It’s easy to see some symbolism in the infrastructure work for Dayton’s historic Holy Family Catholic Church and its Latin Mass community.
Parishioners have allocated their share of One Faith, One Hope, One Love funds for concrete and masonry repair at their historic structure.
In a figurative sense, they’ve spent years reinforcing foundations of Church tradition as well.
Holy Family, with about 350 members, is served by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), a society dedicated to the traditional Roman Rite liturgy, The parish is one of two in Ohio parishes under the care of the FSSP (the other is in the Youngstown diocese). More than 285 priests belong to the fraternity worldwide.
Father George Gabet, Holy Family’s pastor, served as FSSP district superior for North America before coming to the Dayton church last year after his term ended.
Dayton’s Latin Mass revival “actually had been started at Holy Family,” Father Gabet said. “There was a Latin Mass community before, kind of under the wings of the parish, which was the English rite, a regular diocesan parish. Then we moved to Holy Rosary for a little while. The Latin Mass had started as a kind of a community under Archbishop Pilarczyk, then in 2010 Archbishop Schnurr was very kind in allowing Holy Family to become a Latin Mass parish under the care of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
“We’ve been serving the area, keeping the church alive as an inner-city parish, and this attracts people from all over the state.” he said. “We get people from Mercer County, actually an hour away, to come, and Urbana is another draw, we have some families from there as well. We keep this beautiful, gorgeous church alive here in the Gem City, and it’s one of the gems within the Gem City.
“And we keep the Latin Mass, which Pope John Paul II in his motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei, asked bishops to be generous in allowing. And then of course Pope Benedict, in his Summorum Pontificum, said people should be able to have the Latin Mass. So that’s what we provide through the kindness of Archbishop Schnurr. We do this every Sunday. Every day actually.”
For pastor and parishioners, maintaining that Church heritage also means physical maintenance on their historic church.
“Our parishioners were very generous with helping out with the One Faith, One Hope,” Father Gabet said. “We’ll be using it to fix up the concrete that is kind of crumbling. The parish was founded in 1905 but the church wasn’t built until 1925, and a lot of the cement around there needs a little fixing.”
Just a necessary bit of preservation in the service of preserving something larger.
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