Date set for move of Boston’s Indult Mass to new parish

Date set for move of Boston’s Indult Mass to new parish

Following up on today’s scheduled meeting between a representative of the Boston archdiocese and Holy Trinity Parish, the South End parish that is the home of Boston’s Traditional Latin Mass, an announcement was made.

According to commenter Frank Doyle, who is a parishioner, the final Indult Mass at Holy Trinity will be celebrated on April 15 and the first Indult Mass at the Latin Mass Community’s new home of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton will be the next Sunday.

That does not mean Holy Trinity is closing. Fr. Marck O’Connell said the closing date for Holy Trinity has still not been set. He also said that Cardinal O’Malley still wants the German community to be part of the cathedral parish.

If anyone has more details from the meeting, please feel free to put them in the comments.

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  • Has anyone been to this new Church? How are the aesthetics? Weren’t they originally moving to St. James nearby? I’m not too happy about them moving it to the suburbs, it was great for me to get off at New England Medical Center station and just walk to Holy Trinity.

  • Jason –

    I’ve never been to Mary Immaculate; I am told that it still has its original altar, but that the communion rail has been removed.  Some photos can be seen on the parish website (esp. check the “Parish History” section), and they seem to confirm this, as far as can be determined from them:

    If you travel by T, you’d have to get off on the Eliot stop of the Green Line’s D branch, and then walk a few blocks.  All in all, it strikes me as far less convenient a location (I am traveling from Cambridge), but for those coming in from the Western suburbs, it will probably be easier.

  • Jason,

    The present church building of Mary Immaculate Lourdes (MIL) was dedicated by Cardinal O’Connell on 24 November 1910. It was (is) an imposing edifice situated on a hillside in Newton Upper Falls. It was rendered in an Italian Romanesque brick style featuring a 135 foot campanile. Originally the roof was in a red terracotta tile and has unfortunately succumbed (long ago) to the utility of asphalt. The front elevation can be best described as a portico reminiscent of a Roman Temple with a vertical proportion expressed by columns of the Corinthian order supporting a pediment that has sculptural relief of figures that represent the apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France in 1854. The focal point of the interior remains the High Altar constructed of white Italian marble. Originally it was set behind an altar rail of red Italian marble with bronze “corkscrew” uprights and gates. The apse was lavishly painted with gilded stenciling serving as a backdrop to the reredos, above which a half dome contained three paintings of the Blessed Virgin: The Annunciation on the left, The Assumption in the center, and The Coronation on the right.

    Unfortunately under the pastorate of Fr. Michael F. Doocey (1970-1993) following the Second Vatican Council and the iconoclasm that ensued the interior of Mary Immaculate was generally wreckovated. The once beautiful sanctuary and nave has been generally white washed. This includes a set of polychromed Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) rendered white. The altar rail was destroyed save about eight feet at the locations of the former Side Altars of St.Joseph and Our Lady. Even these segments were relocated about six feet into the Nave. The marble flooring of the Sanctuary has been obscured by ubiquitous (Archdiocesan) red wall to wall carpet. A new and immovable freestanding Altar was formed about six feet forward of the bottom step of the old High Altar salvaged from the two existing rectangular Side Altars oriented back to back to roughly form a square proportion. The Holy Tabernacle of the old High Altar was systematically plugged and removed to the location of the old St. Joseph Side Altar where a “new” shelf was constructed and enhanced with a marble relief of “The Last Supper” also removed from the lower section (antependium) of the old High Altar. The remaining void from the old High Altar was covered by blank slab of roughly matching marble.

    At least six rows of the original front pews, including the front “blind” pew panel are missing or destroyed. The provide space for God knows…Liturgical dancing??? The same applies to rear five or six rows I suspect were removed for “gathering space”. Great, let’s encourage yapping in church.

