Father Newman giving a Sermon

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Thirteenth Sunday of the Year

1 July 2007

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul is kept each year on 29 June, and this year on the vigil of this great feast of the two Apostles, Pope Benedict XVI announced a “Pauline Year” to commemorate what one ancient tradition identifies as the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul. The Pauline Year runs from 28 June 2007 to 29 June 2008, and the pope indicated in his homily that the Year should include liturgical, cultural, and ecumenical events as well as pastoral and social initiatives inspired by St. Paul’s spirituality. The announcement of this Pauline Year did not come much in advance, so I have not yet had the opportunity to plan for the specific ways in which we will celebrate the birth of St. Paul here at St. Mary’s. In the coming weeks, however, watch for announcements about the special events which will take place in the parish during the Pauline Year, and plan now to spend time in the coming year reading, studying, and praying with the New Testament Letters of St. Paul.

Also in Rome this week there were further reports about a document on the sacred liturgy from Pope Benedict XVI to be published soon, perhaps in July. This document will discuss the form of Mass in the Roman Rite which was in use from the 16th century Council of Trent until the years just after the Second Vatican Council. This ritual form is often called the Tridentine Mass because it was codified after the Council of Trent in the Roman Missal of 1570, and with minor adaptations from time to time, this Missal remained in use until the Missal of 1970 was promulgated by Pope Paul VI. The last normative edition of the Tridentine Mass was published in the Missale Romanum of 1962, and in addition to the now normative liturgy of 1970, it is this 1962 Mass which may be celebrated with the permission of the local bishop. The anticipated document from Pope Benedict is said to review the ways in which the celebration of the Missal of 1962 may be made more easily available, but until now the text of this document remains unknown except to the pope and his closest collaborators. When this document is finally published, there will no doubt be a circus of media attention of the most sensational kind, but please do not be confused or disturbed by what you read in the papers or see on television. Whatever else may be the case, there will certainly be no changes made in the present way we celebrate the Missal of 1970 in our scheduled liturgies, and pending a careful study of the document, I do not anticipate that a regularly scheduled Tridentine Mass will be celebrated here at St. Mary’s. For now, simply know that a document will probably appear this summer, and when it does, we will study it together.

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!

Father Newman