On Saturday, March 15th, Father Noone announced he will cease offering the Traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis and gave no plans for offering monthly Masses. He stated two reasons for discontinuing the Mass. 1) He claims it is not sufficiently attended and 2) He doesn’t feel right only offering a Low Mass with no musical accompaniment. He states he will revisit the issue later.
I have very mixed feelings about this scenario. First, I cannot stress enough the respect and admiration I have for Father Noone for being the only Priest in the Diocese of Biloxi to volunteer to learn / offer the Traditional Latin Mass. He is the only Priest staffing Annunciation Catholic Church and volunteered to squeeze another Mass into an already packed schedule. I do however respectfully disagree with his two reasons for discontinuing the Mass. 1) The TLM was offered on Saturday at 6:00 P.M. at a parish that is 30-45 minutes from Gulfport/Biloxi. Despite the location and inconvenient time, a consistent population of 40+ faithful came to every Saturday Mass*. I grant that this is quite smaller than the attendance at a regular scheduled Mass, but I would argue that this meets the criteria of Summorum Pontificum. 2) I would also argue that the Faithful attached to the extraordinary form would prefer the lowliest Low Mass, (no pun intended) over the ordinary form. There is little need to go into details of the aberrations, abuses, and banal music that are often found in the ordinary form. One need only look at the reverence, mysticism, and beauty in the extraordinary form to make this case.
That said, Father Noone is not responsible for assuring the Traditional Latin Mass is made available to the 40+ Faithful in the Diocese of Biloxi. He did, however lay the groundwork for this Mass to be resurrected in the Diocese of Biloxi and we are forever grateful to him for this. We will have to write Bishop Rodi and request the Traditional Latin Mass be made available again. I pray that Bishop Rodi will come to the aid of these 40+ Faithful at the earliest possible convenience. In addition, I await the clarifications on Summorum Pontificum which will surely spread some favorable light on the situation.
* The attendance was roughly the following: 113, 68, 48, 50, 38, 40, give or take...