A priest teaches his flock about the TLM – this guy gets it!

This great news begins, as it so often does, with a nice note from a reader:

Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

Long time reader, first time partaker.  I know you’re extremely busy so I’ll try to keep this short.  While doing some research on the TLMs offered in the Connecticut area (not my home region but a place I may be visiting) I found this message from the Parish Priest, Fr. Greg Markey, of St Mary’s Church, found in this week’s bulletin.  Here is clearly a young priest who “gets it” as you would say.  He says:

“Personally, I would like to say that one of the greatest graces I have received from the Lord since my ordination was to learn the Traditional Latin Mass.” 

He plans on speaking at all of the Novus Ordo masses this coming weekend about the TLM and offering a weekly, 4 part instructional class on the TLM. 

You may have already covered this parish (although a Google search on your site yielded nothing) but in case you hadn’t I figured I’d make you at least aware of these happenings since a) this priest deserves to be recognized for his attempt to bring tradition and beauty back to the church in line with what you’ve called Pope Benedict’s “Marshall Plan” and b) you’d like to be informed of another priest who’s helping to “change the tide” so we say.

Words cannot express how immensely your blog has helped me in my understanding of the liturgy and therefore, my understanding of the fullness of the faith.  Truly, “Save the Liturgy, Save the World.”  May God continue to bless you and your work,

I went to the website of St. Mary’s Parish to find what Fr. Markey had to say:

Week of April 13, 2008  

            Next week will be a historic moment for the Catholic Church in the United States when Pope Benedict XVI visits for the first time as the Holy Father.  Here we have the Vicar of Christ proclaiming the Good News, a message of hope and reconciliation, to the religious and governmental leaders of our nation.   We pray that that many fruits will come from this trip as we joyfully await his arrival.
            In anticipation of the Pope’s visit the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released some telling statistics about the state of Catholicism in the United States which in many ways reflects the demographic changes within Norwalk.  "No other major faith in the U.S. has experienced greater net losses over the last few decades as a result of changes in religious affiliation than the Catholic Church," the Pew report notes. Citing the extensive survey the Pew Forum explains that "roughly one-third of those who were raised Catholic have left the church, and approximately one-in-ten American adults are former Catholics."
            Nonetheless despite the wholesale exodus of "cradle Catholics," the Catholic proportion of America’s overall population has remains constant, according to the report, thanks to the large number of Catholic immigrants, primarily from Mexico. Hispanics now account for 29% of the Catholics in the US, and nearly half of those under the age of 40.  This is clearly reflected here in Norwalk and at St. Mary Church.
            While we are pleased to help Catholic immigrants, the decline of American Catholics is disheartening.  For example, a Gallup poll showed that in 1958 three out of four American Catholics attended Sunday Mass regularly; by 2000 the figure was closer to one out of four.  These are only a small portion of the painful statistics that show a Church in dramatic decline.  While we are still seeking to implement the authentic documents of the Second Vatican Council, it is clear that Vatican II has yet to bear the fruit that so many had optimistically prophesied.
            So what happened to the Catholic Church in the United States over the past few decades?   The writings of Pope Benedict indicate that he is very much aware of this crisis of faith, and his visit gives us an opportunity to reflect on his mission as the Vicar of Christ.
            Firstly, Pope Benedict XVI is arguing for a “hermeneutic of continuity” with the Second Vatican Council, an interpretation of the Council which sees its implementation rooted in the Tradition of the Church.  Pope Benedict states that any essential break or discontinuity with the Church’s doctrine would be contrary to the intentions of Pope John XXIII, who called the Council, and contrary to the Faith.
            Secondly one can reflect on the issue that has defined Pope Benedict’s papacy more than any other up to this point: his motu propio Summorum Pontificum.   Pope Benedict made the Traditional Latin Mass acceptable in the main stream Catholic Church practically overnight in one of the few dramatic papal initiatives since the Second Vatican Council.  Pope Benedict has become convinced of Traditional Latin Mass’ enduring beauty as well as the necessity of restoring authentic Catholic worship.  As he wrote, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”  [This priest gets it!]
            We are very blessed to have the Traditional Latin Mass here at St. Mary Church, the Extraordinary Form, every Sunday at 9:00 am.   Personally, I would like to say that one of the greatest graces I have received from the Lord since my ordination was to learn the Traditional Latin Mass.  To me it expresses both the mystery and fullness of the Catholic Faith like nothing else, and I would like to share this grace with as many people as possible.  [Yes… he gets it.]
            In order to help people understand the Mass I have included a stuffer in this week’s bulletin on the Traditional Latin Mass.  Please take some time to read it.  Like many treasures in life, this Mass takes time [brick by brick] to appreciate and understand, but is well worth the effort.
            Furthermore, I will be preaching all of the English Masses next weekend, April 19th and 20th, specifically about the Traditional Latin Mass.   Then I will then be having classes on the Traditional Latin Mass beginning Monday April 21st, in the evening, based a new excellent book on the topic, Sacred Then and Sacred Now, by Thomas Woods.  Books will be sold after Mass next weekend at a discount price.
            It is my sincere desire that more people in our parish will become exposed to this gift of the Traditional Latin Mass.  I also hope to bring the Mass up from St. Patrick Chapel to the main church every Sunday.  St. Mary Church is the “Mother Church of Norwalk”, with a history of leadership in the community.  This is another opportunity for us to show leadership, and to truly implement what the Holy Father is praying for, a renewal in our Catholic Faith.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Greg J. Markey


