Adoremus Bulletin is celebrating 25 years of publishing in 2020—and throughout those years, the publication has collaborated with expert writers and thinkers on the sacred liturgy and its important place in the life of the Church. But Adoremus’s editors have also always provided ample space for its most important collaborators—Adoremus readers.

Adoremus Bulletin founder Helen Hull Hitchcock and Cardinal Arinze.

It was not uncommon in the past for readers’ letters to take up one or two whole pages of an issue—and while letter writing seems to have fallen out of fashion with the advent of the internet, email, and texting putting snail mail on the endangered species list, the editors at Adoremus still receive stamped-and-addressed correspondence through the U.S. Post Office from readers—as well as phone calls and emails—responding, commenting, and generally keeping in touch.

 If Adoremus Bulletin takes pride in its team of writers—priests and lay persons from all corners of the world—it also recognizes that no publication is any better than the readers who support it. For the last 25 years, Adoremus can proudly claim to have some of the most devoted readers in the publishing business. To honor our readership—and ensure that we’re hearing them loud and clear—the editors have invited Adoremus’s audience to tell us what they liked best about the Adoremus Bulletin—how they use what they learn in its pages in their professional lives and personal lives, and why it is maintaining its stated mission: “to rediscover and restore the beauty, the holiness, and the power of the Church’s rich liturgical tradition while remaining faithful to an organic, living process of renewal.”

The response we received—from lay persons and clergy—is a testament to the faith of our readers and an encouraging sign that Adoremus has a place in the ongoing conversation about the life of faith in the modern world—with a special and ardent focus on the timeless relevance of the sacred liturgy.

Collaborative Service

Because the Catholic clergy have devoted their lives to providing the faithful the sacraments as an authentic encounter with Christ through the liturgy, it is not surprising that a number of clergy—deacons and priests—have counted themselves among the most avid readers of the Bulletin.

Adoremus reader Deacon Paul Lim has only recently subscribed to the print edition of the publication, but he told Adoremus that he’s been a long-time reader of the Adoremus website. It was another venue, however, which proved to be the tipping point for Deacon Lim’s decision to subscribe.

“I’m only on my second print issue,” he said, explaining that he decided it was time to receive the print edition during the 2020 Triduum. “I had been a listener to the Liturgy Guys podcast [with Adoremus editor, Chris Carstens, and regular Adoremus contributor, Denis McNamara] for quite a while—maybe two or three years. I just found the conversation so stimulating.”

Because of the pandemic lockdown, Deacon Lim said, he was looking for more outlets to continue his education in all things liturgical—and Adoremus Bulletinfit the bill.

“When I was in diaconate formation, I found myself constantly being engaged, and there was such good conversation in every direction,” he said. “Then, once you’re ordained and out in the real world, you don’t have that. It just goes away. I felt I wanted to explore more about the liturgy. So when I started checking out the Adoremus Bulletin, I fell in love with it. It was perfect for what I needed—to dig deeper and to know more about the sacred liturgy.”

When I started checking out the Adoremus Bulletin, I fell in love with it. It was perfect for what I needed—to dig deeper and to know more about the sacred liturgy.

–Deacon Paul Lim

Noting his appreciation for how Adoremus presents the liturgy in a “concise way,” Deacon Lim also finds practical application within its pages. Ordained a deacon only a few months ago, on June 13, Deacon Lim, 43, told Adoremus that he is the “youngest deacon in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.” Serving three parishes in Pittsburg, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Margaret of Scotland, and Sts. Simon and Jude, he said it’s easy to see the work of a deacon become service-oriented, which is how it should be. But at the heart of his work, he said, the liturgy must take precedence.

“So when Adoremus includes the practical things such as I find in the Rite Questions or something like an article on the liturgy’s connection to the domestic church—that’s neat,” he said. “As a deacon, that’s something close to me because a lot of what happens in the liturgy is brought forth into the world, especially for the deacon. A lot of people think the deacon only sits next to the priest during Mass—and he does do that—but the rest of my ministry is away from the altar. Still, whatever else I do, my ministry starts and concludes with the liturgy. Adoremus really helps me to see that.”

Priestly Blessings

Another member of the clergy in the U.S. who reads Adoremus, Father Christopher Masla, was ordained priest for the Diocese of Richmond, VA, on June 1, 2019, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond. Today he serves as parochial vicar of the Church of the Incarnation Parish in Charlottesville, VA, after spending a year as parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Harrisonburg, VA.

Father Masla told Adoremusthat the trials and travails of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have been the greatest challenge in his new life as a priest.

“I never anticipated having to spend several months celebrating Mass without a congregation present in my first year of priesthood,” he said. “But the Adoremus Bulletinhelped me to make sense of this unexpected trial by getting me to see that every Mass involves the entire mystical body of Christ, and so is still objectively efficacious in God’s continuing renewal of the world.”

