Regarding the St. John Cantius church in Chicago ... no, I wasn’t familiar with it at all. I lived in the Lincoln Park / Lakeview area for a couple of years and knew that there are several Roman Catholic churches “peppered” around the metropolitan Chicago area. As you well know, Chicago was built on the backs of European immigrants / Irish / etc., so as a natural outgrowth of their piety, they were big on putting down spiritual “roots” there.
A lot of history in that town. Sadly, as the years have passed and the generations erode away, it seems as if the churches have either had to close down; trim back their service times; sell property; or move / be consolidated into another parish.
I know of one other Tridentine Rite church there in Chicago that, if I remember correctly, is known as the “Institute / Shrine of Christ the King Soverign Priest” http://www.institute-christ-king.org/chicago/ that is being restored. Please know that I have not been back to Chi town in a very long time (June ‘92), so I am not cognizant of just what is happening around town at all (unless I’ve seen it on WGN ... and I haven’t watched television for five years). ;-)
You are doing the correct thing with regard to receiving Holy Communion. The Eucharistic ministers were primarily a measure in the wake of V2 to involve the parishoners more in the Mass via a shared imput / responsibility / dissemination of how it is seen, felt, heard, and absorbed by the faithful. Little did the public know (or for that matter, the Liturgical Committees and the powers that be in the uppper echelons of the Church) just how far it would go. I would venture to say that some Anglican churches have more of the accoutrements and “bells & smells” that resemble the early, early post V2 Church (circa 1966 - 68) than Roman Catholic churches do now. Very sad to see.
The corrosion has come from within. But returning to the subject of Eucharistic ministers, it has now become a stop-gap measure to compensate for the massive decline in vocations to the Priesthood / religious orders. The covert / overt message to the masses (no pun intended) is that “the priest is just there to consecrate the Host, offer blessings, and conduct the Mass ... everything else can be performed by *US*”. A metaphor that comes to mind is that it is akin to many people [the parishoners] sitting out on a limb of a tree [Church doctrine / the Mass / etc.] and sawing off [i.e. conducting the reforms] the branch at its strongest point [i.e. the priest] ... that of where it adheres to the trunk itself [the Church / Magesterium]. Sort of like a suicide in slow motion.
Hence, seeing ponytails serving at the altar; Communion in the hand; the weight of the Liturgical Committees; the removal of statuary; the USCCB yearly tweaking of the Mass (”kneel here now ... no wait, don’t kneel now - stand, no wait, kneel and stand at the same time, NO NO NO, do jumping jacks, oh just forget the whole thing and lets just bow down to Mecca”); and the ambiguity of some of the statements originating from wall of silence / individuals in high places in Rome are disconcerting in a very alarming way.
If the vocations situation does not improve here soon, I fear that what is gonna happen is either:
a. A sort of Mass by proxy priest (i.e. a single priest consecrating the Host at a central location whereby via closed circuit television or some other method, will then consecrate the hosts at the satellite churches that are tied into the CCTV feed). No priest at the satellite churches, but everything else looks the same. Akin to the televangelists on TV.
b. The liberals in the upper portions of the Church are just salivating at the possiblility of getting a liberal Cardinal in for becomming the next Pope. *IF* that happens, I fear that the “solution” to the vocation crisis will somehow be like that of putting frosting and candles on a dog turd. Sure, it might look yummy and pleasing on the outside, but once ya take a big ole bite, watch out. The “solution” that possibly will be foisted on the faithful for consumption will be the ordination of women, optional celibacy for priests, married priests, and God forbid that this ever happens, openly gay priests / religious (they are alive and conspiring right N-O-W like wolves in sheeps clothing) under the guise of “tolerance” or whatever politically correct verbiage of the day. Just an erosion of what once was held tried and true for 2000 years only to be usurped by the whims of a misguided few as to how the Church relates to the modern world. It once was considered a bastion to the tides and tribulations of the outside world (and was held in high esteem by people), but following Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI’s open windows to the world policy, all the detritus from outside made its way inside.
c. That people will just become more and more apathetic and turn to other faiths or pseudo faiths. Protestantism is working in overdrive to recruit disaffected / naive / those unaware of Church Doctrine & Roman Catholic history, into its rank and file. Sure, they may have the bells and whistles and buy one get one free type of attitude there, but I am gonna paraphrase here from Matthew XXIII: xxv to xxvii
“25 Wo to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you make clean the outside of the cup, and of the dish, but within you are full of extortion and uncleanness.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup, and of the dish, that the outside may become clean.
27 Wo to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you are like to whitened sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all filthiness.” *
* via the Douay Rheims Haydock Bible.
And the thing that they are overcompensating for is just one thing that they do not have (nor will ever have in their churches) and that is:
They are unable to heed Jesus’ directive in which to
1. Consecrate the bread into His Body.
2. Consecrate the wine into His Blood.
3. Offer the Sacraments.
All else is smoke and mirrors and the inside of sepulchres.
As far as the Tridentine Mass being offered in the Diocese that I am part of here in central Florida, no go. It is offered far from the central core of where most parishoners reside and is on a somewhat limited basis. I happened to serve at a SSPX Tridentine Mass several years ago and was blown away by it, however, I did not return to it since there was a lot of conflicting information regarding whether their Masses were valid or not at the time. Sad to say.
I do think that the remedy for all of this will be reintroducing the importance of the Eucharist to the faithful. To take the Host into your hand (in my opinion) is to lessen the significance of the Host now becomming the Flesh of Christ. I for one, am not even worthy to do so such as the grave sinner that I am. No way. Take it upon one’s tongue for the priest should be the ONLY individual who touches the Body / Flesh of Christ / God. I’ve pointed it out to people by saying “So tell me, how are YOU able - based upon the assumption of that you truly believe that that host is now the Body of Christ - to hold in your sinful lowly mortal and imperfect hands, THE CREATOR of all that exists ... the Alpha and Omega ... pure perfection. How?” I usually am greeted with a mouth agape look by the person / persons whom I have pointed it out to.
OK, gonna scoot here and climb down from my mini soapbox here. Take what I posted here with but a grain of salt for I am not a wise person, but yet an introspective one with many flaws and much, much, much more learning to do.
Ad Jesum Per Mariam