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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Athanasius Smiled: Taking Back One of Our Places

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She's Ours Again (St. James Church) She's Ours Again (St. James Church)

In his letter to Catholics suffering at the hands of Arian heretics, the great St. Athanasius writes: "I know moreover that not only this thing saddens you, but also the fact that while others have obtained the churches by violence, you are meanwhile cast out from your places. For they hold the places, but you the Apostolic Faith."

Today Athanasius smiled, for in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States of America a gathering of faithful Catholics witnessed a truly remarkable event: the dedication ceremony of new Catholic Church.

Now by “new” I don’t refer to the age of the actual building, for the West End parish of St. James the Greater was established in 1853. No, “new” in the sense that this building, which fell into disuse after the Second Vatican Council and was eventually sold off to a businessman to be used for secular purposes, has as of this morning been redeemed and rededicated to the holy purposes for which Catholics from many years ago had built it in the first place. The building is being placed back in the service of the Catholic Faith and the salvation of souls.

st. jamesThe Chancery Office of the Diocese of Pittsburgh may not be happy with this development but it is not difficult to imagine heaven rejoicing on this day, along with faithful Catholics all around the world who see this as a heaven-sent sign of things to come if we can just hold fast to the faith of our fathers during these times of upheaval in the Church.

To fully appreciate the long journey St. James has taken in order to reestablish the mission of salvation for which the church was built, readers may wish to peruse the SSPX’s 44-page St. James Church Re-Dedication commemorative brochure, which has been compiled by the new pastor of St. James, Father Patrick Rutledge, and can be viewed here

This morning, following a procession of priests and faithful through the streets of Pittsburgh, St. James Catholic Church at 326 S. Main Street was blessed at 11:00am by Fr. Niklaus Pfluger (First Assistant to the Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay). A Solemn Mass (see photo) followed, making it official: the SSPX has taken back one of ours but in a spirit of humility and gratitude to God for his goodness.

This day was a long time coming
james renovate

As the recent SSPX press release put it:


For many years the Society of St. Pius X has performed its apostolic work for the salvation of souls under the auspices of Our Lady of Fatima Church. With the re-dedication of the new church the priestly society will continue its Pittsburgh, PA apostolate under the patronage of the Apostle, St. James the Greater. The retention of the church's original titular saint also signifies that the SSPX is continuing to transmit the same Catholic Faith for which the West End parish was founded in 1853.

As of tomorrow, March 29, Sunday Mass will once again be offered at St. James Church at 9:00am with confessions starting at 8:00am and the public Rosary at 8:30am. The Mass, the Rosary, the Faith celebrated from now on in the Church of St. James will be according to the traditional Catholic Roman Rite of the Church.

Whether you support the SSPX or not, we can all agree on this much: At least the Muslims didn't get this one, and Pittsburgh Catholics have not only kept the faith but managed to recover one of the churches that had been lost to us all.

All glory, laud and honor to Thee Redeemer King!



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Last modified on Saturday, March 28, 2015
Michael J. Matt | Editor

Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000.  Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.