Monday, July 5

Latin Liturgy Association Convention, 2004

Since I haven't read anything online about the 2004 Latin Liturgy Association convention in Indianapolis, I felt compelled to jot down some of my impressions for those who couldn't make it.

The weekend kicked off with a workshop, "Give Chant a Chance in Your Parish". Since I planned on spending the entire weekend at the Masses and presentations, I skipped this session, but was pleased to receive the kit given to all registrants when signing in Saturday morning.

Included in the kit was a copy of the Adoremus Bulletin, a couple of holy cards, an edition of Jubilate Deo from G.I.A. Publications in Chicago and sundry handouts related to sacred music. I happily browsed through it, but not being musically versed, I realized the advice given to me at the registration table ("If you don't know anything about music, give this to someone who does.") to be prophetic! I'm currently devising a politically correct way to pass this on to the music teacher at the local parish, where my children attend grammar school.

The official kick off for the convention was a Mass at St. John's -- on Capitol, across from the Hoosier Dome (aka RCA Dome) -- according to the Missal of Paul VI, in Latin of course.

Due to the number of abuses I've seen when attending N.O. Masses over the years (I was born in 1967) I was hesitant to drive 35 minutes to downtown Indianapolis from my home at 7:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning, but decided to make the trek after much prayer and reflection.

I have to confess not knowing who the celebrant was, but did note the several other clerics in the sanctuary included some FSSP and the Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. (note: there was no concelebration involved) Frankly, I was impressed with the reverence and beauty of the Mass, despite my personal belief in the inherent theological flaws of the Novus Ordo. Also of note, the Schola from Holy Rosary in Indianapolis was in attendance and did their usual outstanding job with hymns and responses.

After Mass, I drove the short distance to Holy Rosary, on East Street across from pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly's world headquarters, where the main conference events would take place. Upon arrival, all were warmly welcomed by the LLA staff.

Of particular interest to me was a vendor booth for the "Society for the Preservation of Roman Catholic Heritage". Among the stated goals in their literature were: protection/rescue/restoration of sacred objects, education and public awareness of said objects, as well as their distribution to those Roman Catholics in need of such objects. Their website was listed at and it offers many items for sale.

The first presentation was given by James Likoudis, President Emeritus of Catholics United for the Faith. The thrust of Mr. Likoudis' talk was that Rome had provided the necessary documents for those who love Holy Mass to use to seek its restoration. The documents included the most recent GIRM, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, and Redemptionis Sacramentum. His advice seemed to be, and I paraphrase, use these documents to hammer home a baseline for Mass in your local parish. He was adamant about following the proper channels to advocate the solemnity and reverence during Mass. Again, paraphrasing, "Write your bishop about abuses, non-satisfactory replies should be forwarded to Rome." was his closing advice.

As they say in their literature, the LLA is about the only organization advocating the more widespread application of both the Missal of Pius V (aka "Traditional Latin Mass") and Paul VI's Novus Ordo in Latin. My sense of the entire convention was that they attempted to strike a balance between Traditional speakers and those inclined for a more reverential, and of course Latin-speaking, way of worship according to post-Conciliar norms. It wasn't clear to me as a newcomer which side of the fence Mr. Likoudis was on, but he was certainly a sincere and thoughtful speaker whose presentation led to several informative follow-up questions.

The second speaker was Mike Withers, from the Association for Latin Liturgy in the UK, who gave a presentation called, "Byrd Between the Lines". The Byrd in question was William Byrd ( , an English composer of liturgical music who spanned the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Again, not being musically literate, some of the presentation was over my head, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. Mr. Withers' English sense of humor was appreciated, especially his delivery of perhaps the most humorous line of the event regarding Thomas Cranmer, "Cranmer was fired as the Archbishop of Canterbury and literally fired a year later."

Following a break for lunch, we were treated to what was most certainly the most enthusiastic presentation of the weekend by Dr. Lucy Carroll of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, "Gregorian Chant: Music for the Few or the Many?". (The answer was both.) Dr. Carroll had given the chant workshop the night before, and after having heard her speak, I wish I had attended, despite my musical ignorance!

Dr. Carroll described how Latin could be -- and had been -- successfully introduced little by little into the liturgy at her location and how it could be expanded over time. Two things of note about this presentation bear repeating...firstly, the argument against Latin hymnody on the grounds that it will be performed poorly or off key by the Mass attendees: people will sing off key regardless of what is being sung, be it in the vernacular or in Latin. The second, and most reassuring, point she made clear: "Eagles Wings" doesn't belong in the Roman Catholic Mass!

The next speaker was Father Dennis Duvelius, FSSP, Associate Pastor of Holy Rosary in Indianapolis. His presentation, "An Illustrated Introduction to the Dominican Rite" was given with the help of a slide show and provided valuable insight to this venerable -- and legitimate -- rite of the Church. This presentation was interrupted by a break for Vespers, but was resumed with alacrity and led to several questions from those in attendance. Tidbits of interest from this presentation included the fact the Dominican breviary is written in rhyme and that the Dominican Rite is the only one where the celebrant takes Communion from his left hand.

