ASK FATHER: Can I go to a different parish for Mass in Latin?

From a reader…


I am a new comer to the Latin Mass. [?] Words cannot express how much we have missed since coming to the Latin Mass thru my children’s Catholic school. Our parish does not have a Latin Mass, yet is fairly traditional. Yet, I cannot help but want to attend a Latin Mass on a regular basis. Conflicted as I do love my little church with a good, young priest. What to do?? Am I being selfish to seek the Latin Mass every other Sunday and remain committed to my parish church? We would need to tithe to both churches, but I feel as though I am being “disloyal” to my parish.

It is reasonable to seek out the rich spiritual and liturgical traditions of our Church.

A good conversation with your parish priest, your pastor, is in order. Perhaps he would be willing to offer Holy Mass in Latin on occasion at your parish. Be specific with your parish priest.  Do you want the Ordinary Form of the Mass in Latin, or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass? Sometimes people refer to the “Latin Mass” without consideration of the fact that the normative way the Ordinary Form of the Mass is offered is in its proper language, Latin. Confusion results.

If Father is not willing or able to have a Latin Mass at his parish (and he may well have good reasons for this, including his own inability, pressure from the chancery, pastoral considerations, scheduling problems), then it would not be wrong to trade off Sundays at a another parish. A good pastor would not consider that disloyalty.

You should also find others who desire what you desire.  The pastor should know about them.  And remember what Summorum Pontificum says about how pastors can’t just blow off a stable group who wants the Extraordinary Form.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. I regularly attend three parishes. I am registered at one parish because I am part of the parish choir and I teach CCD there and it is where my family goes to Mass as I am still living with them after graduation. I also attend the EF once a month at a parish 45 minutes away from my house because it is now a main part of my spirituality. It has come to the point that I am friends with a good number of people there even though I only appear monthly. I still attend my college parish because we are implementing more Gregorian chant in the main student Mass and because I’m one of the few people with experience, I am continuing to help them out as I did when I was an undergrad (hearing an Introit and Communio in the same Mass with typical Praise and Worship music is an interesting experience). Things can get busy though; for example, yesterday, I sang at my parish’s 9 AM Mass, then drove to the 12:30 EF, had lunch, drove home, took a nap, then rehearsed and sang at my college’s 8 Pm Mass. I’ve felt at home in all three instances, and no one has ever given me a hard time for doing this. It’s especially helpful to people at my college because I am the go to person for any new student interested in attending the EF.

  2. MarylandBill says:

    As the Catholic Church in America increasingly becomes bilingual, I can’t help but think that switching back to Latin (which should be the norm anyway) might be a great way to integrate parishes. Sure, the homily and the readings might need to be in English or Spanish, but at least the rest of the mass can in a common language.

  3. ppb says:

    There is no rule that says you have to attend Mass at your territorial parish. There are all kinds of reasons why people don’t go to their territorial parishes, and not necessarily because they look down on them in any way. On Sundays and holydays I attend a parish with an EF Mass, and am registered there (in my diocese the policy is to allow people to register outside their territorial parish; I understand that in some places this might be more restricted). During the week, I frequent another church near my workplace for adoration, confession and occasional daily Mass. Preference for the EF Mass is a big factor for me, but so is the schedule for Mass and sacraments, and being located along my commuting route. Attending Mass at my geographic parish would actually be far more inconvenient and out of the way than what I do now. I understand that ideally one should support one’s territorial parish, but as people’s lifestyles become more mobile it makes more sense to support the parish(es) one can actually attend.

  4. Anne 2 says:

    I am registered at the nearest Catholic Church which has only the OF (aka Ordinary Form, Novus Ordo, vernacular language) of the Mass.
    However I attend an EF (aka Extraordinary Form, TLM, Latin) Mass the vast majority of the time, and go to Confession there as well – which happens to be FSSP.
    My Sunday donations go to whichever Church I attend each Sunday.
    I can not afford to move closer to the EF services or I would. The drive is over an hour each way.
    People may want to consider their Parish as one of priorities the next time they move.

