Extraordinary Form in Groningen?

Fr. David van Dijk offers Mass ad orientem, the direction of Mass also used in much of the Extraordinary Form

Het Bisdomblad, the monthly magazine published on behalf of the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, features an interesting one-page article by Father Leo van Ulden ofm, the vicar general, about the Extraordinary Form of the Latin rite. Most of the piece deals with some general considerations about the form and the rituals, as well as the sense of sacrality. There are a few dubious points, mainly about the pope’s intention in allowing the Extraordinary Form to be used (it was never disallowed to begin with, really), but the interesting bit is at the end. 

Fr. van Ulden writes that the pope has asked the dioceses to offer space for people who want to celebrate Mass in this ‘somewhat unusual form’. Quoting (and translating): 

“In our diocese there are two churches open to this: the cathedral of Saint Joseph in Groningen and the parish church of Saint Martin in Sneek. Both still have the liturgical layout and atmosphere suited for a Tridentine Mass. […] Should a reasonable number of people be interested in this form of the liturgy, they can contact the author.” 

I know that asking for ‘a reasonable’ amount of interest is in fact discouraged by Rome (numbers should play no part in offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form – a priest can in fact decide to do this without any request from his parish), but I believe that the above quote should be welcomed warmly. As far as I know it is one of the first positive steps towards implementing the motu proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’ in our diocese, and as such comes with some practical considerations: finding a priest who can say Mass in this form, for example. 

I’d be very interested to see positive developments in this.


6 thoughts on “Extraordinary Form in Groningen?”

  1. *maakt vreugdedansje*

    Yay for Van Ulden. And yes, Sneek is indeed very suitable.

    Okay, I’m prejudiced, but you know, I’m not really surprised that he says this, knowing how he changed things towards the good in Sneek and his encouragement to me to receive communion the way I prefer.


    Hm, can you somehow send me a copy of the text?

    1. I was counting on a reaction like this from you 🙂

      I don’t think the text is online anywhere. Try and get your hands on a copy of the Bisdomblad, I’d say (ask Fr. van Ulden, maybe?).

  2. Well as far as Saint Joseph in Groningen is concerned, I don’t think that Fr. Wagenaar will offer the EF. He’s not a big fan of it and he never has been taught that form.

    So when they want to offer the EF in Groningen, they need to find a priest first who wants (and can) say Mass. And perhaps they need permission from the cathedral administrator as well.

    It’s nice for the people who want to attend such a Mass, but I can see why there will be an assesment of the demand. After all: we have not nearly enough priests in our diocese to say the NO Mass and lots of people are forced to attend Word & Communion Services because there are not enough priests. EF Mass is a luxury and I would hate it if some people have even less access to any Mass because the scarce priests we have need to say Mass in the EF for a handful of people.

    Like I said: I understand the desire, but I doubt if the greater good is served with EF Masses for small crowds. I’d rather see the priests offer NO Mass in remote parishes where over half of the time no Masses are available at all.

    1. But EF Masses are not about the greater good per se. Numbers don’t factor into it. EF Masses don’t exclude OF Masses either.

      Sure, there are practical considerations, as I have indicated in my post: finding a priest willing and able to offer an EF Mass for example, and then all the necessary permissions and such from the cathedral administrator. That’s only normal.

      I seriously doubt that an EF Mass every once in a while will impact the number of Masses in other parishes. That doesn’t happen in Utrecht either.

      1. What I mean is that we barely have enough priests to ensure availability of regular Masses to the people; priests who have more then enough work, often have to do too much work. And now some of them are supposed to sacrifice some of their precious time to say Mass in the EF because of a handful of people.

        Time-management-wise that’s about the stupidest thing I’ve heard. In order to prevent burnout and other nasty things in our already overworked clergy, adding unnecessary duties will only increase problems.

        I understand that there is a tiny amount of people who’d like to go to EF Mass, but the reality is that we have an extreme priest shortage and we should use our resources in a sensible way. Having priests say extra EF Masses when at the same time vast areas of the diocese haven’t access to any Mass is just a bad idea (pastorally speaking).

        Of course in Utrecht (city) there aren’t fewer OF Masses because the cathedral etc. offer them already. And the whole case with the Willibrord Church is an exception: that parish returned to the Mother Church after a schism. But look at the rest of the Archdiocese. Wouldn’t it be wiser to distribute priests evenly to ensure availability of Masses to ALL people?

        In Groningen the only good Masses are at the cathedral. We have other parishes with no Masses within the city. I’d rather see priests saying Mass there instead of having even more Masses in the cathedal on top of the daily OF Mass that’s already been offered.

      2. There’s no lack of priests in the Netherlands; there’s a huge surplus of buildings and a lack of faithful laity. I’m quite sure that f.a. all faithful Catholics of the city of Groningen would fit in the Cathedral – to attend a very good Mass in stead of a Word&Communion service. For sure the bishops will start closing buildings in the near future, because the price of keeping all these separate parishes/churchs is too high. But the question is: will they wait until the capital of the Church will have vanished completely (also e.g. because of claims by people who have been abused by Dutch priests), or will they do it more quickly.

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