Although Father Masla is a relatively new reader—he only subscribed a year ago—like Deacon Lim, he had first discovered Adoremus after listening to The Liturgy Guys podcasts in the seminary “when my appreciation for the beauty and richness of the Church’s liturgical tradition began.”

“Now, as a newly ordained priest, reading the Adoremus Bulletin has continued to deepen my understanding and love for the mysteries I celebrate,” he said. “I recall the words of the bishop to the newly ordained from the priesthood ordination rite: ‘Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.’”

As a priest, too, Father Masla depends on Adoremus to help him incorporate the liturgy into his work—and not only at the altar.

“On occasion I try to consciously and thoughtfully weave liturgical catechesis into my homilies, always drawing from the scriptures or feast of the day,” he said. “I can think back to the feast of Corpus Christi this year. It was difficult and a bit emotional preaching on Christ’s love in giving us the gift of the Eucharist when more than half of our parish couldn’t come to Mass.”

“The Mass was also being livestreamed,” he continued, “and so I had to speak both to those few who were physically present and able to attain full sacramental participation, and to those who were watching Mass on a screen at home. Fortunately, I had read an article in the Adoremus Bulletin written by Dr. Denis McNamara, entitled, ‘Why Celebrate the Mass with Empty Pews?’ [May 2020 Adoremus Bulletin] which gave me inspiration in crafting my homily. In it, Dr. McNamara explains that while the Mass is first and foremost Christ’s perfect offering to the Father in which we participate, culminating in the reception of Holy Communion, we can also participate by making an internal gift of self to God, which, while never replacing sacramental union with Christ, is still real. This article helped to clarify some of the different ways grace comes to us through the liturgy.”

In many ways, the Church’s vision of the liturgy remains to be seen by the faithful, but, according to Father Masla, for the faithful, Adoremus Bulletinis a perfect vehicle for communicating this vision. Quoting from the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Father Masla sees the laity’s part in the liturgy as vital to making this vision a reality.

“‘[F]ull and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit,’” he said. “Adoremus Bulletin is a valuable resource in helping both the clergy and the lay faithful discover both why and how to enter into this full, conscious, and active participation in the liturgy, so God can be glorified, and we can be sanctified. The liturgy is the source and summit of the Christian life, and I believe Adoremus Bulletinwill continue to play a role in helping the Church to realize this central goal of the Second Vatican Council.” 

Adoremus Bulletin is a valuable resource in helping both the clergy and the lay faithful discover both why and how to enter into this full, conscious, and active participation in the liturgy, so God can be glorified, and we can be sanctified.

–Father Christopher Masla

A Healthy Faith

As Father Masla indicates in his citation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the liturgy is not the exclusive realm of the clergy—and many lay persons who read Adoremus also find it an important resource for their daily encounter with Christ.

Dr. William Klein is a retired U.S. Air Force flight surgeon with 21 years of active duty and seven years of reserve duty who now works part-time on the board of directors for the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He also serves as a catechist, teaching in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program and confirmation classes for the CCD program at his local parish.

“Increasing appreciation and knowledge of the liturgy makes my participation more meaningful,” he told Adoremus, “which should make me a better Catholic, a better person, and therefore a better physician.”

A convert to Catholicism, Klein entered the Church in 2003—at which point, he said, “I started immersing myself in all things Catholic.” Although he doesn’t remember the exact date he began to subscribe, Klein said, “I suspect I may have signed up for Adoremusfrom a mention of it in another publication. I also read First Things and The New Oxford Review semi-regularly.”

One of the newer features of Adoremus Bulletin, the regular Readers’ Quiz, Klein said, has been especially welcomed “as it gives me interesting facts for CCD. The publication really helps me appreciate how much history and tradition is behind the sacred liturgy.”

Adoremus Bulletin really helps me appreciate how much history and tradition is behind the sacred liturgy.

–Dr. William Klein

Liturgical Harmony

Like Dr. Klein, Barbara Konrad also finds both professional and personal enrichment in the pages of Adoremus. A piano and voice teacher who works from her home in Shumway, IL, in 2013, Konrad founded the St. Hildegard von Bingen Schola, consisting of 5th- through 12th-grade young women. The schola, Konrad told Adoremus, sings the Mass at churches throughout the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and “also evangelizes by singing the sacred music in concert at our local Catholic hospital chapel twice a year.”

Barbara Konrad founded the St. Hildegard Von Bingen Schola, consisting of 5th- through 12th-grade young women, that sings the Mass at churches throughout the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. “As a graduate of the Liturgical Institute, I saw receiving Adoremus as a way for me to be reminded of what we are called to do and to know,” she said. “Adoremus refreshes my love of the liturgy through its insightful and thoughtful articles.”