Fr. Markey also has a interesting FAQ section:

Questions relating to the Liturgy

    * Why does St. Mary’s sometimes have the Mass in Latin

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mbd says:

    Judging from the St. Mary Parish website, they also have excellent programs of sacred music in both the EF and the OF. It appears to be a reform of the reform parish.

  2. TJM says:

    This priest gets it in spades. None of the “happy talk” blather about the glories of Vatican II and how the changes in the Liturgy
    didn’t matter. They did. I have family members who had been quite faithful until the “changes” in the Mass. I had 2 uncles who stopped
    going because they were sick of the priest making it up as he went along, the banal new music, the banners, the baloons, the dancers, etc. But liturgical progressives never want
    to hear this. Tom

  3. Dennis says:

    I live in NY and I drive the 23 miles to ST. Mary\’s as often as I get the chance . As pastor Fr. Markey has done alot of things to bring back tradition
    to his parish. Father also offered this series of lessons on the traditional mass around the time that Summorum Pontificum went into effect and began offering the Traditional form weekly back at the first Sunday of Advent. He has a fantastic young choir director who leads the choir for the extraordinary form and also uses the traditional settings for the ordinary form ( no Glory & Praise songs in these masses) and only traditional sacred hymns. The Ordinary Form is also offered in latin once a month. St. Mary is a truly a diverse parish many spanish, oriental, indian and it is great to come to the Extrinordiny form and see this diverse group all worshiping together and singing in latin. Also on many Sundays you can find many nuns attending the Traitional form.

  4. Tom says:

    Father Markey’s approach to the Traditional Latin Mass is perfect…just what we need.

    We need bishops and priests to teach…to make every effort to instill a love of the TLM into their hearts and minds of their people.

    We need the Holy Father to offer the TLM publicly…and to launch a Father Markey-like teaching program.

    Without such a program from Popes, bishops and priests, the TLM will spread, but remain pretty much a ghetto-status “specialized” Mass.

    A Mass that will be offered here and there within a diocese…but limited, for all practical purposes, to a few hundred Catholics.

    A parish may offer one TLM each Sunday. But the TLM will be viewed by the majority of parishioners as…”oh, we have one TLM, but Father offers it just to appease a few people in the parish who are stuck in the past.”

    What we need is Father Markey’s approach. We need priests (Popes and bishops) to instill into their flocks an understanding of the TLM.

    During the past 40 or so years, Popes, bishops and priests have promoted the Novus Ordo Mass to the hilt.

