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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Young Priest Discovers Renewal In Old Rite

Father Jeffery Fasching Elevates the Eucharist at
the Traditional Latin Mass in St. Agnes Cathedral - Springfield, Missouri
May 9th. 2010
A Catholic Priest is first and foremost a man of prayer. Prayer alone with our Lord is the single most important activity that I engage in each and every day. If any priest tells you otherwise, he does not have his priorities in order. A significant number of seminarians and priests attribute their vocations to Eucharistic adoration. I am one of them. Being alone with the Lord with no distractions each day makes for a very personal visit through which I am able to listen to the Lord speak to me.

The Eucharist is a priceless treasure. I first began to learn this in my home parish of Saint Francis of Assisi in Wichita, KS when I was in my early twenties. As I began to discern my vocation, I felt a powerful attraction toward regularly visiting our Lord in the perpetual adoration chapel in the parish. Our Lord spoke to me in my heart with an overwhelming invitation to confect the Eucharist and bring Christ to the world. From that time on I realized that among the many possibilities that life offered me at that point, nothing could begin to compare with working for the salvation of souls as a Catholic priest.

Over the years I have truly experienced first hand how the words of Pope Benedict XVI ring true regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and adoration: “Only within the breathing space of adoration can the Eucharistic celebration indeed be alive…Communion and adoration do not stand side by side, or even in opposition, but are indivisibly one.”

Less than a year ago I learned of our Holy Father’s milestone document “Summorum Pontificum,” which restored to priests the freedom to celebrate the “extraordinary form” of the Roman rite. With the help of an on-line tutorial, I trained myself to offer Mass in the extraordinary form. The reason for my attraction toward the Latin Mass is twofold: my traditional upbringing and my experience of an unwillingness on the part of many priests to follow the rubrics of the mass.

Since I have been offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the extraordinary form I have experienced both a strengthening of my faith and great consolation as a Traditional priest who has experienced tremendous support from a Traditional, like-minded bishop. I have experienced a deeper union with the Church and our Holy Father through the classical Roman Liturgy because so many saints throughout the ages have offered the Holy Sacrifice precisely the same way that I am able to do right now.

As children of God our relationship with God is by far the most important relationship we can have. This relationship is intimately united with the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. It is through the Mass alone that we are able to receive our Lord in Holy Communion and thereby nourish our personal relationship with Him. My experience has been that in any human relationship the words we use and the actions we perform play a significant role in the success of that particular relationship. Since our salvation depends upon our relationship with God, we should take extreme care with the words and actions of the Sacred Liturgy.

The documents of Vatican II clearly state that no individual, not even a priest, has the right to change the rubrics of the Sacred Liturgy. Nevertheless, this practice is common-place in many parishes. When a priest changes the words and gestures of the Sacred Liturgy he endangers the faith of those for whom he celebrates and thereby becomes responsible for diminishing the integrity of their belief. In learning to offer the Traditional Latin Mass that has grown under the influence of the Holy Ghost for so many centuries, I have experienced tremendous peace in the midst of casual behavior and gratuitous changes of words and gestures so prevalent in many parishes around me.

The Catholic Faith and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the greatest gifts God has bestowed upon us. Therefore we must nourish our faith, grow in it, and never take what God has given us for granted. The Sacred Liturgy has been given to us by God to remain in contact with Him. As a priest, it is therefore incumbent upon me to help others to see how important the Liturgy is for our daily lives. The vestments, chalice, and all other items used during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should show that we want to give back to God the most beautiful things that we have when we are in communion with Him.

The principle aim of the Church is to bring people into communion with the Lord through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is the source and summit of our lives as Catholic Christians. Consequently, Liturgical matters have always been of the utmost importance with respect to Holy Mother Church. Despite this, many pastors do not even care to take charge of how liturgies are performed in their own parishes! As a result, I have experienced a tremendous lack of knowledge among the lay faithful with respect to Catholic doctrine.

This is precisely where I believe my mission as a priest sympathetic to the extraordinary form of the Mass begins. Recently appointed pastor of a growing Latin Mass community, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my God-given faith with others who have it their aim to draw nourishment from the Sacred Liturgy that has nourished countless others throughout the centuries in the life of Holy Mother the Church.

