Sunday, September 16, 2007

For the Record: Bishop Farrell of Dallas

Letter from Bishop Kevin Farrell to Priests (edited) source

I write to you concerning the most recent publication of Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI regarding the celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, that is, according to the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962 by Pope Blessed John XXIII.
In the Diocese of Dallas the Extraordinary Form is celebrated every Sunday at 9:30 AM and at 11:30 AM by Father Joseph Terra, FSSP at the Chapel of Carmel of St. Joseph and the Infant of Prague. The Extraordinary Form is celebrated at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish each morning at 6:30AM and on Saturday at 8:00 AM. The Ordinary Form of the Mass is celebrated in Latin (Novus Ordo) by Father Paul Weinberger at 11:30 AM on Sundays at St. William’s Church in Greenville, Texas.
In accordance with Article V of the Motu Proprio it is the responsibility of the Bishop of the Diocese to oversee the celebration of the liturgy in all of its Forms. As most of our priests have no formal liturgical training in the use of the Extraordinary Form I ask that any priest who wishes to celebrate this Form to contact me so that I can assist him in receiving adequate training in this Liturgical Form. In his letter to the Bishops of the world, the Holy Father pointed out that the celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form”… presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language.”
It is my intention to establish a committee of four priests who have knowledge of the Tridentine Rite to assist me in reviewing all requests from priests and the laity to establish public Masses in the Extraordinary Form. It will be the responsibility of this committee to assess the Pastoral needs of the people as well as the capacity of our priests and parishes to celebrate the Mass in this Form.
I encourage any priest who seeks to celebrate the Extraordinary Form for the first time, privately or publicly, to seek a review of his abilities to celebrate the Rite in a worthy and noble manner. It would be most unfortunate if, due to a lack of liturgical training or misinterpretation of the rubrics, this Sacred Form was not celebrated with the dignity it requires.
As I visit the Parishes I am impressed by the dedication of some of our brother priests who, because of the needs of our people, celebrate six or more Masses on a weekend. I have also received requests from Pastors to establish Masses in additional national languages, but I have been reluctant to do so due to a lack of priests. I would hope that, if any priest feels that he could be of assistance in helping some of our more populated parishes, he would be willing to do so.
I thank you for your priestly ministry in service to the needs of our people.