A bishop and scholar who is famous in Catholic circles for his outspoken defense of traditional religious customs will make a visit to the New York metropolitan area during the Feast of the Epiphany on the weekend of Jan. 6. Bishop Athanasius Schneider, O.R.C., auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, will celebrate three pontifical liturgies, including one in Brooklyn, in the traditional Latin rite (Extraordinary Form).
This special form of Mass for a bishop has rarely been witnessed in the past 50 years since the Second Vatican Council, though interest is rising again among Catholics young and old in this integral part of their religious heritage. From a purely aesthetic point of view, the ornate rituals and accumulated traditions of this service have sometimes been compared by critics to the great cathedrals and works of art of Western Europe.
A noted author, speaker and scholar of ancient Christianity, Bishop Schneider comes to the U.S. at the invitation of the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny. His best known work is “Dominus Est” – “It is the Lord!,” a celebrated defense of the traditional manner of receiving Holy Communion.
Bishop Schneider will celebrate Pontifical Mass at the Throne in the Cathedral-Basilica of St. James, Downtown Brooklyn, on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. Following the Mass, he will give a lecture on “Holy Communion and the Renewal of the Church.”
At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, the bishop will celebrate Pontifical Mass at the Throne in St. Mary’s Church, 669 West Ave., Norwalk, Conn. St. Mary’s has become a leader in the celebration of both forms of the Roman Rite under its pastor, Father Greg Markey.
That Sunday afternoon, Bishop Schneider returns to New York City, where he will celebrate Pontifical Vespers at 5 p.m. in the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, Manhattan.
Music for all liturgies – to include works of Renaissance masters such as Johannes Ockeghem, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Tomás Luis de Victoria – will be sung by the Schola Cantorum of St. Mary’s Church under the direction of David J. Hughes. At the Mass in Brooklyn, the Schola Cantorum will be joined by a group from the St. Mary’s Student Schola, a large ensemble of children, aged five-18, devoted to the study of Gregorian chant and classical sacred polyphony in their original liturgical context.
The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny is a lay organization dedicated to the full return of the traditional rites to the Roman Catholic Church, in accordance with the aims of Summorum Pontificum, the 2007 Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI. This papal document restored the pre-Vatican II Mass as a fully recognized part of the worship and practice of Catholics around the world.
Updates and additional details will be published on the Society’s website: www.sthughofcluny.org.