Written by the Rev. Jeffery A. Fasching
Diocese of Springfield - Cape Girardeau

For more read The Catholic Knight's exclusive interview with Father Jeff Fasching HERE.
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Frequently The Catholic Knight is privileged to make the acquaintance of some remarkable people in the Catholic Church who have been inspired by the liturgical renewal of Pope Benedict XVI. The above article was written by one such person. Father Jeffrey Fasching is a new Traditional Latin Mass priest in Springfield Missouri. He is currently serving at St. Agnes Cathedral. Having just discovered historic Catholic tradition less than a year ago, he has been transformed and energized by the spiritual depth of the Usus Antiquior. Father Fasching is meeting the desperate need of faithful Catholics in a diocese where many people are struggling to understand the intentions of our Holy Father. The Catholic Knight is pleased to present this exclusive article written by Father Fasching, and hopes to bring you more from him in the near future.


Steve R said...

God bless you father. We would be attending your Mass if we lived there. There are many good young priests like yourself who will bring about this renewal. The old guard is finally on its way out!

irksome1 said...

Perhaps a bit of clarification is in order. Is Father Fasching arguing that the renewal he experienced in celebrating the Latin Mass would have been unavailable to him in the pious celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass? Is he implicitly calling the ordinary form of the Mass deficient in that it is unable to transmit all the graces of the extraordinary form? Does he believe that the extraordinary form of the Mass, if celebrated more frequently, would be immune to the abuses that have plagued the ordinary form?

Marianne said...

After a lapse of many years, I was able to attend a Latin Mass in Brompton Oratory in the UK. There were just a few of us among a multitude of angels! I just was in awe throughout the Mass. I am so happy dearest Father, that as a young priest you have discovered the beauty of the Liturgy. I pray that here, in Sri Lanka, there would be at least one Latin Mass during the week in each parish! I pray for our priests to desire this.
God bless
Yours in Christ

Anonymous said...

I also attend a tridentine parish with the fssp and I realize how intensely spiritual it is. Priests need to be in prayer most of the time in order to stay away from temptations. I hope the church will realize that many of the modern changes contributed to the problems in the church we have today and that going back to the old spirituality will strengthen teh church.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Father for being a truly faithful priest. I attend St. Stephen's the First Martyr, which is only the Latin mass and I love it!

God Bless you!

The Catholic Knight said...


While I cannot speak for Father Fasching I can tell you that he regularly celebrates the Novus Ordo (Ordinary Form) mass in addition to the Usus Antiquior mass. So based on that it wouldn't seem he has a problem with it as long as it's celebrated with solemnity. If I may interpret the article a bit, based on what I know about him, it was his discovery of the Usus Antiquior that renewed his entire liturgical orientation, including his celebration of the Novus Ordo mass.

Peter said...

Sir Knight, as i have indicated on other posts of yours, we here in "river city" have SEVERAL young priests who celebrate the TLM (along with the novus ordo) and find it much more spiritually enriching for their own priesthood as well as for the laity who attend. The more priests who undertake to do this, the sooner we will see the demise of the novus ordo. Pete Frey

Peter said...

"meeting the desperate need of many faithful Catholics in a diocese that is still struggling to understand the intentions of our Holy Father"

Sir Knight, not really sure what you mean by "still struggling" to understand the pope's intention. Isnt it abundantly clear that he wants 1) any priest to be free to celebrate it and 2) a more reverent formof the NO? what's to "struggle"? Pete Frey

Magdalen Mauldin said...

I loved reading about Fr. Fasching being a priest of the Latin Rite. I attend Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel where the Latin Mass is celebrated, in Littleton, Co.

I feel that many Catholics, since Vatican 11, do not believe in the real presence of the Eucharist, because the church has become so liberal in all it's actions. I am much happier now. Sincerely, Magdalen Mauldin

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute! Where is the tabernacle? That altar does not look like it did when I served the latin mass as a kid.

Anonymous said...

well said Magdalen!!! and, reading Father's post, its clear that the ancient form conveys in an unmistakeable way the doctrine of the real presence, which the novus ordo does ummm shall we say "half heartedly" under certain circumstances. Which is precisely what father wants to convey in his celebrations. Pete Frey

Anonymous said...

