Local Treasure: Our Lady’s Chapel, Cathedral of St. Petersburg

Not notable for any special art or architectural qualities, but for something which occurs here every Sunday–a local treasure; the chapel of the Traditional Latin Mass community of St. Petersburg.

Here I will momentarily wander from my usual policy of non-involvement in Church matters, since this blog is about Catholic imagery and not a place for what I call “liturgical whining” and general complaints about Church governance or ecclesiastics or politics. We will save that useless banter for other Catholic blogs. At any rate:

I wish to address all of my readers from my home, the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida–especially to you priests. The chapel pictured above is a precious one. It is one of only three places where the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is offered. In my own experiences at the parish level, this form of the Roman Rite is generally misunderstood in my diocese. Not only is it misunderstood, in some cases it is even hated. I sense that the traditional community is in some ways alienated from the rest of the diocese. The people of this group are holy, pious and humble. They love and revere God. In my opinion, they are what the model Catholic should be like. They are not mindless, up-tight drones who sit high on a pillar of liturgical extremism. They consider  themselves at one with the Church, whose worship is handed down to us from antiquity and is interpreted in a hermeneutic of continuity.

The point I am getting at is this: the Extraordinary Form should be made more available throughout the diocese. There are faithful people waiting for this Form to be offered to them. There are people whose souls would be more easily given up to God if a more fitting form of worship were available. Reverend Fathers, please catechize our people about the differences between the Extraordinary and Ordinary forms of the Mass. Please let them know that the Extraordinary Form is not “done away with”, as some erroneously thought. Do not be afraid to offer this Mass in your parish. Even if only a small handful of people attend, what’s in a number? You are called to save souls, not to fill pews. Each soul is precious, and you ought to do everything in your priestly power to save each and every one.

I am very grateful that the Extraordinary Form is offered nearby and that I can attend as often as I can. It is the setting where my soul has found great healing and I where God has pulled at my heart the strongest.  Im sure this sentiment agrees in general with the regular members of our Latin Mass community. The rest of our diocese, however, deserves the opportunity to find a solid spirituality inspired by solid liturgy as well. Please do not deprive them of this.


6 Responses to “Local Treasure: Our Lady’s Chapel, Cathedral of St. Petersburg”

  1. Dee Dee Says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I live in Eastern Hillsborough County in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Each Sunday and at least 2 or 3 times during the month, I drive to Sarasota in the Diocese of Venice to the extraordinary TLM parish established by His Excellency Bishop Dewane and staffed by FSSP priests. In Christ the King Sarasota, I have found a home. It may be the closest to heaven I ever get.
    Not only should the Extraordinary Form be offered in every parish (as per the Holy Father’s desire), having parishes dedicated to the EF and staffed by the FSSP would be one of the finest gifts a bishop could offer his flock.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I respectfully disagree. The Latin Mass community is NOT as you describe. It would take way more than the space I have here to defend my position. They remind me of the Essenes, or perhaps to be even more accurate, neo-Pelagianists. It’s a cult and I am so thankful to be free of it.

  3. JMC Says:

    Do the celebrants at this chapel wear the traditional vestments? Are all of the sacraments available in the Extraordinary form?

    • C. Whitty Says:

      Traditional vestments are typically worn according to their availability. The only other sacrament I have encountered there in EF is Confession, but I believe there is also Confirmation. The bishop likes to keep a tight reign on that community.

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