Tune in this week to the interview segment of “Vatican Insider” when I present Part II of my conversation with a long-time friend, Fr. Frank Phillips, former pastor for 30 years at Chicago’s well-known St. John Cantius Church. As I wrote last week, we met serendipitously during my recent vacation at a pre-investiture ceremony on September 24 for the Order of the Holy Sepulchre that was held at St. John Cantius.

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His story intertwines with the history of the church where, over 30 years, he enriched liturgy and music, brought many devotions back to life and founded a religious community, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. And, very importantly, helped the parish grow from 75 members to over 2,000!

Thanks to Fr. Frank’s dedication, inspiration and decades of both material and spiritual renewal, the current pastor, Fr. Josh Caswell and his staff offer many liturgies during the week, including morning, afternoon and evening prayers, vespers and high and low Masses in both Latin and English.

Astonishingly enough, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius today work in 3 parishes in 2 dioceses in Illinois, offering 57 public Masses weekly and hearing more than 700 confessions each week!

First called the Society of St. John Cantius by Cardinal George, the name was later changed to the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.  The reference is to St. John of Kenty, Poland!

Here are some of the dozens of photos I took at the Holy Sepulchre liturgy on September 24. I had only been able last week to upload a few but have more photos today.

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To reiterate a bit of history from the wonderful website (

In July of 1988, His Holiness Pope John Paul II issued the motu proprio, “Ecclesia Dei,” calling for a wide and generous application of the indult of 1984, which renewed the celebration of Mass according to the Missal of 1962 (the Tridentine Mass, also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass). His purpose was to fulfill the rightful need of those attached to this liturgical tradition and to bring those members of the laity affiliated with the Society of Pius X back into the true fold.

​ Late in 1988, in response to Pope John Paul II’s request in his motu proprio, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin contacted Fr. Frank Phillip about establishing St. John Cantius Church as the site for the renewed celebration of the Tridentine Mass in the Archdiocese of Chicago. As a result of discussions between Fr. Phillips and Fr. Robert Kealy of the Archdiocese of Chicago and with the approval of Fr. Phillips’ superiors on the Provincial Council of the Congregation of the Resurrection, it was decided that the Indult Tridentine Mass would be celebrated on a weekly basis at St. John Cantius Church.

The first of these Masses was held on February 4, 1989. For many years, a group of Archdiocesan priests celebrated this Mass on a rotating basis.

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