Skip to comments.End Nears for Latin Mass at Boston (Catholic) Church
Posted on 05/30/2005 10:53:00 AM PDT by nonsumdignus
Monday, May 30, 2005; 5:00 AM
BOSTON -- Dan Linnell drives from his home on Cape Cod to Boston's South End most Sundays so he can worship at Holy Trinity Church, the only Roman Catholic congregation in the area that celebrates Mass in Latin.
Linnell's wife introduced him to Holy Trinity in 1996, when they started dating, and he immediately "fell in love" with the Latin Mass, which features Roman Catholic rituals, including Gregorian chants, that date back more than 1,500 years.
"I started crying I was so moved," the 41-year-old recalled as he entered the church with his three young children after an hourlong drive from Sandwich. "For me, it's what Catholic worship is. It's just beautiful, and it edifies the soul."
Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of Holy Trinity's Latin Mass, which is the only service of its kind sanctioned by the Boston Archdiocese. Barring a change of heart by the archdiocese, there won't be a 16th.
Holy Trinity is one of 20 parishes that the archdiocese intends to close in the coming weeks and months as part of a broader cost-cutting plan to close 80 of its 357 parishes.
Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley's decision to shutter or consolidate the churches came in response to declining attendance, a shortage of priests and financial pressure caused in part by the clergy sex abuse crisis.
With Holy Trinity scheduled to close June 30, the archdiocese plans to move its Latin Mass to St. James the Greater in nearby Chinatown. Parishioners are upset they have to leave the historic church, which was founded in 1844 to serve German immigrants. It's the only German-Catholic congregation in New England.
John Fahey, 49, of Boston, said Holy Trinity is an oasis for several hundred Catholics who prefer to worship in a more conservative, traditional manner.
The church is "totally financially self-sustaining," he added. "There is no reason why it should be closed by the archdiocese."
Archdiocese spokesman Terry Donilon said that although the church closings have been hard for parishioners to accept, the process has "strengthened the Catholic community" in other ways.
"The vast majority of parishioners have moved on and done so in a very spiritual and prayerful manner," he said.
Mass was celebrated in Latin across the world until the mid-1960s, when the Second Vatican Council ruled it could be celebrated in native languages. Twenty years later, however, Pope John Paul II granted permission for it to be celebrated in Latin again.
Once a month since the Latin Mass returned to Holy Trinity in 1990, Michael Ferry drives 75 miles from his home in Ogunquit, Maine, to sing in the church's choir, which recites Gregorian chants.
"People come here because this is the Mass as it was in 1962," he said. "It's more traditional."
Susan Long said she left the Catholic church as a teenager because she disagreed with the changes made by the Second Vatican Council.
"When I came back, I came back because of this Mass," she said. "I'd like it to stay here, but my faith is in my heart. Wherever they move it, it's not going to change my faith."
It has been a tumultuous month for parishioners at Holy Trinity. Earlier this month, worshippers at the church protested its imminent closing by placing fake bills in the collection baskets.
Holy Trinity also is coping with a brewing financial scandal. Parishioners have asked state and archdiocesan officials to investigate allegations that their pastor, the Rev. Hugh O'Regan, mismanaged the church's finances. O'Regan did not immediately return a call to comment.
ON THE NET
Boston Archdiocese: http://www.rcab.org/
Archbishop O'Malley always makes me think of Marie-Julie Jahenny.
Joint ownership of parishes is a terrible idea. For better or worse, the Church is not a democracy. It is not right for laymen and non-episcopal clergy, who do not have a complete understanding of the diocese's political/economic/spiritual situation, to have power over the bishop. I am not at all liberal, I adore the Latin Mass, and I respectfully question many policies of the bishops. But obedience is a principle that goes back the apostolic fathers and the apostles themselves.
From the epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch, martyred in 108 AD:
"He who acts in anything apart from the bishop and the presbytery and the deacons is not pure in conscience." (To the Trallians)
"Do nothing without the bishop. Keep your flesh as a shrine of God. Love union. Flee divisions. Become followers of Jesus Christ as He also was of the Father." (To the Romans)
"Avoid divisions as the beginning of evil. Follow, all of you, the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father; and follow the presbytery as the Apostles. [..] Let no man do aught pertaining to the Church apart from the bishop." (To the Smyrnaeans)
I say,let them close it if they can't AFFORD IT FOR THEIR JOB AS PRIESTS is to save souls..opps guess they forgot again!
Have the flock put up a tent in a nearby field,for Christ was born in a stable,humble and simple,the Mass can continue without the building..although its pretty sad!That money should stop the MASS!
As for JPII saying its ok to return to the LAtin Mass-POPE SAINT PIUS V wrote a bull,and gave NO one the right ever to change the old Latin Tridentine Mass!!!and he was a SAINT proclaimed so !! look up QUO PRIMUM!
While I am heartsick about Holy Trinity closing down and the Indult being moved to nearby St. James, I have to agree with noste paire. To have each community maintain their own (or a group of parishes) parish is scary. I look around at the situation in Boston and see the parishes that are now running their own show and those parishes are not teaching Catholic doctrine, they are a community unto themselves. I know most traditional Catholics are not likely to set up big screen tv's (as they have in a few of the closed but parishioner protesting via sit ins parishes) and have 'communion services' but they are possibly apt to move away from the larger Catholic community due to a slight bunker mentality (which current circumstances tend to aggravate). In effect, both the traditionalists and the progressives end up in the same place - out of sync with the bishop and the larger Catholic community of believers.
