Living the Faith: Rob Quagan

SOUTH END -- It started as simple curiosity. Responding to an advertisement in The Pilot for a Latin Palm Sunday Mass, Rob Quagan drove from his Ipswich home to Holy Trinity Church in Boston to experience the high Mass sung in Gregorian chant.

“I was absolutely blown away,” he recalls.

That was in 1994. It was not long before Quagan found himself attending Mass every Sunday at Holy Trinity, becoming a part of the traditionalist Catholic community. However, according to Quagan, the long commute to the parish was becoming cumbersome -- until he met his wife.

Quagan and his wife, Christine were married at Holy Trinity. Today the couple, together with their 4-year-old son Arthur, still attend the Tridentine Mass every week. They have also become active parishioners at Holy Trinity Parish as well.

Until recently, the parish served two distinct communities -- the traditionalist Catholic community, whose Mass is celebrated in Latin according to the Tridentine rite, and the German Catholic community, whose Mass is celebrated according to the current rite. This past April, the traditionalist Catholic community relocated to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton though Quagan and his wife have decided to continue worshipping at Holy Trinity.

“In many respects I feel like an honorary German,” he said.

One organization which has brought together both parish communities is the Holy Name Society, of which Quagan is a founding member.

In 2000, “one of the parishioners challenged me to pray the Litany of the Holy Name,” Quagan said. He did, and the idea of beginning a Holy Name Society began to “intrigue” him.

Growing up in Lynn, Quagan saw his grandfather serve his parish’s Holy Name Society. He also knew that “many of the organizations like the Holy Name Society had fallen out of use in other parishes.”

However, because his parish is so rooted in tradition, he thought perhaps it would flower. He was right.

According to Quagan, “the Holy Name [Society] is the nucleus of a lot of things in our parish.”

Each year, the Holy Name Society in the parish sponsors a lecture series on a variety of topics.

“These are topics we can witness to and challenge some of the cultural things that are out there,” Quagan said.

In addition, they hold Lenten and Advent evenings of recollection. Every year, the parish also sponsors a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, N.Y.

“We really get involved, roll our sleeves up and work,” he said.

Currently the society has only 15 members, and Quagan admits he is “pushing to get more younger people involved.”

“Most lay people, if they are involved in the parishes are eucharistic ministers, lectors, or such, but the confraternities and sodalities have fallen by the wayside,” he explained. “We are honoring Jesus’ name because there’s so much blasphemy today.”