Shortly after Bishop Stephen came to the Diocese last year he was asked to consider permitting and promoting the celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in the Diocese (the so called ‘Vetus Ordo’ or the ‘Old Mass’).
Extraordinary Form of the Mass has never been abrogated (forbidden) though it was largely disused or restricted in the Church since the New Liturgy in English was introduced, the so-called Novus Ordo. Pope Benedict XVI in his Motu proprio containing new norms called ‘Summorum Pontificum’ liberated the old Mass from its old restrictions and since 2007 any priest in good standing, and with sufficient knowledge, can celebrate it.
The first thing Bishop Stephen had to find out when he was approached was the number of people who would be seeking to have such a celebration. There appears to be a stable group of about 60 people in the diocese which would give sufficient reason to promote the celebration of an Old Rite Mass. But this would need to be sustainable and stable. It must also be able to sustain itself financially and be well enough supported in sufficient numbers.
Accordingly Bishop Stephen has decided to plan a celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Lawside St Joseph’s Convent Chapel on Sunday, March 15th 2015 at 4pm (4th Sunday of Lent). This will take the form of a Sung Mass in the Old Rite according to the Missal of Saint John XXIII (1962).
The Mass will be celebrated by Father John Emerson FSSP of the Society of Saint Peter, one of the Traditional Congregations in the Church.
Bishop Stephen has the names and phone numbers of those who have requested the Mass and will be contacting them presently.
Says Bishop Stephen, “After the Mass there will be a short meeting of all those present to see how or if this celebration can be made a regular feature. As I have said, it would need to sustain itself financially and it would need to be well supported.”
“There is no reason why this celebration should be divisive or contentious. It will be celebrated for those who desire the Extraordinary Form and have a right to access it and who love the music and ceremony of the old Mass. It is not obligatory for anyone and it will not be replacing the Ordinary or usual Form of the Mass.”