A note from a priest and a request for your prayers

I had to share this with the readership:

Thank you so much for “What does the prayer really sound like.” [HERE is the PRAYERCAzT for the 3rd Sunday of Advent.] I have been a priest for ten years now and I am trying to polish my Latin skills and learn the traditional Mass on my own. The audio on your website has been a great help. In seminary we took two years of classical Latin and thus I am very apprehensive about my pronunciation and so on. This was also years ago and now my Latin skills are terrible. I am very grateful for your willingness to help us priests who wish to learn the traditional rite. [My pleasure.  Many will be grateful to you in years to come.]

In addition, I confidentially ask for your prayers for us younger priests who are not supported in our willingness to serve the church using the older rite. My bishop has made it very clear that it is not welcome in this diocese, and most (actually all) of our priests have no interest in the older rite. To be very honest, I personally am so tired of Novus Ordo land and pray that God will guide me to serve the church and the liturgy as He best sees fit. However, it is a cross to carry as one easily feels isolated in this situation. One of my best priest friends celebrates TLM and I have seen the joy it has brought to his priesthood. If it is God’s will hopefully some day, and soon, I can get to that point. Whatever the consequences may be I will have to deal with. As for now, I do pray often the Breviarium Romanum and it has been a wonderful experience. God willing soon I can go out of my comfort zone and celebrate the Latin Mass even if privately. Thanks again for your wonderful presence on this website and know of my prayerful support in your ministry!

Hang in there, brother.  The time will come when your view will be normal.  It’ll take a while.  Be patient.  Think of how far we have come in just the last five years.

Dear readers, please remember in your prayer priests who are literally isolated or made to feel isolated because of their legitimate aspirations in favor of traditional liturgical worship.

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. The bright side of this is that we need priests like this one to help fix the Novus Ordo. If he bears his cross well, he can do far more good in front of an ordinary form, ordinary congregation than he would do in front of an extraordinary form congregation. I think it was Mr. Spock who once said, “Nowhere am I more desperately needed than on a ship full of illogical humans.” Spock could have chosen to flee to a Vulcan ship, but instead he chose to be the logical person in an illogical world. Likewise, nowhere else is a priest dedicated to good liturgy more desperately needed than at a Novus Ordo Mass that would otherwise be totally off the wall save for the inherent dignity of a valid Mass. The value of “preaching to the choir” is often very limited.

    Any priest can do wonders for a Novus Ordo Mass simply by his demeanor. Daily Mass is a good place to start, where the nutty people who ruin Sunday Masses are generally not present. It’s hard for even a bishop to pick on someone because of his demeanor. Even at Sunday Mass, if a good priest swallows hard and simply offers the Eucharistic Prayer in a dignified way (perhaps using EP I– I believe that is a choice usually left to the celebrant), he will be doing the church a great service. I think this is what “brick by brick” is all about.

  2. I have been noticing that we have (worldwide) very good priests, like this one.
    Thanks God.

  3. Liz says:

    Will pray for him and for others like him. God bless him!

  4. Tom in NY says:

    Perhaps I can comment on three aspects:
    a) I’m always impressed in discussions here by the effect the EF exerts on priests’ outlook. It may be the transmisson of the “gravitational pull” of the EF.
    b) Two years of seminary (three years high school) should have gotten the seminarians up to Cicero. Cotton Mather read “Tully”, and so can you. By two years, I think the reverend can feel confident about his Latin diction. Altar servers (who would finish their serving years before starting Latin in high school)before Vatican II could master their part of the ordinary. Church life for the laity then was full of Latin missals with English translations.
    c) That compact disk set has a Latin program — but Reverend Moderator has wonderful diction and offers it AMDG. Were I to teach Latin, I’d put emphasis on choral reading, or having the students read 15 or so lines aloud in each class. Rev. Moderator has it right, and the “St. Cloud” method for French supports his method.
    Salutationes omnibus

  5. cdruiz says:


    Pray the prayers at the foot in the sacristy with your servers. Celebrate Ad orientum on the high holy days, use as much Latin as is “prudent”, invite your flock to receive kneeling and on the tongue, institute one mass that sings Gregorian chants, use candlebearers/torchbearers during the consecration, dispense any unnecessary Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, use the communion plates as still recommended by Redemptionis Sacramentum, and if you still want to, come out and pray the Gospel of John after the recessional, or do it as a Thanksgiving prayer with your servers in the sacristy.

    With the new translation, the OF could be a very EF-like “vernacular” Mass.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    I am not a very emotional person, but this letter brought me to tears. I am reminded of the four priests in our diocese who hear constant criticism because they say the TLM. I am reminded of the seminarians who want to express their support of the TLM from many dioceses, who cannot, as they would be asked to leave. God bless these very good men.