The situation at HT is volatile - parishioners are filing a suit against the parish priest accusing him of mismanaging funds. This is falling right into the hands of the local VOTF and causing scandal as it is all over the news.
What a mess. I wouldn't want to be Archbishop O'Malley for anything.
Hi and welcome to FreeRepublic.
So let's all be grateful to Cardinal Law whose stellar leadership would never lead one to try to imagine another way of doing things but to be utterly obedient.
Also, obedience is not a blanket you through over your head and say like a zombie, 'I see nothing, I can do nothing, I obey the bishop.' On the contrary, obedience means that there is constructive engagement of issues and ideas and assent with integrity to authority within its legitimate scope of canonical authority. Otherwise obedience may come to mean simply the "Yes, master." of an unwilling slave.
I remember that we disagreed on the St. Stanislaus's debacle as well. I guess no one can agree with someone else 100%
It's such a mess here I am at the point where they could close every parish and I wouldn't care. I feel horrible about thinking that but I can't shake it.
I only wish the bishop would be just as stringent closing down the chancery employees and the different 'ministries' as well.
It would be good to start from ground zero in Boston. I honestly believe most things Catholic here are in serious disarray.
That said, I don't think most of the chancery appointees have the indult Mass as a serious concern. Holy Trinity is just a beautiful parish and it is a sin to lose it to the developers.
That said, I don't think most of the chancery appointees have the indult Mass as a serious concern. Holy Trinity is just a beautiful parish and it is a sin to lose it to the developers
To American Colleen; I am tired of begging for a Mass that is rightfully mine and not the bishop's.
I get my mass where I can find it with so called schismatics or not.
Given the poor leadership found here for the past 40 years or so, we are facing a crisis. I would rather see parishes closed than have laity led parishes. Also, fewer parishes means the ability to focus on a mustard seed laity led by fewer but more faithful priests. No need to reassign the many priests who are really Anglicans and not Catholics.
I don't know what the answer is.
I do wish one of the more traditional priest groups (like the FSSP) would be invited in but apparently that is not going to be. The last few leaders (and their auxilaries) have said that diocesan priests should lead the indult community.
Good luck to you. I don't know what else to say.
The author said
Mass was celebrated in Latin across the world until the mid-1960s, when the Second Vatican Council ruled it could be celebrated in native languages. Twenty years later, however, Pope John Paul II granted permission for it to be celebrated in Latin again.
How much research would it take for a reporter to get this right?
Boston has ONE Indult Mass and it is now being moved to a church with a NO altar in permanent place. Does the priest climb over that one to ascend to the traditional
"Wide and generous," indeed. When these bishops disobey papal decrees, how are we to understand their decrees to
sad bump and ping
One answer would be to shave O'Malley's beard and toss him into the Boston harbor, like the rebels did with the tea a while back.
This is a self-supporting parish, O'Malley has no good reason to shut it down. Then again he had no business forcing the "Talk about Touching" program on the children - which was concieved by a leftist prostitution advocacy group (I'm not kidding)- , then threatening their parents with witholding of the sacraments if they didn't comply.
St. Ignatius was referring to holy bishops, not worldly fools overseeing a crumbling diocese.
Would you like to be on the Catholic Ping List?
Welxomw to FR
Interesting. I didn't know the Mass was yours. I was taught the Mass is the action of Jesus. Every Mass. Every single Mass since the Last Supper. Every single Mass whether said in Greek, Latin, Polish, English.
Do you imagine Mass said in Latin is holier? Do you imagine Mass said in vernacular is not holy?
The Mass is not about me. The Mass is not about you. The Mass is not about Latin. The Mass is about Jesus; and us offering our lives in union with him. He is both priest and victim.
Is our offering our lives at Mass along with His perfect Sacrifice an offering of schism, of resistance to the Bishop, of self-righteousness, of self will?
But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
The option, once discussed, of selling Holy Trinity to the FSSP and allowing the FSSP to continue the Latin Mass at Holy Trinity would, under Ecclesia Dei, actually require the Archdiocese to hold a second TLM somewhere else.at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1413266/posts?page=13#13.
It isn't 'threatening' per se, it is just that if you do not sent your child to CCD for the 'First Eucharist Preparation' two years before receiving First Holy Communion and then again for two years prep before Confirmation, those children cannot be either Confirmed or have their First Communion. The years in between you can keep them out and teach them at home. Sooo, you cannot escape TaT in this diocese if it is taught in your parish (it's not taught in mine at this time).
I agree with you 100% on this. At this time there is no need to have a priest on site as this is not really a neighborhood parish and the rectory, as you note in your post, is only 0.3 miles away. It would be nice though, if TLM was accorded a priest of its own as the present administrator appears a bit hostile to TLM adherents (I would think A LOT more hostile after the story in the Globe from last week - I'll cut and paste it below).