    They have promoted Communion in the hand, altar girls, EMs, Mass vs. populum, seemingly every form of music other than Gregorian Chant to the Latin Church Faithful.

    During that time, the Faithful were led to believe that the Traditional Latin Mass, once beloved by Churchmen and laity, was something to be despised.

    Today, we need Popes, bishops and priests to teach the TLM to the Latin Church Faithful.

    Father Markey’s approach regarding the TLM is just what we need…Deo gratias!


  5. Matt says:

    St. Mary’s is a really, great parish. I found it the Friday after Ash Wednesday and it has been quite a blessing. I regularly attend the OF on Fridays and they offer confession before every noon mass!

    St. Mary’s also offers an EF every Wednesday night at 7:00 pm.

    I hope it is okay but we have an excellent Latin Mass Society in western Connecticut – the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny. I hope it is okay to give a plug: http://www.hughofcluny.blogspot.com/

    WDTPRS was my first brick, St. Hugh was the second and St. Mary’s the third…

    Matt of South Kent

  6. EJ says:

    I wish he were my pastor. I have to drive 25 mi one way to Northern Virginia from Maryland to attend a dignified Mass, and escape the folk guitars, the banners and the banality.

  7. AnnaTrad says:

    Can we clone this Priest. I know many many communities in North America that would give every thing they had to have a Priest like Fr.Mackey.
    Lets hope he is the future and pro to type of the young Priest been ordained.

  8. Lori says:

    Wow! I am actually crying after reading that. May all of our priests shepherd their parishes like Father Markey!

  9. magdalen says:

    I wish I had access there!

    It might be noted that there are also regular TLMs at the friary of the
    Franciscans of the Immaculate in Griswold, CT.


  10. Luke says:

    Hi all,
    I know this is a little bit of a tangent, but I figured I’d ask you all rather than try to pester Fr. Z with it.

    I will be attending the University of New Haven grad school this fall and, while looking for a good EF parish in the area, I found the website for Sacred Heart parish in New Haven. I was wondering if any of you had been there and could tell me about the parish. Most specifically, I’m wondering about the parish community, though of course the liturgy is of interest as well.


  11. Palladio says:

    I, too, love Fr. Markey, though I worship at another parish: he is a true believer, faithful to the Holy Father, the Church, and Christ, and a beautiful human being. I attended Latin Mass just over a week ago–the great Fr. Cipolla celebrating–and I pray that other priests will follow the good Fathers’s heroic examples. Pray that Bishop Lori supports them, that all our Bishops support all our priests rightly returning to the truth and beauty of the Latin Mass.

    God bless.

  12. Anne says:

    I started attending the TLM at St. Mary’s at its inception on December 1, 2007, with the thought that I should try it once, since our Holy Father went to so much trouble to make it available to us. I am 30 years old, and grew up indifferent to the commotion Vatican II caused in the Church. My thought was that I would attend the TLM occasionally. Five months later and counting, I have found myself returning to the TLM each week at St. Mary’s. It is in the basement chapel, banished there by a chancery afraid of alienating people by having it in the main church, but I prefer this. It evokes a reminder of the earliest Catholics celebrating Mass in the catacombs. The TLM is a jewel of the Church, hidden from so many Catholics of my generation. The argument most often offered against it (that I heard at least) was that the laity is just an observer, where at the N.O. mass, we participate in a more full manner. My personal experience is that the opposite is true. With all the distractions and busy-ness of N.O. mass stripped away , I found initially that I had to willfully engage my mind in order to follow the T-Mass, to read and follow along in my missal. And now, I find myself participating interiorly in the Mass that I never did in the N.O. I am so grateful to Pope Benedict and to Father Markey for this.

  13. R says:


    For information on the EF in the New Haven area, get in touch with the folks at the Saint Gregory Society. They’ll be able to tell you more:


    The email address is at the bottom of the page.

  14. Luke says:

    Thank you, R. I will send them an email.

