The Diocese of Pittsburgh announced this week that their Latin Mass Community will become a “personal quasi-parish” on Jan. 1, 2015 and take the name of St. John XXIII. Bishop David Zubik made the decision following a quarter century of steady growth for the thriving community. Bishop Zubik’s explanation of this development was posted on the diocesan website on Friday:
“This decision has followed nearly two years of prayerful dialogue and planning among members of your community, your chaplain, Father James W. Dolan, and members of my diocesan staff,” Bishop Zubik wrote in an Oct. 11 letter to members of the Latin Mass Community. “I hope this news is as much a cause for celebration for you as it has been for me.”
A “personal quasi-parish” comes from two concepts in canon law. A personal parish is one that isn’t based on territory but on some shared characteristic, in this case a desire to celebrate Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962. A quasi-parish is a Catholic community for which the diocesan bishop has appointed a pastor to lead worship, ministry and evangelization but which is not yet ready to become a full parish.
“Your history in this regard is already impressive, and I have been moved by the willingness that your members expressed to shoulder the responsibilities that this change entails,” Bishop Zubik wrote.
As is a common trait among Catholics drawn to the traditional Mass, the community in Pittsburgh is comprised of large families that are both young and growing.
The Latin Mass Community was founded in 1989 by then-Bishop Donald Wuerl in response to requests from some laity. Since 1994 it has worshipped at Holy Wisdom. Over 20 years it has grown to a Sunday attendance of 600, many of them young Catholics with more than 110 children enrolled in a catechetical program. Masses have increased from once a week to daily, with two on Sunday, and the chaplain’s position went from part time to full time.
“The establishment of the quasi-parish is another chapter in the long history of the celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form in the diocese. This parish will give people the opportunity to not only worship but participate in parish life, which is a hallmark of our Catholic life,” Father DiNardo said.
Let us pray for continued blessings and success for this community. In turn, may other bishops look to the example the Diocese of Pittsburgh has given and strive to provide for the pastoral needs of ALL faithful Catholics within their fold.
Brian Williams is a convert who entered the Catholic Church in 2006. He is a graduate of Long Beach State University with a BA in History. Brian blogs on life, liturgy and the pursuit of holiness at liturgyguy.com. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and five children.