We, the undersigned are:
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:
that Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Patrick's is one of New York's Great Annual Events;
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;
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;
that Your Eminence is fluent, even melli-fluent, in the first language of the Church.
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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