I mentioned two First Masses of diocesan priests in the Extraordinary Form which were going to take place in the diocese of Albenga-Impria, Italy, cf. my post First Masses in the Extraordinary Form which gives details and background. One of these Masses, which took place last Sunday, was celebrated by newly ordained Father Francesco Ramella as a Solemn Mass in the parish church of St. Thomas the Apsotle in Dolcedo, the splendorous and completely intact sanctuary of which you can see in last week's post. Mozart's Spatzenmesse was sung by a choir, as well as Adorabunt Nationes by Himmel, and Ave Verum and Te Deum again by Mozart, whereas the Gregorian propers were sung by the Benedictines of the Immaculate. Some of the canons of the Cathedral and of the Concathedral also attended. Our friends of Messa in latino now have some images of this Mass.
The new priest greeting the faithful:
The sacred ministers - including a presbyter assistens, a privilege for First Masses - approaching the altar:
The NLM's best wishes and congratulations to Don Francesco Ramella and his fellow new priests.
Good news from a priest-friend, Fr. Mitchell Beachey, on the issue of ad orientem. I have spoken of him and his liturgical endeavours here before on a few occasions. He has been busy working at restoring the liturgical orientation of his churches through, not only the Benedictine arrangement of the altar, but also through the use of ad orientem liturgicum -- amongst his other liturgical pursuits, including the usus antiquior.
Just this evening he gave me an update on one of his parishes where he began celebrating ad orientem at the beginning of Advent. His intention was to do this solely for Advent and Christmas and then return to the Benedictine arrangement, but what should transpire but this:
I have been celebrating ad orientem since Advent. I was going to stop after Christmas, but they now prefer it [ad orientem].
And so, this parish church will now just continue on, from henceforth, with the celebration of the Mass ad orientem. Needless to say, this is a marvellous and gratifying thing.
(Fr. Beachey celebrating the modern liturgy ad orientem liturgicum)
There is something very pertinent in this account.
Evidently there must always be some preparation and catechesis and there must also be prudence employed when dealing in these matters -- and indeed, situations can vary from place to place, and this must be earnestly taken into account -- but perhaps this report is a reminder of what these things, in combination with a little bit of pioneering spirit, can accomplish. It is perhaps also a reminder that the faithful themselves should not be underestimated in their ability to receive that catechesis and come to appreciate our venerable liturgical tradition.
Speaking of pioneering spirit, some of you may also recall a story I told you of, of another priest-friend, Fr. Paul Nicholson, who celebrated his first Mass in the usus antiquior on Christmas morning:
NLM readers will be happy to know that, as of today, Fr. Nicholson has now begun offering Mass in the usus antiquior on a weekly Sunday basis.
[As always, priests who are instituting ad orientem, the Benedictine arrangement, other elements of the reform of the reform, or the usus antiquior, are invited to send in your news and photos to the NLM. Do know that your stories help to encourage your brother priests -- and future priests -- to go and do likewise, and you also help give the faithful a sense of consolation.]
Speaking of the use of ad orientem in the context of the modern liturgy, the Archbishop of Utrecht, Msgr. Willem Eijk, re-consecrated St. Willibrord's church in Utrecht, a church which had been separated from that Archdiocese since the 1960's, but which recently repaired that schism. (For more of the background on this, see the original press release -- in English translation -- provided here and also see here.)
The church was put under the auspices of the Dutch Society for Latin Liturgy, and Masses are regularly celebrated ad orientem in this church. Both forms of the Roman liturgy are also offered.
(A beautiful view of the interior of this spectacular church)
(The Archbishop of Utrecht, celebrating ad orientem in St. Willibrord)
More photos of the event may be found here.
Rinascimento Sacro shares some very edifying photos from a recent requiem Mass offered at the Monastery of Murate in Città di Castello by the Franciscans of the Immaculate for the anniversary of the death of one of their friars.
The Franciscans of the Immaculate -- founded by Pontifical Right by Pope John Paul II from what I can see -- are not an order I have followed a great deal to date, but they would seem to be a group to keep more of a watch upon.