Under the patronage of Saint Irenaeus
Latin Catholic Community in Montreal (La Communauté Latine Catholique St-Paul) has just been canonically set up as a diocesan Mission and placed under the patronage of Saint Irenaeus, who was, as a theologian, the first great witness of Catholic tradition. Praise and glory to the Lord, and may our most worthy archbishop, His Grace Christian Lépine, be warmly thanked !
What is a diocesan Mission ? Without strictly being a parish, it is, within a diocese, a Community of faithful placed under the pastoral authority of a priest who holds all the powers of a parish priest ( curé ) and consequently, has complete jurisdiction to provide for all the spiritual needs of the faithful committed to his care. Contrary to parishes, which are communities of faithful formed within the boundaries of a precise territorial division, missions are extraterritorial, meaning that the members of the community can come from anywhere. Typically, missions appear as ethnic or cultural parishes; for example, we will have a Spanish mission, a Portuguese mission, a German mission, a Chinese mission, and so on. Such will not be the case for Mission Saint Irenaeus. This mission has a particular and most special identity, on account of the traditional Roman liturgy, in Latin, used for the celebrations, which grounds it on a foundation of universal culture, open to all nations. Hence, it follows that the mission cannot fall within the various ritual or cultural communities. Indeed, there is only one Roman liturgy that any Catholic priest can perform, with total equality of right, under the ordinary form or the extraordinary form.
What gives Mission Saint Irenaeus its specific character in the liturgical area is that, in complete accordance with the Law of the Church, as confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI in his Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the holy liturgy is always performed under the extraordinary form, in Latin, all the while allowing the use of other languages for the teaching portions. After a period of development during the first few centuries, the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, in Latin, was actually set by Pope Saint Gregory the Great in the seventh century. This is the same rite that Pope Saint Pius V restored to its purity, following the wide movement of ecclesiastical reform generated by the holy Council of Trent, whence its frequent labeling as the Tridentine rite. However, this is a misnomer as it ties the traditional Roman rite to a period in history that it clearly transcends, its roots going back to the very origins of the Church, particularly to Pope Saint Gregory the Great.
If there exist, today, two forms of the Roman rite, both equal in rights, the extraordinary form and the ordinary form, it comes from the liturgical reform proposed by the Council Vatican II. The ordinary form corresponds to the Mass as it is currently celebrated in general, whereas the extraordinary form corresponds to the Roman rite from the origins.
Mission Saint Irenaeus has the great honour, in full communion with the Church from all ages, to keep truly alive the celebration of the Mass and the sacraments in the way that most conforms to the spirit of the original Roman liturgy. It is indeed a great honour, as this holy liturgy, which has moulded so many saints throughout history, remains to this day, by its beauty, by its deeper sense of the sacred, by the spirit of adoration emanating from it, a living source of light and interior peace for many souls that, above all, seek God and His glory.