Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 14:2827 February 2013
CHARLOTTE — Traditional Latin Mass devotees in the Charlotte area now have a place to worship regularly on Sundays, thanks to Vatican approval of a petition from local Catholics calling themselves Coetus Fidelium.
Coetus Fidelium (Latin for "group of faithful") aims to support awareness and celebration of the old Latin Mass, also known as the Mass in the Extraordinary Form (compared to Mass in the Ordinary Form, which most Catholics are now familiar with). The group's name comes from Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum," which encourages the celebration of the old Latin Mass. The group is comprised of 65 families from 11 parishes in the Charlotte area.
Under "Summorum Pontificum," faithful could petition Rome for permission to seek a regular Sunday observance of the old Latin Mass, and that's just what Coetus Fidelium did nearly two years ago, with the blessing of Bishop Peter J. Jugis.
Bishop Jugis recently received notice from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the Vatican office responsible for the observance and application of "Summorum Pontificum," encouraging him to offer the old Latin Mass on Sundays.
Fitting in a Latin Mass amid what are already busy schedules for the diocese's priests was not easy. Priests are restricted from celebrating more than three Masses on Sunday.
The traditional Latin Mass will be offered at St. Ann Church in Charlotte by Father Timothy Reid, pastor, following his discussions with Bishop Jugis about how to accommodate the liturgy into the parish's Sunday schedule.
Father Reid also celebrates a weekly Wednesday evening Latin Mass, and helps to educate the faithful about the traditional liturgy of the Church prior to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
The most viable solution was to take the 12:30 p.m. Spanish bilingual Mass, the least attended Mass at the parish, and offer the Latin Mass in its place, Father Reid said in a recent announcement.
"As St. Ann's is the only parish in Charlotte that regularly offers the Latin Mass, Bishop Jugis recently asked me to make it available every Sunday," Father Reid said in his notice to parishioners. "To be frank, I have mixed feelings about this. While I love the Traditional Latin Mass and believe it has a very positive impact on our parish's liturgy as a whole, I also know that changing the 12:30 p.m. bilingual Mass to Latin will be a hardship for some of you. I regret that this is the case. And I sincerely hope that our Spanish-speaking parishioners will continue coming to St. Ann's, as we will continue to offer other services in Spanish. At the same time, I do believe this is an answer to prayer. In fact, I've been praying for a year for the wisdom to know if and when to make this change in our parish."
Chris Lauer, president of Coetus Fidelium, expressed his joy at the news in a recent email.
"This is such great news," Lauer said. "I want everyone to be aware and appreciative of the great burden that Father Reid will have as a result of this accommodation. Father Reid will now have to manage two liturgical calendars, and on most Sundays will have to write two different homilies. As the only priest at a parish the size of St. Ann's this is not a small feat."
Father Reid also noted in his announcement, "While this may not be an easy change for some of you, I do believe this is what Our Lord desires for our parish. Moreover, I am very pleased that we are able to offer both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass, as is the expressed desire of the Holy Father. Thank you for your generosity, patience and understanding."
The traditional Latin Mass is also celebrated regularly at Our Lady of the Angels Church in Marion, St. Dorothy Church in Lincolnton, Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury, and Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro.
— SueAnn Howell, senior reporter. Pictured above: Father Tim Reid celebrates the Mass in Extraordinary Form. File photo by SueAnn Howell.
Get more info
For details about the traditional Latin Mass in Charlotte, go to St. Ann Church's website at www.stanncharlotte.organd click on the Latin Mass Information link.
For details about the traditional Latin Mass elsewhere in North Carolina,
go to www.nctlmmef.com.