How convenient for people to claim that since Vatican II the church has become liberal. What a bunch of nonsense. Faith, doctrine, moreal teaching cannot and has not changed one iota in the Church and those who pretend that it has are very dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Discovery of our Patrimony through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is an experience every Catholic should have. I pray that Father does not isolate himself and limit his preaching to the choir, so to speak, but extends himself to all Catholics regardless of the mass they attend so that God can bring about a renewal of the church through the Holy Mass. Isolation and seperation can not give us this renewal.

The Catholic Knight said...

While it is true that doctrine has not changed, it is undeniable that the practice of Catholicism has changed regardless of what the doctrines say. This is particularly true in the areas of liturgy, discipline and catechesis. The Church's teachings are orthodox. They always have been. But the implementation of those teachings, in many areas, are liberal. There is no question about it, and it cannot be honestly denied.

The Catholic Knight said...

Father Fasching regularly celebrates Novus Ordo masses as well. I don't think he's an isolationist.

Kenneth M. Fisher, CRCOA, said...


If you knew your Faith, you would know that, although the placement of the Tabernacle is very important, it is not an absolute essential. In fact, there were no Tabernacles on fenders of Jeeps when out Military Chaplains offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to our very endangered troops.

God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founder & Chairman, Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

Young Canadian RC Male said...

I must say, when I first read this post I was happy that a young priest had discovered this and implemented this in his parish weekly! I'm really hoping that in future the Extraordinary Mass will return weekly to all Novus Ordo (a.k.a. regular Catholic) parishes, even if it's only the High mass or one mass of the many on Sunday. And I'm only in my mid twenties and want this how about that!

In fact, because I've been reading Catholic media like TCK's blog and my weekly Canadian Catholic paper, the Catholic Register, I've had a couple of questions on the Roman Missial and the Latin mass and am trying to set up a meeting with the priest (not the pastor) in my parish who is on a committee for the new Missal and who by my interpretation of his homilies is more Conservative (e.g. gives history, some nuggets of cathechesis, knows the policies surrounding music at weddings and no eulogies at funerals). He certainly doesn't joke about things at all in mass (even in the part for announcements after Communion) unlike the pastor (often the pastor jokes about him). I want to ask him, besides the costs of the full priest and "old school" altar server vestments what it would take to get a Latin mass installed in our parish (Cause maybe there's both practical and administrative issues such as letting Archbishop know about things)? Only thing is cathcing this priests b/c he helps out but isn't the pastor. I will speak to him eventually!!!

Out of curiosity, has anyone asked this question of your parish priest or higher up the Church administration about how to instill a permanent Latin mass post motu propio? TCK maybe you know the answer with your broad wisdom on Church issues?

Elizabeth Tomelleri said...

I would second Peter's remarks regarding "Father Fasching is meeting the desperate need of many faithful Catholics in a diocese that is still struggling to understand the intentions of our Holy Father. Many prayed for years that God would send this diocese the kind of Bishop we have now in Bishop Johnston. I don't believe he is struggling to understand the intentions of the Holy Father....I think he is living them. It would seem Sir Knight would be expressing gratitude to this Bishop for his staunch support of the Latin community in his continuing struggle to bring forth a holy priest to lead them. Thanks be to God we now have Father Fasching. Thanks be to Bishop Johnston as well for heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth Tomelleri

Peter said...

Young Catholic, the best thing to do is to begin at the "grass roots" with other interested lay people and network with priests in your diocese. Here we have the Latin Liturgy Association of Philadelphia which obviously promotes the wide implimentation of SP. We already have a number of young priests (like the one mentioned by TCK), some are still in their late 20s or early 30s. Searach out the LLA's web site and even contact our head Dr Rudy Maschiantonio, who will be glad to held you out. His email addy can be found on the LLA's web site. A young friend of mine always likes to say "one priet at a time, one parish at a time" to bring about the restoration. Good luck, and God bless your efforts. Pete Frey (you can contact me at my email

Wild Bill Polakiewicz said...

