Who We Are
Una Voce Northern Alabama is a Roman Catholic organization that operates within the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama, which includes the whole of northern Alabama. We work with the approval and blessings of our local Bishop.
Our chapter’s membership is comprised of volunteer priests and laity in our diocese.
What We Believe
We are committed to the preservation and restoration of the Roman Catholic liturgical rites of 1962.
On an individual level, we believe and affirm that every Catholic should have unobstructed access to the liturgical rites of 1962, as is their right:
If any one saith, that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, wont to be used in the solemn administration of the sacraments, may be contemned, or without sin be omitted at pleasure by the ministers, or be changed, by every pastor of the churches, into other new ones; let him be anathema.
Council of Trent, Seventh Session, Canon XIII, 1547 A.D.
Moreover, at a broader level, we consider the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass as fundamental to the prosperity of the Catholic Faith: lex orandi, lex credendi…
The Church’s faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles – whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine [5th cent.]). The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1124
We believe that the Traditional Latin Mass, which was the form of Catholic worship for over 1,500 years, will preserve the traditional emphasis on the Mass as Sacrifice, with its central teaching of transubstantiation.
We recognize and adore the Traditional Latin Mass as an especially serious and beautiful form of liturgical worship, with a manifest and exceptional extrinsic value.
We also contend that Latin should remain the language used in the Mass and other sacraments. As the official and universal language of the Church, Latin can serve as a unifying force, needed by the Church in these days of widespread controversy and division. Moreover, Latin enjoys the unique benefits of being both an immutable language and one which has already been perfected for ecclesiastical purposes and worship. For these reasons, Latin may spare the Church from the confusion and scandal rendered by poor translations and varying interpretations. The use of Latin connects the faithful with their rich and valuable tradition via the language itself, which is a special way to experience and apprehend the faith, unique to Catholicism.
Likewise, we regard the Church’s traditional heritage of musical worship, comprised of Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony, as the most appropriate and inspiring musical idiom for the liturgy.
Additionally, we hope that our mission will help reverse the decline in vocations as altar boys, charged with difficult and meaningful duties, will be imbued from an early age with a sense of the sacred.
Most profoundly, however, we adhere to the cultural practices of traditional Catholicism, for we remember the profound teaching of St. Paul:
Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.
2 Thessalonians 2.14
And the prophetic lesson from Pope Saint Pius X:
Although evolution is urged on by needs or necessities, yet, if controlled by these alone, it would easily overstep the boundaries of tradition, and thus, separated from its primitive vital principle, would make for ruin instead of progress.
Pascendi Dominici Gregis, §27
And, finally, the centuries-old, emphatic dogma of the Church:
If anyone rejects any written or unwritten tradition of the church, let him be anathema.
Council of Nicaea, 787 A.D.
Our patron is Saint Michael, the Guardian Angel of the Eucharist and Defender of the Church.
Our mission is to promote the Traditional Latin Mass within our diocese. As traditional Catholics, we deplore revolutionary, forced, and aggressive liturgical changes. We therefore believe that any change to, or restoration of, the Church’s liturgy should be organic, but steady.
Our Activities Include:
- organizing, supporting, and sponsoring Masses offered according to the traditional Roman liturgy of 1962;
- seeking the establishment of Latin Mass parishes wherever it would benefit the faithful;
- assisting the faithful whenever and wherever they wish to have access to the other sacraments according to the traditional form;
- promoting and celebrating traditional Catholicism as a distinguished and unmistakable Catholic culture that embraces the Tridentine Rite;
- fostering the use of Gregorian Chant, sacred polyphony, and traditional other liturgical music;
- providing training, materials, and assistance for priests who want to learn to offer the Traditional Latin Mass; and
- educating our members and the local community about the beauty, history, and theology embedded in the Church’s ancient and venerable liturgy.
The Traditional Latin Mass…at Your Parish or School
Many of our members already regularly attend a Traditional Latin Mass, yet they willingly make sacrifices so that others may also its benefit from its sacredness, solemnity, and blessings.
Some of our members still long for the Traditional Latin Mass to be regularly offered at their territorial or home parish. In keeping with the pious dedication of traditional Catholicism, we remain committed to a restoration of the liturgy throughout our diocese. We are thus determined to ensure that all priests and laity have access to the traditional Roman liturgy of 1962—the Traditional Latin Mass—as is their right.