The parish has inspired one man to listen to God calling him... he went through the FSSP seminary and is now an ordained FSSP priest - he said his first Mass at HT a few years ago as I recall. Sad that he isn't able to stay in his home state and minister to the flock here.
What's weird is that this parish received monies to in a 'steeple restoration project' back in 1999/2000 - possibly quite a bit of money according to the historical website. Now, the steeple has not been restored (ruined in the hurricane of 1936) - wonder what became of that money and the historical association's interest in the parish? Looks like a couple of other closed parishes received monies in this restoration project as well.
South End parishioners allege mismanagement By David Abel, Globe Staff | May 27, 2005
Parishioners at Holy Trinity Church in the South End, alleging that their pastor mismanaged the 161-year-old church's finances, called on Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley to hire independent accountants to audit the parish's books.
Members of the parish council at Holy Trinity, which the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston plans to close on June 30, sent a letter this week to O'Malley and Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, alleging that the Rev. Hugh H. O'Regan's ''deliberate misrepresentation" of the church's finances misled the archdiocese into closing the parish.
''Legitimate concerns or suspicions about possible misappropriation of assets must be resolved," the parishioners wrote.
The parishioners did not provide the full letter to the Globe.
They said the letter cites O'Regan's ''failure, over his entire tenure, to provide any financial reports to parishioners and his refusal to convene the finance committee that he established." They also said he has refused to establish operating and capital expense budgets, has collected money for maintenance but has done ''very little," and that he merged the parish's finances with St. James the Greater in Chinatown, which he also administers.
In a phone interview, O'Regan denied any financial improprieties.
''I have not done anything wrong as far as their money is concerned," O'Regan said, denying he has merged the two churches' finances and failed to use money for maintenance. ''I've had to pay a lot of bills, from a new boiler to new heat exchangers. I'm responsible to the archdiocese rather than to individual parishioners."
A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed that church officials received the letter. ''The archdiocese will review their claims, which might include a request for additional supporting documentation from the [parish council] group, review all the materials and then report our findings to the attorney general," said Terrence C. Donilon, the spokesman.
Corey Welford, a spokesman for Reilly, confirmed that his office received the letter.
Holy Trinity is one of about 79 parishes O'Malley is planning to close because of a shortage of priests, money, and worshipers. The church is the only German Catholic parish left in New England and the only one in the archdiocese with a traditional Mass said in Latin.
Globe staff writer Michael Paulson contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
"The Mass is not about me. The Mass is not about you. The Mass is not about Latin. The Mass is about Jesus; and us offering our lives in union with him. He is both priest and victim."
Then why was the Mass changed in the late 60's?
FYI, this is the press release from the Save Holy Trinity Committee, which prompted articles in both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.
For updates on Holy Trinity, I encourage all to join the Save Holy Trinity Yahoo Egroup:
To clear the air, it is not the intent of HT Parishioners to sue their Administrator (and Vicar Forane) Fr. Hugh O'Regan. However, there are serious issues with financial reporting and management of Parish monies and overall stewardship of Parish property since his appointment on 1 November 1996. As a result, the Parish Pastoral Council is demanding an audit of all Parish financial records before suppression proceeds on 30 June. The general feeling among Parishioners is that they have been misrepresented to the Archdiocese.
In fact, members of the Latin Mass community were told by Bishop John Boles, following his August 2001 episcopal visitation, that they could join Holy Trinity as Parishioners . Membership until that time was understood to be reserved for those only of German ancestry. Apparently, this was only a verbal "gentleman's" agreement and the Canonical definition of Holy Trinity's status as a German Personal Parish was never officially expanded to include those of the Latin Mass community. For some reason some diocesan decision maker has deemed the Latin Mass community as a "portable" entity. The reason for suppression is solely the declining German demographic. It is tragic that the growing and significant contribution of the Latin Mass community has made to Parish life at Holy Trinity (since 1990) has been completely ignored by the diocese. This is particularly true since they have been misled into believing they were Parishioners, ultimately not considered as part of the equation that has determined the Parish's fate. In other words, "Thank you for your financial and spiritual contributions. Now MOVE."
PRESS RELEASE 26 May 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Holy Trinity Parish Council Demands Independent Audit
Fears Irregularities Cover Financial Abuses; Notifies Archbishop,
BOSTON May 26 The lay members of the Holy Trinity Parish Council,
acting on behalf of the parishioners, have unanimously requested that
the Archdiocese of Boston engage independent accountants to conduct
an audit of the parish's books and property. The formal request for
the investigation was made in a letter sent to Bishop John P. Boles,
the Auxiliary Bishop with jurisdiction over the Central Region of the
Archdiocese, in which Holy Trinity resides. Because the amounts of
money involved are potentially significant, copies of the letter were
also sent to Archbishop Sean O'Malley and to Massachusetts Attorney
General Thomas Reilly.
The letter asserts, "Legitimate concerns or suspicions about possible
misappropriation of assets must be resolved. The elimination of Holy
Trinity as a legal entity might well serve to destroy evidence or
hinder its collection and must not happen while this investigation is
Founded in 1844 to meet the pastoral needs of German immigrants, Holy
Trinity Church in Boston's South End is the only German Catholic
parish left in New England. Over the years, it has grown as a faith
community in service to the Archdiocese by incorporating its only
authorized traditional Latin Mass and two social service agencies:
the Cardinal Medeiros Center day shelter for the homeless and the
Bridge Over Troubled Waters residence for at-risk youth. The parish
is scheduled to close on June 30 as part of the reconfiguration of
The Parish Council was motivated to write the letter by two, possibly
related, concerns about the actions of Fr. Hugh H. O'Regan,
administrator of the parish for the last eight and one half years.
