“Novus Ordo Priest” learns the TLM. Holiness ensues.

I have been urging you not to let up.  Liberals think they have the big mo.  HA!

Do not give out. Do not give up.  Do not give in.  Press forward.  Be encouraging to your priests.  Be supportive.  Give and provide anything and everything they will need.  Make the pitch.  Make it again.  Make it again.  Be cheerful. Be persistent.  And pray pray pray.

At Regina Magazine, a new traditional online monthly which you should all check out… see  their ad on my sidebar here… there is a good piece about a priest who learned how to say the older, traditional form of Holy Mass, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

What Happens When a Novus Ordo Priest Learns the Latin Mass

by Rosa Kasper

Although the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass had always been the center of Father Paul Sumler’s priestly life, the truth is that he hadn’t considered celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form. That is, until one Sunday when John Morrell and Mark Holly from the Latin Mass Society of Beaumont, Texas approached Father to ask if he would be willing to do so.  [Good for them!]

”At the time, I was still recovering from major surgery, so I asked them to call me in three or four months,” Fr. Sumler explained. “And then I promptly forgot about my brief encounter with them until they again approached me three and a half months later.”

He invited the men to lunch with him at the rectory, so he could hear their story. [Good for him!]

“At this point I was perplexed as to why they wanted a Latin Mass, but I was willing to listen to their reasons,” the priest added. “The luncheon meeting ran almost two hours as they spoke and I asked question after question. [Be prepared!] They told me they had approached a number of priests in the Beaumont Diocese and each priest gave various reasons for not wanting to offer the Traditional Latin Mass.” [pfffft]

I was perplexed as to why they wanted a Latin Mass, but I was willing to listen to their reasons. After they left, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

Impressed with their articulate, authentic Catholic spirituality and love for the Church, Fr. Sumler told the two young men that although 50 years before he had been an altar boy for the Latin Mass, he would now be starting from scratch if he should offer this Mass.

As it turned out, [Watch this…] the Latin Mass Society covered the expenses of training workshops, including his travel expenses so in June 2011, he spent five days with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Neb., under the tutelage of Father Joseph Lee.

Father Sumler describes the time as a “spiritual boot camp,” involving eight and a half hours days for five days straight. He offered his first Sunday Low Mass one month later. He then attended a Missa Cantata High Mass training workshop in 2012. Since then he has been offering a Sung High Mass every Sunday at 9:30 am.

A small number of his parishioners attend the Extraordinary Form Mass, Sumler explained, but most come from various other parts of the Beaumont Diocese, including many young people and home schooling families. [What a surprise.]

“Thanks to the Augustinian Fathers who pastored my parish for 60 years, I inherited a beautiful church,” Fr. Sumler observed. “During my time as pastor, we have renovated a number of lovely statues and placed them back in the church, much to the happiness of the people. [Get that you wreckovators?] The interior is quite beautiful and conducive to prayer. The Rosary is prayed before each Sunday Masses.”

Fr. Sumler characterized his Latin Mass congregants as deeply spiritual, committed Catholics, the integrity of whose faith had been damaged by liturgical abuses so common in many Novus Ordo parishes.

[And here is another thing I have been saying for years now…] “The spiritual impact of the Extraordinary Form has had a major impact on me as well,” Fr. Sumler noted. “I have learned to let Jesus say the Mass. I don’t have to worry anymore if I’m holding people’s attention. Jesus, through the Mass and liturgical actions, can speak for Himself, and the people do not have any need for my innovations. [The change in the priest’s self-perception, and the way he says even Mass in the Novus Ordo, must eventually produce a knock-on effect in the congregation.]

I cannot imagine my life without this beautiful Mass. In addition to the Sunday Sung Mass, I offer a Low Mass Tuesday through Friday at 12:10 pm,” Fr. Sumler concluded. “I will always be indebted to encountering John Morrell and Mark Holly. To them I say ‘thank you.’” [And we say “Thank you!”, too!]

Pretty good, huh?

Fr. Z Kudos to everyone.

How grateful we should be to Benedict XVI for Summorum Pontificum.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Thank you, Pope Benedict.

  2. Tominellay says:

    …best thing I’ve read in a long time!

  3. lisebaur says:

    This is a wonderful blueprint for those of us who do not know how to begin. Thank you Fr. Z. for posting this article. This morning after Mass, I spoke with a fellow parishioner and he will help me to gather names and support and even had a few great ideas.

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    That’s a very cogent thing to say about saying Mass — “Let Jesus say the Mass.” But it applies a lot to other kinds of prayer, and even to things like singing hymns. It is the Holy Spirit Who helps us pray and urges us to pray; we don’t have to (and can’t) do it all ourselves; and we shouldn’t try so hard to do it alone.

