Monday, February 27, 2006

The Old Rite Mass

In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, there is only ONE authorized Old Rite Mass. It is held at Mary Help of Christians parish, 11:30AM on Sundays.

Abp. Weakland gave his permission for this Mass 20 years ago (!!)--the first one was held at St. Joseph's Convent Chapel. For the next several years, the Masses were celebrated at the old Minor Seminary chapel (the Minor Sem was closed and converted to the Archdiocesan offices--aka "the Puzzle Palace" long before the Old Rite Mass was celebrated there.)

The Mass was moved to Mary Help of Christians when the Archdiocese no longer wanted it at the Seminary chapel. Since arriving there, the regular attendance has grown from around 250-275 to well in excess of 350.

Mis-perceptions abound, but the one which is most significant is that it largely attracts "old folks." Sorry--that's simply wrong. The congregation's demographics reflect those of the greater Milwaukee area; if anything, there are a lot more children (<12 years) here than in other parishes.

Masses are also celebrated on First Fridays, First Saturdays, Holydays of Obligation (following the old calendar--Ascension is actually on a Thursday!!) and on civil holidays. For schedule details, see the website linked above.

Now rumor has it that there will be another authorized Old Rite Mass, to be held at St. Anthony's Parish on 9th/Mitchell. No firm plans have been announced as to when it might start, nor at what time of the Sunday (there are no "anticipated" Masses in the Old Rite.)

Interesting, eh? The Liturgy-Expert crowd was absolutely certain that the Old Rite would be history, finis, gone, dead. That was supposed to happen in 1967, then 1969, then "by 1985," then CERTAINLY by 2000. After all, only "old people" (who do die, eventually) were supposed to be attracted....

Now it's entirely likely that the active Old Rite groups in Milwaukee will survive Abp. Weakland.


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