Deo Gratias, thanks to the prayers and petitions of many, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate at Lanherne, have received dispensation from Commissioner, Fr. Fidenzio Volpi OFM Cap., to resume celebration of the Extraordinary form on Sundays and weekdays. The Sisters and Friars extend their gratitude for all the prayers, works and support that they have received for this end.
The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate were founded by two Franciscans, including the former Superior General, Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, in 1970. The order aimed to return to the observance of the Franciscan life, as exemplified by St Maximillian Kolbe.
The Friars, over time, saw an increase of priests offering the Traditional Mass, to the point where the Order, organically, became bi-ritual. The balance tipped in favour of the Traditional Mass during the Pontificate of Pope Benedict, and by the end it was quite stongly in favour of the Extraordinary Form, although the Ordinary Form was still widely offered.
On 11 July 2013, The Vatican Curial office responsible for Religious Orders (the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life) issued a decree to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate to cease celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. The same decree (called an interdiction), appointed a Curial Commissioner whose job is to investigate ‘internal divisions’ within the order and to govern the application of the decree. The friars have asked for internal matters to be respected as a private matter by those outside the order, which we fully respect.
Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, the Superior General, called the Order to humble submission, and from 11 August 2013, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate ceased offering the Traditional Mass around the world.
The decree sounds serious, and indeed is serious, and many Catholics attached to the Exraordinary Form are deeply concerned about its ramifications. Thankfully, however, a clause was built into the decree, which allowed for individual priests to petition the Commissioner in order to continue saying the Traditional Mass. The Franciscan Friars in Burslem, Stoke on Trent, received permission from the Commissioner about two weeks after the decree came into effect. Lanherne finally received permission to recommence saying the Traditional Mass in public after three weeks.
We encourage all of our readers to continue offering up prayers and works for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in this time of trial.