A year ago, I posted Monseigneur Lefebvre, the SSPX, and I about my experience at the Feast of Christ the King Mass with the SSPX community in St Mary's, KS. Today I'm posting about the Feast at the FSSP Seminary in Denton, NE.
For those who have read the previous post, the weather was radically different today. Cold and blustery with overcast skies. Snow is forecast for tomorrow, so instead of a beautiful, late autumn, sunny day like last year, it's an early winter day.
However, weather aside, here's how I managed to go to Mass at the Seminary, since I no longer drive. I have a young friend who only became a Catholic two years ago this Christmas. He is very conservative politically, and definitely 'Trad leaning' religiously. A couple of weeks ago, knowing that I am a Traditionalist, he said he'd never been to a TLM but he would like to go to one. I told him that if I could come along, I'd do some research.
Actually, the research was minimal. We live about 25 miles from Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary (FSSP) and about 40 miles from St Francis FSSP Church in Lincoln, so all I had to do was find out what time Mass was. Since Mass times are not listed on the Seminary website, I emailed them asking if it was acceptable for 'outsiders' to attend Mass there, and the time for Sunday Mass.
Last Monday, I received a reply assuring me that we were welcome and that Mass was at 09.00. I messaged Josh with the information. He replied immediately, suggesting we go today.
I then told him that today was not just 'any' Sunday, but the Feast of Christ the King. He said that was even better.
He picked me up at about 07.45, so we arrived at OLG with time to spare. Parking was a bit of a hike from the Chapel, so I was glad I had brought my walking staff along.
The Chapel is stunningly beautiful. It faces true east and is in an almost baroque style, laid out as a monastic Church, sanctuary, choir, and nave. The Altar is amazing! It has a beautiful marble baldacchino, and it is truly a 'High Altar'! As the Mass was about to begin, a server came out to light the candles. He went into the sacristy and got a ladder. Placing it firmly on the Gospel side, he ascended it and lit the three candles there. Then, back through the sacristy with the ladder, out at the Epistle side to repeat the process.
The congregation was small, as might be expected of a rural Seminary. About two thirds of the people in the nave were obviously seminarians. I would assume that they were first years, but I can't be sure. There were half dozen or so lay people as well, including a gentleman who was probably in his thirties with hair down to his shoulders! The choir, when we arrived, was sparsely filled with seminarians and clergy not participating in the Celebration, making their preparation. As Mass time neared, they went to the sacristy to vest, with the exception of one fully habited Benedictine. Of course, his habit is his choir dress!
The procession was quite long, with all the vested seminarians and clergy processing in, with the Celebrant, Deacon, and Subdeacon bringing up the rear. About a dozen of the seminarians make up the Schola Cantorum and they were amazing! They have recorded a CD, which can obtained here.
The only problem I had was that I couldn't hear a word of the sermon! My ears are not what they once were to begin with, and there was no PA system to amplify it as most Churches do today. Of course, the sermon was directed to the seminarians who were all either in choir, or sitting further forward in the nave (and, undoubtedly hear better than I do!).
When the Mass ended, everyone remained kneeling or sitting making their Thanksgiving. We didn't do that at St Mary's last year, because we formed up for the Eucharistic Procession immediately after Mass. It was great, because even at St Wenceslaus, whilst there's absolute silence before Mass, no one seems to have heard of making a Thanksgiving. Not only does everyone get up as soon as we've finished the St Michael Prayer, but the gentleman who gives me a ride home, is ready to leave! So instead of having to make my Thanksgiving at home, I was able to make it in front of the Altar.
As we left the Church, I asked Josh what he thought. 'Beautiful', he said. I was hoping he wouldn't be disappointed to the point he wouldn't want to go to another TLM, but I was soon relieved of that worry. We are now making plans to go to another, possibly at St Francis in Lincoln this time. My personal hope is that I can persuade either Josh or Lucas (my friend from the St Mary's excursion) to go on the Sunday before Advent, Christ the King in the NO, so I can avoid sitting through the insipid propers of the watered down Feast, as I discussed here.
And on a personal note, I really wanted to see the chapel because I have already arranged a Requiem for my soul to be celebrated there after I've faced the Judgement.