Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Milestone at St. Stephen's


Two days ago we hit a milestone at Saint Stephen's Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, one that merits some mention. Quinquagesima Sunday marked the first anniversary (according to the ecclesiastical year) of the ongoing practice of the Daily Mass in our parish. There have been days now and again when we have not been able to have the Mass, the pastor being unavailable for this or that reason. Yet, on the whole, the pattern begun here about a year ago now seems firmly in place, and frankly, it is a very unusual blessing in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
If anyone, in our parish, or in Milwaukee, or anyone who has the occasion to visit Milwaukee, is interested in attending a traditional Lutheran Mass during the week, please know that you are invited and welcome to join us, pretty much any day at 9 A.M. If you are a Lutheran communicant, do present yourself to the pastor before Mass. If you are not a communicant, we'd like to know you too. So come, and introduce yourself.

I anticipate and look forward to real renewal and revitalization in our parish, and it will take place chiefly by means of the Spirit's life-giving (vivificantem) work in the sacramental gifts of the Church. The Mass is central to this enterprise.

Thank you, Fr. May, for making the Holy Mass available to us on a daily basis. In this regard you are manifesting our Confession, in which the role of the pastor is illustrated by the words of Saint John Chrysostom, thus: Sacerdotem quotidie stare ad altare et alios ad communionem accersere, alios arcere. The priest stands daily at the altar, inviting some to the Communion and keeping back others.

And I call upon all schools, especially the universities and seminaries, of the Missouri Synod, and indeed any parish where there are interested communicants, to follow our example. If you want Christ to be central in the lives of your students or parishioners, then give them the Eucharist often.

Finally, if anyone wishes to express their gratitude for the Confessional Lutheran witness that this poor, struggling parish is making in the community, city, synod, and world, consider sending a gift to help us. You may send gifts to the church office at

420 W. Scott St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204.

6 comments:

Father Robert Lyons said...

Deacon Latif,

Many years to your offering of the Blessed Supper on a daily basis at St. Stephen's! In an era where, sadly, many Christians neglect the great benefits of the Eucharist, it is good to see a pastor and congregation making the Blessed Eucharist avaliable as more than a 'special occassion service'.

"Since the Mass is such an imparting of the sacrament, among us one common Mass is held on every holy day, ***and it is also administered on other days if there are those who desire it.*** Nor is this custom new in the church..." Augusburg Confession XXIV

Rob+

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Thanks, Fr. Rob. There's no telling how long something this good can last in a hostile world. But I am optimistic. and grateful for what God has accomplished so far.

Tim said...

What a blessing. I pray that it will spread throughout the Church.

The parish I attend is a mission plant that has been around for 8(9?) years, and we are still working on getting a building built. We currently celebrate Mass either in a school cafeteria, or in the church office (a house). So sadly, we usually cannot have the Eucharist until Sunday (and then some- we do the alternating weeks thing). I look forward to when we will be able to celebrate the Divine Liturgy more often.

Blesssings to you this Lent.

Michael Larson said...

Dear Deacon Latif,

It has been an incredible joy and comfort to have the daily mass available in the Milwaukee area. Thank you for boldly confessing and offering the cup of salvation to those who thirst and know their need for the blessed drink and blessed bread.

Will continue to pray for a greater and renewed love for the sacramental life of the church, along with daily prayer and fellowship.

Eucharisted said...

What order do you use for mass at St. Stephen's?

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Dear Jack:
We use a fairly traditional form of the Mass. Most of the texts are the same as in the service on page 15 of The Lutheran Hymnal of 1941, though our preparatory rite is more closely based on the traditional Latin, with Psalm 43, etc. Soon I will have it available in booklet form. Keep watching this blog, and you'll see. Thanks.