Fourth “Summorum Pontificum” pilgrimage begins tomorrow in Rome

An interview with Guillame Ferluc, the international co-ordinator for the Populus Summorum Pontificum 2015 event

The first international pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum, after Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s motu proprio that liberalized the celebration of the traditional Roman rite of the Mass in 2007, took place in 2012. The idea was to thank Benedict on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the motu proprio’s implementation and to mark the Year of Faith. Due to the success of this first pilgrimage, made possible through the support of lay people from Italy, the then-president of the FIUV (Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce, more commonly known as Una Voce) Leo Darroch, and the work of a diocesan French priest, Fr. Claude Barthe, it has by now become an annual event. 

We recently interviewed the main international coordinator, Guillaume Ferluc, to learn more about the general programme of its fourth edition, due to take begin tomorrow, October 22nd in Rome.

CWR: What are the main features of this year’s edition of the pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum?

Guillaume Ferluc: The pilgrimage will commence on October 22nd, Thursday evening, at 19:15 with the Vespers at Trinità dei Pellegrini to be celebrated by Msgr. Juan Rodolfo Laise. He is bishop emeritus of San Luis in Argentina and will be coming from San Giovanni Rotondo, where he retired as capuchin friar. Among attendees also Dom Jean Pateau, abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault, who will be joining us throughout the pilgrimage duration. Friday, October 23rd, will be marked by the recitation of the rosary, due to take place in the morning at 9 am at Chiesa Nuova.

CWR: Why Monsignor Laise?

Guillaume Ferluc: Cantagalli publishing company is about to publish a book Msgr. Laise wrote 15 years ago when in Argentina in 1996 the country’s bishops conference decided to ask for an indult to be allowed to give communion in the hand, but he refused to apply this indult in his diocese, retaining the traditional way to give communion. He wrote a booklet on this, which does exist in other languages, such English and French, but was never translated to Italian until recently, precisely by Cantagalli.

CWR: And why Chiesa Nuova?

Guillaume Ferluc: Because we chose St. Philip Neri as patron of the pilgrimage, and this year we have just celebrated the 500th anniversary of the saint’s birth.

In the morning there will also be an event for the clergy and seminarians, a visit to the pontifical Angelicum university with a brief lecture focused on the topical importance of Thomistic philosophy.

The usual Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) will be held early in afternoon on the Palatine hill, organized by the Opera Familia Christi, and the 6:30 pm Mass will be celebrated by the Ecclesia Dei Secretary Msgr. Guido Pozzo in the church of Santa Maria in Campitelli. The Mass, as also in the case of the vespers, will be sung by the St Cecile School choir, whose conductor presented the music programme in a recent interview. The choir will sing a four-choir mass according to the homonymous work by the famous French composer Marc Antoine Charpentier, by masterfully exploiting the special architectural features of this church. Interestingly, this work is famous among all the music-loving people and for the first time for many decades, as far as I know,will be sung live during a real religious service.

Saturday, October 24th, will be the day of the Mass in St. Peter’s. The pilgrims will gather in San Lorenzo in Damaso for the Eucharistic adoration until 10:30, thereafter they will leave the church in the usual procession heading to St. Peter’s, where the solemn pontifical is due to start at 12:00.

If all goes according to plan, an Italian diocesan cardinal will be the celebrant. But this is not certain yet, because this senior prelate might be called by Pope Francis to be part of the Synod. This will be known when the list of the Pope’s invitees to the Synod will be published. Since this Cardinal was among the participants in the previous synod, it’s likely for him to be included again in the above list. Should this be the case, then as an alternative the mass should be celebrated by a diocesan bishop belonging to the same episcopal district as we want to evidence the diocesan dimension of Summorum Pontificum. …

CWR: Why an Italian?

Guillaume Ferluc: Our idea is to involve somebody who can have something to say about the Synod on the Family, since it will wind up precisely during the days of the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage and therefore we will pray in a special way for the family, the Synod and the Synod’s fathers. We have thought of an Italian prelate because we are convinced that an Italian prelate may be in a better position to comment promptly on the Synod’s proceedings and outcome, and obviously defend the traditional model of the family, as symbolized by the Sacred Family of Nazareth.

On Saturday afternoon, the presentation of Msgr. Laise’s book to the Italian public is also scheduled, obviously provided that the book has already been published. An English-speaking conference is also on schedule afterwards. Most likely, pilgrims will also be invited to join for the celebration of the Vespers with the delegates of the biennial General Assembly of the FIUV.

