which are then blessed. At our 10:30 AM Mass, I will ask the congregation to go outside for this blessing and then procession into the church.

At the other Masses we will use the simple form of blessing.

Did you hear anything about any of these at your parish, the Sunday of the Word of God and Candlemas next Sunday?


With the flu and worse yet, the coronavirus, shouldn’t parishes take more precautions to prevent an epidemic? Isn’t the most dangerous practice, totally unnecessary in the Mass the common chalice where communicants voluntarily places their entire mouth on the rim of the chalice leaving saliva that could include blood particles and other potential disease carrying germs? Isn't the simplest precaution to eliminate the unnecessary common chalice?

I wonder if an SSPX Mass is healthier as these congregations are more reserved; there isn’t a lot of hugging, hand shaking or other such things during the liturgy, like hand-holding and certainly no common chalice. More than likely a keener sense of mortal sin and the necessity to make a worthy Holy Communion prevents the entire congregation from going the the railing to receive Holy Communion unlike the hoards who do at an Ordinary Form Mass, not the railing of course, the Communion stations scattered about. Ordinary Form Catholics, for many, not all, think that going to Holy Communion is just something you do and get no matter what.

I happen to think a priest touches more hands accidentally when distributing Holy Communion to the communicant’s hands. I know I do. Not so with Communion on the tongue, although accidentally touching a communicant's lips or tongue occurs, but less frequently, if not at all, if the communicant kneels at a railing; thus the priest reaches down to the tongue not up to the tongue with a standing communicant.

And what about this? In an EF Mass no one would mind if only the priest received Holy Communion on behalf of the congregation. Technically communion to the laity isn’t in the EF Roman Missal! Did you know that?

Weekly Communion to the laity is a luxury and could easily be dispensed at an EF Mass packed with Catholics during an epidemic. And no one would complain. 

Not so in an Ordinary Form Mass. 

Interesting, no?

News channels are saying that we will soon see Americans wearing face masks as they do in Japan. Are Japanese germ freaks? Evidently. And for good reason.

In fact I heard on the news that face masks are in short supply in the USA as Americans are buying them up in anticipation of the Coronovirus becoming a worldwide pandemic!   Tigers, lions and bears, o my!!!!

Will we pass out face masks to parishioners entering our churches for Mass and forgo passing out Holy Communion?

What do you think?


This is a great post Vatican II teenager!

Nick Sandmann posts photos of his return to March for Life

'I will never pass on an opportunity to March for Life!' says the teen.

Featured Image


Covington Catholic bus returning from Washington’s March for Life involved in fatal crash in Kentucky

  • Associated Press
    Jan 25, 2020
Covington Catholic bus involved in fatal crash in Kentucky

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Pope Francis uses liturgy to help ‘hear the voice of the Lord and feel welcomed’

Pope Francis uses liturgy to help ‘hear the voice of the Lord and feel welcomed’

The same Crux interview with the same Monsignor which I commented below this post has this to say about the Liturgy, which I basically applaud. My comments in red:

Any predictions on any future liturgical reforms or surprises we can expect from Francis?

(Monsignor Kevin Irvin): I confess to being a better historian than a fortuneteller! But I do know that about a year ago the international leadership of the Congregation for Divine Worship (not just those in that office in the Vatican) met in Rome to discuss liturgical formation. This is to say their meeting did not deal with this text or that, about a style of music or a rubric for the liturgy. Liturgical formation concerns appreciating what is occurring in and through the liturgy. Some examples are:

- The importance of the proclamation of the Word of God and preaching at the liturgy. (This is evidenced by Pope Francis calling for the third Sunday in Ordinary Time to be an annual Sunday to emphasize the Word of God. I judge this is one way to highlight what is always in the liturgy. The proclamation of saving events and deeds and that their proclamation implies that these deeds are happening still in the act of the liturgy. (Good so far, nothing to disagree about!)

- The importance of active participation of all in the gathered liturgical assembly who by our baptism into the Church as a royal, baptismal priesthood become partakers together in these sacred mysteries.(I hope that the excesses of the baptismal priesthood of the laity don't further protestantize Catholicism to the laization of the priests as happened at the Reformation. And I hope he isn't referring to active participation meaning having a ton of want-to-be second class priests in the sanctuary, meaning the clericalization of some of the laity. I hope by active participation is the internal understanding and participating in the Sacred Mysteries even in a Korean or Spanish Mass that a participant may not understand.)