  7. Fr. A.M. says:

    I will remember this priest in my office, rosary, and during Holy Mass tomorrow.

  8. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    As a Russian Orthodox priest I often “sneak” into a TLM. I love it and find much more in common with it then the NO when compared to our Byzantine Rite. This next generation of Latin Rite priests may be the ones who help heal this most unfortunate schism because they want liturgical beauty and traditionalism, not liturgical minimalism and abuse. As Orthodox when we look to the Latin Rite before VII we can see a part of ourselves and identify with, and respect this. May God continue to protect and bless these brave young priests.

  9. benedetta says:

    I feel great sympathy for this priest. I will also remember him in my prayers. And in his honor I will dig out the beginning Latin dvd and work through another chapter with my son this weekend. One of several household “supplements” we have here which he really even enjoys, as rambunctious and happy go lucky as always…Like this young priest, we have need to “smuggle in” certain materials which would not necessarily be welcomed or condoned by the local authorities of the church. Having started with an excellent foundation in the faith established by some kind and generous souls elsewhere, he is quite happy to carry on with our little faith formation project albeit from afar. And we are also working on the locating of a beautiful and reverent Sunday Mass. Thanks for posting this.

  10. Hieronymus says:


    While I understand what you are trying to say, you seem to be missing the point. The good priest is pointing out that the traditional missal is better for him as a priest, and that he needs it as much as his congregation needs it.
    The change in the liturgy was far more destructive than some seem willing to admit. It goes far beyond the ars celebrandi.

  11. Gail F says:

    I feel so much sympathy for this priest. We laypeople forget or underestimate how difficult things can be for priests — the pressures they may be under from their bishops, from other priests, and their parishioners. While I disagree with many things my pastor does I can only imagine what he has been told to do over the years, the sort of seminars and workshops he has attended, and what the very vocal people who I don’t agree with have said to him for many years now. I have always been respectful and simple when telling him what I disagree with or what makes me uncomfortable (I think that is the term that many inclusive language folks have used over the years and that he is used to hearing). I know that my voice is only one of many he is going to hear and, considering that I disagree with him, is not one he is likely to want to hear.

    As far as Latin goes — this priest says he studied classical Latin. The pronunciation is different. I took a few years of classical Latin and one year of medieval Latin (church pronunciation) and after a few years had passed the pronunciations got all mixed up in my brain. I know where he is coming from! When you hear a priest who can rattle things off in Latin, it’s a little daunting.

  12. RichR says:

    I often try to see things from the other point of view and try to understand where they are coming from. So, in all charity, why would a bishop discourage a priest from celebrating the EFM? I’m really trying to understand this…….and I can’t. I don’t want to hear slurs, bitterness, and slander from other posters, because most bishops I have met are good people. They must have some (unfounded?) apprehension in this matter, or they wouldn’t be so vocal. If things those who want this form of worship could honestly try and understand the bishops’ fears, they could work to alleviate those concerns.

    To the priest in the OP, I will lift up my Rosaries this weekend for you. Know that you are doing the Pope’s will. Be patient.

  13. marthawrites says:

    Is there anyone in this priest’s parish who remembers being an altar boy? Or could he ask around for interested men or boys to learn as he learns? Practicing with others would accelerate his memorization. When our young friar was learning the TLM my husband helped build an altar from a door bought at Home Depot which the priest set up in his bedroom (he had been given all of the liturgical objects including relics to dress the altar) and when the two of them were not saying the black and doing the red out in the church, the priest could practice privately. Eventually, before he was allowed to say a daily TLM in church, he offered one every morning before dawn in his room. He continues to do this on special occasions such as last week when he learned of a dear friend’s death. When you, Fr. Z, suggest the prayer to St. Michael as a support for these priests whose desire to celebrate the TLM is being thwarted, the focus is spot on, the culprit is named.

  14. Maranatha.it says:

    At this link http://www.maranatha.it/MissaleRomanum/video.htm you may find Video Tutorials for the celebration of Traditional Latin Mass in English and other languages.

  15. templariidvm says:

    Tom in NY – of which CD do you speak? You have my interest piqued! Thanks!and I second the thankfulness for this entire blog/website!

  16. Maltese says:

    Hey Fr. [unnamed]!

    Since you have the unfettered ability to say the EF mass publicly or privately, I would suggest you say it in the latter way, until you are comfortable with it. A priest can say a private Traditional Mass and garner more graces before God as any private prayer before Almighty God. So, it might be a good start to say it privately, for a while, and then pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance.

