11th annual Sacred Liturgy Conference to focus on Mary and the Eucharist

An interview with Dr. Lynne Bissonnette-Pitre, who is organizing the conference, to be held May 28-31, 2023, in Ferndale, CA. At the invitation of Bishop Robert F. Vasa, the conference will take place in the Diocese of Santa Rosa as part of the USCCB’s Eucharistic Revival.

The Sacred Liturgy Conference in 2018. (Photo: Marc Salvatore | marcsalvatore.smugmug.com)

The 11th annual Sacred Liturgy Conference will be held from May 28-31, 2023, in Ferndale, California. At the invitation of Bishop Robert F. Vasa, this conference will take place in the Diocese of Santa Rosa as part of the USCCB’s Eucharistic Revival.

The conference, in previous years, has been held in Portland and Salem, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; Billings, Montana; and more. With talks by liturgy scholars and other speakers, the conference has featured Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Archbishop Alexander Sample (of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon), Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB (of Norcia, Italy), and many more luminaries.

Dr. Lynne Bissonnette-Pitre

This year’s conference features talks by Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ignatius Press), Bishop Vasa, Fr. Stephen Boyle, O.Praem., and others.

Psychiatrist, musician, and iconographer Dr. Lynne Bissonnette-Pitre has been organizing the Sacred Liturgy Conference since 2013. She has lectured nationally and led retreats, currently serves on the Holy Alliance of the Catholic Medical Association, has served on the Executive Board of the CMA, and is a Dame Grand Cross of the Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Dr. Bissonnette-Pitre recently spoke with Catholic World Report about the upcoming Sacred Liturgy Conference, and the importance of serious study of the liturgy.

Catholic World Report: Tell us a little about the history of the conference.

Lynne Bissonnette-Pitre: It all began when Pope Benedict XVI ascended to the throne of St Peter. We were so overjoyed at his election, that several of us who had studied the writings of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger decided to leave the Cathedral choir to devote ourselves to the study of Gregorian chant. Our desire was to learn to sing the sacred music of the Mass in accord with the teaching of Cardinal Ratzinger. We created The Schola Cantus Angelorum with the mission to promote the beauty and deeper meaning of the liturgy through education and the example of the Sung Gregorian Mass.

Our mission was actualized through conferences with the format of lectures on a specific theme related to the Eucharist, four Sung Gregorian Masses, and the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and fellowship over shared meals together. In the first years, I gave all the lectures and taught the chant workshops. As interest grew, this quickly morphed into a conference with lectures given by several scholars and theologians and with Masses in both forms of the Roman Rite and when possible, the Dominican Rite.

It was very apparent from the beginning that deep conversions occurred when people experienced the beauty of the Sung Gregorian Mass and heard lectures on the theology of the Eucharist. The mystery of the sanctifying and healing power of the Holy Spirit flowing through the revelatory teachings and the ancient Sung Mass continues to be a marvel to behold.

CWR: There are other liturgy conferences out there. What makes this one unique?

Bissonnette-Pitre: This is a hard question to answer as there are many wonderful conferences on liturgy. Perhaps SLC is unique in that it is an annual liturgy conference with a specific yearly theme to reveal the theology of the Eucharist and with a special focus on the ancient Gregorian chanted Mass.

Our mission is both educational and experiential. As we learn through the lectures the theological meaning of the Eucharist, we can appreciate, reverence, and participate more deeply in the mystery of the Eucharist.

The faculty presents revelatory insights into the Sacred Scripture and theology which can be appreciated and understood by the lay audience as well as by scholars. The faculty consists of those with doctorates in various specialties of theology, art, music, and liturgy as well as of clergy who have the daily experience of celebrating the Eucharist and of being closer to the Lord through the Eucharist than any other person. The religious members of the faculty contribute their special knowledge and experience as the Bride of Christ. While the lectures are not targeted at an audience of scholars, they maintain a high intellectual standard.

We emphasize the Gregorian chant because it is and has been since ancient times the first choice for liturgical sacred music. It is an ancient wisdom which has prescribed Gregorian chant throughout the two millennia of the church ‘s history. Gregorian chant has very profound effects on the human person both physiologically and spiritually. It orders the lower faculties and orients the mind towards the transcendent. It does not distract from the mystery but opens the door of the heart to perceive the mystery and the graces of the Eucharist. And it is despised by demons.

All the different parts of the Mass are sung to create a coherent whole. The unified structure facilitates the intuitive comprehension of the mystery of the Eucharist and the great Reality of the spiritual realm, the Reality of God Himself present on the altar.

CWR: Why are conferences like this important? Why is it important to study and discuss the liturgy?

Bissonnette-Pitre: The more we study and learn about the liturgy, the more we know and love Jesus. The more we love Jesus, the more we are transformed into His likeness. The more we are like Him, the more we are united with Him. Union with God is the purpose of our existence. It is the reason God created us and it is His deep longing that we be one with Him. We fulfill the desire of God’s heart through union with Him and this occurs through the sacramental life especially through participating in the sacrifice of the Eucharist.

The more we know and understand the theology of the liturgy, the more deeply we can participate in God’s life. Jesus gave us the liturgy to be with us and through experiencing His presence we are transformed from glory to glory into His likeness (2 Cor 3:18). Why then would we not study the liturgy!

CWR: The theme this year is “The Mother of God in the Eucharist”. How was that theme chosen?

Bissonnette-Pitre: The theme this year is the crown jewel of all our past themes. We are studying and honoring the exalted Queen of heaven, the Mother of God, our precious mother who is the Mother of the Church. The Mother of God is so holy, so revered, so sweet, so quiet, so exalted that it is difficult to speak of her. Yet it is important to learn of her who so perfectly mirrors the Holy Trinity in her interior life of sacrifice.

How can we participate in the Eucharist without focusing on The Mother of God in the Eucharist! Without Mary, there would be no Incarnation. Without the Incarnation there would be no Eucharist. From Mary’s physical body, the body of Our Lord was formed. Mary is present in the Eucharist through her fiat, her obedience to the Will of the Father for both the Incarnation and the Passion and death of her Son. Without Mary’s fiat, we would not receive the glorified body, soul, and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The fullest expression of a mother’s love is Mary’s presence at the Foot of the Cross where she unites her love for her children with Her Son’s love for us. The Son’s love is the fullest expression of the Father’s love for His children. The maternal and paternal love at the cross is present in the Eucharist as necessary to free all God’s children from Satan. This is the love that overcomes sin and opens the door for our union with God. The expression of the sacrificial maternal love of Mary at the foot of the Cross and in the Eucharist is infinite and is limited only by the receiver. The more we learn of Mary in the Eucharist, the more we can receive her maternal love and the more we can receive the graces in the sacrifice of the Mass.

The 2023 conference will have two Masses honoring The Mother of God: The Mass of the Mother of the Church on May 29th and the Mass of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth on May 31st. A Procession in honor of the Mother of God through the streets of Ferndale will follow this Mass. The other two Masses honor the Spouse of Mary – The Holy Spirit. On May 28th is the Solemn Mass of Pentecost and on May 30th is the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit.

CWR: This conference puts a great emphasis on practical application of sound liturgical theology, which is reflected in beautiful liturgies, sacred music, and reverence before the Holy Eucharist. Will attendees get practical applications that they can take home to their own parish communities and families?

Bissonnette-Pitre: Practical applications:

An understanding and knowledge of Mary’s presence in the Eucharist is a very practical thing for attendees to take home to teach their family, parish, and community. This knowledge and understanding will help each one to sense the presence of Mary in the Mass and will create greater awe and wonder at the Eucharist.

The format of the conference with theological lectures, Masses, and fellowship can be replicated as day long or weekend retreats in the parish.

Study groups can be formed to learn more about the liturgical theology through books or through the videos of the conference lectures.

The experience of the Sung Gregorian Mass can be taken home and can be promoted in their parish. Those who attend the Chant Workshop can form a parish schola and after practice, practice, practice can offer to assist at the parish Mass through the sacred music of Gregorian chant.

We will have two liturgical processions—A Eucharistic Procession and a Marian Procession. The learned ‘how to’ experience of these processions can be taken to the local parish and replicated. Our Lady in her apparition to Bernadette and to other mystics urges the faithful to have Processions.

CWR: What are you hoping attendees will get out of the conference?

Bissonnette-Pitre: I pray that all who attend will experience the joy of being the body of Christ immersed in the study and celebration of the Eucharist. Cardinal Ratzinger referred to this joy as the ‘sober inebriation of the angels’.

• For more information or to register, go to www.sacredliturgy.org.

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About Paul Senz 123 Articles
Paul Senz has an undergraduate degree from the University of Portland in music and theology and earned a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from the same university. He has contributed to Catholic World Report, Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly, The Priest Magazine, National Catholic Register, Catholic Herald, and other outlets. Paul lives in Elk City, OK, with his wife and their four children.


  1. It sounds like revival is a return to what has always been indicative of the worship of the Catholic Church throughout the ages; falling just short of calling it “THE LATIN MASS”. At this point, we all understand that the Novus Ordo is being rejected by the young – anyone under my age, i.e. 57, “flat lines” in the NO Mass. Their eyes glaze over. They dis-attach. They “endure” the mass. Our beloved priests are NOT meant to be our entertainers, they’re hands were consecrated to offer the Sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross BACK TO THE FATHER on our behalf. The music lends itself to the transcendent; but, it is the SUBSTANCE of the mass – the trans-SUBSTAN-tiation that is the real meat and potatoes. Priests can provide a living example of love for the eucharist by orienting themselves TO God in the holy tabernacle again. Yes, they can HONOR the Father again especially if that means turning their backs to us. In the presence of God, we’re NOTHING. He’s EVERYTHING. That’s why when I attend His mass, i.e. the TLM, and I receive Him, HE’S huge. I’m tiny. I like it that way. That’s the TRUTH. I know that’s the correct perspective. Whenever I attended the NO Mass, He was little and I was huge. It was all about me and making me “feel” good about God’s “mercy” and love. In actuality, I envision that possibility with greater appreciation when I am assisting at the Latin Mass. So, by all means, if this conference is an honest endeavor, it will means taking the first steps to reacquaint all the faithful of the NO Mass to the Latin Mass and will eventually lead to a full embrace of all things Catholic, REALLY Catholic and a return to and emphatic embrace of the Latin Mass. Deo Gratius!

  2. Catholics living in the ‘Divine Will’, aka ‘Living Hosts’, will be a serious upgrade, by Jesus, to the Eucharist. Catholic Mystic Luisa Piccarretta and St. Faustina were early 1900s Prototypes of Catholics living in the ‘Divine Will’, added to the short list of people who lived in the ‘Divine Will’ of the past: Adam, Eve, Mary and Jesus. Upon the Coming of Messianic Reign, all Catholics will live in the ‘Divine Will’.

    Divine Mercy in My Soul, 955: Today I heard these words in my soul: Host pleasing to My Father, know, My daughter, that the entire Holy Trinity finds Its special delight in you, because you live exclusively by the will of God. No sacrifice can compare with this.

    Divine Mercy in My Soul, 923
    I delight in you as in a living host; let nothing terrify you; I am with you.
    There will be no temple in Jesus’ Kingdom Come on earth, the ‘New Jerusalem’, because Jesus will enter His Presence on earth into the whole Body of His Catholic Church. Christ’s New Jerusalem will be like, open country, with Jesus, Second Coming, to Reside within the whole Body of the Catholic Church, as it was in the pre-fall Garden of Eden. Jesus refers to St. Faustina as a ‘living host’, the delight of the Holy Trinity. God will have His ‘Holy City’, ‘Holy Nation’, ‘Royal Priesthood’, by Residing His Presence on earth, in the Body of His, State of Grace, Catholic Church.
    Adam, Eve, Mary, Jesus, Catholic Mystic Luisa Piccarretta, and the way it looks, St. Faustina, all lived in the ‘Divine Will’ of God. Jesus’ love is anxious to bring His whole Catholic Church back into the Divine Will, to repair Creation to its pre-fall of man original state, as God Wills it to be.

    According to Jesus, through Catholic mystic Luisa Piccarretta, who lived in the ‘Divine Will’ with the Holy Trinity, there are three ‘Fiats’ of God’s Church, Creation, Redemption, and Sanctification. It is our present impending Sanctification of mankind, which allows Christ’s Church back into living in God’s Divine Will on free-willed earth. Once God’s Third Fiat of Sanctification is accomplished on earth, we will live in ‘Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven’.
    Here are quotes from ‘Luisa Piccarretta and the Divine Will- Teachings of Jesus” by Susanne James, published 2020. Catholic Mystic Luisa lived on nothing but the Eucharist for 40 years, and had the hidden stigmata. Wow! What a book! Quotes below.

    “Jesus told Luisa,
    “My daughter it is true: in my Will resides the Creative Power. From within a single FIAT billions of stars emerged. From the Fiat mihi of my Mother, from which my Redemption originated, emerged billions and billions of acts of Grace which are communicated to souls.” (1921)

    “Jesus explains how he wishes to release the third Fiat – The Decree of Sanctification:
    “My child, the first Fiat was uttered in Creation, without the participation of any person. I chose my Mother for the accomplishment of the Second Fiat. This Fiat will complete the glory and the honour of the Fiat of Creation, and it represents the full fruition of the Fiat of Redemption. (1921)”

    The Third Fiat, the Decree of Sanctification was to commence with the YES, the Fiat of Lusia. She was the first person to be invited to live in the Divine Will. This was a momentous occasion in history. Lusia said Yes, and this was the Fiat – Let it be done! (Like Mary’s Let it be done to me)

    “We cannot say that we have finished the work of Creation, if our Will as it was decreed by us, does not act in people and exist with the same freedom, holiness, and power that exists in us. Moreover, this is the most beautiful, brightest and supreme movement. It is the seal of fulfillment of the work of Creation and Redemption. These are Divine Decrees and must have their complete fulfillment. And in order to accomplish this Decree, we want to utilize another woman, who is you..”(1923)

    “Now the Lord’s Prayer was heading for fulfillment: God’s Will done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
    “Jesus explained.
    These three Fiats will reflect the Sacrosanct Trinity on earth, and then I will have the Fiat voluntas tua (Thy Will be done) on earth as it is in Heaven.
    These three Fiats will be inseparable. One shall be the life of the other, they shall be One and Three, yet different from each other. My Love so desires it, and my glory demands it. Having sent forth from the bosom of my Creative Power the first two Fiats, I wish to emit the Third Fiat, since I cannot contain my Love any longer.
    This will complete the work that poured forth from Me. Otherwise the work of Creation as well as Redemption would remain incomplete”

    “Jesus told Luisa: “That is why I want to purify the earth, because as it is now – the earth is unworthy of such a wonder of sanctity.”
    (end quotes from Susanne James book)

    Thank you, my new dear friend, lay Carmelite Betty, for gifting me (this past Holy Thursday) with this book about God’s Three Fiats. I advise everyone to read it!

    Matthew 13:36
    The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned (up) with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

    Reentering the Garden of Eden upon Jesus’ Kingdom Come

  3. What convinced me the direction I should take my life, a simple Gregorian chant Mass [simple as in the simplicity of humble adoration] offered by Trappist men just coming in from their labors muddy boots lined against the wall work habits hanging by. Every movement was calm, deliberate, contemplative.
    When I approached the low prefab new foundation at Piffard NY I thought I could feel the Holy Spirit. If the Santa Rosa event can bring some of that back.

  4. Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

    1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

    Acts 1:14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

    John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

    John 2:3-5 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

    Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    Luke 1:47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,

    • And there is Christ’s Mother, Theotokos, recognized by the early Church councils. And Church fathers Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria among them.
      And there is Christ’s love for her, his gracious desire that she be honored as our spiritual mother. A mother intercedes for her children. Mary intercedes [mediates] for us by Christ’s grace [de congruo], Christ by divine right [de condigno].

      • Man of God:

        Blessings of peace and wisdom as you serve the Lord’s own! You mention highly regarded churchmen and longstanding tradition to underscore the Catholic Church’s position.

        Perhaps, I am shortsighted on the topic, yet our aim is to honour God and discern the matter as the Lord gives understanding. When two men of faith arrive at a different conclusion, repercussions can be the consequence. We both seek the same goal, yet we take an alternative paths.

        This is speculation, however, it might appear that none of Jesus’s family were present at His crucifixion, aside from His blessed mother and aunt. The character of our Lord was again tangible as he demonstrated His love for her and her wellbeing!

        Allow me to turn to sacred scripture to illustrate the position:

        Luke 1:30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.

        Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

        Luke 1:34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

        Luke 1:31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

        Matthew 2:11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

        Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

        Revelation 19:10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

        We may not arrive at a decisive conclusion, yet your thoughts are valued.

        Your fellow servant in Christ,


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