Konrad also serves as Director of Music and organist at Immaculate Conception Parish in Mattoon, IL.

An Adoremus reader since 2105, Konrad said that she had subscribed as a way to remember a dearly departed friend.

“I started subscribing to Adoremus when I made a contribution to honor Barbara Nield” who served for 11 years as administrative secretary for the Liturgical Institute (LI) at University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL. “She passed away from cancer in August of 2015 just as I had finished my course work at Liturgical Institute (LI).”

According to Konrad, Adoremus provides a kind of continuing education in the liturgy after her formal studies at LI were completed.

“As a graduate of the Liturgical Institute, I saw receiving Adoremus as a way for me to be reminded of what we are called to do and to know,” she said. “Adoremusrefreshes my love of the liturgy through its insightful and thoughtful articles. To pick my favorite would be like asking which kind of dessert is my favorite: all of them!”

“Reading the AB helps me in both my personal work as piano teacher and my professional work as church musician,” she added. “It helps me blend my two worlds together and stimulates my desire for a more thorough understanding of the liturgy and all things Catholic.”

Married in Christ

Long-time Adoremus readers, James and Patricia Schaaf of Cupertino, CA, decided to subscribe to the publication after they were sent a complimentary issue. James Schaaf is a retired civil engineer and Patricia a retired dietician; they have three grown children.

According to James Schaaf, Adoremus was a welcomed antidote to what passed for liturgical ideas he’d heard being discussed at a local parish.

“The concept that probably disturbed me the most was that of filling the church with the odor of freshly brewed coffee during Mass to provide a more inviting atmosphere,” he told Adoremus. “Well, thank God, that never happened. But then I started to wonder where this new liturgical movement was going and why it was going in that direction. Adoremus seemed to help focus me on a different, deeper, and more traditionally Catholic meaning of the Eucharistic liturgy.”

While some of the articles he reads are “a little too deep,” Schaaf said, he added, “the features that I like have always been the news section. And I also like the questions and the responses to those questions. That’s because very often I have the same questions. Your new Readers’ Quiz feature is also very good.”

Like many faithful around the country, the Schaafs have found the pandemic shutdown a challenge, especially in regard to attending Mass.

“With the pandemic most of the Masses we attend are on television,” James Schaaf said. “But we have been able to attend a few outdoor Masses limited to 25 people. Of course, you view the Mass on TV but you do not receive Holy Communion. The Adoremus Bulletin has given me a sensitivity to the true purpose and meaning of the liturgy. I was beginning to believe that the reception of Holy Communion was the highlight of the Mass and without Holy Communion the Mass had lost its meaning. But is that true? Mass even without Holy Communion has, with Adoremus’s help, become to me a more meaningful liturgy.”

Schaaf realized that by reading Adoremus’s articles addressing how to approach the liturgy during the shutdown he was seeing the liturgy in a new light. “The reception of Holy Communion makes the Eucharistic liturgy ‘more perfect,’” he said. “I’m of the generation that had to fast from midnight to receive my first Holy Communion, but the Mass was taught to be the ultimate liturgical celebration. At that time, years and years ago, few people received Holy Communion. But they did attend Mass. Today, almost everyone receives. Which is better? I don’t know, but the Mass is still a powerful action which provides God-With-Us.”

Una Voce

The Adoremus Bulletin also has a strong international appeal as several European readers who subscribe to the print edition can attest. Father Anton Datelinka was ordained a priest in 2011 for the Diocese of Nitra, located in western Slovakia. The diocese traces its 1,100-year history back to the bishopric of St. Methodius; he and his brother St. Cyril are known as “Apostles to the Slavs.”

For the past four years, Father Datelinka has served as a professor of sacred liturgy at the Comenius University of Bratslava while he also serves “in a small parish where I celebrate the Western Catholic rites in the extraordinary and ordinary form.”

“As a liturgy lecturer I use Adoremus working with students and theologians who might get better in touch with liturgical happenings in the U.S.  as well,” he told Adoremusby email. “The importance of experiencing the liturgy as a highlight of clerical activity is frequently a topic in Adoremus’s articles.”

As a liturgy lecturer I use Adoremus working with students and theologians who might get better in touch with liturgical happenings in the U.S.

–Father Anton Datelinka

Father Datelinka writes that he finds a wealth of information about the liturgy in Adoremus, both from an English-speaking perspective and on the more general concerns of those celebrating the Latin Rite.

“For example,” he writes, “it was quite interesting to mention to the theologians the American point of view concerning celebrating the holy Mass with children with dignity [see September 2019 Adoremus Bulletin, “A Deep Dive into the Divine: The Catechism of the Good Shepherd”]. It is quite rare as well to observe the way that sacral architecture [has] evolved, uniquely joining both liturgical and artistic quality.”

