Voice of the Catholic Lay Faithful
New Yorker Petitions Cardinal Egan to Celebrate Midnight Mass in Latin

Sunday, August 12, 2007
James Todd

A parishioner from a small town north of New York City has started an online petition with a simple, respectful request to his Cardinal-Archbishop: “Please offer this year's Christmas Midnight Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.”

"Pope Benedict's release of the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, was possibly the most significant event of his pontificate, yet many millions of Catholics have no idea this paradigm-shattering document even exists," stated Patrick McGrath, who has lived most of his life in and near Stony Point, New York.

"Then I thought that my own Archbishop, Edward Cardinal Egan, has it within his power to take the Extraordinary Form from out of the shadows and in front of the Klieg lights, quite literally."

Christmas Midnight Mass from St. Patrick's Cathedral is one of New York's great events and a treasured tradition. It's been televised by WPIX-TV (Channel 11) since 1948. For many people, particularly fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics, the Christmas Midnight Mass may be the only time they see the Lord's Sacrifice of the Mass all year.

“My thought was: Why not take it a step further and bring back the Extraordinary Form -- which, of course, would have been the form televised from 1948 to 1969 or so -- to one of its most venerable venues, St. Patrick's Cathedral.”

St. Patrick's has a huge advantage: it's good to go for the motu proprio. It's ideally suited to celebration of the Extraordinary Form, since it retains a high altar with a baldacchino, and a marble communion rail. It also has a Cardinal-Archbishop who is fluent in the Church's first language, having served many years in the Latin-speaking halls of the Roman Curia.

Cardinal Egan recently wrote (Catholic New York, 7 July 2007) that there was "Room For All" in the Church's liturgical life, and that the Extraordinary Rite holds 'a very special place in the heart' of many New Yorkers -- and others beyond our city who 'feel a strong attachment to the Mass before the Council.

As Pope Benedict stated in the motu proprio: What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too. ... It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

“ I believe that a proper place for the Extraordinary Rite is Christmas Midnight Mass, and my prayerful hope is that the Cardinal makes ‘room at the inn' for the Extraordinary Rite and this holy night.”

The petition, which is on-line only, can be reached at this URL:

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