Letter 105 published 31 August 2019


As is the case every year, the pilgrimage of the People of Summorum Pontificum will take place on the last weekend of October, in Rome. Once again, this year it will be preceded by a Summorum Pontificum Encounter, which will take place—this is becoming a tradition—at the Augustinianum, near Saint Peter’s square. We have asked Christian Marquant to give us a rundown of these closely related events.

Paix Liturgique – Could you first give us an introduction to the Fifth Summorum Pontificum Encounter of Friday 25 October?

Christian Marquant – As you can tell by its name, this Encounter is above all a opportunity for the faithful and religious of the People of Summorum Pontificum  to meet and share their experiences and difficulties if they so desire. During the People of Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage they can take advantage of the presence in Rome of Catholics attached to the traditional Mass from all over the world. 

Paix Liturgique – But the schedule of lectures is so full that participants hardly have time for a quiet exchange.

Christian Marquant – That’s precisely why we have organized not a conference, but an encounter! Based on our experience of these past years, we wanted to leave the participants as much time as possible to facilitate these opportunities for sharing. To achieve this, the day will be punctuated with breaks allowing people to meet and talk around our “buffet.”

Paix Liturgique – A “buffet”?

Christian Marquant – Yes, we had the idea of a sort of permanent buffet, open all day, just like the two famous cafés during the Council; places perfectly suited to make exchanges easy. For instance, we’ll be welcoming participants as early as 9:00 am for breakfast, even though the lectures only begin at 10. Then this buffet will be open for half an hour between each intervention and of course at lunchtime . . . .

Paix Liturgique – Well! But are you going to get any work done?

Christian Marquant – Why, of course! While we think that exchanges among the participants are essential, this encounter is also a chance to mingle with committed personalities who live and work in the spirit of Summorum Pontificum. To this end, this year we have invited four leading figures, who may not necessarily be well known to our friends.

Paix Liturgique – And who might they be?

Christian Marquant – First, Natalia Sanmartin; some may have read her novel The Awakening of Miss Prim, a sort of initiatory tale that recounts the author’s evolution from modern life to the traditional life we defend. Her testimony ought to be one of the encounter’s highlights.

There’ll also be Father Z, who runs one of the most famous and active traditional Catholic blogs in the United States.

Not to mention João Silveira, the founder and main contributor of the Portuguese-language blog “Senza Pagare,” to which we devoted one of our Paix Liturgique Letters. We had not revealed, however, that João has become one of the main leaders of the mission (I insist on this qualifier) trips we organize in all the regions of the planet to share the traditional liturgy. His experience has become highly valuable for all who seek to move in that direction in their own zone.

Last but not least, Nicola Bux is the tireless promoter of the usus antiquior, particularly in the southern regions of Italy, but also in Italy as a whole.

Paix Liturgique – So you’re not proposing a conference for specialists; it’s more of “grassroots” encounter?

Christian Marquant – Exactly right, because there already exist high-quality events which put on scholarly conferences, like Sacra Liturgia. Now, we’re not excluding the organization of meetings of that sort as well, like those of CIEL in its day. On the other hand there are few or even no spaces in which People of Summorum Pontificum observers can present their work, their experiences, and their projects. Likewise there are few or no encounters providing concrete assistance to all the defenders of the traditional liturgy who, in their parishes or dioceses, have to face the harsh reality of inertia among too many clerics or even, quite frankly, their “negationism” regarding the fate reserved for the traditional Mass.

Paix Liturgique – This must amount to a high cost, no?

Christian Marquant – Yes, it does, and this allows Paix Liturgique benefactors to see what concrete action we are taking with their gifts. This also allows us to inform those who don’t know it yet that if we want to move things in the direction of peace—namely, the peaceful exercise of the traditional liturgy—we must dispose of a certain number of means. In this regard as in many others, communication is key, as the saying goes.

Paix Liturgique – Is signing up necessary to participate in these encounters?

Christian Marquant – Absolutely, because this helps us get the day organized. So those who can sign up in advance make things easier for us. That said, last-minute participants are also welcome!

All of our readers can sign up simply by clicking on the link here.

Paix Liturgique – Is there a fee for signing up?

Christian Marquant – Well, since we don’t want to prevent our friends, who often come from far-off places, from participating for financial reasons, we decided that participation in our encounter should be free. The pilgrimage that follows is also free and there is no need to sign up for that. We only ask that those who can do so to share in the cost of the buffet for the low sum of ten Euros, and that the more generous among them do what they can to help us develop these encounters.

Paix Liturgique – One last question on the Encounter: what language are the speakers going to use?

Christian Marquant – They’ll use their own language, and each participant will hear them in his own, just like at Pentecost! But in our case, without a miracle: we have arranged for a simultaneous translation service that will allow everyone to hear them in his own language!

Paix Liturgique – Tell us about the pilgrimage now.

