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Visiting bishop celebrates Pontifical Solemn Mass at Dayton’s Holy Family

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Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry celebrated a Pontifical Solemn Mass at Holy Family Church in Dayton on Oct. 7. Courtesy photo.

Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry visited Dayton’s Holy Family Parish Oct. 7 for a confirmation in the Tridentine Latin rite and a Pontifical Solemn High Mass, an elaborate type of Mass that can be celebrated only by a bishop. Holy Family doesn’t know of any such Masses taking place in the archdiocese for more than 40 years.

Holy Family is a Latin (Extraordinary Form) Mass parish with about 135 families. Established in 2010 by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr and staffed by members of the Priestly Order of St. Peter (a society of priests trained to celebrate and follow the liturgies and calendar followed before 1963), Holy Family welcomes any area Catholic to visit or join.

Bishop Perry with the priests and servers and 22 young people (20 from Holy Family and one each from Old St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart-Camp Washington parishes in Cincinnati) pose for a graph photo. Courtesy photo

A Pontifical Solemn Mass (“pontiff” means “bishop” in this context, not just the pope) is a Mass in the Tridentine Roman Rite that requires the participation of an assistant priest, a deacon, a subdeacon, and a variety of ministers (or priests substituting for them) – so many that a Master of Ceremonies is required to coordinate them. It requires special vestments and is accompanied by a choir. Most “spoken” parts are chanted.

Holy Family’s pastor, Father George Gabet, acted as the assistant priest, with Holy Family’s Father Brian Austin acting as deacon and Father Jon-Paul Bevak, of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Cincinnati acting as subdeacon.

Father Gabet sent this account of the event, along with photos by Anne Schrand and Karin Kochanski:

On October 7th, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, His Excellency, Joseph N Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, with the kind permission of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, came to Holy Family Church of Dayton to confirm 22 of our young people in the Extraordinary Form of the sacrament of Confirmation. What a beautiful day it was as Bishop Perry, a successor of the Apostles, first admonished the confirmandi to ask the Holy Spirit to come down upon them and to pray the rosary daily especially during this 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun. He reminded the congregation that the rosary is like a spiritual umbilical that binds us to Our Blessed Mother. It is an instrument by which there is a spiritual exchange of prayers and concerns on the one hand, with grace, faith and courage on the other. He stressed that we should use this instrument often with faith and confidence!

Bishop Perry then proceeded to call the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit down upon the confirmandi as they knelt in their pews. As the Bishop took the crozier and the Holy Chrism was brought forward, the confirmandi with their sponsors approached the communion rail and knelt.  There the Successor of the Apostles imposed his hand on them, anointed their foreheads with the sign of the cross using Holy Chrism while calling out their confirmation name and using the words specified by Holy Mother Church in her official tongue (Latin) while their sponsors placed their right hand on the confirmandi’s shoulder. After a final admonition to the sponsors to teach the newly confirmed how to be good Catholics – especially by example – Bishop Perry led them in the Creed, the Our Father and the Hail Mary in thanksgiving for the wonderful sacrament they had just received.

The Bishop then vested for a Pontifical Solemn High Mass in the Tridentine Rite. This was possibly the first Pontifical High Mass offered in the Extraordinary Form in the Archdiocese in over 40 years! After the Mass which was beautifully sung by the parish choir, the Schola Cantorum Daytonensis, Bishop Perry joined us in a reception for the newly confirmed and in thanksgiving for his administering the sacrament and offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for us.

Holy Family’s Masses are Monday – Thursday (Low Mass, 7:15 a.m.), Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m., Sunday Low Mass 8 a.m. and Sunday High Mass 10:30 a.m. Low Masses are said silently by the priest; High Masses are sung and chanted by a choir. For information, directions to the church, and more, visit Daytonlatinmass.org.

Want to see more? Both Old St. Mary’s (Over-the-Rhine) and Sacred Heart (Camp Washington) in Cincinnati will offer Pontifical Solemn High Masses in August 2018; check our calendar early next year for dates and times.


Bishop Perry confirming young people in Dayton’s Holy Family church. Courtesy photo.
Bishop Perry blesses the “deacon” (here, Father Brian Austin acting as deacon) as the Gospel procession begins to form. In a Pontifical Solemn Mass, numerous deacons or priests and a variety of servers and ministers required. Standing to the left is Ashley Paver, who acted as Master of Ceremonies. Holy Family’s paster, Father George Gabet, stands on the right. Courtesy photo.
Most of a Pontifical Solemn Mass is sung by a choir; here the choir can be seen in the organ loft. Courtesy photo.
The priests and servers bow in the sanctuary of Holy Family Church during the prayers at the foot of the altar, at the beginning of the Mass. Courtesy photo.
Bishop Perry offers the final blessing at the end of the Mass. Courtesy photo.
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