Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Suggestions and sample letter for requesting the traditional Latin Mass following the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum

Many within our diocese yearn for the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. While we are fortunate to have this Mass both in Richmond and in the Chesapeake area, our diocese is large and for some, traveling to these locations can be quite a challenge. The answer is for those interested in their local area to make a concerted effort towards bringing the Extraordinary Form to their parish. Below is sample guidance from Una Voce towards achieving that goal. This is not something that will happen overnight. It takes persistence, charity and prayer. Una Voce of Chesapeake is also willing to help. Just email us.

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Advice offered by a parish priest from the Midwest (with additional material)

I suggest you read the document, Summorum Pontificum, first, especially the twelve points.

Before writing a letter, take some time to find out who in your parish may be interested in attending the traditional Latin Mass. Additionally, you should talk to any priest you may know who is interested in celebrating the Tridentine Mass. Depending on the situation, you could talk with your pastor directly and offer an informal request for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in your parish. This could avoid the need to write any letters. A friendly dialogue with your pastor is preferred to a formal letter writing campaign.

If your pastor will respond better to a more formal approach you should write first to your pastor, not to your bishop.

Write to the pastor of the parish where you are registered. If you are not registered at a parish, I suggest you register at the parish in whose territory you live, before writing to him. Registering at a parish does not obligate you to attend there every week.

I think at this initial stage, the more letters the better, so each person should write his own letter. In other words, husbands and wives can write separately, as can children. Since 8 year olds are considered capable of being the lector at Mass (as happens frequently), they are certainly old enough to write to their pastor.

  • Be polite, even if your requests were turned down in the past.
  • Be brief; stick to the request. One paragraph should be plenty; one page is too long. Do not include complaints or other matters.
  • Request the Mass for both Sundays and weekdays. This does not obligate you attend every day or every week or every month.
Anyone who likes the traditional Mass can write a request. You do not need to mention how often you plan to attend.
  • Mention that your request is according to “Summorum Pontificum, articles 5.1, 5.2 & 7.”
  • If you know of a priest who is willing and able to offer the Mass, mention that. Your pastor may not know of a priest who can do so.
Wait a month for a response. If you have not heard back in a month, write to the pastor again, the same letter. If he does not respond within another month, write to the bishop (see below). Keep copies of the letter, and the pastor’s response, if any. It is worthwhile for one person in the parish to have a copy of everyone’s letters. This may be helpful if the matter is taken to the next step.

If there is a chapter of Una Voce in your area, be sure to join. (In Virginia, there is one in Chesapeake and Richmond. For others, see www.unavoce.org. )

SAMPLE LETTER TO PASTOR
July 15, 2007
Rev. Gregory Doe
Pastor, St. Christopher Parish
111 1st Street
Illinois City, Illinois 11111

Dear Father Doe,
In keeping with the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI’s recent document Summorum Ponitficum, articles 5.1, 5.2 and 7, I am writing to request that you have the Mass of Blessed John XXIII offered at St. Christopher Parish. I request that this extraordinary form of the Mass be offered on Sundays, feast days, and week days. I know of a priest, Fr. Fred Johnson, who has said he is willing and able to offer this form of the Mass. If you are not able, maybe he could come to our parish to do so.
Thank you for your consideration
Yours in Christ,
Michael James

If you have written two letters to the pastor in two months and have received a negative reply, or have received no reply at all, the next step is to write to the bishop.

At this level, it becomes even more important to form a group, since the Motu Proprio mentions a group within a parish writing to the bishop. Do not make this more work than necessary; you do not need to have meetings. Come up with a name for the group; get a list of names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of those who might be interested; and you have a group.

Write individual letters, mentioning that you are a member of the group. If you haven’t formed a group, but you know that others in your area have requested the Mass, politely mention that.
  • Mention the letter(s) you have written to your pastor, when you wrote them, and his reply.
  • If you have unsuccessfully requested the Tridentine Mass from the bishop in the past, you might politely mention your previous requests.
  • In addition to asking for the Mass at your parish, request that the bishop appoint a chaplain or establish a particular parish for the extraordinary form of the Mass. This was not included in the letter to the pastor, because only the bishop has this authority.
Again, keep copies of the letter, and the bishop’s response, if any.

