Sunday, July 05, 2009

First Traditional Latin Mass at Immaculate Conception in Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Some background on the first Traditional Latin Mass at Immaculate Conception parish in Fitchburg, Massachusetts courtesy of Todd and Diana Tabbaa:

The first weekly Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass) at Immaculate Conception Church in Fitchburg was held on Sunday, June 28th. The Missa Cantata was very well attended by people of all ages. The superb acoustics in the large Romanesque Church accentuated the Latin prayers intoned by the celebrant, Reverend Father David Phillipson, as well as the traditional Gregorian chants and motets sung by the choir directed by Sam Schmitt, an organist, singer, conductor and composer who holds a Doctorate in musicology and other graduate degrees in liturgical music and music history. The seven altar boys in attendance added much to the reverent and transcendent atmosphere of the Solemn Liturgy: the incense from the thurible, the candlelight from the torches carried by the boys, and the sound of the bells rung at key points.

The following impressions from one of the attendees are typical of the responses expressed:

"I think it's fair to call this the beginning of the restoration of the immemorial Holy Mass codified by St. Pius V to the church of the Immaculate Conception. I'm glad to say that our (my family's) hopes were high, but we were entirely unprepared for the palpably sacred ambience that persisted in the church throughout the sacred liturgy and which accompanied us right out the door and into the church hall (where I spent most of my time talking about the Mass, I think). It brought back a flood of memories of the best days I'd seen when I was a boy and the blessed years we had the privilege of going to Mass at Holy Trinity in Boston (where our two girls were baptized). I had the distinct impression that Father, the altar servers, and the choir were actually praying (not acting out roles) as they solemnly carried out their offices with unaffected reverence. I trust that everyone could plainly see how beautiful the church is with its French blue and gold, especially in the magnificent statue of Our Lady, and the organ filling every corner, at times with sounds of reflection, at others with those of majesty; but even now when I recall the ensemble of those impressions, I'm overwhelmed. I think one cannot really overestimate the beguiling power of the truly sacred."

"My family thanks you and all those who worked so long, so hard, and with such loving devotion to bring the truly extraordinary Holy Mass back to Immaculate Conception Church. May Our Lord and His holy Mother and ours bless you abundantly with their most excellent graces here on Earth and forever in Heaven. With gratitude in Jesus and Mary,

John and Connie Mick and family."

All are invited to experience worship in this Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite which will be offered every Sunday at 8AM as a Sung High Mass when possible (or else as a Low Mass). The Sacrament of Confession takes place before the Mass from 7:15 to 7:50AM, and the Rosary is recited at 7:30AM. For more information, visit the website which is under construction at

Father David Phillipson was trained to offer the Ancient Roman Rite by the Fraternity of St. Peter and has worked in traditional parishes for several years. Father will also hold spiritual conferences and traditional devotions, and administer the Sacraments according to the Extraordinary Form. “Together with the Latin Mass Community, I wish to thank Bishop McManus and Father Thien for making available the celebration of Mass in the Ancient Rite in this beautiful Church. I look forward to serving the community and invite all to attend and experience Mass in the Ancient Usage. I am happy to help anyone to learn to follow the missal or to answer any questions they may have. Any priests who would like assistance in learning this rite are welcome to contact me:

Contributions to help with the start up costs for this endeavor are very welcome and may be sent to the Church at 59 Walnut Street in Fitchburg 01420. Please make your tax deductible donation to Immaculate Conception Church EF (EF designating the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite).

Paul M.


Michelle said...

The local Church in Fitcburg needs restoration and renewal. This is tremendous news! Deo gratias!

Wendy said...

We will be praying for the success of the Traditional Mass in Fitchburg. There has been so much bad news. This is an absolute gift from God Almighty. I encourage all those Catholics who have left the Church because they felt alienated by all the silliness and liturgical terrorism, the guitar Masses and liturgical dancing, the loud irreverent Churches and homilies that left them bored to tears, to return to Holy Mother Church and to give the Traditional Mass a try. And the young people too. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Ashley Pelletier said...

I wonder if other local parishes would be open to having the Traditional Mass as well? It would be nice to see this. Holy Rosary in Gardner would be so ideal. We can hope and pray right?

Samantha said...

Ashley, my sentiments exactly. More pastors should ask parishioners if they would be interested in the traditional liturgy. I know in many parishes it has been requested but the priest wasn't interested or felt intimidated perhaps because he wasn't fluent in Latin. How gracious and generous of Fr. Philipson to offer to instruct other priests in how to celebrate this great treasure.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Mass, beautiful choir. Thank you for offering this mass!

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Anonymous, we must give thanks to the Lord Jesus for this happy development and to Father Thien Nguyen for being open to the Spirit.

Thanks for your comment.

Samantha said...

Another happy development:

July 19, 2009

Bishop promulgates norms for
tabernacle placement
To Priests, Deacons, Religious, and to All the Faithful,
The presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is at the center of our faith and of the devotional life of our Catholic people.

In recent years, the place of the tabernacle in our churches has become a source of controversy. This should not be. The Eucharist, whether we are referring to its celebration or to the place of reservation, should always be a means of unity and communion, and never of division.

The place of the tabernacle in our church should reflect our faith in the real presence of Christ, and should always be guided by church documents.

My experience is that our people, with their instinct of faith, have always desired that the tabernacle be central and visible. They find it confusing when the tabernacle in their churches is not visible, and if possible, central.

Because of my responsibility to foster the devotional life of our people, and to keep it sound, I have asked our Office of Worship to prepare norms for the placement and design of the tabernacle in this diocese. These norms were brought before the Presbyteral Council, the Liturgical Commission and the Environment and Arts Committee. Suitable refinements and improvements were prepared.

These norms are promulgated to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on June 14, 2009, the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of the Lord. They will be effective on Aug. 4, 2009, the feast of St. John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of priests, in whose honor the present Year for Priests has been dedicated by the Holy Father Benedict XVI.

I urge all priests to follow these norms carefully and completely, and most importantly — to foster devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Sincerely yours in our Lord,

Most Reverend John M. D’Arcy

Anonymous said...

The Choose Life License Plate is a wonderful way to raise public awareness and much needed funding to support the positive choices of Life, Adoption and Safe Havens for unwanted pregnancies and newborns.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that we can't find a
biography of Father David Phillipson.Where was he trained and
what type of priest is he.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I have read that Father was trained by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP). Anyone?

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