Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our History & Tradition

Pledging solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop James Vann Johnston, this Latin Mass Community of Springfield Missouri weblog was created in January of 2008, as an online communication network for traditional Catholics of the Diocese of Springfield - Cape Girardeau, particularly those in Springfield and the surrounding areas.

The Latin Mass Community of Springfield Missouri is a traditional Catholic network within the Diocese of Springfield - Cape Girardeau and under the pastoral care of our local bishop. Our community consists of people of all ages, but we are particularly seeing growth among the youth and young families. All are welcome to join us for worship. While we hold no animosity toward the Ordinary Form of the liturgy, we are particularly appreciative of the solemnity and beauty offered by the Traditional Latin Mass. We are also mindful of those customs which were common to the Church prior to the 1970s. These include the use of Latin prayers, modest dress, chapel veils, Gregorian chant, frequent confessions along with a general appreciation for all things traditional. We are not a sect apart from the mainstream Church, but rather a community within the Diocese, seeking to enrich Catholic culture in Southwest Missouri, and become a blessing to all the parishes around us.

The Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the "Tridentine Mass," "Gregorian Mass," and "Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite," is the classical Latin Mass that was celebrated throughout nearly all of the western world prior to the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI in 1969. For some time after this, the TLM was relegated to obscurity until 1984 when Pope John Paul II issued a Letter entitled "Quattor abhinc annos" which provided a means for the TLM to make a restricted, but highly anticipated return. Due to increasing frequency of requests the Holy Father issued a Motu Proprio (decree of his own accord) in 1988 entitled "Ecclesia Dei" which created the 'Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter' and encouraged the bishops to allow generous use of the Traditional Latin Mass upon request within their local diocese.

On July 7th, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued another Motu Proprio on the TLM, entitled "Summorum Pontificum." Not even a generation after Ecclesia Dei was written, Summorum Pontificum clarified to all the faithful that the TLM had never been revoked and hence was indeed always permitted. Thus, to allow for the document to have its intended effect, a substantial increase in the number of TLM's, the former requirement to seek permission from the local ordinary was abolished. The Holy Father then addressed the Bishops, encouraging them to see to it that those requesting the TLM were provided for if a local priest could not be found, and in cases where it would be appropriate, to establish parishes exclusively dedicated to the TLM.

On February 10th, 2008, Bishop John J. Leibrecht established upon consultation with Father Fergus Monaghan, a monthly Traditional Latin Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Springfield Missouri, to be offered by Monsignor Raymond Orf. The event was widely covered by the Springfield news media, as it was the first Traditional Latin Mass to be celebrated in the city in over thirty years.

Father Joseph Orthel also began providing a weekly Traditional Latin Mass at Saint Peter the Apostle Church in Stockton Missouri, in his capacity as pastor, as provided for in Summorum Pontificum. Father James Vann Johnston, of Knoxville Tennessee, was consecrated as the new bishop on March 31st, 2008 taking possession of the See of Springfield - Cape Girardeau after Bishop Leibrecht's retirement. Shortly thereafter, Father Orthel was transferred to Saint Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, wherein Sunday and weekday celebrations of the TLM began at the Cathedral on July 1st, 2008. Gradually celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass began cropping up in surrounding areas of Southwest Missouri. With that Pope Benedict XVI's liturgical renewal was underway in our Diocese.