Una Voce Seville in Spain: A Sign of Hope and Promise

Photos: OC-Travel

Before the COVID-19 epidemic, I was privileged to visit Una Voce Seville.  I have to say what an immense joy it was to meet the local lay faithful who are behind this global movement to help preserve and foster the cause of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  The visit reminded me of the feeling I felt in my heart the first time I heard Laudate Dominum by Mozart sung at Mass, a consolation to be there with a reverent and memorable Liturgy celebrated by Fr. William Barker, FSSP.       

Una Voce is a global lay led movement, founded in 1968 to help promote and preserve the greatest work of Western civilization, the Classical Roman Rite.  The local chapter was founded in Seville in 2004.  The Archdiocese of Seville has granted Una Voce the shared use of this chapel as a temporary home, under the care of a local archconfraternity.  The chapel, called the Oratorio de la Escuela de Cristo is located in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, a beautiful downtown neighborhood named for the "Holy Cross" of Christ.    

Seville has the distinction of being one of the grandest Catholic cities in the world, hosting the most famous Holy Week processions, a truly renowned sight to behold, when all the archconfraternities (religious brotherhoods) of the city process to the Cathedral throughout Holy Week with massive floats to honor the Sorrowful Mother.  The city has the rare distinction of having more active archconfraternities (about 70) than any other city in the world.  

The chapel is located in the enchanted winding streets of downtown Seville, reached by foot through a patchwork of busy alleyways jammed with shoppers and little boutique shops.  Such a fine chapel to visit and pray in.  And what fine men and women we met here, loyal sons and daughters of Holy Mother Church who organize this Mass and attend regularly.  

In a general sense, I have always said that whoever is traveling outside his homeland is a pilgrim.  A great joy of my life has been to visit these little Latin Mass communities throughout the world as a pilgrim and to be welcomed as a pilgrim.  With such emotion does one worship with strangers in the same language, a consolation to hear the echo of the prayers of the Latin Church.  Where no one needs an introduction.  Where the global Catholic culture of the immemorial centuries thrives.  Each of these communities enlightens the imagination and brings to mind a high flagged ship, rising over the stormy seas, a safe harbor, with a harmonious grouping of sails, pennons and banners - with its mainmast towering over the faithful, protecting all from the storm while propelled by the heavens above.  And compelled by our dead ancestors who have gone before us marked with the sign of fides - who worshipped in the same manner.  

After evening sung Mass we took a leisurely stroll through the busy streets past the mighty cathedral (the largest Gothic building in the world and the largest church in Spain, the final resting place of Christopher Columbus) on our way to dinner at the famous Hotel Alfonso XIII (one of my favorite hotels in the world, by the way, offering a glimpse of the old Kingdom of Spain, with its remarkable diversity of artistic influences, creating an architecture and designthat reflects the national temperament, an edifice that comprises multiple styles).

Such a great visit.  I can't say enough good things about this fine group of people.  The young community with its numerous families (many who commute a great distance for Sunday Mass) are waiting with a spirit of great patience for a permanent home in a city of churches.  Meanwhile, a solid foundation continues to be built for the future when this dream will become a reality.  I pray the day is not far off when this stable community will finally be given parish status with their own church for exclusive use with a resident priest, God willing under the leadership of the FSSP or the ICKSP (the ICKSP is already active in Madrid).  

What a spectacular little chapel this this, symbolic of the Latin Mass movement, a busy refuge where the faithful stream to worship, to whisper, to find rest and the consolation of common faith, where all pray in unison in the same common language, a universal heritage.  The ceremonial of the religious services are woven into the fabric of the community; instead of the echo of guitars and castanets, the chapel's portal and courtyard ring with the ethereal Gregorian melodies of Holy Mother Church.     

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