Thursday, April 11, 2013

Traditional Latin Mass Thriving in Lansing, Michigan


A Latin Mass community has been growing in Lansing, Michigan, with the approval of Bishop Earl Boyea. More information about this interesting parish/community is available on their website “Get Holy”. (All photos in this post are copied from that website - see more here.)

Blessed John XXIII Community came into existence because the faithful were requesting the Traditional Latin Mass, says Fr. Jeffery Robideau, who serves as the chaplain of the group.  Bishop Boyea asked priests to add the TLM in their parishes, but for whatever reasons, this didn’t come to fruition. The bishop, aware that Fr. Robideau had a preference for the TLM, asked him to start a new community to meet the needs of the faithful who desired the older form of the Mass. Fr. Robideau’s appointment took effect on Sept. 1, 2010 according to one news story


Prior to that appointment, though, Fr. Robideau seems to have been put through the wringer in his previous parish. Fr. Z had a post about this back in December 2009; he cited a news article about the situation which reported:

Some 150 members of Our Lady of Fatima had asked Bishop Earl Boyea to remove the Rev. Jeffrey Robideau. Last week, the parish and diocese sent letters to parishioners saying that Robideau will stay.

Included in parishioners' concerns were Robideau's decision to disband the church's choir and his apparent refusal to train girls to perform altar services or hold church committee meetings.

"It is clear that the pastor has the prerogative to make the decisions in these matters," [Bishop Earl] Boyea stated in his Dec. 17 letter. "You are no doubt aware that in our diocese, as in any diocese, priests will vary, within the guidelines established by universal or diocese law, in their choices in these matters."

It seems that Fr. Robideau had a clear idea about how to restore some true Catholic identity to his parish, and he had the support of his bishop in doing so. Kudos to Bishop Boyea! And kudos to Fr. Robideau for standing up for his liturgical and pastoral rights in the first place!

So now, Fr. Robideau is the chaplain for Blessed John XXIII Community in Lansing, Michigan. The extraordinary form of the Mass is celebrated in the crypt of the Cathedral every Sunday, with anywhere from 50-80 people in attendance. This is generally a low Mass, with a missa cantata (sung Mass) on the first Sunday of the month. Fr. Robideau says that the group does have a schola, and plans are in the works to have a sung Mass on two Sundays per month. Easter Sunday marked the group’s first solemn high Mass. (There are also two weekday Masses, one in the evening and one in the morning.)

Bishop Boyea himself has celebrated the EF Mass for this group. .

Take some time to check out Fr. Robideau’s website, “Get Holy”. There are two main pages; one describes “Saintly Acres”, which is a 20-acre farm where Fr. Robideau lives and also conducts short retreats for his parishioners.  The “About Us” section says:

The name Get Holy represents the heart of our spiritual life. We are to “Get Holy.” That is to say, we are to know, love and serve God. We are to transform our lives into the image of the Body of Christ. We are to conquer our personal interior disordered passions and desires known as concupiscence.

Those who want to Get Holy must use a different approach than the one most of the world uses, including most clerics. We are not to take the road of least resistance. Rather, we ask what is the will of God and then we are to take that road whether it be easy or difficult. This is done with the understanding that people will rise to the level of excellence demanded of  them. We are not called to water down the Faith, but to present it in all its fullness for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

At Saintly Acres, we are dedicated to the tried and true methods of growing in holiness as lived by the many great saints in our rich history.

We look for and demand nothing less than the fulfillment of Jesus’ command “Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

We are here for you.


Fr. Robideau seems to be a no-holds-barred kind of priest when it comes to preaching. In the “News and Articles” section, he posts sermons; the ones I looked through seemed to have solid, honest, no-nonsense Church teaching. When I commented on this in an email to Fr. Robideau, he responded, “Jesus never held back so I figure why should I, as long as I speak truth of faith and not from opinion.”

The other main page of the website is devoted to Blessed John XIII Community. I like the section that says:

Are you nervous about going to your first Extraordinary Form Mass?

Don't be. We have a Pew Buddy for you.

We are more than happy to help you. We have people willing to sit with you and help you follow along in our Latin/English books so you know exactly what is going on.

We all remember our first time. It is an exciting time so forget being nervous and come and be spiritually enrichened through this ancient rite of the Catholic Mass.

I haven’t been to Lansing to experience all of this first hand, but I find it very encouraging toknow that there are groups of the faithful who want this to happen, that there are priests like Fr. Robideau willing to serve the faithful in this way, and that there are bishops like Bishop Boyea who actually seem to support it.


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