- The importance of appreciating the celebration of the liturgy as our continual experience of the paschal dying and rising of Christ and our dying and rising through, with and in him. I often say that one of the purposes of the liturgy is to invite us to put on a pair of glasses that are the paschal mystery so that we view nothing less than life through that prism. A prism where suffering leads to glory, humiliation leads to triumph, suffering and death lead to eternal life. (Perfect, this is true of both forms of the one Latin Rite and in the Ordinary Form, no matter the language used, understood or not understood.)

- The importance of experiencing the liturgy through our bodies as well as through our minds and hearts. This means that the act of gathering together reflects that we are “one body, one spirit in Christ” and that in the liturgy we stand, sit and process (at the presentation of the gifts and at communion) to signify that we are a pilgrim people, on the way through this life to life eternal. We bow, we genuflect, we kneel as external bodily expressions of who we are as the people of God worshiping the Triune God in and through the liturgy. We raise our voices in song, spoken responses and prayers to give voice to what we believe in communion with each other. (Don't put too much emphasis on the presentation of the offerings, it's overrated in the Ordinary Form. As for being a pilgrim people, the fact that we travel to Mass on foot or by other transportation means, is the best symbol of this pilgrimage. Going forward to kneel at the altar railing is as much a pilgrimage as going to a Communion station. But the authentic procession, the most import one is not our pilgrimage as important as it is, but God's pilgrimage to us through the Incarnation and His coming to us by having the priest go to the Communicant with Holy Communion not the other way around. )

- The importance of “trusting the liturgy” to be and say what it is and proclaims as opposed to adding, deleting or making comments throughout the liturgy. As a ritual the liturgy is to be trusted and observed. The act of liturgy is like putting your hand into a glove. It is familiar, we know what it is. Our human effort makes it come to life. Liturgy is not reinventing the wheel. It is what it is. (Yes he agrees with Fr. Z! Say the black and do the red!!!! Perfect and much needed in the corruption of the Ordinary Form desperately in need of reforming!)

So in the end I see no ritual surprises coming from Pope Francis. I see a pope whose concern is to grow in holiness and mission for and according to the liturgy we celebrate. (Amen!!!!)


Crux has an interview with a liturgist. Yes, a liturgist. They have caused more problems in the post-Vatican II Church than any other group of people, especially liturgists who think they are smarter than anyone else. You can read the full interview HERE.

Read this response about the Extraordinary Form Mass and then read my comments at the end:

In 2007 Pope Benedict issued a document that carefully delimits when and where priests can celebrate the Mass according to the pre Vatican II Mass in Latin. One personal anecdote: I was in residence for a time in a downtown Washington church where the Tridentine Mass was celebrated every Sunday at nine o’clock followed by a catechetic program for the children. One day one of the people responsible for organizing the Mass asked me “when will you celebrate our Mass Father?” I replied that I would likely not because there were priests on staff who could do that better than I. Then he asked whether I would come for the catechesis. I asked what book were they using. He replied “The Baltimore Catechism.” I then realized that those children would not learn about the Church’s social justice teaching (from Leo XIII on) or the teachings of Vatican II. I declined.
Now let me distinguish two things - a Mass in Latin celebrated according to the Roman Missal published after Vatican II and a Mass in Latin celebrated according to the Mass approved after Trent. A Latin Mass in Latin is not the issue. The issue is whether it is the reformed Mass after Vatican II with the emphasis on participation, and the exercise of a variety of ministries in the liturgy. This is always preferred and Benedict XVI has called this “the ordinary form.” He calls the older version “the extraordinary form.” Some prefer the extraordinary form for a variety of reasons. But it needs to be said that the extraordinary form does not contain many of the theological advances approved and taught at Vatican II. Again, what we pray is what we believe. If some prefer the extraordinary rite, to what extent does that affect their understanding of church teaching and acceptance of the teachings of Vatican II?
My Comments: Please reflect on a few things on which he pontificates. He won’t celebrate the EF Mass because, he, unlike those who do, knows what Vatican II teaches and thus he simply can’t lower himself (humble himself) to celebrate it because it would make him look bad. (I wonder who those people are in his academic world who would denigrate him for doing so and maybe think less of him or mock him?)

Then he mocks the Baltimore Catechism and laments that children who use it won’t learn about the social teachings of the Church. Thus he can’t humble himself to visit children in a classroom after an EF Mass because they are using the Baltimore Catechism.