CWR: Which this year finally coincides with the Pilgrimage…

Guillaume Ferluc: Exactly. FIUV decided to have their assembly in the very same days of our pilgrimage and thanks to this “coincidence”, so to say, our pilgrims will have the chance to also attend their religious services, this time due to take place at Domus Australia, the centrally located guesthouse with annexed church established by Australia’s Catholic Church to cater for its pilgrims on visit to the Eternal City. FIUV delegates are coming to Rome with an English choir, directed by a young, talented English musician and classical pianist, Matthew Schellhorn. He is on record for a fundraising concert in favour of Christians in the Holy Land and during 2014 he publicly campaigned against the Assisted Dying Bill tabled by Lord Falconer of Thoroton. His choir will sing for us the Christ the King Pontifical Mass on Sunday, October 25th which will be celebrated at 11:00 at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini and will wind up our pilgrimage. But he and his choir will also sing at the Saturday’s solemn Vespers and Benediction at 18:00 for the FIUV, whose liturgical events are also open to our pilgrims.

CWR: Who will celebrate the Christ the King Pontifical Mass on Sunday?

Guillaume Ferluc: The abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault, Dom Jean Pateau, will be our celebrant. As already said, he will be with us throughout the whole pilgrimage and this is very important because Fontgombault is a French Benedictine abbey daughter of Solesmes that has always preserved and used the traditional liturgy.

CWR: It would seem therefore that Fontgombault is of some sort of strategic importance for the traditional movement…

Guillaume Ferluc: Certainly, there is no risk to underestimate the importance of Fontgombault. For example, for those who are not aware, Fontgombault is a place where so many French diocesan priests, including bishops and cardinals, go for retreat in the spirit of Summorum Pontificum. Therefore also clergy who are not particularly familiar with or inclined to the celebration of traditional Mass choose Fontgombault as a place for their retreat, for the exemplary spiritual and monastic life it offers, but also for its chants and liturgical celebrations. Another plus for Fontgombault is the fact it is well known in the US since a number of American priests and bishops have been there for their spiritual exercises and retreats. For example Bishop Conley, of Lincoln (Nebraska), said he went to Fontgombault in the Seventies after he converted to Catholicism. He stayed there for nearly a year, with the initial intention to join the monks, but at the end he came to the conclusion that he was to become a diocesan clergy, ultimately ending up as bishop.

In other words, Fontgombault has always been a bastion of utmost care for the liturgy, while at the same time showing maximum respect for the Vatican reforms, bearing also in mind that they have been in the position to retain the traditional rite. But there is more. Cardinal Ratzinger … in 2001 held an extremely important conference [in Fontgombault], ever since always cited far and wide and often referred to by the pope emeritus himself, which is seen by some Church analysts as a sort of first step towards the 2007 Summorum Pontificum. On that occasion in Fontgombault the then prefect of the sacred congregation for the faith said that there was a legitimate right for the faithful to have the traditional Mass and the Holy See may not deny them the possibility of enjoying a rite, a liturgy that had produced so many saints throughout the centuries.

CWR: Any other particular difference with last year’s pilgrimage in terms of events, initiatives, projects?

Guillaume Ferluc: Yes, I am now in a position to confirm what I have already announced in my interview in Regina Magazine last July, namely that the crowdfunding for a short documentary on the pilgrimage was successful, with the collection of the total amount of money needed … being completed on the very last day of our deadline. This sum will enable a young French film director, Loïc Lawin, to shoot the documentary to promote the spiritual and aesthetic richness of Tradition, thus giving a public witnessing to the beauty of its liturgy. The director, who graduated from the Sorbonne, is himself a Catholic who rediscovered the faith precisely through the Traditional Latin Mass and is therefore particularly motivated thanks to his sensitiveness to tradition.

Albeit featuring the highlights of the pilgrimage, the film won’t be simply coverage of events, and will be amply based on interviews with prelates, priests or faithful participating in the pilgrimage. Due to its international destination, the original version of the film will be multilingual, mostly in Italian, English and French. It is also our intention to donate its first copies of the work, due to be released by the very beginning of 2016, to Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

CWR: The way you collected the money sounds like a miracle…

Guillaume Ferluc: As anticipated in the Regina Magazine, I was pretty sure we would collect the money in time, for the simple reason that we entrusted all to Saint Cecilia, patron saint of the musicians, and Saint Philipp Neri, patron saint of the pilgrimage and “third apostle of Rome” who dedicated his life to the youth, the pilgrims and the sick, famous for his humor and his true Christian joy, founder of the Oratorians. We were sure we would reach the target, especially so because, as already said, this year marks the 500th anniversary of his birth, in 1515 in Florence!

CWR: Are you also planning other initiatives?

Guillaume Ferluc: Well, a few other initiatives are still being examined but I can already announce that a copy of the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Fatima will accompany us during our procession towards St. Peter’s Basilica.

• Visit the Populus Summorum Pontificum 2015 website for more information. 


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About Alberto Carosa 41 Articles
Alberto Carosa is a Catholic journalist who writes from Rome, especially for US Catholic newspapers and periodicals.