The first is a pattern of financial irregularities that has raised
many questions which he has refused to address about the
management of parish funds and property. The second is the fear that
Holy Trinity ended up on the list of parishes to be closed as a
result of deliberate misrepresentation of the parish's financial and
spiritual condition and potential.
The Council cites nearly three pages of specific examples of
questionable or unsatisfactory behavior by Fr. O'Regan in three broad
areas: financial accountability, accounting practices, and
stewardship of parish property. Chief among the concerns are his
failure, over his entire tenure, to provide any financial reports to
parishioners and his refusal to convene the Finance Committee that he
established. The letter also notes Fr. O'Regan's refusal to discuss
capital expense decisions and to establish operating and capital
expense budgets. The letter adds that Fr. O'Regan has conducted a
monthly "Special Maintenance Fund" collection but has done very
little maintenance; still, he has not explained "why this does not
amount to solicitation of donations under false pretenses."
Parishioners are also concerned that he has "merged the parishes in
finance, if not in fact," by regularly announcing at Holy Trinity the
activities and collection totals at his other parish, St. James the
Greater in Chinatown, thereby creating the impression that in some
way these two separate parishes have become a joint enterprise.
The letter also states that the parish has lost tens of thousands of
dollars of rightful income because Fr. O'Regan failed to provide the
Cardinal Medeiros program with copies of utility bills for which it
could be reimbursed. He has also refused to cooperate with
parishioners' efforts to obtain grants to preserve the 127 year old
church's irreplaceable stained glass windows.
Other examples of Fr. O'Regan's unsatisfactory stewardship of parish
property include failures to establish a maintenance plan, to allow
for parishioner-subsidized upgrades to the electrical system, and to
address water leakage in the basement and roof. Also of concern are
his lack of care for rare, highly-decorated vestments and his removal
of "valuable artifacts . . . without consultation with or notice
given to the Parish Council or the Sacristan," according to the
letter. It continues, "Not only do these practices suggest that
Father O'Regan considers parish property to be his personal property,
they create an atmosphere of uncertainty. If anything actually is
stolen or misappropriated, it might never be reported because Father
O'Regan has created an environment in which the disappearance of
church property is routine."
Because the Parish Council believes "that this documented pattern of
financial carelessness could serve to cover (whether intended or not)
a host of potential financial abuses," it has demanded an audit of
all income, expenses, and parish property distribution dating back to
November 1, 1996, the date that Fr. O'Regan assumed responsibility
for Holy Trinity. The Parish Council has also demanded a valuation of
the total assets of the parish, including the building, artwork,
sacred vessels, vestments, and musical instruments.
While concerns about financial matters are normally the jurisdiction
of a parish's Finance Committee, the Parish Council explained that it
has taken the extraordinary action of writing this letter because the
parish has no Finance Committee. "My concern as a Parish Council
member was that we never received a financial report. `You'll get one
when I have one,' is the answer Fr. O'Regan most often told us,"
explained Dolores Miller, the secretary of the Parish Council. "Even
more disturbing to me is the fact that the Finance Committee,
established because canon law dictates it, never met, and I want to
"Eight and a half years with no accountability whatsoever is an
invitation for abuse," added Patti Strom, another member of the
Parish Council. "The fact that this successful and historic parish is
to be shut down by the Archdiocese may be the ultimate cover-up."
The mass was changed in the 1960's for one reason. It was to please Protestants, for Lutherans to be able to celebrate if they wanted to.
Who brought these changes. Bishop Annibale Bugnini, (a communist), and six Protestant ministers. The American bishops, as a group, hate anything prior to V2 and will try their best to take away the indult.
Any wonder PaulVI said "The smoke of Satan has entered through the cracks in the walls of the faith."
The numbers tell the story of how right he was. That among others tells why the Church is selling off all their property.
The indult mass will not be the problem. There are many priestless parrishes now and sometime in the future the new mass may be as scarce as the indult.
The archdiocese has never treated those of us who treasure our Catholic heritage very fairly. Monies can always be found to start up another paid parish/diocesan ministry or parish wreckovation or expensive parish air conditioning but to let a self sustaining parish stand is impossible when it sits on real estate worth a fortune.
Of course this is all to do with money and I know the current administrator has no loyalty or love for his Indult parishioners.
My only fear is that this situation will eventually become so frustrating for the parishioners that they will align themselves with the Voice of the Faithful CINO's who are looking to form a congregational style CINO archdiocese.
I totally agree. Unfortunately, I think the parish reconfiguration is another scandal in itself. Frankly, I think its a pastoral disaster no matter how the Archbishop's PR firm tries to spin it. That feeds into a "Fortress Mentality" that is more parochial than Catholic.
