On October 15, 2018, Canons William Avis and John O'Connor of the Institute of Christ the King formally began oversight of our Traditional Latin Mass parish here in Pittsburgh, which until then had been under diocesan control. They offered a Solemn High Mass on their first Sunday with us, followed by a social to enable us to welcome them to Pittsburgh. Since then, at every Mass we benefit from their meticulous and reverent manner of offering the Holy Sacrifice, and have found them to be quite personable and very dedicated to serving their flock.
We were blessed to have Fr. James Dolan as our pastor for the previous six years. We are grateful for his dedication to the traditional Mass and to us, and we miss him. But given the ongoing implosion of the diocese, all of the steadily falling number of priests are needed to prop up the NewChurch model a little bit longer. The powers that be are no longer willing, or perhaps even able, to spare a priest for us.
While all of the novus ordo parishes are now in clusters, and many more church closings are in the offing, all under the Orwellian-sounding diocesan slogan of “On Mission For The Church Alive”, our numbers increased significantly immediately upon the Institute's arrival, and we continue to grow. We see more and more new faces, new young families, and even some folks who used to attend years ago are now reappearing.
This past Holy Week, it was the first time for all but the oldest of us to experience the pre-1955 Holy Week liturgies, as they were before Bugnini and Co. had begun their dirty work some fifteen years before the novus ordo. The Institute is one of the traditional apostolates which had been granted permission by the PCED to use these liturgies on an experimental basis.
All this is laying the groundwork for an exciting future for one of the oldest TLM congregations in the nation. Although we have occupied St. Boniface Church for 25 years, we share it with the novus ordo, and have had to operate under their restrictions and with very limited facilities. Moreover, from the beginning our priests have never been allowed to live in the onsite rectory, unjustly forcing them to commute. But eventually we will be on our own. Rumor has it that we will be moving to another traditional church a few miles away, where the Canons are already in residence. But wherever our new church home is, and whenever we move there, once we are established, with the Canons living onsite, we anticipate a gradual flowering of parish life and activities, as is often seen in other traditional apostolates. Deo Gratias!