Again, have one person keep a copy of everyone’s letters.

Follow the same procedure as you did before: wait a month for a response. If you have not heard back in a month, write to the bishop again, the same letter. If he does not respond within another month, write to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (see below).

SAMPLE LETTER TO BISHOP
September 15, 2007
Most Rev. Evan Thomas
Bishop of the Diocese of Illinois City
222 2nd Street
Illinois City, Illinois 22222

Your Excellency,
I am a member of the Blessed John XXIII Society of St. Christopher Parish. In keeping with the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI’s recent document Summorum Ponitficum, articles 5.1, 5.2, 7 and 10, I am writing to request that you have the Mass of Blessed John XXIII offered at St. Christopher Parish, or at a nearby parish. I have written to my pastor, Fr. Doe, twice in the past two months, but have received no reply. [OR I have written to my pastor, Fr. Doe, but he has declined to provide this Mass for us.] I request that this extraordinary form of the Mass be offered on Sundays, feast days, and week days. I would also like to request that you establish a personal parish or appoint a chaplain for the extraordinary form of the Mass. I know of a priest, Fr. Fred Johnson, who has said he is willing and able to offer this form of the Mass.
I realize that I have written to you 3 times in the past several years with this request, but in light of the recent motu proprio, I thought it appropriate to write again.
Thank you for your consideration
Yours in Christ,
Michael James


If you have written two letters to the bishop in two months and have received a negative reply, or have received no reply at all, the next step is to write to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

At this level, it is extremely important to be part of a group.
  • Each person in the group should write a letter to Ecclesia Dei.
  • Name your parish, your diocese, and the group to which you belong.
  • Mention that you have already written twice to your pastor and twice to your bishop, and their replies (if any). If you made request for the Mass in previous years, mention that.
  • Ask that your group be given a chaplain or a particular parish.
  • Attach to this letter a copy of your letter to the bishop.
Do not send these individually. Rather, have one person write a cover letter, and include all the individual letters (with copy of the letter to the bishop attached to each) in one mailing.
If you have been given one Sunday Mass, but you have a group that would like a daily Mass, request a chaplain or a personal parish.

SAMPLE INDIVIDUAL LETTER TO THE PONTIFICAL COMMISSION ECCLESIA DEI

November 15, 2007
Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,
His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos,
President, Piazza del Sant’ Uffizio 11,
00120 Vatican City, Italy

Your Eminence:
I am a member of St. Christopher Parish, in the diocese of Illinois City, in the United States of America. I am also a member of the Blessed John XIII Society of the Diocese of Illinois City.

I respectfully request your assistance in having Mass offered in my parish, or in a nearby parish, following the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. I have written repeated requests to my pastor, Rev. Greg Doe, and to my bishop, Most. Rev. Evan Thomas, but have not received a positive response from them. [OR Our pastor, Rev. Gregory Doe, has kindly provided us with the extraordinary form of the Mass once each Sunday, but we would like to have that form of the Mass offered daily.] [OR Our Bishop, Most Rev. Evan Thomas, has kindly provided the extraordinary form of the Mass once each Sunday in another parish, but we would like to have that form of the Mass offered daily.] Would Your Excellency see fit to provide our group with a chaplain, or to establish for us a personal parish? That would greatly assist us in having not only the extraordinary form of the Mass offered daily, but also weddings, funerals and the other Sacraments regularly provided according to the earlier ritual. There is a priest in our diocese [OR there is a priest in the Central City diocese], Rev. Fred Johnson, who is willing and able to be a chaplain for us.

Wishing you God’s grace and blessings,
Yours in Christ,
Michael James

FOR THE COVER LETTER:
Your Eminence:
I am a member of St. Christopher Parish, in the diocese of Illinois City, in the United States of America. I am also a member of the Blessed John XIII Society of the Diocese of Illinois City.
Enclosed are letters from the members of our group, in which we respectfully request your assistance in having Mass offered following the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. We have written repeated requests to our pastor(s) and to our bishop…
CONTINUE AS IN THE SAMPLE INDIVIDUAL LETTER ABOVE.

1 comments:

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