New FSSP Parish: Our Lady of Sorrows, Springdale AR
A new FSSP parish has been established in Springdale in northwest Arkansas. As of March 19th, Fr. Joshua Passo, FSSP has taken over as pastor of this new Latin Mass community of Our Lady of Sorrows, and we had an opportunity to ask some questions that would be of interest to Missive readers. –ed.
How did the community first organize?
The lineage of Our Lady of Sorrows parish goes back to 1998. A group of ten homeschooling families invited Fr. James Jackson, (FSSP, Author of Nothing Superfluous) to give a presentation. After Fr. Jackson’s talk these families drove two hours each way to Tulsa, Oklahoma – the closest Latin Mass in the area. In 2004 they formed Una Voce of Northwest Arkansas and began work with the Diocese of Little Rock to establish a Latin Mass in the area.
How did the community become established? When did the Fraternity become involved?
On Palm Sunday in 2010 Bishop Taylor granted permission for Fr. Greg Hart to offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Joseph parish in Tontitown, Arkansas. This continued until Fr. Hart’s illness and death in November 2017. Early the next year Bishop Taylor invited the Fraternity to serve the community. Fr. William Define and Fr. Earl Eggleston attended from Most Precious Blood parish in Tulsa until July of 2020. At that point Fr. Paul McCambridge of St. John the Baptist in Cabot, Arkansas was assigned as Administrator. Fr. Joshua Passo served the community as Assistant Administrator until his installation as the first pastor on the Feast of St. Joseph, 19 March 2021.
What steps led to your becoming a full-fledged parish?
The community began to organize in earnest after a visit from Fr. Gerard Saguto in 2018. Finance and parish councils were formed. A pledge drive was organized and executed in 2019 and again in 2020. The community utilized social media to circulate information and generate interest. After a visit from Fr. Daniel Geddes in February 2020 the community worked with the Diocese to purchase a former Lutheran property in Springdale. The church and the rectory were extensively remodeled. Bishop Taylor erected Our Lady of Sorrows as a personal parish on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 12 December 2020.
How much and how fast has your community grown?
We have witnessed a compounded annual growth rate of 11% since 2017. Average Sunday Mass attendance in 2017 was 108 souls – about 35 households. Today we have an average Sunday Mass attendance of 189 souls in 59 households. Several families have moved from out of state to this area specifically to join our parish.
Any advice for people on how to get FSSP parishes started in their areas?
First and most obviously, pray. But be specific. Offer the Holy Rosary as a community explicitly for an apostolate. Be faithful. Live in humility with each other as a Christian community. Give one another the benefit of the doubt. Be obedient to your pastors.
Second – all the Aves and Paters you offer are of little value if you don’t get organized and get to work. Men from the community should form finance and parish councils. Keep them small. Too many participants impede the effort instead of focus and accelerate it. Further – anyone who volunteers to serve in this capacity must demonstrate their commitment to the effort through their time and treasure.
Speaking of treasure: Give. Ensure your finances are accounted independently. Organize pledge drives with specific objectives in mind (property, vestments, etc.). And give to the Fraternity. Sponsor a seminarian. If you want the Fraternity to invest in you, then you should likewise invest in the Fraternity.
Any future spiritual plans or architectural ones? Special devotions you want to start, remodeling projects?
One of the things we need quite soon is a parish hall. We are blessed to have a barn on the property which we can use in the interim, but it lacks proper facilities. So we will work with our architect to develop a master plan for our property and take aim at a parish hall.
We have established First Friday and First Saturday devotions. We have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays. Each week we offer devotions in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows. Each month we offer devotions in honor of St. Joseph (for the year of St. Joseph). This spring we will establish religious education and sacramental preparation programs. This summer we expect to have men’s and women’s groups established.
For more information, visit the parish website at ourladyofsorrowsnwa.org.
April 9, 2021