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Mater Ecclesiae: “The Little Church with the Heart of a Basilica…”

Mater Ecclesiae’s 2016 Solemn High Choral Mass for the Feast of the Assumption Mon 8/15 7pm EST

Dear Friend of Sacred Music and Mater Ecclesiae,

Assumption1This year on the Feast of the Assumption, we will celebrate our 16th Annual Mass of Thanksgiving on Monday, August 15 at 7 p.m. at The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Reverend Robert C. Pasley, KCHS, Rector of Mater Ecclesiae, will be the Celebrant and Preacher.

The Solemn High Tridentine Mass will once again feature the Ars Laudis Festival Chorus and Orchestra. Our Cantor Mr. Nicholas Beck, a graduate of Westminster Choir College, will direct the singing of the Gregorian Propers. Dr. Timothy McDonnell will be the conductor for this Mass.

We celebrate this feast each year by the use of the great treasury of Sacred Music, especially the beautiful polyphonic Masses that are very infrequently prayed in their proper place; the Sacred Liturgy. We want to foster a greater love for the great works of our Catholic heritage. For notes on this year’s music from Dr. McDonnell, click here. For a detailed listing of the music click here.

In order to sponsor such grand music we cannot depend on our little parish of 500 families. We need the help of everyone in the Delaware Valley who wants to foster excellent sacred music as well as support professional musicians who have been blessed by God with magnificent talent. I, therefore, appeal to you for financial assistance. We need to raise at least $10,500.00. Any money that is raised over the amount needed will be put directly in the Sacred Music Fund.

If you wish to donate, please choose a category, write out a check to Mater Ecclesiae Chapel and fill in the name that you want printed on the donor list. When we receive the donation, we will send a letter acknowledging receipt that can be used for tax purposes. We will also put your name before the statue of Saint Jude, and specifically remember all the donors at our Novena to St. Jude on nine consecutive Wednesdays starting August 19th.

Parking at the Cathedral is available in the adjoining parking lot and at the underground garage at the Sheraton Hotel on 17th Street. A link to directions at the Cathedral’s website is here.
Click here for the donation form. Click here for the advertising form.

That being said, I have for a long time now wanted to tell the story of Mater Ecclesiae an all Latin Mass, all Sacraments according to the 1962 Missal Diocesan-run parish. I throw the challenge to any Catholic blogger who has a very narrow view of the Traditional Mass to make a pilgrimage to Mater Ecclesiae and then write your opinion.

From moment one when I started attending Mater Ecclesiae I was treated with such kindness, respect, friendship and charity. I continued to go to Mater Ecclesiae with gratitude and joy and became good friends with our pastor, Father Pasley and I came to know what a holy priest and good man he is. In addition, I came to know what a vibrant and loving congregation worshipped there.

Father Pasley loves his vocation. I once told him that he would have made a wonderful Catholic husband and father if he had been called to that vocation just based on how he treats his parish family and his priestly vocation. I think most people would find that strange but Father got what I meant.

ConsecrationThe thing about belonging to Mater Ecclesiae is that it becomes your family. It is not a place where people form a cult around the priest, it is a place where Father is our spiritual father and the parishioners our sisters and brothers. It reminds me of the Italian parish I grew up in on the Jersey Shore. The parish didnt have a parish council (THANK GOD) and all of us pitched in when the pastor asked us. Same at Mater Ecclesiae.

Mater Ecclesiae is a parish that remembers what was best about parish life and applies it to this century. It never gives in to the mood of the day but it services our needs as a family in these trying times. It gives us the best of the past with the best of what we NEED today! The greatest gift at Mater Ecclesiae is the vocations which keep coming forth!

Father Pasley is someone who emulates Our Lady in his Fiat, his obedience to the Lord and ultimately we, the Body of Christ benefits from his vocation and his obedience. It is just like the love of a father who would give his life for his family. This is the gift he gives us. This is the gift that given generously has caused Mater Ecclesiae to become a big family.

Mater Ecclesiae is a small place physically but like the loaves and the fishes there is enough for as many who come . The Church itself seems to hold as many she can, no matter what. The beautiful hall named after Bishop Nicholas DeMarzio is a place of beauty lined with life-sized statues and soft colors and a top notch commercial kitchen all done by the generosity of the parishioners of this little Church, always seems to be large enough to hold as many as needed. The Padre Pio Gift Shop has all one could need for sacramentals and for spiritual enrichment with such a wide variety you would think it was as big as Costco.

