Tradition Looks to the Future: Sarasota's New Latin Mass Church.
By Matthew James Bellisario. March 19th, 2009
While many see tradition as something oppressive and limiting, those who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Liturgy think otherwise. Attending the ancient liturgy is not something from a bygone era. Thanks to Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Florida will open its first Extraordinary Latin Mass parish on April 19th, 2009. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was installed on July 25, 2006, as only the second bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida. The Latin Mass community in Sarasota was launched about thirteen years ago (January 22, 1995) by the Ecclesia Dei Society with the permission of Bishop John J. Nevins and with the support of Saint Martha's pastor the Very Rev. Fausto Stampiglia.
For the past thirteen years, the Latin Mass has been celebrated at Saint Martha Catholic Church in Sarasota. Since the 1970s, the Novus Ordo has been the 'official' celebrated liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. Those in the Diocese of Venice preferring the Latin mystique and the age-old reverence that the Tridentine Liturgy offered were out of luck until this Mass was offered. Since Bishop Dewane has taken the seat of bishop in the Diocese of Venice in Florida, things have moved along at a rapid pace for this growing Latin Mass community. Even before the release of Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio, Bishop Dewane had things in motion to help the community grow. Since he has been appointed bishop, we have seen the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter come into the diocese and take over the Latin Mass duties at Saint Martha. Rev. Father James Fryar, FSSP, has been the spiritual father and priest of the community for nearly two years now.
The growing demand for the Extraordinary form has had Father James Fryar stretched from Ocala to Naples and back again. The need for a second priest was acknowledged and the FSSP graciously provided another. Recently Father Justin Nolan, FSSP, has joined Father Fryar in Sarasota. Now the two of them share their priestly duties traveling the Florida coast celebrating the sacraments in Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples and Ocala. The only absent piece of the puzzle for this growing community was a church of their own. At the end of this past year Bishop Dewane announced the purchase of an Anglican church in south Sarasota for the exclusive celebration of the Extraordinary Form. The bishop has named the new church 'Christ the King'. Thanks to the many years of hard work by the Ecclesia Dei society which provided the foundation, all those who have recently joined the community to support it and its growth, and the dedication of Bishop Frank Dewane, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass now has a home for future generations.
Remodeling has been underway since the beginning of the year and is nearing completion. Although there will be more renovations to take place in later years, the church has received a rather extensive facelift. These include a new bell-tower, new paint, new tile, four stained glass windows taken from an old church up north, and a an altar taken from an old church; as well as statues, an organ that will blow the doors off the church, and a new sound system. New lamps have been added for the nave and sanctuary; a restored altar rail is on the way; new etched glass windows on the doors with the papal insignia have just been installed; and to top it off, a new roof is being finished as we speak. Later restoration plans include the replacement of glass windows on the other side. The property also has plenty of land for future expansion.
The parish will seat 200 people and will be the only parish dedicated to the traditional Mass in Florida. Mass times for Sunday at the new church are 8:30 a.m. for the low Mass and 10:30 a.m. for high Mass featuring a beautiful Latin Mass choir. Saturdays there will be a 9 a.m. Mass followed by confessions. There are also weekday Masses as well as the activities of evening Vespers, the praying of the rosary, and confessions. As we can see, tradition is not a thing of the past. True tradition is a living tradition and it always looks to the future.
Here is the outside of the church when it was purchased.
Here is the outside under renovations.
Here is the inside of the church when it was purchased.
This is how it looks now with more to come!
Here are the etched windows with the papal insignia on the doors of the church that were recently installed.
New lamps adorn the nave and the sanctuary.
A new altar is on the way!
Father James Fryar FSSP awaiting his flock at the new church.