August 6, 2021 Feast of the Transfiguration  of the Lord

Dear Diocesan Family,

Grace and peace to you! As I observe this Sunday, August 8th, my second anniversary as your bishop, and as we enter into endeavors which can only proceed and flourish through much prayer, I wish to announce the establishment of one of our churches as a diocesan shrine, setting it aside to be a place of pilgrimage and prayer for all people of the diocese and beyond.

In this place, Masses will be offered in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms and Eucharistic Adoration will be available, as will the Sacrament of Penance. Furthermore, individuals and parish groups alike from throughout the Diocese of Syracuse and even beyond will be able to journey to this place to find spiritual renewal and solace.

The Church’s Code of Canon Law instructs us that:

Can. 1230 – “By the term shrine is understood a church or other sacred place to which numerous members of the faithful make pilgrimage for a special reason of piety, with the approval of the local ordinary.”

Can. 1234 §1. – “At shrines the means of salvation are to be supplied more abundantly to the faithful by the diligent proclamation of the word of God, the suitable promotion of liturgical life especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and of penance, and the cultivation of approved forms of popular piety. §2. Votive offerings of popular art and piety are to be kept on display in the shrines or nearby places and guarded securely.”

  In light of Can. 1234 §2, our new diocesan shrine will also become the home for the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus that was formerly housed at Munnsville. The church that has been chosen is already known for its aesthetic beauty and architectural value and has been for the last year a home for the Latin Mass community of the Diocese of Syracuse.

On Sunday, August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I will inaugurate the new Diocesan Shrine of St. Mary of the Assumption at 103 W. Seventh Street in Oswego, NY.  I will offer a 9:00 am Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form on that day at the new shrine which will be followed by the recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  At 12 Noon, I will celebrate the first “Pilgrim Mass” as a concelebrated Mass in the Ordinary Form inviting clergy and lay faithful to join us in the solemn inauguration of this house of prayer for all people of our diocese. This will be followed by a reception and all are invited to share in this joyous celebration.

I am pleased to announce that Rev. James Schultz, who has been the pastoral administrator of St. Mary’s Church, will become the first pastor of the new shrine church. In addition, he will serve also as the pastor of Transfiguration Church in Syracuse and as my delegate to the Latin Mass community. He will administer the shrine with the help of a Board of Directors that will consist of myself as the Diocesan Bishop, Vicar General Rev. John Kurgan, Pastor of the shrine Rev. James Schultz, Pastor of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Oswego Rev. John Canorro, the two civil trustees of St. Mary’s Parish, and five other members appointed after further consultation.

In addition, in accordance with Canon 1232 §1, the shrine will be governed by statutes approved by the Ordinary of the Diocese which will determine its purpose, the authority of its pastor, and the ownership and administration of the shrine’s temporal goods.  A regular schedule of Masses, Confession, and other devotions has been approved by me and will soon be announced.  Each Sunday at the shrine, the 9:00 am Mass will be celebrated in the Extraordinary Form and at 12 Noon there will be a Pilgrim Mass in the Ordinary Form that may be celebrated/concelebrated by priests with pilgrim groups or by Fr. Schultz or another assigned priest.

St. Mary’s Church is keeping its designation as a personal parish to facilitate the celebration of the Sacraments in the 1962 Rite for those persons who have joined the parish by adscription (registration) in order to be part of the Latin Mass community.  Besides participating in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, these parishioners have the right to receive all the Sacraments of the Church and the Rite of Christian Burial according to the ritual books of 1962.  As such, it is the responsibility of the pastor of St. Mary’s Church to ensure that proper catechesis has been given and the sacramental registers are kept up to date.

For members of the Oswego community who are now members of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish, but who formerly belonged to St. Mary’s Church before the merger, it is permissible to ask for the celebration of Marriages and Funerals at your former parish in the Ordinary Form.  However, Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation may not be celebrated in the Ordinary Form at St. Mary’s without permission of the Diocesan Ordinary, but rather should usually take place in the candidate’s proper (home) parish.

I give thanks to God that this next step in our pilgrimage as a diocesan Church can be realized, but I recognize also it is a work in progress, so please be patient. Another goal has been to provide appropriate pastoral care to the faithful of the Diocese of Syracuse who desire for their spiritual good to avail themselves to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and the Sacramental rites of the 1962 Missal and Ritual. With this in mind, and in light of Pope Francis’ recent apostolic letter, “Traditionis custodes,” I make the following designations for the care of the faithful:

• St. Mary of the Assumption, Oswego – a personal parish for the Latin Mass Community

• Transfiguration, Syracuse – a new home for the Latin Mass community of the City of Syracuse and its environs to be cared for by Fr. Schultz and moved from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Syracuse

• Our Lady of Good Counsel, Verona – dispensation given for Sunday Mass at 8:00 am in the Extraordinary Form

• St. Mary of the Assumption, Binghamton – dispensation given for monthly Sunday Mass in the extraordinary form

I know there is a lot contained here. May our efforts to boost our spiritual lives and that of our diocesan Church bear much fruit.

In the Name of Jesus,

Most Reverend Douglas J. Lucia

Bishop of Syracuse

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