    Also, Anne: if this ( http://bp3.blogger.com/_vBKYNvrPutU/SAQPmdpcI5I/AAAAAAAAASs/_SNt30c5rXA/s1600-h/IMG_2834.JPG ) is the basement chapel of which you speak, it’s beautiful! If that’s a banishment then banish me forever! :)


  15. Janet says:

    I cried the first time I went to a TLM. It was at Sacred Heart in New Haven, CT. We still go there sometimes and sometimes to St. Marys in Norwalk. My husband and I are hoping we can bring a TLM mass to one of the parishes in Milford, CT!!! God bless Fr. Markey and Fr. Cipolla!! I have truly been blessed having attend TLM masses by both of these priests!!!


  16. techno_aesthete says:

    Dennis, you are absolutely right about the choir director. He is a very talented musician. He has provided the musical accompaniment for the two EF Solemn High Masses offered at Our Saviour Church in Manhattan – absolutely glorious music!

    Pope Benedict XVI has unleashed a tidal wave of graces upon the Church and the world with Summorum Pontificum. Thank you, Holy Father!

  17. Fr Patrick says:

    Is there any way to find bishops who would be interested in erecting a personal parish or center for those who desire the TLM? I would love to celebrate daily and cannot in my present situation.

  18. Nicholas says:

    I feel that there is little that I can add. St. Mary Norwalk is simply a splendid parish, with a true man of the cloth at the helm. There’s no better way to put it: Fr. Markey gets it. My wife and I, along with our four children aged 4 and under, attended the EF Mass there the Sunday before last. The large chapel where the chancery has confined this Mass was packed. Fr. Markey received three graduate students from a nearby Ivy League university into the Church, and then Fr. Cipolla celebrated a Missa Cantata. The choir sang Tallis’s Mass for Four Voices. The congregation chanted Credo III with incredible energy and gusto. Here was a red-blooded, full-bodied Catholicity. Mirabile dictu!

  19. Cortney Davis says:

    I am one of the many fortunate parishioners who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at St. Mary, Norwalk, CT. on a weekly basis. Fr. Markey is truly guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit; he has brought the Pope’s Motu Proprio to us in holiness and humility through his teaching, his classes, his reverence and perserverence. We are blessed to have Fr. Markey, Fr. Cippola and the other priests at St. Mary Parish who support the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Yes, we must pray that all priests and bishops might be as faithful to the Pope’s teachings and the desires of the faithful. Thank you, Fr. Markey!

  20. Kradcliffe says:

    Fr. Markey is what they used to call “Father What a Waste.” I don’t think I could stand having a priest that handsome.

    What? Oh… sorry. Right! Moving along, now.

  21. Tom says:

    “The argument most often offered against it (that I heard at least) was that the laity is just an observer, where at the N.O. mass, we participate in a more full manner.”

    Much of our time at various Novus Ordo Masses is spent observing lectors move to and from…EMs move to and from…”hospitality ministers” walking here, there and everywhere during Mass…elaborate Presentation of the Gifts rites…

    It is amazing as to the amount of time that a laymen can spend at Novus Ordo Mass simply observing their fellow laymen perform “liturgical lay ministries.”

  22. Ian says:

    Dennis and techno_aesthete are quite correct about St. Mary’s choir director, his Schola Cantorum, and the sacred music they sing. For coverage of their most recent performance in New York City, check this out:


  23. Diane says:

    It’s great to give publicity to a parish and priest like this so that others who may not know about it, may attend.

    I am sure we will see more.

    Deo Gratias!

  24. Richard says:

    I attend the traditional Mass in Fr. Markey’s parish every Sunday and consider it one of the greatest blessings in my life. I say this as someone who has been working for years now just to keep the TLM alive in my neck of the woods; the blessing is that here is a parish where it is not tolerated but welcomed, and where, God willing, it will ultimately thrive. Fr. Markey is truly living out the spirit of the Motu proprio: bringing the traditional Mass out from the “wilderness” and trying to establish it in a normal parish setting. There can be no doubt that this is what Pope Benedict wishes, yet so few pastors have taken up this challenge. Though this “project” is still in its infancy, both at St. Mary’s and around the world, the fruits of the labors of Fr. Markey and many other courageous and industrious pastors are there for all to see. God bless Fr. Markey!