But does he speak of post Vatican II catechetical coloring book materials that don’t teach about transubstantiation, the Mass as sacrifice, the permanence of lawful marriage that is also a Sacrament, the need for frequent confession, the knowledge of sin, both original and actual and what distinguishes a venial sin from a mortal sin and let’s also ask about the devil, the eternal fires of hell, the need for reparation, penance, prayer and fasting and other ascetic practices.  In other words, why doesn’t he look down his nose on what Vatican II Catholics, especially children, don’t know. And let me tell you it is plenty especially a lack of knowledge of the Church’s social teachings! They don’t know the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, the foundation of the Church’s social teachings which in fact the Baltimore Catechism teaches so well!

I might also add, that the very people that he looks down his nose at are the very people who are young, having numerous children and take the post Vatican II mandate that parents are the first and primary teachers of their children in the ways of faith and that the home is to be the domestic Church in all that this means. My experience of EF families or those families open to both the EF and OF and home school as well, are much more likely to be involved in the religious formation of their children at home and in a lived way. He says not a word about this. It is scandalous

Finally, he laments the EF Mass because it doesn’t allow for the clericalization of the laity which Pope Francis so deplores. Remember that Pope Francis himself has implied that the danger of the Ordinary Form, not to be found in the extraordinary form, especially before Vatican II, is that the laity turn their gaze at being active at the altar’s formal ministries, is like second class want to be priests.The pope says not to allow this to happen. In the pre-Vatican II experience of the Mass, in the sanctuary you only had a first class priest at the altar and altar boys assisting him. This model could be used in the ordinary form too.

This is a paraphrase of His Holiness' actual words:

"Move the (laity) away from the altar… They are the custodians of service (in the world), not first-class altar boys or second-class priests,” (His Holiness) added.

But prior to Vatican II, the acting deacon and subdeacons were actually first class priests! There were no permanent deacons, wrongly called in the 1970’s, lay deacons, which is a misnomer.

Finally, when he says that Catholics who prefer the EF Mass don’t experience or want to experience what Vatican II’s new and improved vision for the liturgy entails, he lies. Most reject what Pope Paul VI’s committee on the manufacturing of a reformed liturgy came up with. Yes, it was authoritatively promulgated by Pope Paul, but it entails a skewed vision and abrupt disruption in the organic development of the liturgy. What Vatican II actually taught in Sacrosanctum Concilium, which by the way is a pastoral document not a dogmatic one, is very conservative. It asks for maintaining Latin but with some vernacular. It calls for noble simplicity presumably directed at the pontifical Masses. It says nothing about lay ministries, but does ask for actual participation both internally and externally. Actual participation does not mean clericalizing the laity by making them lector’s and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion,

And let’s talk about extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and making them the ordinary ministers of the distribution of Holy Communion, especially the unnecessary unsanitary common chalice? The reason why intinction, as the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal allows, is not allowed by bishops and priests is because it limits the need for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion because the normal minister can offer both forms together. It also curbs Communion in the hand, a mortal sin for so-called Vatican II clergy and laity. You don’t need multiple stations for the chalice and Host especially if people stand or kneel along an altar railing with the ordinary minister going to the communicant in an actual procession with our Lord.

My take from this interview is my resolve not to listen to narrow minded, pompous priests who are arrogant and way too much full of themselves and into clericalism which Pope Francis so decries.

Friday, January 24, 2020



Way back in November, Pope Francis said this about the laity and permanent deacons:

No to clericalizing the laity

Setting aside his prepared text, Pope Francis warned against the danger of what he termed as “clericalizing the laity”.  Sometimes, he said, permanent deacons, who are to be the custodians of service in dioceses, soon find themselves “looking at the altar” and end up as “wannaby priests”.  Work with the laity but don’t clericalize them, the Pope said. "Move the deacons away from the altar… They are the custodians of service, not first-class altar boys or second-class priests,” he added.

My comment: Deacons, transitional or permanent enter the clerical state and have specific functions at the altar and in service. It isn't either/or but both/and.

The laity, though, that's another case. Vatican II and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal has in fact "clericalized" them and often "laicized" the priest. Their role is in the world, at home, work, the public square and yes assisting the poor, vulnerable and the like as co-workers with religious orders and permanent deacons.

Yet, what have we done? We make the actual laity lectors, Communion Ministers and the like in service to the altar. Were the pope's comments directed to the actual laity who are drafted into service at the altar?

"Move the (laity) away from the altar… They are the custodians of service (in the world), not first-class altar boys or second-class priests,” (His Holiness) added.


Here's a fascinating glimpse at what it was like to attend Mass in the 1920s.

