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On July 7, Pope Benedict XVI issued a motu proprio that allowed for wider celebration of what was termed the Mass of Blessed John XXIII, also known as the Tridentine or traditional Latin Mass.
The allowance was made, in principle, for all priests around the world, including those in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
However, archdiocesan director of liturgy Father Patrick Beidelman doesn’t expect any changes to occur at most parishes in central and southern Indiana when the terms of the pope’s apostolic letter take effect on Sept. 14.
“For the majority of people in our parishes, the focus is probably going to be the same as it was before—on the practical concerns of the daily life in parishes and with working to make the liturgical life of the communities as vibrant and as effective as they can be,” said Father Beidelman, who also serves as rector of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.
In a personal letter introducing the motu proprio, the pope described the Mass as it is currently celebrated in nearly all parishes as the “ordinary form” of the Mass, while the traditional Latin Mass was called the “extraordinary form.”
“It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two rites,” the pope wrote. “Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.”
He also expressed his expectation that the current ordinary form of the Mass would be the one that would be celebrated most often in parishes around the world.
Archdiocesan vicar general Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel thinks that this will be the case in the archdiocese because the traditional Latin Mass has been available for those who prefer it for several years.
It has been celebrated on a daily basis at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Indianapolis for nine years. And for the past two years, it has been celebrated daily at SS. Cecilia and Philomena Church in Oak Forest in the Batesville Deanery.
“For the most part, people that are really attached to the old Latin Mass have fairly convenient opportunities to [attend them],” said Msgr. Schaedel, who is also pastor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish. “Even Catholics in southern Indiana can attend such a Mass in Louisville. So I don’t think there’s going to be a great resurgence of returning to the old Latin Mass.”
The possibility remains open, however, that sometime after Sept. 14, a parish in the archdiocese might offer Masses in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms.
If that happens, then Holy Rosary Parish might become a model for how two groups of the faithful—one that prefers the Mass in English and the other attached to the traditional Latin Mass—can grow together in faith as a unified parish community.
Father Dennis Duvelius was the associate pastor at Holy Rosary Parish for nine years as a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a religious order that focuses on celebrating the traditional Latin Mass. He has since become a priest of the archdiocese and is finishing up his first year as administrator of St. Louis Parish in Batesville.
Father Duvelius acknowledged that integrating the extraordinary form of the Mass into the life of Holy Rosary Parish was challenging initially.
“To be honest, it was rough at first, as each group adjusted to the other’s ways of thinking and doing things, but now there are no sides,” he said. “Holy Rosary is one parish family with two forms of the liturgy.”
Msgr. Schaedel has been pastor of Holy Rosary for the entire time that it has offered both forms of the Mass.
He said it took about three years for a good level of trust to be developed between those attached to the Mass in English and those who prefer the Latin Mass.
Msgr. Schaedel noted, however, that tensions weren’t related solely to liturgical questions. He said that longtime members of Holy Rosary were concerned that the parish, as they had known it, would be “phased out” when the traditional Latin Mass was introduced there.
Msgr. Schaedel now sees the dual liturgical life as a force of vitality for the parish.
“It’s certainly enhanced the attendance, the activity around the parish, the number of young people, young families,” he said. “It’s probably more than tripled the income of the parish.”
According to Msgr. Schaedel, the attendance at the three Sunday Masses celebrated each weekend (two in English, one in Latin) is about equal.
Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Father Michael Magiera celebrates the Tridentine Mass at Holy Rosary Church. Yet he emphasized that he is the associate pastor for the entire parish.
“I take that very seriously,” he said. “I always make it a point of going out to greet those parishioners after the 4:30 p.m. [Saturday] English Mass and the noon Sunday English Mass.”
He said both he and Msgr. Schaedel help each other by distributing Communion at both the English and Latin Masses. Both will occasionally preach at all the weekend Masses, and Father Magiera occasionally plays the organ at English Masses.
“When you have such a good cooperation on the part of the clergy, the [parishioners] generally go along with that very well, and they don’t find it funny or anything,” Father Magiera said. “I think that they like it.”
Josephine Lombardo, 77, has been a member of the parish her entire life. She still lives within sight of the church.
On July 14, she attended the Saturday evening Mass in English. Afterward, she said she occasionally attends a weekday Tridentine Mass.
Lombardo said she likes the young families that the Mass in Latin has attracted to the parish.
“We have more people coming to Mass every day,” she said. “That’s wonderful. It seems like old times again seeing all these little ones.”
Father Magiera noted that parishioners intermingle in other ways.
“People here like each other,” he said. “English Mass people, Latin Mass people, they serve on the same committees. They belong to the same devotional groups. You’ll have English Mass people working side by side with Latin Mass people at [the Italian Street Festival].”
It could be that the unity that has come out of the liturgical diversity at Holy Rosary Parish is based on the principle that neither the ordinary or extraordinary form of the Mass is superior to the other.
“People, in this day and age, if you have two different things, they always want to get to the point where they can say which one is better,” Msgr. Schaedel said. “Is the English better than the Latin or vice versa?
“Neither one is better. Both of them are allowed and encouraged by the Church.” †