They expect an easy "Plug 'n'Play" Catholicism where the Domus Dei is simply a "Worship Space". What works against their effort (and lack of pastoral understanding) to suppress parishes is the fact that generations of Boston Catholic's have been required to attend Holy Mass at their local territorial Parish. Culturally, I think the hierarchy and chancery hacks minimize how deeply parochial the Catholic Faith has been experienced by Catholics in Boston. I also believe there is a failure to comprehend how Catholics attach cultural importance to the incarnational aspects of the Faith (e.g. use of Sacramentals, Sacred Art and Architecture, Vestments,..."smells and bells") which appeals to our own human (incarnational) condition. In other words our Holy Faith is both Incarnational and Spriritual. It seems Modernism has formed a generation of clerical Iconoclasts in their effort to foster post V-II renewal. To be Catholic also includes passing on both the traditions and Sacred Traditions of the Faith...faithfully to the next generation. This includes our ENTIRE patrimony, both earthly and spiritual.
The "stonewalling" and spin (PR psyhco-babble) we continue to receive at the hands of the Archdiocese of Boston is inexcusable from our perspective. At some point we may have to relent in not drawing more scandal upon the Church. For now this may be an exercise in turning the light on in a darkened room infested with cockroaches. As laymen, our awareness of continued scandal in Boston must continue to be clearly aired with the Hierarchy until this situation is brought under control. Unfortunately, many of the folks who were at the helm during the period that led to the Sex Scandals of 2002-present, did not leave with Cardinal Law's resignation in December 2002. The "Lavender Mafia" remains alive and well in the Archdiocese of Boston. Furthermore, it remains influential in key posts. The ecclesiology of the old Mass remains a threat to this power base.
Maybe the Irish hierarchy wants us to return to the "Mass Rocks" of the ol' Sod. They are doing Cromwell proud.
Speaking of Catholic churches in Boston, I was in the St. Anthony Shrine in downtown Boston the other day, and noticed several posters advertising this and that program for "GLBT Catholics," sponsored by the Franciscans, the Paulists and the Jesuits. I suppose those orders aren't really under the thumb of Archbishop O'Malley, but it seems such a travesty. I'm sure these groups are not promoting chastity among the "GLBT Community". Sigh...
Does the 1962 rubric require the priest to proceed directly in a straight line, etc.
Please regard me as inspired, but not to be taken
literally. My intended point was that the NO altar will serve as an obstacle. The priest and altar servers will have to allow for it in their movements and it will likely block the view of Mass attendees. It is either stupid or malevolent for the diocese to put the Latin Mass in such a configuration.
Yes, I gather St. Anthony's got a new rector a couple of years ago, and immediately started hurtling into the abyss. Until then, they were pretty good. (The Paulist Center was always weird, IMO -- at least as far back as the 60s.)
.....I couldn't agree more.
The reason I ask is that one the one hand, I keep hearing the parish is self supporting yet on the other hand I know the parishioners are questioning the financial acumen of the administrator. So I wonder who has been keeping track of the money and if the finances are messy, how does anyone know the parish really is self supporting?
I only ask out of curiousity and honest questioning, my hope is that the Indult will continue on at Holy Trinity and that the diocese will leave the one Indult right where it is and has been and that all the press lately will swell the ranks of the Indult.
Was wondering too if you know if the parish received the donation from the Boston Historical Association in order to fix the steeple. I read an article where it said that monies were donated but I haven't ever seen or heard anything else about it and of course, the steeple remains as it was in 1936 after the hurricane.
Too bad the parish isn't considered a landmark.
An absolute *GEM* that I found years ago is the St. Thomas More chapel at 49 Franklin St. - maintained by the Propagation of the Faith. It's between Filene's and the old Woolworths (TJMaxx now I think) building, on the Filene's side walking towards Post Office Square -- a couple of buildings behind Filene's.
The other wonderful 'stop in chapel' is the one at the Pru on the bottom floor, St. Francis - kind of modern, but very, very orthodox. Excellent little bookstore as well. It's staffed by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.
As for Arch Street, I was going to their 8:30, 3 or 4 years ago, I think, and that was quite sedate -- even novena prayers Tuesdays and Thursdays (one for St. Jude and one for St. Anthony -- I forget now which was which, and with veneration of a relic of St. Anthony on his novena day), no lectors, and another Friar or a Brother would help with Communion.
Even at that time, though, I went to the noon Mass once, and it was pretty far gone for my taste -- the progressive laity were apparently in charge and lapping it up!
Unfortunately, the 8:30 was one of the first Masses cut.
I think it's maintained by the Propagation for the Faith. Well worth a look see!
Once I noticed Arch St. gave up the real votives for those excretable 'turn on the light' things, it was all downhill from there! I miss seeing the beautiful statues in the side chapel though.
Pius XII, in Mystici Corporis, teaches that the unique Church of Christ is(est)the Catholic Church. Lumen Gentium, on the other hand, changes the est to subsistit because it no longer identifies (est) the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. This is to say that the Church founded by Christ exists in the Catholic Church, without excluding the other 'separated churches.' (The conciliar magisterium uses capital C for the 'separated Churches')
"In short, the Mystical Body of Christ has a greater extension than that of the Roman Catholic Church."
