Rorate Caeli

Photos: Solemn High Mass following the March for Life

On 22 January 2014, the annual March for Life was held in Washington, D.C.  Several traditional Latin Masses were offered before and after the March, including Low Masses in the morning at Saint Mary, Mother of God church in the District by priests such as Canon Michael Stein of the Institute of Christ the King and Father Kevin Cusick.  (Sadly absent this year were the Franciscans of the Immaculate, who have visited Saint Mary's before the March for Life over the past few years to offer Low Masses.)

In the evening, a Solemn High Mass was offered for the repose of the soul of Miss Nellie Gray, foundress of the March for Life.  The celebrant was Dom Philip Anderson, O.S.B., abbot of Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey; the deacon was Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, oratory moderator of the newly-founded Community of Saint Philip Neri in D.C.; and the subdeacon was Father Gregory Pendergraft, F.S.S.P., development director for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in the U.S.

A surprise (and very welcome) guest at the Mass, which became a Solemn High Mass in the Presence of a Greater Prelate, was His Excellency Thomas Paprocki, bishop of Springfield, Illinois.

Several priests and religious assisted in choro (with others in the pews due to space), and MCs and acolytes included servers from the parish as well as other young men from the region.  The pastor of the church, Father Alfred Harris, attended and graciously hosted the standing-room-only congregation (the church holds about 400), almost all of whom spent the day outside in freezing temperatures.

The music was sung by the schola cantorum of the Lyceum School, an Ohio-based Catholic classical education program serving grades seven through twelve.  The choir sang Palestrina's Missa Brevis for the ordinary, Gregorian chant propers and several Renaissance polyphonic motets. The chant and sacred polyphony were well-rehearsed, demonstrated through tasteful, magnificent singing and exemplary direction.

The Mass was organized and funded by the Paulus Institute, which sponsored the 2010 Pontifical High Mass in D.C.  The vestments were purchased by the organization for Wednesday's Mass, using gold to substitute for red on the feast of Saints Vincent and Anastasius.  The photos above were provided to Rorate by Paulus and the Lyceum School.

A reception after the Mass was organized by the traditional Catholic young adult group Juventutem, whose chapter members (Michigan, D.C., Boston, Miami and elsewhere) widely publicized the Mass and largely filled the pews for it.  Bishop Paprocki offered benediction at the reception, and pizza, salad, beer, root beer and wine were provided by Juventutem to a packed restaurant across from the church where young adults and clergy from around the country got to meet each other and socialize.  Photos of the Mass and surrounding events taken by Juventutem members can be seen here.