December 9, 2018
St. Clement Parish, our apostolate in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, recently concluded its 50th anniversary celebrations with three days of events crowned by a Solemn Pontifical Mass at Ottawa’s magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, the first traditional Pontifical Mass to be celebrated at the cathedral in 20 years.
The festivities began on Thursday, November 22nd, when St. Clement’s held Solemn Vespers for the feast of their patron led by Fr. Josef Bisig, rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary and a founding member of the FSSP. The accompanying music featured the debut of Dedisti Domine, a piece specially composed by St. Clement organist Rachel Laurin for the 50th anniversary. The text is taken from the antiphon found in those same Vespers.
The Solemn Pontifical Mass took place the next day, Friday, November 23rd, the feast of St. Clement, and was celebrated by His Excellency the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa. The Archbishop carried the crozier of his predecessor, Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, who first granted permission for a small community of Catholics to hear the traditional Mass at the Monastery of the Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood in Ottawa on March 3rd, 1968. That group later became the parish of St. Clement under Archbishop Plourde’s successor Archbishop Marcel Gervais, who invited the Fraternity to assume administration in 1995. In 2011, Archbishop Prendergast invited the parish to administer the historic church of St. Anne, and St. Clement celebrated its first Solemn High Mass there on Trinity Sunday of 2012. You can read more about the history of this remarkable community in our post here.
The Archbishop was assisted at the Mass by St. Clement pastor Fr. Erik Deprey, assistant pastor Fr. Jacques Breton, Deacon Luc Poirier, North American Superior Fr. Michael Stinson and FSSP Québec assistant pastor Fr. Laurent Demets. Also present were Fr. Bisig and FSSP Superior General Fr. Andrzej Komorowski, and the choir of St. Clement provided the music for the Mass. Parishioners and non-parishioners alike flocked to the cathedral to attend, some driving as far as 2 to 3 hours. In the sanctuary, a relic of St. Clement was displayed for veneration.
On Saturday, Fr. Bisig gave a talk on the history of the FSSP. You can read more on that talk in the story here published by the Canadian publication The Catholic Register, and you can read their story on the anniversary Mass here.
We congratulate the parish of St. Clement on its 50 years of service to God and the faithful of the diocese of Ottawa, and pray for many more years to come!