I spent Saturday and Sunday in the Twin Cities. Most of you know that I went to college at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul. What many of you may not know is that I lived in the rectory at St. Agnes, in St. Paul for most of my years at St. Thomas.
It was a glorious time and it was a time that set me on the path to becoming a traditional Catholic. I came to first understand my faith and I came to first know what the Church expects, not only from her priests, but also from her laymen. I was witness to arguably the greatest liturgical musicologist in the USA during the 20th century and he became my mentor, Mons. Richard J. Schuler. I got to know some men who have become the beacon of Catholic thought, in the Church today. I got to know Raymond Card. Burke, while he was bishop of LaCrosse. I got to know Bishop Alexander Sample, while he was a priest of the diocese of Marquette. I got to know Bishop Paul Sirba, while he was a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneaoplis, I got to know Bishop John LeVoir, while he was a priest of the same diocese. I got to know Fr. Paul Marx, OSB; founder of Human Life International. I got to know Frs. John Echert, Robert Altier, Robert Fox, Thomas Dubay, S.M., Adian Nichols, O.P., John Hardon, S.J., and the ineffable Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf. These men helped to form me and gave me perspective on what it means to hold the Catholic line at all costs.
Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of being able to assist at St. Agnes again for the first time in several years. The new pastor, Fr. Mark Moriarty sang his first Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form. I have been witnessing Mass sung at St. Agnes for years and years. This past Sunday was a reminder to me that if a parish holds the line, there is no need for anything more or anything less than the expectation of Holy Mother Church.
Fr. Moriarity understands that the faithful clamor and want the Mass celebrated properly. He understands that the role of the celebrant is to commune with God for the laity worshiping in the pew. He understands that he is charged with doing the very best the Church expects. And he expects the same from all who assist at St. Agnes.
This has been the expectation of the pastors of St. Agnes from her inception in 1888. It is the expectation of the pastors today. As I was reflecting while Fr. Moriarty was singing the Mass, I couldn't help but put my hand missal down and just take it in. Take in the splendor and revel in the fact that this is how Holy Mother Church wants it done. She wants it done in Latin. She wants it done oriented toward God with the priest leading. She wants it sung. She wants all the ceremonies. She wants the faithful to be free to worship while experiencing the full beauty and majesty of the liturgical action carried out to it's fullest. She wants the faithful to approach the rail, to kneel, and to receive the Blessed Sacrament with humility and a true sense of need, both spiritually and temporally.
I know that I am biased. I know that I am "a homer" for St. Agnes, but I can tell you honestly, that there is no other diocesan parish in the world who has been so UN-affected by modernism. This was accomplished because the long line of pastors starting in 1888, moving through Mons. Bandas and Schuler and now being continued by Fr. Moriarty lead one to know the sacred. Had every parish been as diligent as St. Agnes, the troubles of the Church would not exist to the extent they do today.
St. Agnes isn't perfect. No place is. There are quibbles and there are peccadilloes, to be sure...but when it comes to the life of Holy Mother Church brought forth through the liturgical life of the Church, St. Agnes puts them aside for the GREATER GLORY OF GOD. Now you know why I sign off AMDG+.
God Bless Fr. Moriarity. God Bless St. Agnes Catholic Church. May her patroness continue to look down upon her and shine upon her majesty and greatness.