St. Patrick's - Christmas Mass - Extraordinary Form

TO OUR PETITION SIGNERS:

Thank you for your support and best wishes!

Today (30 Nov) I mailed the petition via USPS to the Cardinal's Residence.  We will see what happens.  If His Eminence accepts our request, we'll be dancing in the streets (not in the churches, of course); if not -- that's fine, there will be plenty of time next year.  I don't want anyone getting hot and bothered if he declines for now.  That's OK.  He's in charge of the Cathedral and it's his call.

There was one interesting comment that requires addressing here.  Someone asked whether St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated liturgically on 17 March this year.  This is not as silly as it sounds; we have a very early Easter in 2008, and Monday 17 March is actually Monday of Holy Week!  The question has already been answered: It was announced in Catholic New York this past March -- a year ahead of time, in other words -- that the liturgical celebration has been transferred to Friday 14 March.  This doesn't affect the parade timing, of course.  Although, since the liturgical celebration is being transferred to a Lenten Friday, this (of course) brings up the whole question of the Corned Beef Indult.  In the New York Archdiocese, when St. Patrick's Day is a Friday, the custom is to dispense with the Lenten abstinence requirement; but whether that holds true in 2008 will await an announcement from "Ten Eleven."

Anyway:  Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!  Vivat Christus Rex!

PATRICK McGRATH

With the issuance of the motu proprio entitled Summorum Pontificum on 7 July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI de-restricted the use of what is now called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  Yet, many have not encountered it in at least 40 years.  Since Christmas Midnight Mass from St. Patrick's Cathedral is televised, it would be an ideal vehicle to those generations left hungry by its absence.
UPDATE:

TO OUR PETITION SIGNERS:

Thank you for your support and best wishes!

Today (30 Nov) I mailed the petition via USPS to the Cardinal's Residence.  We will see what happens.  If His Eminence accepts our request, we'll be dancing in the streets (not in the churches, of course); if not -- that's fine, there will be plenty of time next year.  I don't want anyone getting hot and bothered if he declines for now.  That's OK.  He's in charge of the Cathedral and it's his call.

There was one interesting comment that requires addressing here.  Someone asked whether St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated liturgically on 17 March this year.  This is not as silly as it sounds; we have a very early Easter in 2008, and Monday 17 March is actually Monday of Holy Week!  The question has already been answered: It was announced in Catholic New York this past March -- a year ahead of time, in other words -- that the liturgical celebration has been transferred to Friday 14 March.  This doesn't affect the parade timing, of course.  Although, since the liturgical celebration is being transferred to a Lenten Friday, this (of course) brings up the whole question of the Corned Beef Indult.  In the New York Archdiocese, when St. Patrick's Day is a Friday, the custom is to dispense with the Lenten abstinence requirement; but whether that holds true in 2008 will await an announcement from "Ten Eleven."

Anyway:  Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!  Vivat Christus Rex!

PATRICK McGRATH


The Most Eminent and Most Reverend
Edward, Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
452 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Your Eminence:

We, the undersigned are:

  • certain of Christ's faithful of your Archdiocese of New York
  • certain of Christ's faithful of other jurisdictions
  • other persons of good will

who have given "joyful acceptance" to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (7 July 2007) issued by Pope Benedict XVI, and your own letter, "Room For All" (Catholic New York, 19 July 2007).

In hopes of giving this rite "due honour for its venerable and ancient usage," (SP, Art. 1) we humbly petition Your Eminence to offer this year's (2007) Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

The Holy Father, in his accompanying letter, stated that "it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them."

Nevertheless, many have yet to discover this form and feel this attraction. We contend, Your Eminence, that Christmas Midnight Mass will present an extraordinary opportunity to make "room" for the Extraordinary Rite in the "inn" of the Church's liturgical life, and demonstrate that both forms "are, in fact, two usages of the one Roman rite" (ibid.).

We underscore certain facts, well known to you, that make Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Patrick's, as opposed to most other venues, even more of an extraordinary opportunity, namely:

  1. that Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Patrick's is one of New York's Great Annual Events;

  2. that Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Patrick's has been televised every year since 1948, and this broadcast has become a treasured Christmas tradition, even for many outside New York, even for many non-Catholics;

  3. that St. Patrick's retains certain architectural features ideally suited to celebration of the Extraordinary Use, namely a high altar with a baldachino, and a marble communion rail;

  4. that Your Eminence is fluent, even melli-fluent, in the first language of the Church.

  5. that, as you wrote, the Extraordinary Rite holds "a very special place in the heart" of many New Yorkers%u2014and others beyond our city who "feel a strong attachment to the Mass before the Council."

In Pope Benedict's words, "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place." We contend that, as an excellent beginning, a "proper place" for the Extraordinary Use is Christmas Midnight Mass.

You remain, Your Eminence, in our prayerful best wishes.


 

Very truly yours in Christ,

 

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