CABOT — As Latin prayers lifted up in song filled the sanctuary of St. John the Baptist, tears streamed down Kathy Nauman’s face. Kathy and her husband Tom joined the Latin Mass community a year after it was formed in 1994 and have since prayed for the day when the community would have a parish to call their own.
On June 24, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor erected St. John the Baptist Church in Cabot as an official parish in the Diocese of Little Rock.
“It has been a long time coming,” Nauman said. “It is a joyful day.”
Bishop Taylor also confirmed 10 teens of the parish and Father Joseph Orlowski, FSSP, pastor at St. John, celebrated High Mass. A reception was held after Mass in the parish hall.
“It’s a happy day,” a day of rejoicing, Bishop Taylor said during the High Mass when he officially declared the parish. “I must tell you that I’m very impressed with all that I’ve seen that you have done in the very short amount of time to get these facilities in a good shape to be able to celebrate Mass here. So all my best to you and I share in your joy this day.”
Since the community began 23 years ago, members have donated to the community in hopes of one day buying or building a church. The community has never had a formal church but has used other spaces, including St. John Center in Little Rock and most recently St. Patrick Church in North Little Rock, to hold Tridentine Masses. The roughly 180 members who attend weekend Masses travel from Batesville, Conway, Benton and Little Rock for traditional worship.
The church, at 106 Pin Oak Drive, was purchased for $215,000 cash May 15. The 7,000-square-foot facility seats about 150 people in the sanctuary.
On June 24, Ron McCann told Arkansas Catholic before his three sons were confirmed, that the church now serves as “an anchor.”
“It’s nice to have an anchor basically because we are a regional parish,” he said, whose wife Michele and 10 children, ranging from 2 to 22, travel from Batesville. “From my standpoint, it makes it easier to be a community. What will be nice here is having a Catholic presence in Cabot and maybe getting folks who haven’t been to Mass in a while back to the faith.”
McCann’s son James, 15, said “it’s nice having a church to be able to do our own things.”
Erica Yakoubian, 16, of Little Rock, served as a confirmation sponsor for her sister Rachel, 14, whose twin sister Catherine was also confirmed.
“It’s really nice to be able to have our own place,” Erica Yakoubian said, adding she enjoys the Latin Mass for the “traditions, it’s very reverent.”
Bishop Taylor spoke to the confirmation class about fear of the Lord and how Satan often manipulates people to fear one another.
“The fear of the Lord that you receive as a gift today is the opposite of that. It serves to keep us from being blinded by Satan,” Bishop Taylor said. “To keep us from being blinded by these sorts of irrational fears and serves to draw us to one another, with special concern for the weak and vulnerable.”
After confirmation, Father Orlowski as well as Father William Define, a former chaplain for the North Little Rock community and pastor at Most Precious Blood Parish in Tulsa, Okla., and Father Edward Brodsky celebrated High Mass. Father Orlowski is leaving for a new assignment in July and Father Paul Jared McCambridge, FSSP, has been named pastor of the parish.
Father Brodsky, FSSP, an associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in El Paso, Texas, was a member of the Latin Mass community for 10 years, starting when he was just 8 years old. He said it was a special day for a community where he grew up altar serving and responding to God’s call to the priesthood.
“It gives it a sense of permanence. I hope it serves as a means of growth for the community,” with God guiding the way, Father Brodsky said.
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