I too, have been brought back to the real Catholic Church by my parish priest, Father Perez of St. Stephen parish, Pensacola, Fl. He celebrates the Holy Mass in Latin and is leading his flock to heaven. The tabernacle is in the center and there is an altar rail. We receive communion on the tongue while kneeling. I pray everyday that God will send us more Holy Catholic Priests who listen to our Pope.
I invite anyone who is living around Pensacola or who is traveling through the area to experience this most Holy Latin Mass on Sundays at 10:30AM. The rosary is recited at 10:00AM before Mass. The dress code for women is no shorts or short skirts and no sleeveless blouses. Dress code for men is no shorts and tee shirts. Dress as though you are visiting a King, because you are visiting the King of Kings.
Sincerely, William ( Wild Bill ) Polakiewicz

The Catholic Knight said...

Thank you Pete and Elizabeth. I phrased that statement very poorly. I have since revised it to something more accurate to the thought I wished to convey.

Elizabeth, if you search Bishop Johnston's name on this blog, you will find that TCK has been very favorable toward him and has blogged accordingly. I apologize for the confusion in this particular blog entry. Hopefully this will clear the air a bit.

Anonymous said...

Sir Knight, thanks for that clarification: now its clearer that far too many people dont know about the church's liturgical heritage, and as you quoted Father, its a very liberal diocese (which ones aren't?)and so he faces an uphill battle. BTW, sir Knight, did i ever share with you and your readers an article i posted about someone's rediscovery of the ancient form? It makes for powerful reading and also speaks to the "confusion" (like, what is this? I thought the church got rid of Latin....etc) Pete Frey

Joe said...

The Old Rite Mass is a image of Heaven on earth, a moment of profound beauty which should never of been brushed aside.
You are in my prayers Father, and I hope your conviction and faith would rub off onto some of the clergy in Melbourne Australia, who are more interested in not offending popular culture and their desire to be "one of the boys".

jack e. boucher said...

Sunday missals for years have noted on the title page to refer most to the Mass of the Catachumens, that up to the Canon, these are the ""unchangeable parts of the Mass." How appropriate to label the Novus Ordo as they did,...the "NO" Mass. it is most certainly an irreverend something...I cannot call it a Mass! I agree with a couple of writers....where is the tabernacle? Probably if it is a "modern church", it is hidden somewhere, out of sight. It is normally normal to have the guest of honor at a gathering, in a prominent position. Another black mark on the N.O. mass [small "m"]
We have a boy's Catholic school here in town and invited the Latin students to a Solemn High Mass with their parents. About 50 showed up and required more pews than we had set aside,,,,the comments were interesting and rewarding, "the priests uses Latin!";"the altar boys have to be a lot smarter than the ones in our church!". "this is the first I've heard the Gregorian chant...the choir was great."
There were comments about how wonderful, serious, inspiring the Mass was.....These came from the boys AND their parents!.
And...."can we come next Sunday, Dad?" Now a PS:
Anon wrote you on 5/19 that it is nonsense to claim the church has become liberal.He says..."faith doctrine and moreals [sic] have not changed and anyone who claims other wise is dishonest." All I want to ask him is "what planet have you been living on?"

tygirwulf said...

Now I see that you live on the other side of the diocese, Catholic Knight. :) Having met Fr Fasching briefly, I wish we had more of his like on the eastern side!

Actually, I do know of one young priest (ordained only 2 years) who wants to learn and celebrate the Extraordinary Form, but fears that his pastors will not "let him".

All the other priests I have asked about it firmly tell me they don't want to, or they say that "the bishop won't let me do it," which, knowing our bishop, I feel is just a cop-out. Still, there is a group of laity here who want the TLM but are not too sure how to go about it.

Peter said...

tygrilwulf, see my suggestions to Young Canadian, above. Begin at the grass roots, at your parish and get together with a priest you know is at least open to learning the EF. The excuse "the bishop wont let him" is bull bleep. ANY priest can say the EF with no permission needed from a bishop, pastor or anyone else. Contact the Latin Liturgy Association or Una Voce for further tips on how to train and encourage priest. Pete Frey

Anonymous said...

