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Every week or so will ask a question or two of Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder of Ignatius Press and Chancellor of Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida since 2002. If you have a question about the Catholic Church, Ignatius Press, or current events you would like to ask Fr. Fessio, please send it to editor Carl Olson and he will consider asking Fr. Fessio to respond to it.

The question for the week of August 1, 2004, is:

Can you tell me why the Latin Tridentine Mass is not celebrated at Ave Maria College. I attended the Novus Order Latin Mass at Ave Maria University at Naples Florida this past February and was extremely disappointed in the Novus Order Mass. It is a pale comparison to the beauty and meaning of the historical Tridentine Mass. I am surprised that Father Fessio does not seek permission for a weekly Tridentine Mass.

Fr. Fessio: Thank you for your question regarding the celebration of the Indult Mass at Ave Maria University.

Right now we have a student body of 300 - although we believe it is going to be growing rapidly. There are two Masses per day and I celebrate the Mass in Latin twice during weekdays and a sung High Mass on Sunday mornings. It is not the Indult Mass for which we need special permission from the Bishop; this is the Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in Latin, with Gregorian Chant, facing East, and using the Roman Canon. In fact, I have called this the "Mass of Vatican II" because I believe it corresponds very closely to what the Council anticipated in liturgical reform.

The Lord has been blessing us immensely in the number of students who have already responded to the vision of Ave Maria University. Therefore we believe we will be expanding rapidly in years to come. Perhaps when we have more students and priests, at our new permanent campus - and provided of course that the Bishop will give permission--we may add the Indult Mass, the so called "Tridentine" Latin Mass.

In the meantime, I would like the students to experience the new Mass with the Ordinary (unchanging parts) in Latin and celebrated with as few as possible changes from the previous pre-Conciliar Mass. It is very, very close to the Tridentine Mass, especially when the Roman Canon is used. I even think that had this Mass been available - as it was intended to be available many of those who have sought the restoration of the Tridentine Mass would have not been so dissatisfied with the liturgical reform which the Council had intended.

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