On Friday September 2nd at 7:30 PM, we celebrated Saint Gregory’s Day at Saint Andrew’s church in Billerica. Our Mass was beautified by Palestrina’s exquisite and rarely-heard six-voice Mass, TU ES PETRUS, performed by professional soloists under the direction of Mr. Michael Olbash, eminent music director at Saint Adelaide’s, a parish particularly devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass which has built up an impressive musical program. This is the same Mass selected for Saint Gregory’s Day in 2015, the first appearance of polyphony at our Liturgies. This music was joyfully majestic; the motet on which it is based (also by Palestrina) was chosen by dear Pope Benedict XVI — a well-known and learned lover of music — for the last music to be heard at his final public Mass in 2013.
Saint Gregory’s Day was a momentous event in our history: not only our newly-Consecrated Bishop’s first Episcopal Visitation but also marking the conclusion of Father Liias’ time leading our community. It was the last of the “special liturgies” which have been such a feature of his Pastorate and way to present the Ordinariate’s mission, liturgy, and our own presence to the greater Catholic Church, our spiritual and temporal home.