I apologize for the delay. On 07MAY08, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi responded to a petition from 31 persons requesting the Traditional Latin Mass be offered in the Diocese of Biloxi. Though I am pleased at some positive aspects in the letter, I am still dismayed that at least a bimonthly Mass can not be accommodated. I will postpone responding to allow some time for the College of consultors to meet and respond. If by 07JUL08, the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum , an amiable solution is not reached, I will follow the guidelines set forth in Summorum Pontificum, ART 7 and 8.
Below is a reproduction of his response in full:
I have received the petition you sent to me requesting the extraordinary form of Mass to be celebrated on Sundays, Holy Days of Obligation, and insofar as possible, weekdays.
As I stated in my April 13, 2008 letter to you, upon receiving the Motu Prior from his Holiness, Pope Benedict XV1, the availability of the extraordinary from of Mass was discussed with the members of the Presbyteral Council. One of the Members, Father John Noone, Pastor of Annunciation Parish, volunteered to begin the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass and prepared himself through the study of Latin and the rubrics of the Mass. He began celebrating the extraordinary form of the Mass each weekend beginning with the celebration of the First Sunday of Lent. He continued doing so throughout the Season of Lent. Although the first Mass was well attended, he reported that attendance declined to the point that he decided to discontinue the Mass. I regret that discontinued the Mass but I must respect his decision.
As I also mentioned in my April 14, 2008 letter, my predecessor, Bishop Joseph Howze, also offered the Mass according to the 1962 Missal at the cathedral in Biloxi each Sunday some years ago, but he also discontinued this practice due to the small attendance at the Masses.
As you know, on June 6 I will be installed to serve as Archbishop of Mobile. As Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Biloxi, I must be careful in making any decisions affecting the welfare of the people of the Diocese of Biloxi. Also, the Presbyteral Council has ceased to exist since the Diocese has no bishop. Mindful of these facts, I will discuss your petition with the College of Consultors and seek their advice.
When Father Noone first volunteered to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass, the members of the Presbyteral Council advised that Annunciation Parish was a good location since it was centrally located to those who had expressed an interest in attending the Mass. I note that the petition contained the typed names of 31 people. It appears the names are of 14 families or individuals living in 8 different to towns and at least 8 different church parishes. Judging from the names of the towns contained in the petition, Annunciation Parish is probably as well located as any to serve the people listed on the petition even though the attendance at Annunciation Parish was not sufficient in the judgment of the pastor for continuing the Mass. It will be important for the College of Consultors to discuss if there is any parish better located than Annunciation.
In the meantime, I have spoken with Father Noone and other priests asking them if they would be willing to do so. I have also approved the use of parish funds for any priest who wishes to obtain training in the Latin language and the rubrics of the Latin Mass. To my knowledge, no priest has decided to avail himself of this opportunity.
The priests who are members of the College of Consultors have already begun their summer vacations, but a meeting of the Consultors will be scheduled when an appropriate number of members can attend. I hope that their discussion and advice will be helpful in responding to your petition.
Sincerely in the Lord,
Most Reverend Thomas J. Rodi
Diocese of Biloxi
C: Reverend Monsignor Andrew L. Murray