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A remarkable Catholic parish

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 Contents - Nov 2005AD2000 November 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: A remarkable Catholic parish
National Press Club: Cardinal George Pell on the dictatorship of relativism - Cardinal George Pell
News: The Church Around the World
Sister Miriam Duggan: the Church's response to AIDS - Anh Nguyen
Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist: areas for remedial action identified - Peter Westmore
Thomas More Centre: Fifty years from Shadowlands: Childhood memories of the world of C. S. Lewis - Msgr Peter J. Elliott
Call to Holiness: Contemplating the Eucharistic Face of Christ - Christine McCarthy
Letters: Myths exploded - Nola Viney
Letters: Church Music - Chris Wilson
Letters: New Zealand visitor to Brisbane - Leo Leitch
Letters: Gnostic gospels and the Da Vinci Code - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Example needed - Betty Griffin
Letters: Basic differences to overcome - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: SSPX response - Timothy Hungerford
Letters: Vatican II and Benedict XVI - Jim Howe
Books: The Incredible Da Vinci Code, by Frank Mobbs - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Philosophy 101 Meets Socrates, by Peter Kreeft - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: Stem Cells, by Norman M. Ford and Michael Herbert - Kerrie Allen
Books: More good reading from AD Books
Reflection: The concrete character of Christianity - John Young

During a just-completed overseas trip, I called in at an American parish I had visited previously in 1988. Given the concerns expressed at the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist (see report on page 9), the situation in this parish illustrates what might have been, had the authentic liturgical reforms of Vatican II been more widely implemented.

The parish of St Agnes in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis (Minnesota) has closely followed the Vatican II reforms, thanks to the leadership since 1969 of its now retired parish priest, Monsignor Richard Schuler.

Msgr Schuler is a distinguished American liturgist and was a longtime editor of Sacred Music. His call for moderation following Vatican II was overwhelmed by those insisting on radical changes according to "the spirit" of the Council. The fall-out is all around us today, prompting the criticisms expressed at the Synod of Bishops.

On the other hand, Msgr Schuler ensured that during the decades of turmoil his parish would remain an oasis of fidelity and reverence.

A by-product of this has been the continuing stream of priestly vocations from St Agnes, with this year eleven young men from the parish among the 72 in training at the archdiocesan seminary.

On my earlier visit, I attended the 10 o'clock High Mass (Novus Ordo) celebrated in Latin, with ample use of the Church's treasury of sacred music, including Gregorian Chant and a Mass setting by Schubert. This has continued since then, with weekly High Masses using the works of such composers as Mozart, Haydn and Gounod for much of the year outside Lent and Advent.

On the latest visit - along with about 60 others - I attended a weekday Mass celebrated in English by a youngish priest who followed the rubrics faithfully and reverently. During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest faced the tabernacle while Communion was received kneeling at altar rails.

The same occurred later at a school Mass, with the children kneeling for Communion, well-trained altar boys assisting and including some Latin hymns sung to the accompaniment of a magnificent pipe organ.

One hopes that following the present Synod of Bishops, and doubtless with the encouragement of Pope Benedict XVI, the example provided by St Agnes and other faithful parishes will become more commonplace.

  • Michael Gilchrist: Editor (email -

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 10 (November 2005), p. 2

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