Parishioners packed the pews for the last Mass of Father Edwin C. Dwyer, the priest removed for attempting to restore tradition at his parish.
Last Friday, the apostolic administrator of Saginaw Bishop Walter Hurley revoked Father Dwyer’s assignment as parochial administrator of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Bay City, Michigan.
The only charged levied against Father Dwyer was parish “division” caused by his modest efforts to increase reverence and beauty through the gradual introduction of traditional elements to just one of three Sunday Masses: placing candles on the altar, the use of incense, the ringing of sanctus bells during the Consecration, and reducing the amount of extraordinary Eucharistic ministers.
Father Dwyer’s sudden removal was met with outrage by Catholics of Saginaw Valley State University, where he was serving as chaplain. The chancery was inundated by hundreds of calls and emails from student and parishioner alike voicing their displeasure and concerns. The email for Bishop Hurley ended up deactivated.
Parishioners then organized a “Mass Flash Mob” for a mass attendance of his final Mass celebrated at Our Lady of Peace to show support for Father Dwyer and reverent Catholic Tradition.
Last Sunday at 10:30am, parishioners packed the pews at Our Lady of Peace, some even coming by organized bus. The choir loft was opened, folding chairs were filled, and eventually Mass was standing room only from the strong turnout in support for Father Dwyer. One parishioner commented that the attendance was “more than anyone could have ever expected” and “surpassed anything I have ever seen.”
During his homily, the overflow crowd burst into applause for Father Dwyer, who reminded them of their mutual admiration for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who spoke against applause during the Mass.
Father Dwyer kept his homily brief, referencing his viral Advent homily in which he laid out his goals, of which one was to “fill the church with crying babies.” While he thought it would take 3 – 6 years, he was joyfully surprised to see that goal realized sooner than expected with the church packed.
You can read the full statement from Father Dwyer prior to his last Mass below:
*****Regarding my assignments*******Dear Parish Family, I speak to you today in thanksgiving for the many blessings…