After Father Duvelius, Dr. Richard Haefer of Arizona State University came to the podium to present, "Loquentes de psalmis hymnis, canticis spiritalibus: Early Latin Hymnody". Dr. Haefer gave an informative presentation, but unfortunately my musical ignorance again came into play and I was lost at times.

The final presentation of Saturday was given by The Very Reverend Father James Jackson, FSSP, who is Rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska. Father Jackson's bearing and presence were difficult to miss during the course of the day and he did not disappoint during his presentation, "Training Seminarians at Our Lady of Guadalupe". If only Father Jackson could have an hour-long program on EWTN or -- better yet -- a national broadcast outlet! Father Jackson described the four marks of prayer, hard work, sacrifice and generosity that are emphasized to each seminarian. This, along with the unique charter to offer Holy Mass according to the 1962 typical edition, were, in his opinion, among the reasons the seminary was able to flourish as it has over the past decade.

There is no other word to describe Father Jackson's talk other than uplifting. Having heard the morally and socially relativistic mantra repeated by most clerics, both Catholic and non-Catholic, over the years I found it incredibly refreshing to hear a man speak with the conviction and confidence of his Roman Catholic faith. May the Lord bless the men of the FSSP and all those priests and religious who have made so many sacrifices in their lives over the years!

Sunday's session opened with the disappointing news from LLA President William Leininger that Archabbot Lambert Reilly of Saint Meinrad's Archabbey, who was scheduled to celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass according to the 1962 rubrics at Sacred Heart parish that afternoon, was unable to keep that commitment and a Sung Mass would be said in it's place.

This took a little bit of air out of the balloon, so to speak, as so many people had been looking forward to this Mass, not only at the convention, but also in the Catholic community of Indianapolis. In fact, the church was packed that afternoon and several local media outlets sent crews to provide coverage for their evening newscasts. It was still a beautiful Mass, of course, and all were fortunate to be at Sacred Heart, which sustained over a million dollars in fire damage just a few years earlier.

Following this announcement, The Most Reverend Thomas Paprocki, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago -- who was also to be presented with the LLA's "Domus Dei" award later in the day -- gave a presentation, "Why Stick It to the Book?" After a few cordial opening remarks, including some regarding his great interest in the Latin language, the Bishop gave us a sneak preview of an article he would be publishing shortly in a Catholic journal, whose name escapes me at the moment. A few minutes in, his Excellency began quoting GIRM and Canon Law in such detail that I found it difficult to stay in touch with his train of thought.

It is not my intention to be disrespectful to his Eminence, who is a member of the advisory board to the Association, but his presentation did not improve the mood of the room, especially during the period of questions that followed his talk. Perhaps I misunderstood his remarks and intent, but I got the impression that while he agreed there were a number of liturgical abuses happening across our land, we had to proceed cautiously in advocating change, lest the parishioners in those churches become, how can I say this...dissatisfied...with their liturgical experience. I don't believe I was the only one who got that impression, as James Likoudis, who had presented on liturgical abuse and how to combat it the previous day, asked several fairly straightforward questions of the Bishop that seemed to make his Excellency rather uncomfortable. Regardless, Bishop Paprocki did receive a standing ovation, from most present, upon being awarded the Domus Dei award for his long support of the LLA.

Following the award presentation and remarks, Dr. James Yeager of the Pontifical College Josephinum took to the podium to present, "Sacred Music in Seminary Training". Dr. Yeager provided all with not only an inspiring and informative overview of the college and his work, but also a little levity deriving from some technical difficulties he experienced with his presentation materials. (laptop, projector, etc.) His conclusion was that bad music leads to bad theology. He summed up the thoughts of many Roman Catholics over the years by saying, "Not that I have anything against the guitar, it's a beautiful instrument, but you know what I mean..."

The final presentation before Mass, "Mater Ecclesiae Chapel, An Unbelievable Story", was given by Reverend Father Robert Pasley, Rector of Mater Ecclesiae Chapel in Berlin, New Jersey. I was delighted to learn that Mater Ecclesiae is the only all-Traditional parish in the country. Father Pasley gave an excellent review of the history of the parish from it's earliest days and it was heartening to hear. His conclusion was that this was certainly possible elsewhere. He also stressed that his parish makes every effort to be a full partner in the diocese, especially where the rubber in the modern world meets the road: finance. Hopefully the good works of Father Pasley and the parishioners of Mater Ecclesiae parish will encourage others to strive to achieve similar results in their localities.

At this time, all departed for the short drive to Sacred Heart, a historically German parish on the south side of Indianapolis.

As mentioned earlier, the neighborhood was abuzz (the church itself sits in the middle of a tight, residential neighborhood) with traffic and activity. The church itself was magnificent, having been restored from a terrible fire that had occurred just a few years before. In the loft were the Bach Chorale Singers and Orchestra of Lafayette, Indiana, which provided wonderful selections from the Church's wealth of liturgical music – including Mozart -- to accompany the Mass, which was celebrated by Father Duvelius.

Unfortunately, the Mass started about 20 minutes later than planned, and due to a family obligation which would have not been a conflict had Mass started at its scheduled time, I excused myself after the Offertory. There was a panel discussion after Mass, but I have no report on what topics may were discussed.

Overall, I had a very positive experience at the conference and would encourage anyone who reads this to attend the next one. You can find the LLA website at for further details regarding the Association and its activities.