From the Pastor: There’s a New Old Mass in the Area!
Bulletin article, December 2
Next Sunday, December 9, something is happening in this diocese which we haven’t seen since the year 2012. A priest, at the request of a group of faithful Catholics and following the guidelines of Summorum Pontificum, is going to begin celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass. Yes, I know that Epiphany started celebrating it in 2015, but that was due to the forced stoppage/relocation of the TLM at two other parishes. This time it is absolutely, positively the result of a priest being faithful to Holy Mother Church and giving a group of faithful the Mass for which they have been begging. Who is this faithful priest? Which parish? Father Paul Pecchie, the pastor of St. Anthony the Abbot in Brooksville has announced a (for now) monthly Sunday TLM beginning the second Sunday of Advent at 11:30 am. Find it at 20428 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, FL 34601. This parish is approximately 1 hour north of here and having the TLM there will make it much more convenient for all of our parishioners who have to travel from that area now. But wait! Doesn’t that mean that it will be “competition”? Yes, in a manner of speaking. We may very well lose some parishioners who choose to go there instead. But it is not “competition” as in “we must defeat them” or “we must keep our people from knowing about it” as might happen in the business world. This is, rather, a glorious thing, for it means that more people will be able to attend the amazingly beautiful Mass which converted the world and produced the Great Saints of old.
When I first celebrated Mass in the extraordinary form (in Dade City), I expected just a few dozen people to attend. I had no high ideals, no great expectations, and, due to a lack of knowledge on my part, no understanding that the saying “The Mass is the Mass is the Mass” was so very incorrect. I was celebrating the TLM principally because there was a Church document instructing priests to celebrate it if people asked for it, and people asked for it. There were only a couple of parishes where it was celebrated in the general area: in Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Spring Hill and Ocala. None of the priests celebrating it in those places saw my celebration of the Mass as “competition” but rather they encouraged their own parishioners to be there for at least the first Mass and to show support to me, to the community which asked for it, and to the parish in general. About 100 people turned out for that first Sunday Mass! As it turned out, I did “poach” some of these faithful families as a result, as some of them were able to cut an hour or more of Sunday drive time off their commute which, especially with a van load of kids, isn’t something to sneeze at. Even so, their pastors were fully supportive. With that in mind, I want to encourage you to show your support to Father Pecchie and the people of St. Anthony the Abbot. If there is any chance that you can make it out to Brooksville (please note: St. Anthony the Abbot in Brooksville; NOT St. Anthony of Padua in San Antonio!) next Sunday, please do so. If you are able to go, please remember that you may very well be perceived by some disgruntled disgruntlers to be the dreaded “Latin Mass People” that stereotypes have made out to be rigid, unloving, mean-spirited, hateful people who will tell all of the “Novus Ordo people” that they are going to hell for attending the “wrong” Mass. Yes, that is what a noisy few people at my previous parish thought and they scrutinized everyone attending the TLM with a magnifying glass looking for “proof” to confirm their false beliefs. I don’t know if you will encounter that type of Traddie Derangement Syndrome up there, but it will help if you are aware of the possibility. Know that ahead of time and don’t play into any games which may be offered in order to bait you into arguments.
While you are marking your calendars, don’t forget to mark Saturday, December 8, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is a Holy Day of Obligation even though it falls on a Saturday, because it is the Patronal Feastday of the United States of America. Our 8:00 am Mass will be a Solemn High Mass that morning as we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. While you have your calendars out, you might want to mark down the Rorate Mass on the following Saturday, December 15. It is an early morning Mass lit solely by candles and so will begin at 6:30 am instead of 8:00 am. Here is a description of it from last year’s calendar. “The Rorate Caeli is an ancient Advent tradition dating back centuries. As described by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) at their website: The Rorate Mass is lit only by candlelight. Because it is a votive Mass in Mary’s honor, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet. In the dimly lit setting, priests and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illumined by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ.” Good things are coming up very soon! Don’t miss out!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka