Summer Sunset in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Traditional Liturgy Flourishing in the Bible Belt

A South Carolina parish demonstrates that reverent, beautiful liturgies—in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms—are possible in a modern American parish.
Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors, South Carolina

This September marked the sixth anniversary of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, the motu proprio of Pope Benedict XVI that provided juridical recourse to Catholic laymen interested in receiving regular access to the traditional Latin Mass and the sacraments. Since the document went into effect, what results can be seen in the United States and Canada in terms of the availability of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form? 

The Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei keeps a comprehensive list of locations in which the traditional Latin Mass is available. At last count, in the 191 dioceses in North America, there are about 485 parishes that offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form with some frequency (monthly, twice-per-month, or weekly), with 335 parish locations offering it weekly. 

In North America there are 75 parish locations that offer daily access to the Extraordinary Form. Of those locations, 38 are in the care of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and 13 are provided for by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. That leaves 24 locations run by dioceses or religious communities (such as the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago) where the Mass in the Extraordinary Form is offered daily. 

One such parish is thriving in what may seem to some to be the least likely of places—what is often referred to as “the buckle of the Bible Belt,” Greenville, South Carolina. Prince of Peace Catholic Church, located in Taylors, SC, is a diocesan parish with nearly 2,000 families and an evangelical liturgical approach that is beginning to draw national and international attention. 

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