The error of Vatican II is that it reduces the Roman Catholic Church to a mere organization in which the Church of Christ subsists. It is a mere branch of the great trunk of the Church of Christ. But there are other branches.
This heresy reduces the body of the Catholic Church to a mere moral person, that is, an ecclesiastical corporation with a certain natural structure, governed by certain natural laws, with a certain natural unity. Unity of faith is reduced to an obedience to "church order," which is to say, an external observance of the faith rules of the day, by which the church is preserved in order. This reduces the notion of orthodoxy to a purely legal observance of the prevailing theology of the day.
Those familiar with modernism see its ugly face in this theory and practice. Pope Pius XII condemned this theory in his encyclical Mystici Corporis in 1943:
Yes, Holy Trinity has been completely self supported by Parishioners and does not or ever has relied on additional financial subsidy (from the Archdiocese). BTW, I am aware of at least one restoration grant that was awarded and lost because Fr. O'Regan failed to officially accept. FYI, below is our "Petition for Reconsideration" that has never been acknowledged by either the RCAB or Archdiocese of Boston. This should answer some of your questions.
HOLY TRINITY (GERMAN) CHURCH
PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION
Date: June 21, 2004
We, the undersigned members of Holy Trinity Church, 140 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, pursuant to canon 212, paragraphs 2 and 3, and canons 213 and canon 214 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, request reconsideration of the decision to close Holy Trinity Church on June 30, 2005. Fully cognizant of the exigencies facing the archdiocese at this time, we understand that Your Excellency has no choice but to close a substantial number of parishes. Accordingly, we are making this request not from selfish motives but because we believe the archdiocese has made a serious mistake in selecting Holy Trinity for closure over St. James the Greateranother parish within our cluster located at 125 Harrison Avenue in Boston. Our belief is based not on disagreement with the archdiocesan reconfiguration committee, but on the existence of serious irregularities at the cluster and regional levels. We submit that these irregularities violated Your Excellencys express directives and have resulted in a decision adverse to the interests of the archdiocese. Therefore, we do not merely request a favor for our parish; we offer a solution as well. That is, we recommend that the archdiocese keep open Holy Trinity, close St. James, and relocate the faithful of St. James to our parish.
In support of this request, we submit the following matters for your consideration:
I. HOLY TRINITY IS NOT A FAILING PARISH; ST. JAMES THE GREATER IS.
1. First, as to Holy Trinity:
a. The parish is financially sound and self-sustaining. We have only one paid positionmusic directorand all other programs succeed on a volunteer basis.
b. The engineering report shows that the building is structurally sound, although in need of repair.
c. The parish is growing. In addition to the relatively small, approximately 30-member ethnic German congregation, there are some 250-280 members of the traditional Latin Mass community. The latter has consistently grown since its establishment fourteen years ago. Over the past six months alone, our numbers have risen by 20 percent from a membership of 210-215. This trend is continuing. Few other parishes have such a growth rate.
d. Holy Trinity is a small parish, but its members contribute at a rate per capita that is exceeded by only the wealthiest parishes in the archdiocese. The noon Mass offertory collections for January 19 to December 28, 2003, totaled $56,726.38. Second collections totaled $20,872.15 (including an average special maintenance collection of $1,000 per month). In addition to these collections, the Good Will fund takes in as much as $3,000 per month.
e. The sacramental index reported on the archdiocesan website is inaccurate. Holy Trinity had four first Communions in 2003 and ten in 2004. If the Latin Mass community were allowed to have confirmations, Holy Trinity would have had approximately twenty-five in 2003. Mass attendance, as noted above, continues to grow.
f. Although smaller than the average parish, Holy Trinity has sent at least six men to the seminary since the indult was granted for the Latin Mass. Two are now ordained priests. In a press conference May 25 of this year, Your Excellency was quoted as saying, If every parish sent one young man to the seminary every ten years, we'd have more than enough vocations." Given that the archdiocese ordains about seven men to the priesthood every year, it is clear that Holy Trinity is doing more than its share to solve the priest shortage.
g. Holy Trinity is part of the cultural patrimony of the archdiocese and contributes to outreach in the arts. Holy Trinitys three choirsthe German Choir, Schola Cantorum, and Preces Cantataeare deeply connected with the arts community in Boston, and even receive grant money. The Christian Arts Committee sponsors three or four concerts a year at Holy Trinity, including the biannual Epiphany concert and Tableau. Guest choral ensembles, especially from Germany, are presented periodically. This serves to enhance the prestige of the archdiocese as a whole.
h. Holy Trinity provides important social services through Bridge Over Troubled Waters, a mission for troubled youth, and the Cardinal Medeiros Center, a day center for homeless adults operated by Kit Clark Senior Services.
2. By contrast, St. James:
a. Is not financially sound. The Archdiocese of Boston forgave about $250,000 in St. James debt a few years ago, and the parish is already again in debt to the tune of $150,000. The extent to which Holy Trinity subsidizes St. James is unknown, since Rev. Hugh ORegan, the pastor for both parishes, refuses to make a financial accounting. Fr. ORegan has not allowed Holy Trinitys finance council to operate in two years.
b. St. James is in no better physical shape than Holy Trinity and may be worse.
c. St. James is not growing. The ethnic Chinese community at St. James is roughly comparable to Holy Trinitys German congregationbut without an additional Latin Mass congregation of 250-280 members.
d. The offertory collections at St. James are miniscule.
e. The sacramental index for St. James baptisms60, compared to seven for Holy Trinityis absurdly inflated. Almost all of these baptisms are attributable to the New England Medical Center, not St. James.
