In his Christmas address to the members of the Roman Curia
on December 22, 2005, His Holiness
, shared his vision of shepherding the Church on a path of greater unity, continuity,
reform, and renewal. As an essential part of this vision, on July 7, 2007, the Holy Father released his Apostolic Letter,
, clarifying the status and usage of the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII
published in 1962, prior to the liturgical reforms of 1970. The document also governs the use of other ritual books in use
prior to these reforms.
Accompanying the Apostolic Letter, the Holy Father also wrote an explanatory letter
to all the Bishops of the world providing the context in which the faithful should understand the objectives of the document.
The Holy Father explains that the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council found in the 1970 Missal, with its two
subsequent revisions, remain as the Forma ordinaria or normal form of celebration of the Mass. The use of the 1962
Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII is to be used as the Forma extraordinaria or extraordinary
form of celebration of the Mass. Most notably, the Holy Father states that these two forms are not to be seen as two separate
Rites of the Mass, but rather two forms of celebration within the one Roman Rite. The Holy Father clarifies this two-fold
reality when he stated, “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history
of the liturgy, there is growth and progress, but no rupture.What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great
for us, too….”
Therefore, to implement Summorum Pontificum in every way possible in the Diocese
of Raleigh, it is my intention to maintain the Forma ordinaria as normative for celebrations of the Mass, but also
to make the Forma extraordinaria form of the Mass more available to the faithful. To this end, resources will be
provided to those priests who are able and choose to study how to properly celebrate the Forma extraordinaria of
the Mass so that both he and the people of God will best be served. There are many resources
available to priests to aid them in this pursuit and so I direct those priests seeking formation to consult with the Vicar
General, the Very Reverend David D. Brockman, for which formation program will be the most effective.
Our Diocese is blessed that we already have priests exercising an effective apostolate offering the Mass
and other sacraments using the Forma extraordinaria
. I am grateful to these priests for their generosity to assist
any priest seeking liturgical formation in the Forma extraordinaria
of the Mass. In particular, I wish to recognize
the Reverend Paul M. Parkerson, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Dunn for his leadership
regard. I also express my gratitude to those in liturgical leadership at Sacred Heart, Dunn for offering liturgical formation
in the ministry of altar server for the Forma extraordinaria
of the Mass.
While Summorum Pontificum does not impose a minimum number
of the faithful who may rightfully request the Forma extraordinaria of the Mass from their pastor, the priests
of the Diocese of Raleigh, and I, as Bishop, will do everything possible to respond appropriately and generously to the
requests for this form with the resources we have. Our Diocesan website will soon convey more information on parish celebrations
of the Forma extraordinaria of the Mass in our Diocese.
In recognition of the effective date of Summorum Pontificum on the Feast of
the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14, 2007, I invite the faithful of our Diocese to
join me at Sacred Heart, Dunn for a special solemn celebration of the Forma extraordinaria of the Mass. I will
be the homilist for the Mass and Fr. Parkerson will offer the Mass as the celebrant.
The richness of the Sacred Liturgy is the heart of our Catholic faith. Both the Forma
ordinaria and the Forma extraordinaria of the Mass have been the source of holiness for countless saints throughout
history. May the richness of our Catholic liturgical prayer, now made more available to the entire Church, continue to lead
us all to that same goal. In the words of our Holy Father, "Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything
that the faith, itself, allows."
+ Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh