Saturday, 30 January 2010

From Baseball to a Traditional Seminarian Life

By now, many of you have already heard that Grant Desme, an awesome baseball player for the Oakland A's has been discerning a call to the priesthood, and recently he has decided to follow that call. What some of you may not know is that Desme is not planning on studying for a diocesan priesthood. That is not the case at all. Rather, he will be studying for the priesthood within a group of canons called the Canons Regular of Premontre.

These canons are located in Orange County, California at St. Michael's Abbey. "The Norbertine Order (Premonstratensians) was founded by St. Norbert of Xanten (1080-1134) in the valley of Prémontré (modern day France.)." An interesting fact about this Canons Regular that you may also not be aware of is presented on their website under the title "Liturgy". This is what the site says about their liturgy: "Before the sweeping changes in the liturgy made at Vatican II, the Norbertine Order had its own manner of celebrating the Office and Mass.

Liturgists debate whether this was a Rite or merely a usage, but the fact remains that many elements of the Premonstratensian liturgy (especially surrounding the ceremonial of Holy Week) were radically different from the Roman Rite. St. Michael’s Abbey has preserved many of these elements in its present liturgy, and regards these Norbertine elements as part of our rich heritage, meant to be fostered and passed from one generation to the next."

I had not heard of this community until I watched The World Over with Raymond Arroyo who interviewed Desme on his show. When Desme spoke of his pull toward the group's traditional ways, I immediately looked up his story, found the community's website, and was determined to share this information with you. Whilst the Norbertines may not all celebrate the Tridentine Mass regularly, they do use sacred chant and Latin in their liturgy. They also have pictures of the priest facing the people, while at the same time they have photos of the canons receiving Communion with a paten under their chin, while kneeling and receiving on the tongue.

Visit their website at:

The abbey's portion of the site is found here:

View photos here:

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