Rorate Caeli

Pontifical Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

From The Paulus Institute:

The Paulus Institute is pleased to announce that a Pontifical Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be celebrated at the High Altar of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, on Saturday April 9, 2011. The Mass will be both glorious and liturgically quite exceptional (see below).

The Mass will celebrate the 6th anniversary of the inauguration of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, which is April 24, 2011 (Easter Sunday).

The celebrant will be His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Augustine DiNoia, O.P, who will be coming from the Vatican. Archbishop DiNoia is Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, second only to the Prefect, His Eminence Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera ( who personally suggested His Excellency for this Mass).

Archbishop DiNoia will celebrate the Mass from the throne according to the Extraordinary Form, commonly called the “Traditional Latin Mass” or the “Tridentine Mass.” Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have encouraged this use of the Roman Rite, most recently in 2007 by Pope Benedict in his papal letter Summorum Pontificum. This Mass follows the first Mass sponsored by The Paulus Institute and celebrated April 24, 2010.

The priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter will assist at the Mass, along with several priests and servers from the Greater Washington DC region.

Liturgically, this Mass will be a rare one, something few Catholics have ever had the experience of attending. It will be a Pontifical Mass, Extraordinary Form, said on Saturday in the fourth week of Lent. Rarely, we understand, is a Pontifical Solemn High Mass said in Lent. Further more, the Mass of the Saturday in the fourth week of Lent takes precedence as a privileged ferial day in the traditional liturgical calendar; it can only be replaced by a feast of the 2nd class or higher. The vestments of the Mass will be penitential violet. The Propers, however, are inspirational. (See elsewhere on this site.) Also, as a Lenten Mass there can be singing, but no instrumentation and no Gloria. Therefore, this Pontifical Mass will one rarely celebrated, of exceptional Lenten beauty, both solemn and exquisite.

The National Shrine is the largest Catholic church in the Western Hemisphere and among the ten largest in the world. The Shrine seats 3,500, with a total capacity of 6,500.

We especially encourage those Catholics to come who may not already be familiar know the Extraordinary Form. In particular, we are inviting young adults and university students, whom Pope Benedict has recognized are attracted to the Mass in the Extraordinary form. For the Mass celebrated April 24, 2010, people came from throughout the Eastern United States, and some from beyond, even one from Mexico.

The Paulus Institute follows the example of our patron saint, Saint Paul, who widely made known the Catholic Faith. Therefore, this Mass is presented for all the Catholic Faithful. We strive to enhance the appreciation of the Mass as Holy Sacrifice, to build respect for the Holy Eucharist, and to solidify belief in the Real Presence. As Pope Benedict has written—
The Church stands and falls with the Liturgy. When the adoration of the divine Trinity declines, when the faith no longer appears in its fullness on the Liturgy of the Church, when man’s words, his thoughts, his intentions are suffocating him, then faith will have lost the place where it is expressed and where it dwells. For that reason, the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever.


  1. This harping on about JP II (RIP) encouraging the use of the Holy Mass in Latin is clearly overdone when we know about the context of his policies concerning this and his subsequent submission to fellow hierarchs who stood against him over this issue. In fact, he expressed the notion of those who were sentimentsally attached to the Old Rite. Mor significantly, what we need to emphasise is that The Latin Rite has always enjoyed the magesterial support of The Church at least since Pope Gregory The Great's liturgical codification. Together with Pope St Pius V & the Trent Councils' landmark liturgical documents these form a much more convincing background to the absolute authority upon which the existence and practice of this Holy Mass is founded. Similarly, these have enjoyed the unquestioning support of the papacy throughout the historical period here. Apparently, none of these would have been very enthusiastic about overturning The Holy Mass in Latin for a vernacular, protestantised and anthropomorphic rite.

    There is a very narrow perspective here of ecclesiastical liturgical history.

  2. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Questions: Why are Lenten Masses not allowed to have instrumentation? Also, can I assume from this that, traditionally, musical instruments were not to be used at all during Lent, even by the laity outside of a liturgical context?

  3. André1:55 PM

    It is sadly going to be pure 1962. Too bad people won't really see how a Lenten pontifical Mass should be done...

  4. Henry2:23 PM

    LeonG: There is a very narrow perspective here of ecclesiastical liturgical history.

    It's a PR announcement, for crying out loud. And a very attractive one, indeed. You expect an "ecclesiastical liturgical history" on a poster? Jeepers!

  5. Anonymous2:56 PM

    I wonder whether DiNoia will use the Dominican Rite modifications, or whether it will be straight '62?

  6. I wonder whether DiNoia will use the Dominican Rite modifications, or whether it will be straight '62?

    There are, I am fairly certain, no Dominican rite modifications for a pontifical Mass, though Dominican versions of the chants could be used.

  7. I know of no "Dominican modifications" in the 1962 Rite. At that time, the Roman Rite was not used by Dominicans, so no modifications were needed. Dominicans in 1962 were obliged to always celebrate the Dominican Rite.

    I doubt there will be anything Dominican about this liturgy as Dominicans who became bishops before the Order's adoption of the Roman Rite in 1969 ceased using the Dominican Rite, at least publicly, and celebrated the Roman Rite.

  8. "The National Shrine is the largest Catholic church in the Western Hemisphere and among the ten largest in the world. The Shrine seats 3,500, with a total capacity of 6,500."

    Just a correction of this affirmation the Our Lady of Guadalupe's Basilica is much bigger as it can host up to 10,000 people, it might not as nice as the National Shrine but it certainly bigger.

  9. Rev. C. Ryder11:28 PM

    The Basilica of Guadalupe does have a larger footprint, but is smaller if one is considering the respective volume of the structures.

  10. In any context, the historical basis for the Holy Mass in Latin is far more significant than anything post-conciliar papacies have done to support it.


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