The Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis, Traditionis Custodes, on the various forms of the celebration of Holy Mass, presents both challenges and opportunities for the Church everywhere, including here in the Diocese of Providence. Clergy and lay faithful are encouraged to read the Apostolic Letter and to reflect upon it prayerfully. We should receive the letter with open hearts and minds and see it as an opportunity to renew our appreciation for the Holy Eucharist, in whatever form it is celebrated. We welcome and support our Holy Father’s desire to foster the unity of the Church, especially as it is manifested in the celebration of the liturgy.
While we, as a Diocese, study the document and all of its implications and specific requirements, I grant permission for the current practices regarding the celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal in the Diocese of Providence to be temporarily maintained.
However, at some point in the future we will need to begin the implementation of the requirements of the new instruction. We will strive to do so with patience and prudence, and with sensitivity to the legitimate spiritual needs of the faithful. Clergy and lay faithful who are accustomed to the usus antiquior form of the liturgy should be prepared – spiritually, personally and pastorally – to accept and implement any changes that may be required.
More information regarding this topic will be forthcoming. In the meantime, let us renew our love for Jesus, our unity in the Church, and our filial respect for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. While recognizing the diversity of the Church, and acknowledging the rich history of our liturgy, in every instance let our goal be to worship the Lord in “spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:23)
Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, D.D.