By Roseanne T. Sullivan

California Catholic Daily exclusive

Every year, the publishers of Latin Mass Magazine hold a conference in Monterey. At this year’s conference on February 24 and 25, attendance doubled from the usual 100 to 200. The much higher attendance was attributed to great interest in the featured speaker: Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

Californians came from as far north as Redwood Valley, from San Francisco, San Jose, and Bakersfield, and from as far south as San Diego, while others traveled from Washington state, New Jersey, and other states.

Another example of how Bishop Schneider’s presence drew people, on the Thursday evening before the conference, the bishop celebrated a pontifical Low Mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory in San Jose. The large Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, where the oratory is located, was almost full for the Mass, with Catholics from all over the Bay Area in attendance.

When news was posted on Facebook on Sunday night that Bishop Schneider would celebrate a Mass at Star of the Sea Church in San Francisco, the next morning before he went to the airport, forty or so Catholics were there even though the Mass was at 7:30 a.m.

Bishop Schneider is an auxiliary bishop in Astana, Kazakhstan, in central Asia. In spite of his being from a part of the world many Catholics know nothing about, he makes frequent appearances around the world, and his appearances make news. National Catholic Register referred to him as “one of the leading voices of fidelity, continuity and tradition in the Church today.”

Bishop Schneider celebrated two traditional Latin Masses during the conference and spoke about “The Relationship Between Tradition and Liturgy.” Father Joseph Illo, pastor of San Francisco’s Star of the Sea Church also spoke, about “Recovering the Ancient Liturgy in San Francisco.”

Bishop Schneider’s parents were ethnic Germans who were sent to a gulag under Stalin, and he learned how to treasure the traditional Catholic faith while the family practiced it in secret under Communist oppression. Baptized Anton, he took Athanasius as his religious name when he became a Canon of the Order of the Holy Cross.

In Rome at the Augustiana, he earned a doctorate in patristics, which he teaches in the seminary he helped build for his order.

Shocked at the age of 12 when he first saw people taking Communion in the hand, he “carried this pain in my soul,” and it prompted him to write his 2009 book on the Eucharist, Dominus Est (It Is the Lord).

To watch Bishop Schneider’s February 24 talk at the Latin Mass Conference 2018, “The Relationship Between Tradition and Liturgy,” click here.

To watch Father Joseph Illo: “Recovering the Ancient Liturgy in San Francisco,” click here.

To watch Bishop Schneider’s February 25 homily, “The Meaning, Necessity and Value of Prayer,” click here.

To watch Bishop Schneider’s February 22 Pontifical Low Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory at Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, click here.