    My complaint? We (the Latin Mass community) will need to reverse the destruction wrought over the last 35 years to even approximate the Liturgical archtectonics of the sanctuary and nave that remain extant at Holy Trinity (HT). At a very minimum we need a temporary altar rail in the devastated Sanctuary of MIL. I am very concerned by the existing sight lines and blind spots encumbered by the permanent (immovable) placement of the existing freestanding altar, particularly with the large Liturgical entourage typical of High and Solemn High Masses. It is Fr. Higgins intention to use the old High Altar. He has taken the first step in restoring placement of the Tabernacle in the old High Altar. Unfortunately, he is currently disinclined to move the freestanding Altar since the parish will remain bi-ritual. I suggest he either work on the design of a movable but dignified freestanding Altar or celebrate all Masses here on in ad orientum. At this point, true restoration of just the church sanctuary for a dignified celebration of the Classical Roman Rite could cost several hundred thousand dollars. This does not even begin to address the balance of deferred maintenance throughout the balance of physical infrastructure requiring significant masonry restoration and severely corroded ornament iron work. The existing pipe organ, inoperative for years with water damage and cracked bellows could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars to restore.

    His Eminence (or Fr. Mark O’Connell) fully expects us to invest our Time, Talent and Tithe (as we did at HT) with absolutely no juridical guarantee (structure) to our permanent attachment to this parish. IMHO, if we don’t press this issue we could find ourselves in the same dilemma we find ourselves today…parishioners of convenience, which I liken to a common law marriage. As it stands, we are relying on the abilities of a dear priest. If removed from the equation, we may find ourselves roaming the diocese without a permanent home. This move will be VERY costly to our community and is fraught with risk.

    For more info on MIL:

    In nomine sancto ejus,
    Rob Quagan

  • Some members of the chant choir sang there last Sunday for a Mass in English, and we found that the church is a beautiful edifice with excellent acoustics.

    Sad to say, the sanctuary will require some adaptation for the old rite, as the church’s altar rail was removed some time ago. 

    The church has a free-standing altar in addition to the high altar, so Fr. Higgins may need to get some architectural advice on how best to proceed.  In some places, the old rite is offered upon a free-standing altar; in some places it is offered on a high altar, while the mensa is downplayed visually; in some places, a free-standing altar is converted to a movable altar and removed for celebrations of the old rite.

  • Since I don’t live in Boston I am interested in knowing if any Traditional Latin Mass devotees or, if there is such a thing, Archdiocesan TLM committee members were included in this decision.  Of those here, which parish would be of your choosing for such liturgies to be given the best setting?  that, including also the convenience of the devotees and those hopefully being introduced to the liturgy?

  • Chris,

    I am aware the Laity (the Parish Pastoral Council and body of parishioners, both of the German and Latin Mass congregations)of Holy Trinity’s inclusion in reconfiguration were never consulted prior to the Cardinal’s announcement on 24 May 2004. After months of persistent requests to meet with the Cardinal, the Parish Council met with Cardinal O’Malley on 1 Sept 05 gave power point presentation and posed the consistant question, “How does the Archdiocese of Boston benefit from the closure of Holy Trinity?”. This question remains unanswered, other than the fact we got our marching orders yesterday. In fact the response from the RCAB regarding input solicited by Fr. O’Connell during our first meeting on 26 Nov 06, of which ten questions were selected, were answered in a vague and rhetorical manner with few facts to bear them up.

    As far as the best venue for the Classical Roman Rite, few older parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston have escaped the iconoclasm of the last 35 years. That vast majority that have survived have been closed in the reconfiguration and closures since at least 1996. Holy Trinity’s litugical archtectonics remain intact. Arguments regarding an intact physical patrimony, central location to both major highways and rapid transit and its urban mission continue to go unheeded and obviously dismissed as irrelevent by the Cardinal (or his designee Fr. O’Connell).

  • I do find it a little ironic that folks in the Latin Mass community are complaining about a move to the suburbs. For years, many who attend the indult Mass have complained that they are “ghetto-ized” in old urban parishes that are hard to get to or in dangerous neighborhoods. That certainly was the case of Holy Trinity when the indult Mass started there.

    I do want to point out that moveable altars are not allowed in a church building. When secular space is used for Mass they are allowed but in a consecrated church, the altar must be fixed and remain in place. The altar is, after all, the primary symbol of Christ in the church.