(Cagliari) This past Sunday, 12 April was for the Archdiocese of Cagliari on the Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia, a memorable historic day.
On the afternoon of White Sunday, known since 2000 as Mercy Sunday, the new priest of the Archdiocese, Don Michele Piras, celebrated his Primiz in the majestic Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria, the patroness of the island, his first Mass. And he did so in the Immemorial Mass of the Roman Rite.
On the morning of the day before, Michele Piras was consecrated a priest by Mons. Arrigo Miglio, Archbishop of Cagliari and Primate of Sardinia and Corsica, in the cathedral church. Those present were Cardinal Luigi De Magistris, Emeritus Archbishop Pier Giuliano Tiddia of Oristano and the Bishop Emeritus Antioco Piseddu of Lanusei and about a hundred priests who had come to this happy day.
Shrine of Bonaria - After 50 years, first Sacrifice of the Mass in the Traditional Rite
For 50 years, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was no longer celebrated at the Marian Shrine of Bonaria in the Immemorial Rite. "A truly exceptional joy in many ways," says the traditional website Messa in Latino (MiL).
Sardinia was until recently, a particularly barren ground for the traditional rite. But the ordination of Don Michele Piras now made visible a fruit that had remained hidden. This was particularly evident in the participation of numerous Sardinian clergy for the First Mass. The liturgical service deliberately involved exclusively Sardinian clergy. The response of the diocesan leadership and clergy show that rejection is not a "self-evident" reflex in any way.
Sardinian Clergy is Actively Involved
Don Gianluca Pretta, pastor of Gesico (Cagliari) would have assisted, but had to cancel due to personal reasons at the last minute and was replaced by Father William Barker, Minister of the Personal Parish of SS. Trinità dei Pellegrini in Rome, procurator of the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Holy See and official of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei; Don Giorgio Domenico Lenzi, pastor of Sant'Antioco (Cagliari), incardinated in the Institute of the Good Shepherd, served as Deacon; as subdeacon, Don Angelo Cardia, pastor of Soleminis (Cagliari) and Master of Ceremonies, Don Cristiano Piseddu, priest of the Archdiocese of Cagliari, who is currently completing his studies in Rome.
The first Mass' sermon was by Don Fabrizio Pibiri, pastor of Donori (Cagliari), who presented with both powerful and beautiful words on the greatness of the Catholic priesthood and pointed to how young priest assumes the responsibility by his ordained ministry.
Also, numerous clergy appeared for the first Mass. In the first place was Cardinal Luigi de Magistris, who comes from the archdiocese itself; the Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Canon Giovanni Ligas and many pastors and priests of the archdiocese, the younger clergy was particularly represented, who had come also from other dioceses of the island. Likewise, a number of seminarians of the General Seminary of the island.
Our Lady of Bonaria - Mercedarians and Founding of Buenos Aires
The Shrine of Bonaria has been under the care of the Mercedians for almost 700 years. The Order was founded in 1218 by St. Raymond of Penyafort, in the first century as a knightly order and from 1317 as a purely religious order, which put its main concern for the liberation of the Christians abducted and enslaved by Muslims. If there was not enough money for the ransom, the brothers offered themselves as replacements. With the discovery of the Americas the Mercedarians, who are among the mendicant orders since 1670, put their apostolate in the service of slaves in the New World, which they supplemented by the proselytizing of the Indians. Today the Order continues its founding, especially in the prison ministry.
Sardinia from 1324 belonged to the kingdom of Aragon and for 400 years was connected with Spain. For this reason, the Mercedarians also came from there to the island. In 1534 the Roman-German Emperor Charles V, King of Spain conceived an expedition by Pedro de Mendoza in the New World. Mendoza, knew of Sardinia and the Shrine of Bonaria, and called upon her for a happy crossing and the discovery of the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, which was founded there by him, and called at first Santa María del Buen Aire from which the present capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires comes.
The religious superiors and pastor of Bonaria, Father Giovannino Tolu, welcomed the new priest at the entrance of the Basilica and after he had put on his priestly stole, accompanied him to his first sacrifice on the altar.
Large Participation of Faithful People
The polyphonic chants from the time of Palestrina were sung by the archbishop's Cathedral Choir under the direction of Canon Gianfranco Deiosso, a Choral Schola chanted the Gregorian settings under the direction of Don Nicola Ruggeri, pastor of Senorbi (Cagliari).
The young acolytes came from the parish of Santa Giusta Gesico, who were noticeable by their natural seriousness and the ease with which they moved in great dignity in the Old Rite.
The largest church in the island was crowded at this festive occasion by a believing people, who had streamed in from the Archdiocese, but also from other dioceses to gratefully praise God for the grace to have been given a new priest, to receive the blessing of priest at his first Mass and to kiss the sacred chrism after yet fragrant, consecrated hands of the newly ordained.
Don Piras was born in Sant'Elia district of Cagliari. After the visit of the Archbishop minor seminary, he entered the seminary of his native diocese and completed his studies with a degree in Rome. His first pastoral care center will be as vicar of a parish of the Archdiocese in the country.
Text: MiL / Giuseppe Nardi
image: Messa in Latin
image: Messa in Latin