  25. Dennis says:

    Sacred Heart parish is located in downtown New Haven not far from Yale U.
    The EF mass is sponsored by the St. Gregory society, many of their menbers are Yale students, If I’m correct, the mass is at 2pm every Sunday. They also have Good Friday service from the ’62 missal. The parish is poor and mostly latino.
    That is as much as I know about the parish. It’s is a short drive from NHU.

  26. Jack007 says:

    Reference the comment “Father what a waste”…

    Leaving the humor aside, I see something much deeper here.
    My parents often spoke of priests in olden days as “so and so was very handsome”, or the women talked about “how good looking Father was”.

    Then there was a perceived change. It seemed as though only nerds became priests, or if a priest was a physically attractive man, he must be gay. The “Father what a waste” was just another nostalgic thing of Bing Crosby movies.

    To me, the fact that we can see attractive, intelligent, MANLY men, entering the priesthood is a REAL sign of change. And, that they are faithful to the Magisterium and embrace tradition…Need I say more?
    Can we say…HOPE?

    Jack in KC
    Raised in the 60’s… “One foot IN VII and one foot OUT”

  27. Fr. Markey is a fine representative of the new generation of priests coming into the church. In many ways he is a throw back to those good, holy…and happy…priests I knew in my youth. Yes, He does indeed “get it.” He sees his job as a shepherd to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass and to sanctify souls. He is not a religious social worker, but a true believer in the power the sacramental priesthood offers. And he understands this as a humble servant, knowing that power comes not from him, but from Our Lord.

    St. Mary’s Church is very blessed to have this man as its pastor as well as Frs. Cipolla and Check. All these men are priests of profound faith and charity. The Lord has special plans for that parish, I am sure.

    Bill Riccio, Jr.
    MC St. Gregory Society of New Haven

  28. Kristine Kalanges says:

    I am one of the graduate students who was received into the Catholic Church at St. Mary’s TLM the Sunday before last. It was an experience I will never forget. As one poster mentioned, when the sizeable congregation chanted the Credo, the Chapel reverberated with the splendor of truth.

    The liturgy generally, and the TLM in particular, played a significant role in my conversion. I am not alone in this. After the Mass, several parishioners (all converts from one form or another of Protestantism) came up to share their own stories, and it soon became evident that the TLM is a singularly powerful witness to the glory of Christ and the truth of His Church. Fr. Markey, Fr. Cipolla, and all those who shepherd the flock at St. Mary’s in Norwalk and Sacred Heart in New Haven are blessed instruments of divine love. May God continue to richly bless their ministry.

  29. mpk says:

    Can someone explain this quote from Fr. Markey: “The Mass will be the Mass of Vatican II as envisioned by the Fathers of the Council. Therefore it is not the Tridentine Latin Mass, which was the Mass many of the seniors in the parish were raised in.” If Mass, (per the Summorum Pontificum) is said according to the 1962 missal, is it then not proper to refer to it as Tridentine? One other question. Can anyone tell me if the accent in Tridentine is on the first or second syllable?

  30. R says:


    That quote comes from the FAQ on Fr. Markey’s parish website. The question was “Why does St. Mary’s sometimes have the Mass in Latin?” It refers to the occasional (first Sunday of the month, every Sunday in Lent, holy days, etc.) Novus Ordo Latin Mass in Fr. Markey’s church, not to the TLM which was only started there in December of 2007. This FAQ predates the coming into effect of the Motu proprio.

    For what it’s worth, I accent the second syllable of the word “Tridentine”. I also prefer the term “traditional Mass” to “Tridentine Mass”, since this rite existed in all essentials for over a millenium before the Council of Trent was convened.

