Father's Bulletin Letter 7.25.21

Jul 22, 2021


As has been reported virtually everywhere, Pope Francis’s new apostolic letter Traditionis Custodes returns many of the former restrictions and adds a few more for parishes, priests and even further restricting bishops’ discretion as it concerns the celebrating of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal. I will leave it to commentators to debate the whys and wherefores of this pronouncement, but I do want to let you know what is going on as far we know it and how it will affect the parish of St. Sebastian.

It has long been thought that some kind of direction would be coming from the Pope concerning the celebration of the extraordinary form. Most of the clergy that I know, however, were taken a bit by surprise at the immediacy and scope of the letter. Further, if you read the letter, it appears (at least to me) to have some internal inconsistencies and contradictions. This may be the fault of translations or misinterpretations. Before anything is done, even though the letter took effect immediately, it will take time to figure out exactly what it says.

I became aware of the letter when I started receiving texts from fellow priests. Then information started rolling in from news feeds. I found it odd that such a major change in Church practice would come without a warning or a transition period. It sounded as though one week one might attend the Extraordinary Form (a title that I think no longer applies) and quite without any warning, one would come to church the next week and find everything changed.

If you and I are uncertain of what all this means, our shepherd, Bishop Malesic, was left no less spinning. He was on vacation when the letter came out and so had his vicar general (the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority) give me a reassuring call. We were to change nothing until the bishop returns, gets a handle on the situation and then invites the effected clergy together (August 4th) to discuss how to implement the directives. So now you know about as much as I do (as of Monday when this is written.)

At this time, I believe that there will be no changes as far as the celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays and holy days of obligation at St. Sebastian Parish. Further the Pope’s letter does not address other sacraments such as baptism and so I do not foresee any changes whatsoever in that regard. But as I find out more, I certainly will make you aware.

In the meantime, pray for the parish, our Bishop, the Pope and especially all those who will be hurt or confused by this pronouncement. If you are of a mind to do more, the most effective tools will be encouragement, charity and support especially if you are going to write a letter to our Bishop. And in the meantime, please know of my prayers for you our parish as we navigate these confusing waters.


CONSTRUCTION: We had a meeting with the city last week concerning Mull Avenue and other projects that will be going on around St. Sebastian Square. The details are many and so for an in-depth report of this meeting, please see this week’s Angelus Letter.

One thing of which you may want to be aware now however, is that Hawkins Avenue is about to be resurfaced. Starting on or about July 26th, this street will be improved from Vernon Odom Blvd all the way to Wallhaven. Any given stretch under construction should not last longer than two days however. But I thought that you might want to be aware.

COMPLINE: The Parish of St. Sebastian is one of nine parishes throughout the diocese that has been asked to host night prayer for nine consecutive days at 8:30pm leading up to the Feast of the Assumption. More details will be forthcoming.

God bless,

Fr. Valencheck