With an estimated 80 people attending, Fr. Gero P. Weishaupt offered the first Mass in the extraordinary form at the cathedral of St. Joseph of Groningen last night. Estimated attendance was initially some 20 to 30 people and, accordingly, the smaller altar of St. Joseph was prepared for use for this Mass. But yesterday afternoon the decision was made to move to the high altar.
Two seminarians from St. John’s in Den Bosch served as acolytes, and two other acolytes, among them a good friend of mine, from the cathedral parish did this for the first time. A small scola was also set up, led by diocesan hermit Brother Hugo. The congregation consisted of people of all ages and several nationalities. I noticed people who attend both the regular Sunday Masses as well as the English-language Mass on Saturday evening. A number of seminarians from our and other dioceses had travelled up from the Tiltenberg seminary to join the congregation.
The Catholic life in the parish of St. Martin and, due to it taking place in the cathedral, the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, is enriched by having this form of the Mass as well as the ordinary form.
In the latest parish bulletin, Father Rolf Wagenaar announces that Mass according to the missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII, what is now commonly known as the Extraordinary Form or the Tridentine Mass, will be celebrated once a month in the cathedral of St. Joseph, starting on 10 April.
Father Wagenaar writes:
“The diocese received the request [for Mass in the Extraordinary Form] and the bishop has asked me if I would be willing to offer this Mass at certain specific times, or permit that another priest would offer Mass according to the aforementioned missal in the cathedral of St. Joseph.
“After some deliberations and consultations I agreed to give a priest the opportunity to do so.
“For the time being this will happen once a month. The first time will be the second Sunday of April, 10 April, at 18:00 hours at the cathedral of St. Joseph. We will see how much interest there is.”
Other sources inform us that the celebrating priest will be Father Dr. Gero P. Weishaupt, German-born priest of the Diocese of Roermond, Church lawyer and one-time private secretary to now-Cardinal Mauro Piacenza when the latter was President of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church.
This is the current high point of a development that goes back more than three years. The discussions have been acknowledged by the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden last year, when the vicar-general, Msgr. Leo van Ulden, called for people who desired a Mass in the Extraordinary Form to contact him. He then also said that Bishop Gerard de Korte had pointed out two churches that he deemed suitable for this Mass, among them the cathedral.