The following comes from a Sept. 12 email and subsequent phone conversation.
According to local sources, an arrangement by which the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter priests for seven years have driven down from St. Stephen’s parish in Sacramento to St. Anthony of Padua parish in Fresno to celebrate the Extraordinary Form Mass, is over.
The Sacramento priests, including St. Stephen’s pastor, Father Matthew McNeely, made the two-hour-forty-minute trip every two weeks to celebrate the Latin High Mass at 3:30 p.m. Local Fresno diocesan priests would say the Mass on the weeks the Sacramento priests did not come.
The source who sent the email said the Fresno diocese offered the Priestly Fraternity a parish of their own in Goshen, outside of Fresno off Highway 99. And there was a subsequent offer of the parish in LeMoore, south of Fresno on Highway 41. For some reason, not known to the source, these offers were not accepted.
The Fresno diocese has said the local bishop is committing to maintaining the Extraordinary Form Mass for the 150 or so attendees, but it will most like be a low Mass said by diocesan priests who are available.