  5. jlmorrell says:

    I would like to say thank you to Fr. Paul Sumler for his charity and kindness to us in the Diocese of Beaumont. His generous spirit and willingness to regularly offer the TLM has been a great blessing to many Catholics here. He will be remembered for many many years for bringing back the Traditional Latin Mass to this Diocese.

  6. av8er says:

    Great story and I second Lisebaur’s comment!

  7. Absit invidia says:

    Pope Benedict, we will always be indebted to you. Thank you for your prayers, works, and sacrifices, may God continue to bless you with His grace.

  8. Quanah says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Fr. Z. It is truly beautiful. I rarely attend the Extraordinary Form, but I am very grateful for it and am adamant about it’s necessity. Unfortunately, I meet a lot of people who look down on it, so it is always a blessing to have another story like this one in my arsenal for showing it’s pastoral, spiritual, and doctrinal need.

  9. Vecchio di Londra says:

    That must take a lot of courage and willpower, and trust in God: to learn to say the TLM from zero knowledge, without even understanding why.
    It does surprise me that so many priests have never attended a Traditional Latin Mass, or not done so for several decades: I suppose if they’re busy and remotely stationed, they may not often get a chance to go to one, even if they are curious to do so. In some cases, judging by the defensive reactions I often hear when I myself ask priests about this, there may be some strong fear, perhaps of discovering something that would be uncomfortable for them to find out – about the Mass, or about themselves.
    But perhaps, despite his initial perplexity, Father’s ancient experience as an altar-boy may have been an unconsciously benign influence, an attractive pull from the recesses of memory, without his even being aware of it? It often is, I think.

    Anyway, it’s a wonderful example of how-to-do-it – not only by the Father, but by the men who waited gently and patiently for more than three months until Father had recovered, to ask him again.

    Gloria in excelsis Deo.

  10. AVL says:

    It makes me happy to hear this story! It gives me hope in a time when my parish is undergoing massive changes like the removal of the kneelers, statues, altar boys from the altar (now they have to sit in the pews for some reason), and the increasingly regular removal of our regular priest from the schedule for the NO Latin Mass (who knows what purpose). This story is a beacon of light!!! And if you have a moment, please pray for our parish.

  11. Fr. Bryan says:

    Great post! Very inspiring! I want to learn the EF. I have no Latin (not even taught in the seminary I went to in the ’90’s), and I have limited time as a pastor, but I want to learn. I’ve never been approached by anyone, but I want to learn. Figuring out how and where to start seems overwhelming, but I want to learn.

  12. Mike says:

    Fr. Bryan, if Father Z can somehow connect us off-blog, I’ll see that you at least get the airline miles to make it to EF bootcamp.

    [I’ll see what I can do about that.]

  13. acardnal says:

    Fr. Bryan,
    here is a link to the May 2014 EF training schedule at the FSSP seminary in Nebraska.


    [I think the guys at St. John Cantius also do this. Furthermore, if someone wants to incorporate a trip to England, there is another workshop coming up there, through the LMS.]

  14. acardnal says:

    I paid for my pastor to attend the FSSP training workshop last year. He was sooooo thankful ! He told me he had planned to learn it on his own time but after attending the workshop, he realized that it would not have been fruitful. Attending the workshop was better for him.

  15. Fr. Bryan says:

    Thank You. At least now I know that there are workshops available. May 2014 may be too short notice with my parish schedule, but I will make plans to attend, if not the May workshop, a future one. Acadnal, thank you for the link. Mike, thank you for the offer. It is greatly appreciated. God bless you.

    [Check your email.]

  16. CLRichardson says:

    The first Traditional Latin Mass I attended was at Fr. Paul’s Parish and it was a eye opener. It was by far the most “Solemn” Mass I ever attended. From start to finish it showed me how there could still be a Mass that was about Thanks, Worship and Communion with the Lord.

  17. eileenmary51 says:

    I am thankful for Father Paul adopting the Latin Mass into his parish life. One long time parishioner
    noticed a marked increase in participation of those attending the Novus Ordo Mass. “We have people who have never been active in any of our parish life, coming forward to join. I have been an active parishioner here for years. This has been happening since the Latin Mass is being offered.” And with this she thanked John for all his work for Latin Mass Beaumont. We are also constantly looking to add to our Latin Mass choir which adds such a heavenly mystery to the sense of awe during the Mass. And we are also grateful for all the young added altar boys who do such a reverent assistance to our beautiful liturgical setting. God is awesome. And now Father has added the daily Latin Mass Tues through Friday at 12:10PM. We are blessed beyond. God bless Pope Benedict for brining this grace to us after 40 years of praying and waiting.

  18. Pingback: Regular TLM now in Beaumont | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

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