NYC Symposium on Tridentine Rite to Honor John Paul II

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On March 24, 2006, religious leaders, scholars, and laymen will pay tribute to the late John Paul II at a day-long conference funded by the Samuel Dorsky Foundation. The focus of the gathering will be the Pope’s Apostolic Letter of 1988, "Ecclesia Dei," which encouraged the frequent celebration of the traditional Latin Mass for those Catholics who desire it.

On March 24th, 2006, the Monuments Conservancy will present its 16th Annual Symposium, held in Rockefeller Center, NYC. Founded by Donald M. Reynolds in 1991 on the 20th anniversary of the death of the renowned art historian Rudolf Wittkower, the symposium is made possible by the generosity of the late Samuel Dorsky, in whose honor it is named. The foundation seeks to recognize those whose work perpetuates the beliefs, habits, and ties that are the foundations of a moral and stable society.

This year, religious leaders, scholars, and laymen will pay tribute to John Paul II. The focus of the gathering will be the Pope’s Apostolic Letter of July 2nd, 1988, “Ecclesia Dei,” which encouraged the frequent celebration of the traditional liturgy for those Catholics who desire it. The traditional Latin Mass is “one of the great monuments of the Catholic Faith,” Mr. Reynolds noted, and therefore an apt topic for the foundation’s annual symposium.

The traditional Latin Mass, often referred to as the “Tridentine Mass,” was celebrated universally by the Catholic Church prior to 1965. This Mass was codified in 1570 by Pope St. Pius V following the Council of Trent (thus, “Tridentine”); however, the Tridentine Mass was not a new form or rite of liturgy, but instead “harmonized essential elements of the Mass that date from the earliest days of the Christian era” according to Rev. Joseph A. Jungman, S. J. Following the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic liturgy underwent extensive changes, resulting in the present Novus Ordo of the Mass, which is in the vernacular and celebrated with the priest facing the people.

There is, however, a growing contingent of priests, religious, and laymen who prefer or are sympathetic to the pre-Vatican II liturgy, and these groups are implementing a revival of the traditional rite with the support of the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI has also shown himself a supporter of the traditional Latin Mass, having celebrated it on a number of occasions as a cardinal. Recently, the Tridentine Rite received a great deal of publicity during World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne: a contingent of over 800 young people devoted to the Tridentine Rite, from all over the world, took part in the week-long celebration under the name “Juventutem,” a Latin word for “youth.”

Speakers at the conference include Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. (editor of “Homelitic and Pastoral Review”), Fr. Joseph Wilson (author and chaplain of Legatus), Dr. John Rao (professor of History, St. John’s University and former president of Una Voce America); Scott Turkington (organist and choirmaster, St. John the Evangelist Church, Stanford, CT); Indira Sweeny (secretary of Juventutem, U.S.A.); Aristotle Esguerra (webmaster,; and Mark Froeba (senior vice president, Moody’s Investors Service, NYC). The conference is free and will take place on March 24th, 2006 at the Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center (Henry Luce Room, 2nd Floor), from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Seating is limited, please call 212-764-5645, Ext. 10 to reserve a place.

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