If you are a priest or member of the laity who would like to see a Traditional Latin Mass at your home parish, we strongly encourage you to CONTACT US. We are here to help!
We also facilitate Traditional Latin Masses for students of any age at Catholic schools in our diocese. Students, parents, or administrators who are interested may also CONTACT US to make arrangements.
Please note that a High Mass (Sung Mass) must be scheduled about a month in advance. A Low Mass might be scheduled in less time (depending on the availability of a priest).
We can also help the faithful in our diocese who are interested in the traditional form of the other sacraments. Baptism, Confession, First Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction are all available at one of the Latin Mass Parishes. A priest may also be able to assist with these sacraments at another parish, if preferred. Please CONTACT US to make arrangements.
For those who may be discerning a vocation, there are several traditional priestly societies that exclusively offer the Traditional Latin Mass, conduct traditional priestly formation, and ordain their priests according to the traditional rite. There are also traditional convents that remain devoted to the Tridentine Rite. We recommend contacting these organizations directly.
Presentations and Workshops
We are also available to provide short presentations or longer workshops on the Traditional Latin Mass, traditional liturgical music, and traditional Catholicism generally.
These presentations are informative and educational in nature. They are also flexible and can be adapted for all ages and any group or setting, such as RCIA, PSR, other parish groups, and even school religion classes. We also give presentations in ecumenical or secular settings, such as other churches (even non-Catholic) and non-Catholic schools or colleges.
Within our diocese, we offer individual training for priests who are interested in learning to offer the Traditional Latin Mass. We occasionally conduct group training sessions as well. Una Voce also has funds set aside to sponsor priests in our diocese who wish to attend an extended training workshop with either the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter or the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.
Scope of Our Activities
All of our activities are available anywhere in the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama (i.e. Northern Alabama).
Our Una Voce chapter began in 2007 in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which affirmed that the Traditional Latin Mass was “never abrogated” and “must be given due honor for its venerable and ancient usage.”
Having been started by a small group of traditional, dedicated faithful who believed in a restoration of liturgical worship, our chapter has since grown substantially in membership and activities.
Traditional Communities in Our Diocese
Many of our active members are currently situated in the greater Birmingham area. Several years after forming our chapter, these members were blessed with a regular Traditional Latin Mass—now offered every Sunday at one of the Diocese’s most beautiful churches: Blessed Sacrament Parish. The parish has since become home to many dedicated traditional Catholics from large families.
Our Lady, Help of Christians began as a group of Catholics from the Huntsville area who longed for the Traditional Latin Mass. Father Alan Mackey, who is a priest from the Diocese of Birmingham and one of Una Voce’s earliest and most fervent supporters, began offering Masses regularly for the OLHOC group while he was assigned to a parish close to Huntsville. OLHOC has since grown impressively with a strong and vibrant traditional Catholic community. The community eventually purchased a church and, in 2013, Bishop Robert Baker dedicated the church as a personal parish, making it the first parish in the Diocese of Birmingham exclusively dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass.
Christ the King Abbey is a monastery that was founded in the 1980’s by Fr. Leonard Giardina, OSB. For several reasons, Father Leonard was suspended by his local Bishop in 1981. Father Leonard and the monks at Christ the King exclusively offered the Traditional Latin Mass for years. In 2011, not long after Father Leonard’s death, Christ the King Abbey reconciled with our local Bishop. During a short interim period, Traditional Latin Masses were offered there by Bishop Emeritus David E. Foley and a couple of diocesan priests, as well as the EWTN Franciscan Friars. The property is now owned and administered by the Contemplatives of the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Under their care, the Abbey remains exclusively dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass. Today, Catholics may (licitly) attend the Traditional Latin Mass at the Abbey daily. The Abbey enjoys the love and support of a strong traditional Catholic community in both Cullman and even beyond the borders of Alabama.
There is a small irony to the fact that, as traditional Catholics, we believe that the future of the Catholic Church and Her liturgy rests with the past.
The timelessness of the Traditional Latin Mass is undeniable. As more and more Catholics have discovered the splendor and beauty of the Tridentine Rite, traditional Catholic communities have continued to grow. These communities are typically made up of large families that will undoubtedly be the source for many future vocations. While the Church struggles through the relentless modern crisis, traditional Catholic communities are flourishing in our Diocese and around the world.
We invite you to witness and contemplate the beauty and splendor of the Traditional Latin Mass and its promise for the future of Holy Mother Church.