"The Little French Church That Has Served Downtown Since 1868"
So reads Our Lady of Victory-St. Joseph's Church's bulletin. Our trip to Auburn, New York, followed by a surprise return from camp of one of our neighbor's kids, made us go to the Parishes and Mass Times page of the Diocese of Rochester in search of an evening Sacrifice of the Mass. That led to my not feeling so spiritually fed in years, even without partaking in Holy Communion!
Starting from the outside, Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church is an architectural gem, designed by Andrew Jackson Warner, and now on the National Register of Historic Places. It is just as lovely on the inside, light and airy, renovated but not wreckovated, cleaner and more intact than the much larger and far more ornate Saint Michaels of Rochester (renowned locally for its music, in a once German now Black neighborhood). The New Liturgical Movement's Shawn Tribe offers a peak within — All Souls at Our Lady of Victory, Rochester, New York
Important as these externals are, it was the reverence with which the Sacrifice of the Mass was offered that really moved me. Yes, it was the Novus Ordo Missae, a.k.a. the Mass of Paul VI, but it was celebrated as Pope Benedict XVI, not to mention the Church Fathers, I dare say, intended: plenty of chanting, the settings in Latin, a homily that referenced St. Thomas Aquinas, no unnecessary eucharistic ministers, no "holy howdy" during the sharing of the peace, traditional hymns, etc. Being downtown, the parishioners were a good mix of folks like me, hipsters and artsy types, as well as people down on their luck.
While I appreciated the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, I confess that I am not a theologian, and that not only could not follow along, I was not convinced that I even wanted to. Sorry. The Church of Saint Jerome in East Rochester, NY is our current parish home, but I confess to not feeling totally at home there, as it is a true neighborhood church, in a neighborhood within walking distance, but one to which I do not belong. Our Lady of Victory-St. Joseph's Church is looking pretty homey.