Interesting announcement from the church of St. Agnes in Amsterdam. I haven’t been able to find any more information, but that’ll no doubt appear on the website of the FSSP-run church in due time.
Msgr. François Bacqué, the apostolic nuncio to the Netherlands, will be offering a pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form. It’ll be the first pontifical (ie. a Mass celebrated by a (arch)bishop) EF Mass in the Netherlands since the publication of Summorum Pontificum. The number of priests in the Netherlands able to offer Mass in this form is still quite limited, although there has been a slow increase. No Dutch bishops have yet shown any public interest, and it seems it’ll now fall to French-born Msgr. Bacqué to be the first. Perhaps this Mass will be an inspiration to other priests and bishops that leads to a wider implementation of Summorum Pontificum. I suspect that the Vatican’s request for updates about exactly has something to do with it as well.
Earlier this week, Archbishop Wim Eijk of Utrecht celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. He kept it low-key, since he didn’t consider it prudent to throw a big picture when the Church is still dealing with the abuse crisis and his archdiocese is struggling financially despite the changes he has already introduced.But I also think it’s not Msgr. Eijk’s style to celebrate any other way.
There are people who call themselves orthodox Catholics yet take this opportunity as one of many to viciously attack the archbishop, making insinuations that ultimately say more about there own delusions of grandeur than anything else. Sad to see.
For my part: congratulations, albeit belated ones, to Archbishop Eijk. May God continue to keep and guide him in his difficult task.
The other anniversary from the title is a bit bigger. Today we celebrate Saint Boniface, the English missionary who introduced Christianity to much of what is now the Netherlands and adjacent parts of Germany, and became bishop of Utrecht after St. Willibrord. On 5 June 754 he was martyred near Dokkum in northern Friesland. Since he is the patron of the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, we will gather at Dokkum next week in honour of him: people around gather around St. Boniface to learn and know about the God he introduced here so many centuries ago.
Reading about his life, St. Boniface, like so many of his contemporaries, comes across as not very subtle. He chopped down trees considered sacred by the locals, challenged them by saying his God was stronger than theirs (my dad can beat up your dad, sort of thing ;)). But then again, truth is just as much, if not more, served by clarity and honesty as it is with subtlety and friendliness. And if St. Boniface was one thing, he was clear and honest. And persistent: in his 80s he returned to the Low Countries where he first arrived from England almost forty years earlier, in a last attempt to convert the Frisians. What was supposed to be large gathering near Dokkum turned out to be an ambush where the saint and his companions were murdered. St. Boniface is pictured with a Bible with a sword through it: in his last moments, tradition tells us, he held the book over his head to block the hits from the sword. In Dokkum, a modern statue shows him in this position.
Saint Boniface’s remains lie in the cathedral in Fulda, which he founded, and some are in the parish church in Dokkum.