The brothers provide support ministry at Mother of Divine Mercy Parish and St. Joseph Oratory Parish, inner city Detroit. Mother of Divine Mercy was founded in 2013 originally as a merger of three historical, ethnic parishes: St. Josaphat, Sweetest Heart of Mary and St. Joseph. St. Josaphat Parish had been the original home of the traditional Latin Mass "indult" in the Archdiocese after its renewal under Pope John Paul II, and was the parish at which the brothers' ministry with the Latin Mass community first began shortly before the merger of the three parishes into Mother of Divine Mercy Parish.
The support provided by the brothers facilitated the expansion of the traditional liturgy at Mother of Divine Mercy and the enrichment of the Traditional Latin Mass community present there. Before the brothers arrived, the parish had no CCD program. With their help, it now had traditional catechesis for its large, young families and adult converts, a program grounded on the Baltimore Catechism and the perennial theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. Using both historic St. Josaphat and St. Joseph Churches, the merged parish began regularly providing traditional Baptisms in the old rite —even once a Pontifical Baptism with a bishop— churching of women, First Solemn Communion and traditional Confirmation. Solemn High Mass became more common. Pontifical Low Mass (Low Mass with a bishop) was celebrated by the Most Rev. Francis Reiss (now retired) when he lived in residence.
The brothers introduced the weekly, public chanting of Vespers and Compline (the evening and night prayers of the Church's ancient liturgy) on Monday evenings and on high feasts. During the Holy Triduum, the brothers led the chanting of Tenebrae (the offices of Matins and Lauds) with a special schola of about a dozen men from the parish. Many ardent prayers were offered for the sanctification of the diocese and the success of our parish community. Additionally, the brothers would facilitate community social events, neighborhood Bible study and other parish volunteerism. The seeds were planted, but to grow they would need pastors to tend them that could lead the traditional Latin Mass community as a father of a family, united in the same expression of the Catholic Faith and common vision.
In October 2016, with great jubilation and as an answer to long years of prayer, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron erected Michigan's first personal parish exclusively devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass and placed it under the pastoral care of the Institute of Christ the King. The new St. Joseph's Oratory Parish with control of the historic St. Joseph Church and campus became the new home for our traditional parish community. St. Joseph Church was no longer part of Mother of Divine Mercy Parish, but became again a parish on its own —totally devoted to the ancient liturgy. With a parish and clergy totally devoted to the traditional Latin liturgy, the faithful finally had access to the comprehensive pastoral care they deserved top on down. The new parish is "non-territorial" meaning anyone in the Archdiocese may join it. Portrayed here a brother poses after the traditional installation ceremony with Canon Michael Stein ICRSS, our new pastor, Archbishop Vigneron and Canon Matthew Talarico ICRSS, provincial superior of the Institute of Christ the King. A blessed day for our parish and the whole Archdiocese!
Mother of Divine Mercy Parish still offers the Traditional Latin Mass on Monday evenings and special occasions. The brothers assist there by chanting Vespers before the Monday 7:00pm Traditional Latin Mass at St. Josaphat Church, and by chanting Compline afterward following the weekly devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The brothers remain in charge of catechesis for Mother of Divine Mercy Parish. They provide traditional sacramental preparation for children and adults, and are the lead for the parish's evangelical outreach to the surrounding (majority non-Catholic) neighborhood.
At St. Joseph Oratory Parish, the brothers help chant Holy Mass and Sunday Vespers, and serve at the altar. Portrayed here, one of the brothers who is tonsured assists as a 'straw' subdeacon for Solemn High Mass on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The brothers also support the pastor in the many incidental tasks needed getting the new parish off the ground in whatever way we can be of service.
The reverent worship of God is the chief purpose of the community at St. Thomas Aquinas House. The stability of a prayer life and ministry totally devoted to the ancient Latin tradition of the Church, equips the brothers with an identity that is unwaveringly Catholic. Coupled with the perennial theology of St. Thomas Aquinas that rose up from it, the ancient liturgy provides a firm foundation for understanding and expressing the Faith, which the brothers, in turn, are able to impart both to the children and to the adult converts who come to them for catechetical instruction.
The brothers gladly assist in the training of diocesan clergy interested in offering the ancient liturgy. This has been done sometimes in conjunction with Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary at Orchard Lake, MI, which offers practicum courses for clergy and seminarians to teach them how to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass. The brothers help the priest instructor by serving the 'dry' Masses of the students, and by reinforcing the content being taught with additional one-on-one tutoring (e.g., helping the students memorize their Latin prayers, etc.). The total immersion the brothers enjoy in the old liturgy directly aids their ability to do this well.