This little Church that could has the heart of a basilica. It is a place of pilgrimage for all. Priests and seminarians already get that about Mater Ecclesiae. On any given weekend you will find seminarians helping Father by serving at the Altar or whatever the parish needs at the time. Many priests including our famous Father Z from the Internet and Father Benedict Groeschel have come to Mater Ecclesiae with the spirit of a pilgrim.

There are many more things I could tell you about this little Church, but what I will tell you is that if you ever get to the East Coast and the Philadelphia area, PLEASE make a pilgrimage to this holy place. You will be renewed in a way that is unexplainable until you go there.

Christmas and Easter are as if you are at the Vatican or the Holy Land. The liturgies, the music and presence of the Holy Spirit are felt at every moment. In the Fall there is the older devotion, 40 Hours which in itself alone worthy of a pilgrimage. On the social end, there are dinners, n, barbeques, Craft Fairs, plays and many more events that are worthy of a visit.

Most importantly, it is worthy of a visit to see how a real parish, a loving parish lives. It is a model parish with a model pastor and nothing could describe it better, this little Church that could…

God love you, Father Pasley and my sisters and brothers at Mater Ecclesiae! I am with you in spirit and not a day goes by that I don’t think of you all fondly and pray for all of you. I miss my joyful family at Mater Ecclesiae.

I have since moved to Wisconsin but I still consider myself a parishioner at Mater Ecclesiae. I have the country’s greatest Bishop here in Madison so I have been truly blessed. To have been part of the Mater Ecclesiae family has been such a gift. To now come to Madison WI to find the love of the Latin Mass by our Bishop keeps Mater Ecclesiae alive in my heart. If I had one wish, it would to be in Philadelphia today at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul to be part of our thanksgiving celebration to Our Lady for Mater Ecclesiae’s very existence.

Below I have published info concerning Mater Ecclesiae’s Assumption Mass to be held tonight at 7 pm in Philadelphia. If you are in the area, please do not miss this.

It is truly a piece of Heaven on earth to be part of this Mass. If you haven’t yet experienced life at Mater Ecclesiae please try to make a pilgrimage there. It is very close to Philadelphia and one could combine it with a trip to see the historical sites in Philadelphia. Now that Pope Francis is planning to visit the City of Brotherly Love, make sure you get to Mater Ecclesiae after seeing the Holy Father.

In fact, somebody better let Pope Francis know about this little basilica in NJ, he would’t want to miss this jewel while he visits the United States.

From the Website of Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, NJ

On October 13, 2000, Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio, Bishop of Camden, in the Jubilee Year, and on the anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, established Mater Ecclesiæ Roman Catholic Church within the Diocese.

We were established having no regional boundaries the way normal parishes do. This is in order to serve Catholics who feel an attachment to the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments according to the Roman Missal of 1962.

In 1988, Pope John Paul II in the binding Moto Proprio “Ecclesia Dei” encouraged a wide and generous application of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Mater Ecclesiae is the first canonically established Church owned and staffed by a Roman Catholic Diocese, that has been granted exclusive use of the Roman Missal Typical Edition of 1962.

The “Tridentine Mass” has been called “The Most Venerable Rite of Mass in all of Christianity” as well as “The Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven”.

We invite you to join us as we celebrate these Divine Mysteries at Mater Ecclesiae

Mater Ecclesiae

About the Rector

frPasleyFather Robert C. Pasley, KCHS, a native of the Diocese of Camden, was born on November 20, 1955 in Woodbury, NJ. He attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary College from 1974 to 1978 and received a BA in Philosophy. He then attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD from 1978 to 1982 and received an MA in Systematic Theology.

He was ordained by the Most Reverend George H. Guilfoyle in 1982. Father Pasley was stationed as a parish priest in Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Berlin, NJ, 1982-1984, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Cape May, NJ 1984-1987, Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Pennsville, NJ 1987-1990, and Sacred Heart, Mount Ephraim, NJ, 1990-1992. In 1992, he became a resident at St. John, Collingswood, NJ were he lived for the next 8 years.

