Latin Mass community finds church to call home

It’s good to be home.

That’s the overwhelming sentiment shared by the 130 or so families who belong to Mater Misericordiae Mission. For the first time in its more than six years of existence, the mission — which celebrates the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, commonly called the Tridentine Rite — has a church to call its own.

The church is an old brick building that sits on 15th Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Phoenix and used to host Baptist services. It has a parish hall as well as a rectory.

“Today is a day of great joy,” said Fr. Joseph Terra, FSSP, pastor of the mission, during an Aug. 8 Mass at the new church. “We have a home of our own.”

While Mater Misericordiae has been raising money in its building fund for a number of years, this new property is a fairly recent find, said Fr. Terra.

“It seemed to fit our needs. It was there and we pursued it,” he said. “The hunt for a property had been on for some time, but this one came to our attention a few months ago.”

The new church means a lot of things for the mission, but foremost is greater flexibility in Mass and confession times. Before, the mission had been using the church at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. They couldn’t celebrate Sunday Mass until 1 p.m. to fit with the parish’s schedule.

Now, the mission will offer a 9 a.m. low and an 11 a.m. high Mass, as well as daily Mass at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. during the week. Additionally, Fr. Terra and Fr. John Shannon — both of whom belong to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter — will hear confessions before daily Masses, on Saturday evening and before and after Sunday Masses.

This is perhaps most exciting for members of Mater Misericordiae, many of whom are still having a hard time believing they have a place of their own.

“One year ago, I was very doubtful that in my lifetime we would see a church,” said Ernie Apodaca. “Then, one day it’s here and it’s just very wonderful.”

The new church needs some renovating, Fr. Terra said, including roof work, a new floor, a new altar, windows, doors and plumbing and electrical work. Most of the work will hopefully be completed within the next four months, but there are longer-term plans including building a new facade for the church.

“This is God’s house and we will make it as beautiful as we can,” Fr. Terra said during his homily, before listing the proposed renovations.

“And by the way, by that time we will have kneelers installed,” he joked.

The campus can also host other events in the mission’s life, like potlucks after Mass in their new parish hall or meetings for the Society of St. Joseph and Confraternity of Christian Mothers.

“Here it’s smaller,” said mission member Joe Kestner. “You get to know people.”

The small, tight-knit community is one of the aspects that draws members to Mater Misericordiae, but Apodaca sees bigger growth for the mission in the future.

“I can see a continual growth in many ways — spiritual, numbers and family,” he said. “It’s exciting to me. I really see it in the young people. Most people think this Mass is for the old people, but it’s not.”

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Latin Mass community finds church to call home - by CatholicLife - 08-18-2010, 07:53 PM

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