A few months ago, I got onto the Una Voce website to get caught up on recent news when I came across a link to The Bernadette Fund, which was started to help defray the funeral costs of a little girl from St. Stephen's parish in Syracuse, NY who died suddenly from leukemia. I decided to follow this story for some unbeknownst reason and keep checking back to see what was going on. Last night, while finishing up some projects, I decided to do a search on St. Stephen's to see whether or not it was an Indult parish or a SSPX chapel.
It was an Indult parish, and it will soon be closing.
I started thinking that here is a family who is suffering so much; they just lost their daughter, the wife and mother is battling cancer herself, and now they get word that they'll be losing their parish and and the place they can go to the Traditional Latin Mass because the diocese has decided to close the parish altogether.
I know bishops have a hard job to do; they basically are running a non-profit organization when they have to run a diocese of any size. But surely the bishop knows that when you see a Traditional Latin Mass community, you normally see a very, very tight-knit group of people. To just pull the rug out from underneath them and tell them they have to go somewhere else for the Traditional Latin Mass without giving them a place to go isn't even pastoral. There are some options, according to the commentary in the link above, but these people who are St. Stephen's parishioners are at St. Stephen's and not the "SSPX chapel across the street" for a reason...
It's their parish. It's their family. It's their home.
I'm sure some of them will wind up at a Novus Ordo, some of them may go to the Traditional Latin Mass down the road in Utica, and some might wind up over at the SSPX chapel across the street. But it won't be the same. It won't be St. Stephen's.
If some of these bishops were truly concerned about Traditional Catholics going to SSPX chapels and whatnot, they'd make it easier to go to the Traditional Latin Mass and not more difficult. Yes, I know there are always going to be times where it's not going to matter how often an Indult is offered and that you're not going to please everyone, and some people are just itching to have a reason to avoid an Indult Mass and go to a non-diocesan chapel to attend the Traditional Latin Mass, but to say that's the case across the board is just wrong. And if you're going to close a parish where there is an Indult Mass being offered, at least move it to another parish so the faithful to which Pope John Paul II was referring to in Ecclesia Dei would have a place to go. I think our beloved Holy Father of happy memory said "wide and generous" support for the Traditional Latin Mass.
In any case, they have started a Yahoo Group to join. If you have been able to save their Traditional Latin Mass from diocesan extinction in your neck-of-the-woods, sign up and give them some insight. Myself, I'm just a sympathizer, as I can only get to the Traditional Latin Mass once in awhile myself due to family commitments, and while I don't believe the Indult Mass in Indianapolis is going away anytime soon, I miss it so when I can't go. I'd go every day if I could (and during Lent in 2006, I went to Low Mass anywhere from three to five times a week - I miss it so).
And to have that opportunity taken away altogether would be devastating.