Mass at St. Ignatius Church in Chicago Ill. celebrated in 1922. The Pictures were part of an effort to assist priests in fine-tuning their understanding of the rubrics and gestures.

It is hard to imagine a bishop of our times being so informal and blunt, yet those were days in which many bishops and local pastors were known for their large, colorful personalities. Enjoy some excerpts of this colorfully blunt letter, which focused on encouraging priests to be more liturgically minded. I include some brief remarks from a blog post I copy in the bloggers red text :


“A Glimpse of Liturgy and Parish Life in the 1920s"

 July 9, 1929

Reverend and Dear Father, 

Confusion worse confounded has arisen during the past few years in the matter of our Sunday services. An inter-parochial competitive system has ended in chaos and not a little distant disedification. We must now return to sane normal conditions. Hence the following mandatory regulations will be effective Sunday, October 6.

The High Mass (Solemn or Missa Cantata) must be the last of the parish masses and may not be an hour later than eleven. Every church in Baltimore, Washington, and Cumberland is expected to have a High Mass. The same is expected of all parishes outside the above cities where a choir is possible. The choir does not have to be an adult choir. It may be composed of school children. In country parishes where heretofore there has been no High Mass, I desire the pastors to work towards a High Mass. The Missa parochialis must be kept in its honorable place. … Let the well-prepared sermon be short and practical; let the music be strictly liturgical and let the liturgy be carried out with dignity and correctly.

We see that in certain areas, the low Mass (recited and whispered) had come to be the only type celebrated. High Mass, with the priest and choir singing significant portions, was becoming too rare. This afforded less possibility for the faithful to interact with the Liturgy. Further, it excluded a vast repertoire of chant, polyphony, and classical music from the Mass. In response, the Archbishop insisted that at least one parish Mass should open this treasure to God’s people.

The epistle and gospel should be read at all the masses. … A short discourse (of even five-minutes duration) should be given at each mass. The work of instruction should be supplemented by the recommendation of pamphlets as reading matter. No parish church should be without a pamphlet rack.

A significant problem in that era was that the readings were proclaimed in Latin by the priest at the altar. Because few if any of the laity knew Latin, the proclamation of the Word mostly fell on deaf ears. A common solution was that the priest would go to the pulpit and repeat the readings in the vernacular, but this lengthened the Mass. Some priests evidently skipped this altogether and merely continued on with the Mass. Some even skipped a sermon of any sort at certain masses. The Archbishop was surely not pleased and insisted that teaching the faith was an essential purpose of any liturgy.

Some of our younger parish clergy read their sermons. This should not be done except for some very special reason. The priest who is not capable of preparing and delivering a brief, clear instruction on Catholic teaching to his people is not fit to be in parish work. The people as a rule do not want to listen to a sermon reader. The reader is usually a poor one and his matter many times is poorer. We do not expect every priest to be a Lacordaire or a Bossuet. We do expect every priest however to be a teacher of God’s word, an intelligent and intelligible one. We have heard splendid eloquence on the subject of card parties, bazaars, church support, etc. and then mental confusion in many cases when the time came for the sermon. Our work as preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ is of infinite importance. It ought to be done with prayerful preparation. The sermon should be delivered in such a manner that our people can hear, understand, and take away with them a better knowledge of their faith and at the same time feel moved to live that faith and more practical way. If the priests of a parish wish to hold her people’s loyalty to their parish church, they cannot do it by competition in the matter of late hours for masses, unbecoming a hurry in the celebration of divine mysteries, or curtailment of devotional church practices.

Tough, but well said.

In some parishes of the cities there is no evening service. The reason given is that the people will not come. If the pastor will only give the people a chance to come, they will come in sufficient numbers to Rosary and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. They will come gladly to hear a course of sermons during Advent, Lent, novenas, etc. They will not come to hear the rosary and litany recited in a marathon style. They leave their parish church and go to one where there is devotion in the sanctuary.

We have completed our building program. The brick-and-mortar work is almost over. Let us now apply ourselves to the more important work of gathering our people around the sanctuary in order that we may build Christ our Blessed Lord into their hearts and lives. We have, thank God, many parishes where liturgical functions are carried out with inspiring dignity, order, correctness, and consequent impressiveness. … But where there is a tendency to starve the people spiritually, the priest soon realizes a reaction that, to say the least, is neither healthy nor pleasant.

Beautifully said.

Let us then in God’s name begin with enthusiasm a new era of order in matters liturgical October 6th. 

+ Michael Curley
Archbishop of Baltimore