Rorate Caeli

Chicago’s Fight for the Mass of the Ages

The following article was written by a laywoman from Midwestern America. This "first Sunday of the month" event featured here is part of a weekly series of Rosary rallies that started in early January, taking place every Sunday at 11 a.m. outside of Holy Name Cathedral. The next weekly event will be on February 13. The next "first Sunday of the month" event will take place on March 6.

Bagpipes sounded on State Street, and a truck with flashing images of the Mass of the Ages rolled by. We stood shoulder to shoulder or knelt on the sidewalk and prayed the Rosary with Holy Name Cathedral looming large behind us. Men held signs aloft for the traffic to read: “Cardinal Cupich: Why are you punishing faithful Catholics?” It was the First Sunday of February.

Over two hundred of us gathered there. Men, women, even a few children (bundled up well against the cold). There were Chicago’s quintessential old Polish ladies in fur coats, and old men too, but the majority were millennials and gen-Zers. A mom in her third trimester walked about with an iPhone filming the livestream. A thirty-something dad led us through fifteen decades of the Rosary, interspersing the mysteries with hymns and other traditional devotions.

Some car horns honked, but whether friendly or hostile I couldn’t tell. Shouts rang from a passing driver or two, but they were lost in the Chicago wind. When the Cathedral’s 10:30 a.m. Mass ended and its participants picked their way through our ranks, looking embarrassed and saying nothing, I realized with a pang how Traditiones Custodes has already begun to rip apart the flock.

But despite this sorrow, a spirit of joyful calm prevailed over us—joyful because we recognized the honor that was ours in taking up this cause, and calm because, well, perhaps many of us are getting rather used to this kind of thing. We have prayed in the same way in front of abortion facilities, in front of businesses with draconian mandates, in front of statues of saints threatened by raving mobs, and in front of our own churches with doors locked and barred. Now the doors are open but in a strange conditional way. All are welcome but those who love the Mass of the Ages. Hence the question—purely rhetorical—for His Eminence Cardinal Cupich.

With all this in mind, I smiled wryly to myself as I knelt there on the cold pavement with no feeling in my toes. This time it wasn’t civil freedoms, or beautiful monuments, or even—as infinitely sacred as it is—human life we fought for; rather, it was all of those things together and one thing more—Our Mother who brings Christ to us, the Sacred Liturgy, the source of all joy in this life and our hope for salvation to come. Who could ever tire of defending such a beautiful Mother? Who could give up her nourishing presence without an honest fight? Though it would seem that the case is hopeless as the hierarchy is determined to “put an end to this mass forever” [1], we children and faithful Catholics press on with the words:

Though you hunt the Christian man
Like a hare on the hill-side,
The hare has still more heart to run
Than you have heart to ride.
That though all lances split on you,
All swords be heaved in vain,
We have more lust again to lose
Than you to win again.  [2]

The next Rosary Rally will take place Sunday, March 6th at 11AM once again outside of Holy Name Cathedral. See you there! For more details, visit the event’s Facebook page.

[1] Rorate Caeli, “The Abolition of Summorum Pontificum could come within days or weeks—declarations from Bishops and Cardinals”,

[2] G.K. Chesterton, Ballad of the White Horse (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001), 60.

Photos courtesy of AMDG Photography