Latin Homecoming for Catholic Priest

Father Roberto Cano with Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz

LAFAYETTE, Ind., Nov. 30, 2007 — On Sunday, Dec. 9, Roberto Cano is coming home to St. Boniface, the church of his youth.

The son of Augusto and Rita Cano and graduate of Central Catholic High School in Lafayette, Roberto is returning as Father Cano, FSSP, ordained to the priesthood in November by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.

But this will be no ordinary homecoming. It will be extraordinary, as in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

When Father Cano ascends the altar of St. Boniface [map] to celebrate a Solemn High Mass on that second Sunday of Advent, the sanctuary will be filled with sights and sounds not seen there, or in any other Catholic church in Lafayette and most of the diocese, for nearly four decades. Currently, this rite of Mass is only offered once a week on Tuesday evenings at St. Marys in Muncie.

Unlike most young men who discern a call to the priesthood and attend a diocesan seminary, Father Canos vocation led him to Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska. This seminary is run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right established by Pope John Paul II in 1988, to provide priests for those Catholics wishing to participate in the traditional liturgy of the Catholic church, as well as other forms of prayer and popular piety, that existed for centuries before the innovations of the 1960s and 70s.
Father Roberto Cano at his ordination

Until recently, a special permission, called an indult, had to be granted to a priest by the local bishop before he could celebrate what is commonly referred to as the Latin or Tridentine Mass in a parish church. This restriction was lifted when Pope Benedict XVI issued the apostolic letter, in the form of motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum last July, which designated this older form of the Catholic liturgy, parts of which date back to the time of the Apostles, as the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, while maintaining the Missal of Pope Paul VI, issued in 1970 and generally said in English, as the ordinary form of Mass celebrated in most parishes. This document also guarantees the right of any layperson to request the extraordinary form of Mass from their parish priest or bishop, and of any priest to celebrate it privately or publicly without explicit permission from their bishop, as long as they are trained to do so.

As most priests in the diocese do not yet have the necessary experience with the extraordinary form of Mass, a number of seminarians from Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary and the Fraternitys North American headquarters in Scranton, Pennsylvania will travel to Lafayette to act as deacon and sub-deacon for Father Canos Mass, as well as to help direct the choir, which will perform Gregorian chant and polyphonic music.

For those accustomed to attending Mass in English, missals will be available that will provide the prayers of the Mass in both Latin and English.

Mass will start at 12:30 p.m. at St. Boniface [map] with a free public reception to follow, the highlight of which will be Father Cano providing his first blessing to all in attendance.

“I’m very thankful to Father Timothy Alkire, the pastor of St. Boniface, for his many years of support and inviting me to return to the parish to offer this Solemn Mass.” said Father Cano.

Members of Una Voce Carmel, a lay organization advocating greater use of the extraordinary form of Mass and other sacraments within the diocese, also will be available.