Being home in North Carolina, we are most fortunate to be in a slightly more populated area than the Diocese of Cheyenne-- for instance, there are quite a few parishes here in Raleigh, whereas in Wyoming, we'd have to drive 2 hours to get to the next nearest parish, and 3 to get to one of the only places where Mass is offered in the Extraordinary Form (@ Wyoming Catholic College), and even there, much to the chagrin of many folks in the diocese.
So we were most pleased to find that the Diocese of Raleigh has done a very good job of implementing the Motu Proprio, with the full support of His Excellency, Bishop Michael Burbidge (see his letter of Implementation of Summorum Pontificum), and a strong diocesan presence, with six parishes in the diocese regularly and publicly offering the Mass of the Ages. (I say publicly, because I know of several priests who also celebrate it privately)
When I left Raleigh to go overseas to work for the Church, Bishop Burbidge had just been installed (2006), and 5 years on, it is good to see the work he has done, especially with regard to the liturgy, to help bring the diocese along with a proper implementation of the Council, employing a hermeneutic of continuity.
Kudos to Bishop Burbidge and the many priests who offer the traditional Mass to the people of the Eastern half of the Old North State!
Notably, the mass we attended was at the Cathedral, which offers the usus antiquior on the First Sunday of every month. It was a Low Mass, but with a schola present to provide music in appropriate places. The schola, Schola Vox Clara, apparently travels around the diocese, singing for many of the Masses here in the diocese! With a schola available to sing the parts of the Missa Cantata, it shouldn't be too long before the celebrant is able to offer one, as that is the hardest part taken care of.
The priest-celebrant, Fr. Walter Ospina-Briceno, was a lovely man, who gave an insightful homily, and we had a great conversation with him after Mass. As it was Laetare Sunday, he spoke briefly about the meaning of Rose as a liturgical color, and how such things in the liturgy have a sacramental nature. There were 90 people in attendance at the Mass, which has been stable for quite a while now, so it is evident that the cathedral is indeed setting some best practices for the rest of the diocese.
As we have a new baby, I spent a bit of time in the porch of the church, which allowed me to get a few photos of the Mass itself. Many apologies for the quality, as they were taken on my (original version) iPhone.
(also-- note the cathedral itself. the altar rails are brought in specially for the Mass, but one of the many things His Excellency did after arriving was to instruct that the tabernacles in all of the churches of the diocese be brought in to a prominent location, if not the center of the church. In the cathedral, the tabernacle used to be over to the left-hand side, beside the pews.)
|during the homily|
|during the Canon|
|during the Last Gospel|
|Server's blessing after Mass|
|Father, your blogger, and a future priest(?)|
I must confess, I am rather disappointed that this is the only traditional Mass offered in the capital city a month! We were lucky to be here the one weekend it was offered. Hopefully, please God, as the EF becomes less and less a novelty, that problem will be solved. And, perhaps His Excellency would consider learning it, so as to be able to offer Confirmations, and even a Pontifical Solemn Mass one day?
One thing I wonder about, at least, based on the one Mass that I attended, is the growth in altar servers to serve the Mass. There was only one server for this Mass, and he wasn't a youth (no offense). Given that there's only one public Mass a month in the Raleigh area, it makes sense that there wouldn't be many servers, or even youth, to serve it. This seems to me of principle importance for vocations, and I hope that as the community here continues to grow, then that aspect of formation will be attended to.
In the meantime, kudos to all of those who are working so hard in the diocese to grow this community and keep it thriving! Be assured of my prayers, and I ask you readers to take a half minute and pray a hail Mary for them.
For more information on Schola Vox Clara, visit here.
For more information on Traditional Masses offered in the Diocese of Raleigh, visit here.