In 1992, he was assigned to Paul VI High School, Haddon Township, NJ and taught all levels of Religion and reestablished a course in Latin. In 1996, he was transferred to Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill, NJ, were he taught Religion and French I.

In 1998 he was appointed Vice Principal of Academics and served in this post for two years. During his time at Camden Catholic, Father received an MA in Education from Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.

On October, 13, 2000, he was appointed Rector, by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, of the newly established Tridentine Parish of Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, NJ. Mater Ecclesiae is the first, diocesan run Tridentine parish in the United States.

Father Pasley is also the Chaplain of the Church Music Association of America and attends the Sacred Music Colloquium that has been offered by the Association since 1990. He also serves on the faculty at the Colloquium. The Colloquium has been held at Christendom College, Front Royal, VA, Catholic University, Washington DC, Loyola University, Chicago, IL, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA and in 2012, for the first time, at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City, UT. He also served as Vice President and a member of the board of directors of Sacred Music Magazine.

Father Pasley, along with Dr Timothy McDonnell, established the annual Mass of Thanksgiving on the Feast of the Assumption. This Mass features some of the greatest orchestral Masses ever composed for the Sacred Liturgy. Some Masses that have been used for the Assumption Mass are the Lord Nelson Mass of F.J. Haydn, the Missa Septem Dolorum of Carl H. Biber, The Mass in Bb Major of Franz Schubert and the Missa Brevis in C of W.A. Mozart. The Assumption Mass will take place this year on August 14, 7:00PM, at St Peter Church, Merchantville, NJ. The Mass setting will be the Mass in E minor by Anton Bruckner.

In the Diocese of Camden, Father Pasley was a member of the Presbyteral Council. He served as a county Pro-Life Chaplain, and as Chaplain to the Camden County Presidium of the Legion of Mary. He also served as a member of the Diocesan Marian Commission, the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and an assistant vocations director for recruitment.

In September of 2004, Father was installed as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, NY, by His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan. In September of 2010, Father was raised to the rank of Knight Commander, by His Excellency, now Cardinal, Timothy Dolan.

Father Pasley would like to thank Almighty God for the establishment of Mater Ecclesiae. He also acknowledges the maternal love and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This place is a living miracle where the Faith is vibrant and totally Catholic. It truly is a site of the New Evangelization, a place that would make Pope Benedict very proud. Father Pasley is honored and privileged to participate and serve at this wonderful parish.


Mater Ecclesiae’s 14th Annual Assumption Mass
by Fr. Robert C. Pasley, KCHS
Published at New Liturgical Movement 8.17.2014

As many of you know the 14th annual Assumption Mass was celebrated this year at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Even though Mater Ecclesiae is in the Diocese of Camden, across the Delaware river in New Jersey, we were privileged and honored to be given permission to bring this grand celebration to the historic Cathedral Basilica begun by Saint John Neumann. Special thanks are given to His Excellency, Archbishop Charles Chaput for giving permission and to Fr Dennis Gill, Rector of the Cathedral, for his support, kindness and wonderful hospitality.

Mater Ecclesiae Assumption Mass at altar

This celebration has become an anticipated spiritual event for the whole Delaware Valley and beyond. Parish groups came from Dioceses of Trenton, NJ, Allentown, PA, Wilmington, DE, Harrisburg, PA, Camden, NJ, and the Archdioceses of Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The Cathedral was full. The procession was filled with Knights of Columbus, Knights and Lady’s of the Holy Sepulchre, Members of the Sovereign order of Malta, members of the TFP, the Blessed Immelda Society, the Maidens of the Miraculous Medal, Altar servers from across the region, and seminarians and priests. The choir under the direction of Dr Timothy McDonnell, music department chair at Ave Maria University, and the Schola Cantorum, under the direction of Mr Nicholas Beck, music director at Mater Ecclesiae, prayed the music of the Mass flawlessly. A seventy two page booklet filled with descriptions, explanations, lists of donors and adds of patrons, prepared by Miss Barbara Rodio, was given out to the participants. Msgr Andrew Wadsworth, celebrant of the Mass, delivered a beautiful sermon on our Blessed Lady. It was a devout and grand celebration of Our Lady’s Assumption and a magnificent participation in the greatness of Catholic Culture.

For the rest of the post and more of the beautiful photos of this glorious Mass please click >HERE

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