After leaving Paris on March 6, 2022, a group of mothers of priests will arrive in Rome on April 30, hoping to ask Pope Francis to allow the Tridentine rite to be “freely celebrated throughout the world.”
Less than a year after the publication of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, the mothers express “the incomprehension” of the faithful who are attached to the pre-conciliar rite, underlines Pauline Debay, involved in their association of the “Roman Way.”
The moms of the Roman Way hope that the exception granted by the Pope to the Fraternity of St. Peter last February 11 will be extended to all: “This dispensation came during the preparation of the march, and we asked ourselves if it was worth continuing,” explains Debay. “But the situation is not at all settled for the other institutes, nor for the diocesan priests who remain subject to the goodwill of their bishop.”
Among the marchers, five mothers covered the 1,500 kilometers from Paris, joined by others on stretches of road and supported by a logistics team – made up of 17 volunteers – responsible for organizing the routes. On their way, passing through Vézelay, Paray-le-Monial, Ars, the Sainte-Baume, Cotignac, etc., the pilgrims were welcomed each evening by families, communities, or parishes. “We were impressed by the welcome people gave us,” says Debay, who is in charge of administration. In total, 80 women participated in this process.
A long-awaited meeting
On Saturday, upon their arrival in the Eternal City, the pilgrim mothers will go to pray at St. Peter’s Basilica, and then participate in a thanksgiving Mass at 5:00 p.m. at the Church of the Trinity of the Pilgrims – held by the Fraternity of Saint Peter.
The following day, Sunday, May 1, a rosary will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Square at 5:00 p.m. for the two intentions of the Roman Way, which Debay summarizes as follows: “May the Pope hear the request of the mothers at the end of Wednesday’s general audience; and may their meeting with him have concrete consequences.”
About 20 mothers of priests will be able to personally greet the Bishop of Rome at the end of the general audience in St. Peter’s Square. They will give him their letter of supplication. “These mothers are not making any intellectual or theological considerations,” says Pauline, “they are going with their hearts as mothers of priests called to serve God in institutes where the Tridentine rite is celebrated.”
“Those who advised the pope on this motu proprio have a false image of traditional communities,” Debay said. In contrast, the members of the Roman Way assure that the environment of the Tridentine Mass is “healthy” and that it “brings souls to God.”
Nearly 3,000 letters from the faithful
The mothers will also present the Pontiff with letters selected from among nearly 3,000 sent by Catholics from all over the world – South America, Europe, India, the United States. A box containing all these letters, carried in a cart along the pilgrimage, will be deposited at the Vatican. “We really hope it reaches the Pope,” says Debay.
Reading these letters, she says that she has sometimes had “tears in her eyes.”
“The faithful show their incomprehension and do not recognize themselves in the suspicion of lack of fidelity to the Church that was put upon them. They reiterate their filial respect and their confidence in the Church,” says Debay.
Some of the signatories do not regularly attend the pre-conciliar rite, but say they were touched by this liturgy. Thanks to the Tridentine Rite, writes Camille, whose letter I.MEDIA read, “I discovered silence… it saved my faith. Oh my Holy Father,” she adds, “I discovered and loved you through the Tridentine Rite. Please, please, please, please, I know that I am really nothing and have very little importance. But I have fallen in love with the Church and with Jesus-Hostia, thanks to the Tridentine Rite.”