Christian Marquant – The People of Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage has existed since 2012, seven years ago now. Benedict XVI was still pope at the time, so the pilgrimage was also an act of thanksgiving. This will be its eighth iteration. A pilgrimage is first and foremost an act of piety: the representatives of the People of Summorum Pontificum come and pray for the growth of the liturgy that nourished the life of the Church for so long, and that some people wished to see disappear. From the very beginning it was about showing the Holy Father and the men in the Curia that we existed in Italy, in Europe, and in the world. Given the success of the first pilgrimage we naturally persevered, down to this very year, when the great procession to Saint Peter’s will take place, for the eighth time, on Saturday 26 October.

Paix Liturgique – Is it a sizable pilgrimage?

Christian Marquant – It’s relatively modest compared to the Chartres pilgrimage—and in fact it is out of the question to replicate that kind of organization in Italy. It gathers only a few thousand people. On the other hand it is extremely important in the sense that it brings together Catholics attached to the extraordinary form from the whole world, who by their very presence give testimony to the universal dimension of the traditional liturgy.

Paix Liturgique – Are the French numerous to participate in this pilgrimage?

Christian Marquant – They are not the most numerous. Actually this brings me to tell you a significant anecdote. Two years ago, at the end of the procession, Bp Guido Pozzo, then secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission and leader of the procession, turned to me and said: “I find there aren’t many Frenchman.” I answered and told him that they were not in the majority, that this only showed that attachment to the traditional liturgy was not a strictly French affair, and that he was surrounded by pilgrims from the world over. Many of them didn’t even have that “traddy look” that can sometimes elicit a smile. This year though, the presence of Bishop Rey as presider over the pilgrimage ought to exert a greater attraction on the French.

Paix Liturgique – What are the activities at the pilgrimage?

Christian Marquant – The heart of the pilgrimage in on Saturday: Eucharistic adoration at ten in San Lorenzo in Damaso church, Piazza della Cancelleria 1, followed by a procession in the streets of Rome, this year presided by Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, and lastly a pontifical Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at noon, at the altar of the Chair of Saint Peter, again celebrated by Bishop Rey this year.

Besides that, there will be Masses and devotions on the Friday prior and the following Sunday, as shown on the the agenda.

But also, associations that are members of, or allied to, the pilgrimage have for a long time now been proposing other activities linked to the main event. For example, in 2016, the Institute of the Good Shepherd took theis opportunity to celebrate its tenth anniversary. In 2017 (the tenth anniversary of the motu proprio), Fr. Nuara joined in by organizing his scholarly lecture on Summorum Ponticum on the eve of the procession with his Giovani e Tradizione association. That same year, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest celebrated a solemn Mass in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. The Una Voce Association regularly organizes its biannual General Assembly on this occasion. And we too, as I just mentioned, are organizing—and perfecting—our Summorum Pontificum Encounters for the fifth time this year. All this to say that the modest Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage is becoming the very free and very open rendezvous of numerous components of the traditional world from across the globe, though without any intention of federating them.

Paix Liturgique – And what is Paix Liturgique doing in all of this?

Christian Marquant – As a member of the Cœtus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum, we participate to the full extent of our capabilities in the proper functioning of this pilgrimage which—allow me to insist on this point—is open wide to all: you may participate in all or part of it with no inscription, whether individually or as a member of any association, community, or parish whatever. Besides that, every Friday we organize the encounter I presented earlier and finally, for a few years now, we’ve organized a buffet for clergy at the Cesi palace, a stone’s throw from Saint Peter’s, after the Saturday Mass.

Paix Liturgique – Could you elaborate on that?

Christian Marquant – It’s both a break given to the clergy after the morning’s procession and pontifical ceremony, and also a time for exchanges among priests and prelates from the whole world. In this case it is necessary to sign up, for planning purposes. Priests who wish to participate in it must sign up through this link.

Paix Liturgique –Do you need any help to run all these activities?

Christian Marquant – Certainly! Volunteers are most welcome and we’re very grateful for any help they can provide. They can let us know their availability by writing to contact@paix-liturgique.org

Fifth Summorum Pontificum Encounter

Friday 25 October at 10:00 am, in the aula magna of the Augustinianum, Via Paolo VI, 25, with Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera (Spain), Father John Zuhlsdorf (USA), Msgr Nicola Bux (Italy), Ruben Peretó Rivas (Argentina) and João Silveira (Portugal).

Free sign-up; click here

Agenda of the Eighth Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage

Friday 25 October 

Solemn Mass at 5:15 pm, celebrated by the Premonstratensian Canons of Godollo (Hungary) and sung by the schola of Saint Michael’s church of Budapest (Juventutem), in Santa Maria ad Martyres (the Pantheon), piazza della Rotonda.

Saturday 26 October

Eucharistic adoration (and confessions) at 10:00 am in San Lorenzo in Damaso, Piazza della Cancelleria, 1

Procession presided by Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon

Pontifical Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at noon, celebrated by Bishop Rey

Sunday 27 October

Pontifical Mass of Christ the King at 11:00 am in Santa Trinità dei Pellegrini, Piazza della Trinità dei Pellegrini, 1, celebrated by Bishop Dominique Rey

Mass of Christ the King at 9:30 am in Gesù e Maria church, Via del Corso, 45—presence of pilgrims on Saint Peter’s square at noon.

One may participate in all or part of the pilgrimage. Signing up is not required.