II. HOLY TRINITY WAS IMPROPERLY SELECTED FOR CLOSURE.
1. We reiterate that our objections to closure are based not on a mere disagreement with the central reconfiguration committee. This is not a case where the committee has simply interpreted data differently than we would have liked. Rather, the committee did not even make the decision; our regional bishop did. And he did so in the wake of grave irregularities at the cluster level.
a. Conflict of interest. Fr. ORegan is the pastor for both Holy Trinity and St. James the Greater. His rectory is at St. James. He is also the vicar forane for the cluster to which both parishes belong. Fr. ORegan has shown little affection for the German community at Holy Trinity and even less for the Latin Mass community. As noted, he does not permit the finance council to function. He also has not permitted new elections for the parish council in two years. Mass at Holy Trinity is usually celebrated by a rotation of priests from outside the parish. Fr. ORegan has made no secret of the fact that he would never consider recommending St. James for closure. The layperson he selected for membership on the central reconfiguration committee, Laura Chen, is a parishioner at St. James.
b. Absence of consultation at the cluster level. Archdiocesan directives on the reconfiguration process made it clear that clergy and laity at the parish and cluster levels were expected to work together in the consideration of which parishes would be selected to shut their doors. That was not done in the cluster to which Holy Trinity belongs. Bishop Lennons letter, dated January 10, 2004, ordered parishes to meet in their clusters to recommend, by March 8, which parishes would be subject to closure. No such meeting took place in Holy Trinitys cluster. Fr. ORegan, having missed the March 8 deadline, submitted his own recommendations on March 14. He held an impromptu cluster meeting two days later during a snowstorm. At that meeting, Fr. ORegans notion of consultation was to announce his recommendationwhich he had already submittedand let people comment on it after the fact. Persons present at the meetingincluding Holy Trinity parishioners Peter Cooper, Kathleen Stone, Dorothy Fresolo, Theresa Cronkhite, Emmett Wells, and Robert Quaganwill attest to this.
c. Subterfuge. Although Fr. ORegan says he recommended only St. Anns and Sacred Heart for closing, he made it clear at the cluster meeting that Holy Trinity would have been next in line. In fact, he said that Holy Trinity might have to close at a later datewhich is exactly what has happened (Holy Trinity having been designated to stay open for one year). When asked whether Holy Trinity would be named in any manner in his recommendation, Fr. ORegan evaded the question.
d. Bypassing the central committee. It is known that Auxiliary Bishop John Boles, the bishop for Central Region (to which Holy Trinity and St. James belong), arbitrarily placed Holy Trinity on the list of parishes recommended for closure. Like Fr. ORegan, Bishop Boles has long expressed antipathy to the Latin Mass community at Holy Trinity. On May 7, the archdiocese issued a supplemental list of 37 additional parishes subject to closure. These were supposed to be from those clusters that had failed to make any recommendations at all. Holy Trinity was on the list, even though Fr. ORegan had made a recommendation for our cluster.
e. We believe that, had the proper procedures been followed in our cluster, the central reconfiguration committee would have been informed of the numerous points in Holy Trinitys favor and would have recommended St. James for closure instead.
2. The Portability Argument. Fr. ORegan ties the viability of Holy Trinity to the size of the German community. He excludes the Latin Mass community as a factor altogether, arguing that the Latin Mass congregation is portable and can be moved to a different parish. We submit that this argument is spurious, since it could be applied to any congregation. To single out the Latin Mass community for portability is fundamentally unfair.
a. In his 1988 motu proprio Ecclesia Dei, Pope John Paul II referred to the rightful aspirations of those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition. The Holy Father declared that respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives issued for the use of the 1962 Roman Missal. As Cardinal Castrillion Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," recently stated, traditionalists should not be seen as second class faithful, but should be protected in their right to be able to express their faith and piety in accordance with their particular spirituality, that the Holy Father recognizes as totally legitimate. Canon 214 recognizes this right to particular spirituality. The Latin Mass congregants at Holy Trinity are not second-class faithful to be arbitrarily shifted from parish to parish. We are active and committed members of Holy Trinity Church. The German and the Latin Mass communities collaborate amicably in the life of our parish.
b. In fact, due to our liturgical needs, the Latin Mass community is the least portable congregation in the archdiocese.
(1) Holy Trinity is specially suited for the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass: It has an intact high altar and an altar rail. St. James the Greater has no altar rail and has a fixed altar facing the people, in front of the high altar. Thus, moving the Latin Mass community to St. James will pose significant problems.
(2) In his letter to the bishops of the United States on behalf of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," Augustin Cardinal Mayer urged that, in places where the faithful have made a request for the regular celebration for the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, a weekly Sunday and Holyday Mass be scheduled in a central location and at a convenient time. Holy Trinity meets these requirements. St. James has no parking, except limited parking available at the New England Medical Center for a fee. Since Holy Trinity is a personal parish and the Latin Mass community is necessarily a commuter group, parking is essential. People come from all over the archdiocese to attend the traditional Mass. To deny parking would be to effectively kill this community.
