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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

102717 pont latin mass2CHARLOTTE — History was made in the Diocese of Charlotte Oct. 26, when a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form was offered for the first time.
The Solemn Pontifical Mass, one offered by a bishop or a cardinal, was the first such Latin liturgy ever offered in the diocese.

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 400 people gathered inside St. Ann Church to attend the Mass, offered by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, O.R.C., auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan.

An outspoken defender of the Catholic faith who grew up in the persecuted underground Church of the former Soviet Union, Bishop Schneider preached on the Kingship of Christ.

Jesus Christ is not only the king of heaven, Bishop Schneider said, but of all creation.
“Christ is the true King over all human ways and all human societies. He has conquered it by His Precious Blood,” he said.

“All things are in His Power. His empire not only includes Catholic nations, not only baptized persons, but also all those who are outside the faith.”

Individuals, families, nations – indeed, all peoples – fall under Christ’s authority and it is out of love for Him that we recognize His Kingship, he said.
Excluding and alienating Christ from public life, and preventing people from worshiping Christ as King and confessing their faith, is a sign of dictatorship, Bishop Schneider said.

Christians must especially stand up for Christ’s Kingship over the entire world when confronted by atheistic dictatorships, he said.

He recalled the “luminous” witness of the 14-year-old martyr José Sánchez del Río, who was executed during Mexico’s Cristero War. Although he was imprisoned and tortured by the anti-Catholic government forces, the boy refused to renounce his faith – defiantly proclaiming “Viva Cristo Rey!” even as the soldiers cut him with machetes, stabbed him with bayonets, and finally shot him in the head. Moments before he died, he drew a cross in the dirt and kissed it.

Pope Francis proclaimed him a saint on Oct. 16, 2016.

Martyrs and saints like St. José Sánchez del Río show us the way to enthrone Christ in our hearts, our minds and our wills, Bishop Schneider said. We should look to their example and ask for their intercession in our lives, praying that Christ will be “the king of every soul.”
Father Joseph Matlak served as deacon, Father Jason Barone was subdeacon and

Father Noah Carter was master of ceremonies for the Mass.

The liturgy was the first Mass of a confessor not a bishop, “Os Justi.” The Mass setting was “Missa Iste Confessor,” by Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina.

The liturgy commemorated Blessed Karl, the last emperor of Austria and king of Hungary. Crowned in 1916 during the height of World War I, he sought a peaceful end to the conflict and in the war’s aftermath he was forced into exile. He died sick and penniless in 1922, aged only 34. His last word before dying was “Jesus.”

The liturgy was offered under the auspices of the Emperor Karl League of Prayer for Peace Among the Nations, which promotes the cause for canonization of Blessed Karl.

The celebration was hosted by St. Ann Parish and the Charlotte Latin Mass Community, which presented Bishop Schneider with a spiritual bouquet of prayers after the Mass.

Bishop Schneider bowed and replied with a smile, “Thank you, and remain always Catholic!”

— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor. Photos by Patricia L. Guilfoyle and Markus Kuncoro.

More online

Learn more about Blessed Karl 

Learn more about St. José Sánchez del Río

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