Bishop Douglas J. Lucia celebrates his first Mass at St. Mary’s Oratory in Oswego July 5. (Sun photos | Chuck Wainwright)
By Katherine Long | Editor
OSWEGO — Celebrating his first Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption since designating it a personal parish and oratory, Bishop Douglas J. Lucia said the day’s liturgy was “just the beginning” for the parish and offered insight on its future.
A congregation of about 160 gathered July 5 for the Mass, which the bishop celebrated largely in Latin. Bishop Lucia was joined by Father James Schultz, pastor of the linked parishes Christ Our Light in Pulaski and St. Anne, Mother of Mary in Mexico, and the newly appointed parochial administrator of St. Mary’s.
Bishop Lucia announced in May that he would establish St. Mary’s as a personal parish and oratory. “Personal parish” is a canonical term that means the parish will have no territory attached to it except the land on which it is built; “oratory” designates a place of prayer.
The bishop also announced St. Mary’s Oratory would be set aside “for the purpose of establishing a Diocesan worship site for those desiring the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, more familiarly known as the Tridentine Mass or the Traditional Latin Mass,” he wrote in a letter to the people. As an oratory, St. Mary’s “will be supported by its current assets and by free-will donations,” he said.
The bishop’s decision came seven months after he announced he would suspend the 2019 merger of St. Joseph, St. Mary, St. Paul, and St. Stephen the King parishes and conduct a review of the process that led to their merger. The review came after the St. Mary of the Assumption Preservation Group in July 2019 submitted to Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, an appeal asking for a review of the process.
As Mass drew to a close July 5, Bishop Lucia spoke about the future care of the parish. Canon Matthew Talarico, provincial superior of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, will visit St. Mary’s Aug. 4, the bishop said, and his hope is to entrust the parish to the Institute’s care. The society would “become responsible for the apostolate of the Extraordinary Form [of the Mass] in the Diocese of Syracuse,” he said.
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is a Society of Apostolic Life founded in 1990. Its motherhouse is located in Gricigliano, in the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy; its provincial headquarters in the U.S. is at the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Chicago, Illinois. The Institute “celebrates the classical Roman Liturgy, the ‘Latin Mass,’ in its traditional form,” according to its website.
Bishop Lucia reminded those gathered that Christ the Good Shepherd Parish remains Oswego’s territorial parish, “here to serve all the people of Oswego.” The bishop affirmed the creation of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish through the merger of the territories of St. Joseph, St. Mary, St. Paul, St. Stephen, and St. Peter parishes in May.
Kristie Pauldine, president of the St. Mary of the Assumption Preservation Group and office manager of St. Mary’s, said the July 5 celebration “was all for the greater glory of God and in honor of our Blessed Mother.” And though coronavirus precautions prevented Bishop Lucia from greeting attendees after the Mass, he assured them, “I’m looking forward to getting to know you in the weeks and months to come.”
During the month of July, Masses in Latin will be celebrated at St. Mary’s on Sundays at 12 p.m. Both Bishop Lucia and Father Schultz will celebrate Masses at the parish. To find the Mass schedule and register to attend a liturgy, visit stmarysoswego.com or contact Office Manager Kristie Pauldine at (315) 343-3953 or firstname.lastname@example.org.