  31. Michele A. Hubler says:

    My friendship with Father Richard Cipolla brought me to St. Mary’s in late 2007 to once again experience the beauty of the traditional latin mass and its music. Attending Sunday Mass has helped to strength, deepen and expand my faith. Thanks be to God for Father Markey and his efforts to revive for us such a beautiful expression of worship and praise.
    Sincerely, Michele Hubler

  32. John Pendergast says:

    Having recently attended the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary’s in Norwalk, and having been to several with my family of 7 over the years at other parishes, we are grateful for this opportunity to experience the Mass in a way that, although we don’t yet fully understand, are deeply moved by. Thank you Fr. Markey, Fr. Cippola and Fr. Check! – The Pendergasts

  33. John & Judene Pendergast says:

    Having recently attended the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary\’s in Norwalk, and having been to several with my family of 7 over the years at other parishes, we are grateful for this opportunity to experience the Mass in a way that, although we don’t yet fully understand, are deeply moved by. Thank you Fr. Markey, Fr. Cippola and Fr. Check! – The Pendergasts

  34. Mary says:

    How important is it to know Latin to be able to fully understand this form of the mass?
    I am having difficulty getting the most of this celebration because I find myself groping through the red book and the sheets provided for most of the mass. For parts of the mass that I do know, I am busy translating them into english so that I can mean the prayers rather than just read them in a different language that I don’t know. I somehow feel I am unable to fully participate in this mass because of the language barrier. Is this a legitimate reason to say that this is the reason I prefer the regular form of mass? I would really appreciate your comments.

  35. Richard says:


    It’s not at all necessary to know Latin to participate fully and well in the traditional Mass. What is important is a bit of preparation and a measure of familiarity with the liturgy, the latter of which can only come with regular attendance. I would say you have to be willing to give it a good 6-10 weeks before you will have found your bearings in the TLM. After that it should seem quite natural. In my view, the modest effort required is well worth it — we are, after all, talking about an authentic *treasure* of the Church!

    As for the need for preparation, this is why Fr. Markey is teaching his course. But if you don’t live near Norwalk, CT, you could do worse than getting a copy of the book that he’s teaching from (Sacred Then and Sacred Now, by Thomas Woods) and going through it on your own. It is not long, and it was written specifically to introduce the TLM to Catholics who are only familiar with the Pauline Mass. The other kind of preparation that repays itself in terms of being able to benefit from the traditional Mass is the weekly (or for some, daily) exercise of getting acquainted with the prayers of the Missal. This is also easy to do: buy or borrow a hand missal with English translations (e.g. Baronius Press produces a nice one), and spend 5 minutes reading through the prayers and proper chants in advance of Sunday Mass. All these texts are duplicated in the “sheets” you mention, but the best time to familiarize yourself with them is *before* Mass begins, not during Mass, at least as long as you are still finding your feet in the rite. Otherwise I agree that everything could seem very confusing. Also, I would point out that a lot of people find it better not to focus too much on the texts of the liturgy when they are first getting acquainted with it, lest all the page-turning become a distraction. Indeed, it is one of the great virtues of the traditional liturgy that a less text-focused, more strictly interior participation is made possible by its imposing silences, its use of a sacral language, its fixed character, and even the ethereal nature of the more melismatic Gregorian chants.

    Best wishes,

  36. Mary says:

    Thank you Richard. Do appreciate your input. I have the book “Sacred Then and Sacred Now” and am determined to put myself on the track to fully participate in this mass.

  37. JCDREXEL says:

    .IF YOU ONLY KNEW THE TRUTH. PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR PRIESTS AND FOR ME TOO!May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.Remember,God looks at the heart,man looks at the outward appearances and they do deceive,so be careful.

  38. Jacqueline says:

    On this Feast of Ascension, peace of our Risen Christ be with you all!

    Here is a question I have been asked: Is the EM for children? Young children? Yes, most certainly.

    It was my son, his wife and my 2 grandsons (ages 1 and 4) who were the first in our family to become EM regulars.

    Our children’s souls sense, through silence, music and mystery, a reverence for He who created them. Children go beyond appearances; they feel and know the Truth. Perhaps this explains why our children do just fine in this Mass, why Our Lord calls us to become like children. This is our true nature.

    Our Pope is leading Mother Church in her springtime. No more winter!

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