    Good luck, young Priest; remember, your hands, alone, offer the Sacraments, and thus Salvation, to countless souls!

  17. Sword40 says:

    Consider your self listed on my prayer/Rosary list. I’m one of those that our Lord identifies as “Oh, its that guy with the long list”. I wish you were in our diocese. I know right where you could come to celebrate the TLM.

  18. Maltese says:

    Btw: I have a very good Priest-friend who only says the Novus Ordo because to do otherwise would put him in the cross-hairs of his liberal bishop. But his heart yearns to say the TLM, literally. It’s actually quite sad and tragic. Many priests out there, I’m sure, face the same dilemma: Say the EF form of mass, and face retaliation and transfer to north Siberia, or tow the party line. There are definitely many prissy Bishops who will still hammer-down on any Priest who countenances saying the EF of mass; sad, but true.

  19. benedetta says:

    RichR, I wish I knew the answer. It is legitimate to wonder about it. That this is the situation in some places is an unfortunate reality. We could all speculate about why and how.

  20. Tom in NY says:

    @templariidvm: I since looked; it appears “Rosetta Stone” follows what I learned as the “Germanic”, some think as “classical,” diction, id est, “wayni, widi, wichi”. We’ll need to listen to Fr. Z’s podcasts, unless our readers have another source. Rosetta Stone French with voice recognition is more exacting than my live French teachers who followed the St. Cloud method.
    Ad astra per aspera! .

  21. templariidvm says:

    Thanks Tom!

  22. q7swallows says:

    Cdruiz’s advice above is exactly what our very lonely priest did several years ago (gradually!) in our similarly-disposed diocese.  He told us often that he was obeying the Holy Father and gave lots of micro-EF-prep talks during homilies and we have now worked up to:

    – One regular weekly Sunday EF Mass (up from once/month)..
    – One EF Mass daily (up from twice/week).
    – All other OF Masses are ad orientem with mostly EF vestments.
    – Only EFs on holy days of obligation (and they are packed to overflowing).
    -Almost everyone receives on the tongue, kneeling.
    -No extraordinary ministers now at all. (We exercise the virtue of patience & opportunity for extra prayer).
    -Current altar girls were allowed to continue (OF only) til they opt out but only boy servers accepted now & training for the EF comes first for them (only 3 girls left to go!).
    -Father easily has 15 altar servers in training each year (boys LOVE the challenge of the EF).
    -The Ordinary of Mass VIII (Gregorian chant) was learned by a choir but is now well-known by the congregation.
    -Lots of veils–even in OF Masses.
    -p.s. the parish is predominantly Hispanic.
    -“Big” changes (like going ad orientem) were begun in Advent/Lent.
    -All possible EF rubrics are incorporated into the OFs.
    Probably Fr. M’s most memorable comment was: “Don’t worry about not understanding the Latin; if you truly understood it, you’d die anyway.”

    Go courageously, Father X!  We will pray enthusiastically for you too.      

  23. Mitchell NY says:

    It still astounds me that the Second Vatican II Council’s aftermath has resulted in Bishops and Priests having no place for a Catholic Mass and often have a hateful attitude for it. It is so disgraceful it is beyond words. Does any other religion or Faith in this world fight against itself as much as the Catholic Church since said Council? I think the Holy Father used the word “indecent” once. Priests afraid to say Mass because of their own Bishops. A place, and time in history indeed. It is letters like these that lean me towards wishing that the Tridentine Mass becomes not only normative but the only Mass allowed for the Church. And I never cared too much before if they stood equal, arm and arm with each other in each Parish. But all too many of the Church hierarchy are dead set against this Mass that they are setting themselves dead set against Christ Calvary. I wouldn’t want to be them on their day of reckoning.

  24. I can relate to this experience Father as I know priests, from both a religious congregation and diocesan, who are isolated, openly ridiculed and ostracized by their own superiors and bishop for their rightful aspirations to celebrate traditional liturgical worship.

    On that note, please also pray for a priest friend who is being unjustly being denied his opportunity to present his doctoral dissertation simply on the basis of him celebrating the TLM and his professor is maniacal inculturator.

    Fr. Z, knows who this liturgist professor is.

    An Ave for all priests, especially those suffering just because they want to celebrate the traditional liturgy. We entrust you dear Fathers to the hands of Our Mother. God entrusted Him to Her care. Who are we not to trust Her?

  25. Geoffrey says:

    “The bright side of this is that we need priests like this one to help fix the Novus Ordo. If he bears his cross well, he can do far more good in front of an ordinary form, ordinary congregation than he would do in front of an extraordinary form congregation.”

    Amen to that!

