The pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum of All Saints, 2012, which will culminate in a mass in St Peter’s Basilica, at the beginning of the Year of Faith, has a fourfold purpose:
1 °. It will be a thanksgiving. The pilgrims will assist at a Mass in the Extraordinary Form in thanksgiving and support for the Holy Father upon the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which, it is known, entered into force September 14, 2007. For many priests, diocesan and religious, who now celebrate their daily Mass in the extraordinary form, is a truly immense spiritual benefit, as well as for the faithful of the parishes – unfortunately far too rare – so they can enjoy this liturgy and transcendence. It can be said that this act of Benedict XVI gave birth to a true People of Summorum Pontificum. These people want to thank him.
2 °. It will be a demonstration of loyalty to Peter. The second purpose is to manifest our love for the Church and our fidelity to the See of Peter, particularly in the current difficult and bitter situation. We are well aware of the difficult work that the Holy Father faces today. The Traditional Roman Mass, in particular in the Canon, has always been considered as a magnificent profession of Faith of the Church, Mater et Magistra: I think that in this liturgical season that we would like to reverence the Tomb of the Apostles, with the Successor of Peter.
3 °. It will offer a plea. We want to make this special petition to the Lord, in addition to all the graces necessary, to grant to the Sovereign Pontiff the grace to continue the work that he has so wonderfully done from the beginning of his pontificate, and, especially today, in the midst of crosses and trials.
4 °. Finally, it is an expression of participation in the mission of the Church. We would like it to be a participation in the new evangelization that the Holy Father wishes to promote, part of the Year of Faith’s contribution to the ever-young Traditional Liturgy. It is quite clear that this ever-young Traditional Liturgy is the support of a large number of families and of many Catholic organizations and initiatives, especially for young people (prayer groups, schools, catechism classes) and that is a source of growing numbers of priestly and religious vocations growing, which today in the western world, is extremely valuable.
I think it is necessary to insist on this point. By the grace of God, in some countries such as France and the United States – but the phenomenon could be extended – the Traditional Liturgy, unfortunately without filling all voids, keeps growing in the important area of vocations. In France, for example, in addition to 710 diocesan seminarians there are 140 French seminarians (including 50 of the SSPX) in preparation who are dedicated to the Extraordinary Form, that is to say, 16% of all vocations to the Priesthood in France. This pattern is also found in the number of ordinations: this year 21 new priests are ordained for 97 French dioceses. Furthermore, the spiritual dispositions of this diocesan clergy is also full of potential: young diocesan priests and diocesan seminarians are attracted to the celebration of the two forms of the Rite. Specifically in France, it is no exaggeration to say that at least one third of candidates for the diocesan priesthood can be considered as favourable towards Summorum Pontificum.
This is what we would like to express religiously with the pilgrimage and Mass in St. Peter’s on 3 November: what you can call the People of Summorum Pontificum, ‘le petit peuple’ as they say in French to indicate ordinary people, is now available to the Holy Father for the Church’s mission.