I am a lifelong Catholic and made my first holy communion July 1962 (the year of Vatican 11). I was handed a Missal by my parents with the Latin Mass on one side of the page and English on the other .We them switched to the Novo Ordo but we kept the Latin hymns in out parish for the 11am mass. The pope now allows a diversity of mass forms and I have no problem with that since I was brought up having to adapt to all of these in obedience to the Spirit. I would comment that the obsession with the form of the mass that is currently in vogue is a distraction. The form in which the mass is celebrated will not provide the kind of “magic fix” to all our ills that some appear to assume. The source of all our ill lies in sin. It is as simple and as complex as that. As to praying is Latin or indeed any other language. Our Lord taught us how to pray the Our Father. He kept to the local language and kept it simple and accessible .......... so pray the Our Father daily for priests that above all they will offer the mass (in whatever form) with Holy Love and Reverence. It is important to note that the option to have a Latin form of mass is an option only. It is not a compulsion, and the Novo Ordo must always be available to a congregation so as to avoid conflict and hurt to the Body of Christ. Some of the above comments grieve me as they present the work of this devout priest as an excuse to seize the power of the moral high ground. The inference is that Latin is the only mass that can possibly be the vessel of the Spirit. To use the Latin form as an excuse to criticise all those who wish to use the Novo Ordo is not the work of the Spirit. The new translation of the Novo Ordo gives us an exact translation of the Latin mass to the local tongue. We need a multi-lingual church as exemplified by the Spirit entering the Apostles at Pentecost so that they could speak in many tongues and above all - be understood. It is obvious to me that the Almighty saw a necessity to communicate with His flock in their native tongues. The Novo Ordo is true to this spirit, and in essence Latin is just another language available now to those with that preference. The Latin form of mass is now allowed as an option not a compulsion so do not seek to present it as the “one true mass”. It is not for you to say it?..........Speaking as one who has kept the faith through all the years of change I would offer with great humility some advice to Catholics who see the Latin mass as some kind of “ salvation for the true church”. You must keep the faith without causing discord. By all means comment and discuss but do not deride and look down on others in so doing. You do not have a monopoly on wisdom and where you see “chaos and a decline in standards”, some of us who have survived everything see a distillation of the spirit into a much more powerful life force. Faith is not a numbers game – never forget that were we reduced to the original 12 again you might find them saying their prayers and mass in Aramaic at a simple table.........Do not become t obsessed with the form of the mass and miss out on the Real Presence that is uniquely available there to us all....

Anonymous said...

"Hello America," I am from NZ and I have been a Traditional Roman Catholic all my life. My parents have stopped us participating with the Norvous Ordo Mass since 1968..In 1984 would be the year the Traditionaional Latin Mass came about to Wellington, New Zealand from a Traditional priest (SM) from Australia was on a missionary between Australia and the South Pacific...I am happy to read about this young priest, Rev. Fr. Fasching, may God bless him with his good work for many, many souls.
(Agnes Ioachim Piper from Wanganui, New Zealand).

Anonymous said...

As a brother in the holy Priesthood, I commend Fr. Fasching for his emphasis on the spiritual and not the temporal. Our Lord knows that one of the problems that has been plaguing the clergy ever since the last Council has been a faulty emphasis on secondary things, often to the demise of their own vocations. As Father says, prayer is at the heart of every priestly vocation.

I have only been ordained for less than a year, and was not trained in the Extraordinary Form, but (Deo gratias!) I was able to learn it (at least the Low Mass) and celebrate Low Mass in the Usus Antiquior whenever I celebrate in private. I can relate 100% to Fr. Fasching's experience. The venerable Traditional Roman Rite is extremely spiritually rich and sanctifying for a priest.

Before anyone attacks me, I must say that I have no qualms against the Novus Ordo, as long as it is celebrated in accordance with the rubrics. But as Father mentioned, this is rarely done. I think that this is due to the fact that the rubrics themselves are extremely loosely worded, and thus allow for a lot of personal idiosyncrasies -- for example, the very strange rubric (thankfully much less present in the 2011 Roman Missal) that the priest is to say something "in these or similar words".

Father, I commend you on your openness to Catholic Tradition, and on your desire to bring to Christ's faithful the fullest and most perfect expression of our Holy Catholic Faith -- in whichever of the two forms of the Roman Rite you are celebrating Mass in. Your example is an inspiration and a shining witness to young priests like me.

Oremus pro invicem semper, Pater!