(3) Holy Trinity has an active and successful religious-education program. The basic texts are from the USCCB-approved Faith and Life series. The members of the Latin Mass community will not want to subject their children to a religious-education program in another parish where they might be exposed to teaching methods inconsistent with the rightful aspirations of those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition (Ecclesia Dei).
(4) Holy Trinity has an excellent music program in which the German and Latin Mass communities fully collaborate. As noted above, the music director is our only paid position. Collaboration will not work in a parish where different musical sensibilities are well-established.
c. Your Excellencys letter of May 24, 2004, announcing the selection of Holy Trinity for closure gives as a rationale the small size of the German community. Your letter makes no mention of the Latin Mass community. We respectfully submit that this omission makes the rationale for closing Holy Trinity fatally flawed. Combined, Holy Trinitys congregations make a substantial contribution to the life and mission of the archdiocese. We implore you to reconsider insofar as a crucial factor has been excluded to the detriment of our parish and of the archdiocese.
III. THE CLOSING OF HOLY TRINITY WILL NOT SERVE THE CAUSE OF RECONFIGURATION.
Closing Holy Trinity will likely result in a substantial loss of archdiocesan faithful to other diocesessuch as the Worcester diocese, which maintains a traditional Latin Mass in Still River. Consequently, any attempt at moving Holy Trinitys Latin Mass community to St. James the Greater will not succeed in making St. James a viable parish. Since there is no parking at St. James, the Latin Mass congregation will dwindle. The cost of parking at the New England Medical Center will only be a further drain on St. James finances. Ultimately, the parish will remain a liability for the archdiocese. It makes little sense for the archdiocese to close Holy Trinity in favor of St. James, only to see the parking issue force, in short order, the closing of St. James as well.
IV. THE CLOSING OF HOLY TRINITY RAISES CANONICAL ISSUES.
1. Patrimony. Canon 1292, paragraph 2, requires the permission of the Holy See for the alienation of property precious for artistic or historical reasons. Holy Trinity Church falls within this category. The parish, established in 1844, was the first German national church in the United States and today is the only remaining one. It built the first Catholic parish school in New England. The current building, dedicated in 1877, is one of the beautiful gothic structures designed by the great church architect Patrick Keely. Holy Trinitys pastors have included the Jesuit scholar Fr. Francis X. Weiser. The Von Trapp family sang at Holy Trinity on more than one occasion as a personal favor to Fr. Weiser, including a concert for Holy Trinity's 100th Anniversary Mass in 1944. Holy Trinity is known as the Christmas Parish, because it introduced the United States to many of the Christmas customs imported by German immigrants during the nineteenth century. It is a registered historical landmark. Given this pedigree, suppression of the parish and sale of its property are unthinkable, especially since alternatives are available. Canon law demands that the archdiocese seek permission from Rome.
2. The Rights of the Faithful. Canon 214 recognizes that The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life as long as it is consonant with the doctrine of the Church. Since closing Holy Trinity will effectively foreclose many of the faithful from attending the traditional Latin Mass in this archdiocese, this closure implicates one of the basic rights of the Christian faithful.
V. A BETTER SOLUTION IS AVAILABLE.
We submit that the most reasonable decision, pastorally and administratively, would be to close St. James and transfer the Chinese community to Holy Trinity. This would save the German, Chinese, and Latin Mass congregations, increase an already vibrant parish, and permit the Bridge Over Troubled Waters and Cardinal Medeiros Center to stay where they are. The Chinese community should face no difficulty in moving to Holy Trinity, a church perfectly capable of assimilating them and only blocks away from St. James.
For the above reasons, we respectfully urge Your Excellency to reconsider the decision to close Holy Trinity Church.
The Congregation for Bishops
Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
The Boston Globe
The Saint Joseph Foundation
(I always assumed the switch to the electric candles probably had something to do insurance requirements -- stupid ones, if so. In any case, I don't really know. They are lower maintenance, I guess. Of course, they don't seem worth using.)
I really wonder, though, how much of what goes into the Chancery is actually seen by or reported (accurately) to O'Malley. I don't trust Lennon myself, and I doubt there are many traditionalists there at all.
IIRC, Boles was also the bishop to make recommendations on Southie parishes. He proposed an order of closing which would have left St. Monica's the last one standing (when I heard that, I just wondered grumpily why they don't just close them all and be done with it!), which struck me as totally irrational (there had been talk for years about closing St. Monica's because of low attendance).
But how do you get decent people into the Chancery?
Things are just as confusing in my diocese.
Good question. I did not author this document, nor can I claim responsibility for its distribution on 21 June 2004. I suspect this was sent to the Boston Globe to inform them of our situation and put the Archdiocese on notice that our situation has been made public. Interestingly, this never saw the light of day at the Globe. The Archdiocese neither acknowledged receipt or addressed any points.
I believe Archbishop O'Malley is troubled with very few of these details and only addresses strategic issues. Bishop Lennon is generally the point of contact, with which our Parish Council only met once, in August 2004, to address many of these issues. Nothing was answered...we are still waiting.