According to Father Datelinka, he first discovered Adoremus through the publication’s website, four years ago.

“I soon found out the published articles are well written and of high quality,” he notes. “Being a European priest, I was glad to find a journal from the U.S. dealing with liturgy. It is always quite enriching to read foreign materials. Although we live our faith in each of our respective [cultures], we are all members of the universal Church. Adoremus Bulletin represents the opportunity to take a look inside this ecclesiastical universality.”

Although Adoremus seeks primarily to address the Church in English-speaking countries, Father Datelinka sees the journal having a broader influence.

“Adoremus has become one of the essential sources of my lecture preparations for the future priests,” he writes. “It is necessary to be aware not only of the situation in our country or in Europe. Adoremus offers the opportunities to perceive the liturgical happenings globally and at the level of the whole Church. Simultaneously, it is essential to realize, as in any other field, the liturgical field needs to perceive new trends, upcoming questions and challenges standing ahead of us.”  

In addition to serving as a professional resource, Father Datelinka said, Adoremus also provides him with personal spiritual and intellectual enrichment.

“I consider AB to be very well composed journal as a whole,” he said. “The most valuable articles for me are those which nowadays help to perceive the importance of Catholic liturgy as a field where one may constantly improve. I think the faithful currently need to have the opportunity to face the texts pointing at the depth of the liturgy.”

Liturgy in Common

Another European reader and a native of France, Deacon Georges-Henri Galey is studying for the priesthood in his homeland and was ordained a transitional deacon earlier this year on June 27. He currently serves the Parish of Mortagne-au-Perche in the Diocese of Séez, located in Normandy in the north of France, and will be ordained a priest for the Community of St. Martin, a public association of the clergy which works in collaboration with bishops to provide liturgical and pastoral support for the dioceses in which they serve.

The Community of St. Martin currently serves 22 parishes around the world, including in France, Italy, and Cuba. It was founded in 1976 by Father Jean-François Guérin (1929-2005) and received canonical status four years later in 1979. As an oblate of the Benedictine Abbey of Fontgombault prior to founding the Community, Father Guérin embraced the spirituality of Dom Prosper Louis Pascal Guéranger, one of the founders of the Liturgical Movement. Priests and deacons in the Community of St. Martin live out their ministry in community—as modeled by the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. Drawing on both Benedictine and Augustian traditions, Community clergy practice Lectio Divina on a daily basis and sing the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite. 

Deacon Galey told Adoremus by email that he decided to subscribe to the print edition after discovering the publication on the internet.

“Appreciating the in-depth research” of the articles he read, he said, “I asked for a subscription.”

As part of Adoremus’s subscription policy, any seminarian or clergy can by request receive a gratis subscription—which Deacon Galey appreciates considering his own lack of funds as a seminarian.

“I am deeply grateful for the free subscription offered to me,” he writes, “as the stipend clergy receive in France is below the minimum wage and I could not [otherwise] afford to subscribe.”

Of particular importance, Deacon Galey writes, Adoremus has helped him better appreciate the development of the liturgy in the late 20th century.

“Adoremus Bulletin helped me understand the liturgical reform conducted by Pope Paul VI and its requirements, as well as how to better implement it,” he said, adding, “It proves extremely useful” in seeing the importance of “liturgical formation in a spirit consonant with tradition and faithful to the Magisterium.”

In his current work as a transitional deacon, too, Deacon Galey writes, “Adoremus has helped me to better understand the liturgical dynamics of the Mass and the sanctuary setting.”

Adoremus Bulletin’s 25 years are relatively few, especially when compared to the Diocese of Nitra in Slovakia (whose Cathedral of St. Emmeram is pictured here), founded in 880. Still, the young Bulletin finds grateful readers among clergy and seminarians in the Diocese of Nitra today—and will continue to do so, God willing, well into the future.

Mission: Much Accomplished

Like Deacon Galey, Father Datelinka sees in Adoremus a valuable resource for encouraging a love for the liturgy both as it’s celebrated today and through a deeper appreciation of the liturgy in tradition.

“Reading Adoremus might lead to the understanding of the liturgy as a treasure protected by the Catholic Church for centuries,” he said. “It is impossible to live the faith without liturgy. Articles and texts published in Adoremus are highly convenient for its proper comprehension. They provide new chances to see the beauty of God’s work present in the liturgy of the Church.”

Joseph O'Brien

Joseph O’Brien lives on a homestead with his wife Cecilia and their nine children in rural southwestern Wisconsin. He is Managing Editor of Adoremus Bulletin, a correspondent for the Catholic Business journal, and poetry editor and cocktail reviewer for The San Diego Reader. He has a BA (1995) and MA (2004) in English from University of Dallas, Irving, TX.