Oct 6, 2007

Catholic Traditional Latin Mass

The old Latin Mass will be offered by a priest of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest on Sunday, October 21, at 12:30 pm on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. Fr. Steven Beseau is director of the St. Lawrence Catholic Center and has invited the Missa Cantata to be sung in the chapel by Fr. Denis Buchholz of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Fr. Buchholz is the current rector of the old Latin Mass community at Old St. Patrick Oratory in Kansas City.

The University of Kansas was the site of many traditional Catholic vocations to the priesthood and conversions to the true Faith while Dr.'s Senior, Quinn, and Nelick taught their Pearson Integrated Humanities Program in the 1970's. In fact, there would be no Clear Creek Monastery in Oklahoma without the conversions and priests engendered by the Pearson Program. The current Bishop of Salina, KS also attended the program, as did certain priests of the Kansas City, MO, Kansas City, KS, and Wichita dioceses. In addition, more than a few alumni of the Pearson Program became priests and monks in old traditional Catholic monasteries and convents in France.

I heard Dr. John Senior give an address at a Catholics United for the Faith meeting at a parish in south Kansas City during the mid-1970's. The thin professor who had himself been a convert to the Catholic faith, and appeared to me to walk a difficult spiritual path few mortals take. He was well known for his support of the old Latin Mass, and so it is appropriate that Kansas University is the location of one of the first archdiocesan Masses offered in the 1984 Latin rite under Summorum Pontificum.

I remember hearing that the three professors were very good at embedding a desire to search for, and find and love truth, in their students. Once I watched Dr. Senior and Dr. Quinn (or perhaps it was Dr. Nelick?) argue vigorously in a large auditorium. I'm not sure of the subject but it was undoubtedly about a position relating to the foundation of Western Civilization that was also debated by ancient peoples.

In the debate I heard, Dr. Senior took the affirmative position and Dr. Quinn took the negative position. All the possible views of the subject seemed to be explored. The 45-min exploration easily demonstrated to listeners the errors of particular points and the truths of others. Consequently, even though Catholicism was never advertised, the students eventually wondered about the personal beliefs of the genial, yet stalwart professors. When students asked questions, answers were given, and I remember hearing the program was responsible for keeping a convert class conducted by old Fr. Moriarity full with at least 40 students each semester.

Things went along fairly well in the first couple of years, but then some parents, rather powerful, realized that more than a few of their children were embracing the Catholic faith. Years later, one of the priests who came from the Pearson Program came back to Kansas City to say Mass at a local parish. He had been estranged from his Jewish family for many, many years, and his sister had agreed to meet him after the morning Mass. I won't forget the woman who came up to me as I was leaving the church and asked, "I'm looking for my brother. He's DRESSED LIKE A CATHOLIC PRIEST."

The University, betraying its liberality, caused the program to die in about 1979. A key element of the betrayal was to deny the Pearson Program access to the names and addresses of entering freshmen. But other roadblocks were also successfully used by the University. Yet so much had been accomplished in the very short eight years of the Program that a book would be required to describe it all. May the Church eventually acknowledge the sanctity, love, and courage exhibited by Dr. John Senior during the worst time of the Devil's Playground in the Church of the 1970's.

6 comments:

Alison said...

The story of Pearson college would be a difficult one to tell. I was in the post 1979 era when Professors Quinn and Senior taught an Integrated Humanities Program with scaled back hours. I'd have trouble really explaining what happened to anyone. What I do maintain is that the influence of the program is one which reaches in to my everyday life and I do mean every single day.
Fr. Beseau has been a great friend to alums of the program. He opened up the St. Lawrence Center to us for a Mass at our reunion this past summer. His generousity towards one of our professor's family has been so wonderful. He is really an IHPer at heart.
Thanks for mentioning all the professors did. I thank God for letting me be there.

Gretchen Murray said...

I had the wonderful opportunity for 3+ years to assist the Benedictine monks of Clear Creek Monastery with their building project. Praying with the monks is a quite the spiritual experience/awakening. Visit the monastery by calling 918-772-2454 or log onto the web-site at www.clearcreekmonks.org to get on their mailing list. They have resumed construction of their monastery.

Father Klingele said...

I am glad that you wrote 'one of the first', because certainly one of the first Masses of the Extraordinary Use celebrated under Summorum Pontificum was a public read Mass (Missa lecta), or low Mass as it is popularly called, at St. John the Baptist, Greeley, KS, on Sep. 14, 2007.

Dust I Am said...

The substantial comments of Alison, Gretchen, and Fr. Klingele are much appreciated, especially Fr. Klingele's note on (his) offering of the traditional Latin Mass at Greeley, KS on September 14--the day that Summorum Pontificum became effective.

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Dan said...

I attended two of Dr. Senior's and Professor Quinn's classes in 1981 and 1982. I believe the course titles were 'Writings of the Ancient Greeks', and 'Writings of the Ancient Romans'. These classes were two of my favorites, and essentially were philosophy courses. I remember the two professors sitting in front of class (and there must have been 50 to 100 students in each) dialoging, and it was always interesting. I learned a lot about the existence of truth and the manner in which it is determined. A bonus was the yearly waltz that they program sponsored in the Kansas Union. I believe I was able to go to two of them.