  26. Shall pray for this unknown priest

  27. JamesA says:

    Thank you so much, Fr. Z, for your priestly life and for the essential education and encouragement you give to those of us who love the usus antiquior. I am a seminarian in a not-overly conservative/traditional seminary, studying for a not-overly conservative/traditional diocese. I will have to learn Latin, the Mass, and chant on my own, and I know leading a parish brick by brick will be a huge task with much spiritual warfare. I pray I am up to the task, and praise God for the help and example you give us.
    Save the Liturgy, Save the World !

  28. EXCHIEF says:

    Rich R
    It has been my observation that many Bishops are reluctant to support the TLM because of the complaints they get, in volumes, from parishoners in those parishes which begin to implement TLM. Our pastor several months ago added a TLM on Sunday afternoons and has since expanded it to include MWF at noon. He did not eliminate any of the other Masses and, obviously, no one is forced to attend a TLM. The only thing he has done that effects everyone is place a bell at the entrance to the Sanctuary from the Sacristy and restore the communion rail. However people can still receive in the hand standing if that is their choice. At first only a handful of the “group of faithful” who had requested the TLM were aware of these liturgies. Only last week did he announce to the entire parish that the TLM was being offered. TLM attendance has been slow to increase but it is beginning to.

    Now you’d think with such a low key approach there would not be objections..at least not in any volume and certainly not to the Bishop’s office. Wrong. Led by a former nun (of the 60’s flower child pursuasion) the outcry against the TLM is building. You’d think provision of the TLM was a mortal sin to listen to such folks.

    Priests who take the step to learning the TLM and offering it deserve our thanks and prayers. They face a lot of criticism, some of which gets channeled through the chancery office, from the CINO crowd. My gut tells me that such people object because deep down they know their current practice is superficial, feel guilty about not participating in REAL liturgy, and want to eliminate the guilt by eliminating the very form of liturgy which gives rise to that guilt.

  29. Jack007 says:

    Led by a former nun (of the 60?s flower child pursuasion) the outcry against the TLM is building.

    I’d be interested in more details. On what grounds do they object to this obviously low key approach? Seriously, are they THAT demented, or is there more to the story? From what you say, they could be happy parishioners and never even come in contact with the TLM, right? Or is it the altar rail? My parish has a similar situation, in that the FSSP is tolerated. However they drew the line at allowing us a rail. Again, an aging nun parish employee nipped that “bad idea” in the bud.

    Jack in KC

  30. geoff jones says:

    If trad orders and priestly fraternities were getting all the vocations then the loopy bishops would be left with no choice but to “borrow” openly traditional priests to staff their emptying parishes. The FSSP (or whoever) could then say “Wanna borrow our priests? Fine, but it will be on OUR terms”

    Is their anything stopping this scenario from happening?

  31. EXCHIEF says:

    Don’t know any more than I reported. As I said my gut feeling as to their motivation is their guilt. I believe that true Catholics should listen to what the Pope has said about the place of the TLM and, more important, should have some respect for authority and the notion of obedience. However in today’s “it’s all about me” society it is not surprising that they don’t

  32. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Funny thing is, on more than on occasion I have had a (very) lapsed Catholic say they miss the Latin Mass.

  33. Rob Cartusciello says:

    As a former seminarian, I can attest to the fact that struggling against the tide is a profoundly difficult existence.

    One is (often) isolated from family & friends and busy with work. The support structure is weak.

    Critics are vocal, and treat you as though you were an alien. There is no charity in their words – and many of their remarks are shameful.

    It is a constant struggle to fight against the tide. Blogs like WDTPRS are a welcome resource – and help break the isolation. I sometimes wonder how I would have fared if I had resources such as these back then.

    Behind his words, I detect a desire to be connected to a community of priests with whom he has a greater affinity. He should explore those options, if only to give him peace of mind.

    You’re in my prayers, Pater.

  34. irishgirl says:

    May Our Lord and Our Lady bless and be with you, unnamed Father! Those of us who love the TLM love and pray for you!
    And thank YOU, Father Z, for all the things you do, too!

  35. TJerome says:

    Ecce Sacerdos Magnus!

    I’m blown away by the generosity and pastoralness of this young priest. His elders could take lessons from him. I wish him the best and hopes he perseveres.

  36. Paul says:

    The tears are rolling down my face as I type this. The note from that priest read like one from the Church in a persecuted land. How long, Lord; how long?

  37. CJM says:

    Most of the other commentators here have expressed everything I was going to say, but I would second the recommendations for doing the TLM privately as well as doing the NO as reverently and properly as you can get away with. Also, Fr. Z, when I was training as a server for the TLM, your podcasts on how to pronounce the prayers were very helpful.

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