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Click to see Fr. Elewaut's letter

letter of Fr. Elewaut

Other Documents of Interest
Summorum Pontificum
Letter to Bishops accompanying Summorrum Pontificum
Universae Ecclesiae

Extraordinary Form Latin Mass at Mission San Buenaventura Set to End After 15 Years

January 23, 2013

On December 8, 2012, Rev. Thomas Elewaut, the recently assigned pastor at Mission San Buenaventura informed, via a letter, the parishioners who attend the Extraordinary Form 1:30 p.m. Traditional Latin Mass that he planned to see the Mass that has been held at the Mission for more than15 years ended and that he desired that his parishioners attached to this venerable form of the Mass find a new parish where it might be offered. He also informed these parishioners that he will not allow the Triduum in the Extraordinary Form, contrary to the allowance for just this in Universae Ecclesiae and the past history of providing for a Triduum in the Extraordinary Form. It is Una Voce Ventura's position that the reasons given can be easily addressed and are insufficient to justify the ending of the Mass, and are contrary to the intent of Summorum Pontificum. (See ADDENDUM for the text of Father Elewaut's December 8, 2012, letter)

On January 6, 2013 he publicly invited all interested parishioners to a meeting where he read the December 8, 2012 letter and answered questions. No opportunity was given to the parishioners to try to remedy or mitigate the concerns Fr. Elewaut expressed in his letter. Despite receiving a point by point reply to his concerns during this meeting, Fr. Elewaut told the parishioners that his decision "is a fait accompli." The following was printed in the January 20, 2013 parish bulletin.

From the Desk of Father Tom:
"Two weeks ago I met with Faithful members of the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass to request that we find an alternative parish to host this Mass. This request is based on my observation that both the Mission parish and the Latin Mass would be better served at another location given that liturgical appointments in the sanctuary (some of which are historical) must be moved each week and visitors have limited to access to the Mission on Sunday afternoons. Many of our visitors have traveled from throughout the state to complete the required fourth grade Mission project. Understandably, relocation has caused some anguish among Faithful members of the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass. It may take several weeks if not months to find a suitable home for this Mass."

Subsequent to these events, Una Voce Ventura and concerned parishioners that attend the Extraordinary Form Mass have met several times to review options and have engaged in positive conversations with several parishes where the Extraordinary Form parishioners would be welcome. We are awaiting a sign of approval from his Excellency Archbishop Gomez so that we might assist the parishioners of Mission San Buenaventura in establishing a stable home for the Extraordinary Form Mass. While all are saddened and understandably upset to see the Extraordinary Form Mass set to end for now at Mission San Buenaventura, Una Voce Ventura is encouraged that several other parishes are interested in offering the Extraordinary Form Mass and we stand ready to help with what resources we have available.

It is a foundational goal and a recurrent prayer of our chapter that "through the intercession of St. Bonaventure and Blessed Padre Serra, the peace, order, and beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass may be restored to our churches." Please pray for prudence, patience, charity and a speedy and suitable resolution to this regrettable situation.

Una Voce Ventura

ADDENDUM: TEXT of Father Elewaut's December 8, 2012 Letter.
• • •
December 8, 2012

Mark Munoz
(Coordinator, Extraordinary Form Latin Mass)
[address redacted for privacy as requested]

Dear Mark and Parishioners of the Extraordinary Form Mass,

Greetings to all of you as brothers and sisters in Christ!

Given that Father Gregory Heidenblut, OSA, will be moving to a new ministry in January, we are in a season of transitions regarding the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass at San Buenaventura Mission. Fr. Joseph Illo is new to our area and Fr. Michael Carcerano now resides in Redondo Beach.

Since March 2011, I have observed the role that the community of the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass has at San Buenaventura Mission. I have a growing concern about the appropriateness of the Mission hosting the Extraordinary Form Mass given the constraints of the Mission architecture and the wear and tear of the historical liturgical appointments.

The Mission sanctuary is rather confined and most all liturgical furnishings and decorations have to be altered for every Extraordinary Form Mass. This has become an unnecessary strain on the historical furnishings and parish liturgical life. Secondly, the Mission is a place of pilgrimage and tourist visitation which is hindered by the additional Sunday Mass; visitors often have a limited opportunity to tour the Mission and have expressed reservation on touring the church during Holy Mass.

For this reason I have communicated to Mark Munoz earlier this year in compliance with liturgical guidelines, that the Mission will hold only one Holy Thursday Mass and one Easter Vigil in the future. Also, it is desirable that we explore options for the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass to be relocated perhaps at either Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula or possibly St. Pascal Baylon Church in Thousand Oaks or at another suitable location that can better accommodate the liturgical needs of an Extraordinary Form Mass.

The goal is that the transition for a new location for the weekly Extraordinary Mass will be in place by the beginning of Lent, 2013. Please let me know how I may support and accommodate this transition goal.


Rev. Thomas J. Elewaut

cc Reverend Gregory Heidenblut, OSA
Reverend Michael Carcerano
Reverend Joseph Illo