The 25-Year Anniversary Celebration of the Traditional Mass in the Archdiocese of St. Louis will take place on March 14, 2010, Laetare Sunday, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in the presence of His Grace Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of Saint Louis, at 10 am.  The celebrant of this Solemn High Mass will be the Very Reverend Monsignor R. Michael Schmitz, Vicar General and U.S. Provincial Superior of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
Although Summorum Pontificum, the motu proprio of Pope Benedict XVI, made it clear that the Extraordinary Form had never in fact been abrogated, the public celebration of that Form was practically nonexistent from shortly after the promulgation of the new missal until 1984, when Pope John Paul II published the first, fairly limited “indult” for the Traditional Mass in the CDW document Quattuor Abhinc Annos.  Later, the indult was broadened in the more famous motu proprio Ecclesia Dei in 1988.
Here is one early entry from the St. Louis Review advertising this “indult” Mass at St. Agatha Parish in March 1985 (the first such Mass took place the prior month):

“A Tridentine Rite Mass will be celebrated at 10 am tomorrow, Saturday, March 2, at St. Agatha Church, 3239 S. Ninth Str. Authorization of the Mass under certain conditions was approved late last year by Pope John Paul II.


Archbishop John L. May has tentatively approved Tridentine Masses for the first Saturday of each month at St. Agatha. …

The Latin language Tridentine Rite is the form of the Mass used prior to Vatican Council II.”



As it so happens, the pastor of St. Agatha on this date was Monsignor Bernard Granich, who just died on January 19th, and whose obituary is here.  Please pray for his soul.

After two decades at St. Agatha, the Traditional Mass community was transferred to St. Francis de Sales Oratory in 2005, which is an Oratory of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  Canon Karl Lenhardt, former Rector of the Oratory, was named Epsicopal Delegate for the Implementation of Summorum Pontificum for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis by Archbishop Raymond Burke in 2007.  Archbishop Carlson later appointed Canon Michael Wiener, the current Rector, to this same post, highlighting the continuity of the Archbishop’s committment to integrating the Extraordinary Form into the liturgical life of the Archdiocese.  From humble beginnings 25 years ago, the Latin Mass community perservered, grew and ultimately flourished, so that now the Extraordinary Form is regularly, publicly celebrated at many locations throughout the area.

The presence of Archbishop Carlson at this Mass is also a blessing for all those who love the Extraordinary Form in St. Louis, and is an especially generous gesture considering His Grace has already committed to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the traditional rite at the Oratory in May.
His Grace will also preach the sermon.

All are welcome to attend this celebration.  It is a great opportunity to give thanks for the blessings received, celebrate the unity of the Church as expressed in her liturgical forms, and to greet Archbishop Carlson at his first visit to the Oratory.

It is not merely–or even mostly– a remembrance of the past, but also a celebration of the good things Christ is doing right now in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae. …

Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. …

(From the Introit of Laetare Sunday)

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