GUEST POST: A 1st TLM experience

From a reader (some editing and my emphases):

I have been an avid reader of your blog and I really appreciate the seriousness of the Catholic issues that you present here, as well as your witty, and often humorous remarks.

I wanted to let you and the readers of your blog that I have attended the TLM in five different occasions since April 2012. A small group of friends attended the TLM on that April and we all loved the deep reverence, respect, and the sheer grandeur that the ancient Liturgy expresses. Although, I did not understand much of what was going on, I cannot express in words the way that the Liturgy touched me. The Liturgy speaks the language of the heart; all you have to do is be open to receive the mystery.

I also wanted to share that on the first occasion that I went to St. Anne’s, I felt intimidated by how everyone was dressed for Mass and how it made me reconsider how I was dressing for Mass at my parish. No more jeans and tennis shoes for me, now I dress up. Also on a separate occasion, I took my kids with me and my son, who is 11, heard the Gregorian chant and a big smile came to his face and said “Wow, it sounds like Heaven!” Each time I attend the EF, I learn and experience something new, to me, there isn’t anything like it in the world, and I would not change the EF for anything in the world.

As you can imagine, I am a post Vatican II Catholic who mainly attends the Novus Ordo, and it is not seldom that I feel that we Catholics have been robbedof this magnificent Liturgy. While the liturgies in my area are not the horror stories or kookiness of what occurs in other parishes around the country, or world for that matter


, there are times when I just wish that father would just Say the Black and Do the Red.

Sadly, I live in Yuma, Arizona, and the nearest parish that offers the TLM is St. Anne’s in San Diego, which is a three hour drive each way. In my diocese, the only parish that celebrates the Extraordinary Form is St. Gianna’s Oratory in Tucson, but that’s almost a four hour drive away. Our group is slowly growing of those who are interested in going by each trip we take to St Anne’s. You may call this a sort of “ecclesiastical field trip”, and everyone who comes with us is touched by the Extraordinary Form and wishes they were able to attend more often. When we first started to go as a group, I never imagined that interest in the TLM would grow, now that I hear of other people’s interest in going, I cannot help but smile.

I know that if there was a parish that offered the Extraordinary Form in my area, I would be there every Sunday. Now, we are getting a stable group of people interested in the EF so that we can take the damn training wheels off and ride the bike, as you say.

I hope my story encourages those whom have never experience the EF to attend it with an open heart.

Reason #2 for Summorum Pontificum.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, HONORED GUESTS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices, Year of Faith and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Patrick-K says:

    “Reason #2 for Summorum Pontificum.”

    Just out of curiosity, what is Reason #1?

  2. acardnal says:

    If Phoenix is closer to Yuma than Tucson, you can go to Mater Misericordiae Mission:

  3. MacBride says:

    We have the same problem in my diocese..I drive 2 hrs (one way) for a latin Mass

  4. Beautiful story, and inspiring as well. Hopefully more will be encouraged to at least give the TLM a chance.

    My heart goes out to those who cannot get to the TLM on a regular basis. I know what that is like, and have had to go through much for it.

    All the more reason to keep fighting for the great rebirth.

  5. NancyJ says:

    I highly recommend that your next visit to St Anne’s be on July 21. They will be holding their annual Fiesta culminating with the “Running of the Saints” – wherein the men of the parish “race” down the streets carrying aloft full-sized statues of St Anne and St Michael. It is a public penance for the men and a way to bless the neighborhood. It is a sight to behold and my boys loved running down the streets with the saints. Oh, and the fiesta is fun too! Simple carnival games, music, and delicious food – a great way to spend your day.

  6. NancyJ says:

    oops! Here is a link to the flyer with details.

  7. unavoceman says:

    Wow. God bless you for this story and for your example. You really hit the sweet spot with that. My experience was pretty much the same re: going to TLM the first time. I walked into St. Agnes in Manhattan about five years ago and have never looked back since the moment I walked in the door.

    I remember when I was very young I used to get to Church early so I could sit in the VERY FRONT pew for the then universal Latin Mass – and I know I never understood a word of it. I know now it was the sheer reverence and beauty I was responding to. I didn’t realize until I saw it again at St. Agnes what a treasure I had lost. It was like someone opening up a secret room and showing me every great Christmas present I had received since the age of three, brand new and glittering. Today I see small, quiet children at Latin Mass staring up at the altar in awe the same way I did fifty years ago.

    The Mass went to the vernacualar, I quit altar boys, I moved back a few pews, then a few more until I was literally standing at the door in the vestibule for Mass. Then I backed up even farther out the door and did not come back for thirty years. I came back to Novus Ordo in 2001 but gave up on it when the head of the detention ministry where I was volunteering insisted on playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” during our reception of the Eucharist. Done.

    I am now in CT and have a pretty good range of choice here from St. Agnes, to Immaculate Conception in Sleepy Hollow, Immaculate Conception Basilica in Waterbury and most of all, St. Mary’s in Norwalk CT where the parish headed by Rev. Greg Markey has the finest Latin Mass I have attended anywhere. Total goose bumps every time. You make me realize how fortunate I am to have all these places within an hour’s drive from me. And most of all you inspire me with the knowledge that – through your own persistence and dedication – I am doing the right thing. Thank you and God Bless you and I hope you have a TLM close to home sooner than later. I pray that everyone gets that opportunity and – yes – by ANY means possible (as long as it doesn’t keep you out of heaven or Rome) personal parish, FSSP, diocesan, bake sale, whatever. Bring it on and let it roll!

  8. Gratias says:

    Well done Arizonan on you long travel. May your reward be in Heaven. Fr. James Fryar FSSP explained to us at a conference that God looks favorably at the time you spend preparing your clothes and driving to the Mass. We used to drive 90 min one way from West Los Angeles to Ventura and thought it was a big deal. Now the new parish priest of Ventura Mission ( his name is Father Tom Elewaut) expelled our stable group that has been meeting there faithfully for 15 years. Just like that, at the whim of a Vatican II priest, and even before the resignation of Benedict XVI was known. We are not feared at all. Finally archbishop Gomez got us nice St. Mary Magdalene Chapel in Camarillo (10 am every Sunday, do visit) so now our trips are shorter, just over one hour. At least the entire way is paved.

    Attending the Latin Mass does wonders for our Faith. It is halfway to Heaven, particularly during sung masses. Go whenever possible, donate heavily, and use Wikkimissa to find other EF masses when you are on tourism out of state.

  9. my kidz mom says:

    acardnal is right, Phoenix’s Mater Misericordiae Mission may be a good option for the original poster. If Googlemaps is correct, you could make it there in 2 hours 44 minutes.

    You are inspiring me to give the TLM a looksee.

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