  5. Anne 2 says:

    When talking to your Parish Priest or Bishop about having an EF Mass, it is always helpful to accurately know prior to meeting – the following in case questions come up –




  6. St Donatus says:

    In my experience, over time I discovered that when going to a Novus Ordo parish most of the time and the Latin Mass once a month or something, you miss out on so much of the traditional sacraments and attitudes of Catholicism. It is almost like they are two different religions in that there is so much more depth in the sacraments of traditional Catholicism. I attend daily Mass at a Novus Ordo parish in the city I live in and it is done well with much reverence. Sadly, the many things that point us to God and developing a devout life is missing or more difficult to achieve. Also when the priest disagrees with the churches teaching on contraception, it is difficult to believe in all the teachings of the Church. Even little things like serving at the altar as I do (since there are no altar servers available) is so different and less God centered. But more importantly, the processions, the attitude about confession, baptism, requim Masses, and so forth, helps my thinking move toward a more devout attitude than the Novus Ordo parish where it all is about me or the community (and not God). Living in a tradional parish family is so different than a Novus Ordo as well. It seems that there is a much greater friendliness and community.

    Some things I miss from the Novus Ordo parish is the ability to be more involved with the parish council and other like organizations. In traditional parishes, the priest takes care of many things that in Novus Ordo parishes, lay parishioners care for. Also, it seems that a larger percentage of parishioners at traditional parishes are willing to volunteer, so there isn’t always as much of a need for volunteers. Also when I have to drive 120 miles round trip to my Latin Mass parish, it is difficult to be involved in everything, yet there is a Novus Ordo parish within easy walking distance from my home.

  7. MrsMacD says:

    I used to live an hour away from my ‘Latin Mass’ parish and before that I lived an hour and a half away from my ‘Latin Mass’ parish. Now I’m blessed to be super close but I was convinced that it was worth the sacrifice of driving far to attend the Mass of ages and only lived far away because that is where we could afford to live.

  8. Sword40 says:

    Almost five years ago, now, I left my OF parish and joined a EF only parish. Its a long drive every Sunday. When the weather is bad we will attend the local parish.

    We are getting our own church on October 1. Its an ethnic parish but the archdiocese did not have a priest to fill the slot and all remaining parish clusters were stretched pretty thin. So we were assigned our own church.
    The FSSP has sent us a priest and we have a retired Jesuit to help him. (can you believe a traditional Jesuit?). Scrambling to get our choir ready for our first High Mass. All previous Masses have been low Masses.

  9. A.D. says:

    I’ve recently had the opportunity to attend a Maronite liturgy on a couple of Sundays. I thought to myself that this must have been the way the early Christians worshiped – the celebrant chanting, the congregation chanting, praising the holy cross over and over, inclusion of references to Our Lady as a natural part of the praise of God, calls by the sub-deacon to listen to the readings, etc. Everything was in English except for a few parts and the consecration in Western Syric, which was written phonetically in the missal. The people were wonderfully welcoming.

  10. mpalardy says:

    I’m perhaps one of those oddities who habitually goes outside even of his home diocese in order to hear the EF weekly and on holy days if my work schedule will allow. If there were a regular EF in my diocese, I’d gladly stick around, but we have only one monthly, somewhat off the radar screen. I’m an officer of the Una Voce chapter that sponsors it, and we’re pressing for one more regularly, but parish pastors aren’t willing to offer their churches, priests aren’t willing to learn the EF (or able to take on another Mass with their pastoral load), and my letter to the bishop hasn’t been answered.

    Ideally, I’d like to support my territorial parish, but the pastor’s preference for a de facto congregational polity as well as a record of poor homiletics and liturgical abuses simply make that impossible for me, particularly as I bring my goddaughter with me to Mass. She was baptized earlier this year after having attended the EF with me for over two years. She loves it, sings in the schola, and is considering a vocation to the religious life. And she is eleven. Woe to me if I do anything that might scandalize her and lead to injury to her faith. I know all too well how that happened to me when I was young.

  11. Roguejim says:

    In southern Oregon, the situation is a bit unique. Our local pastor has been generous with donating a mission church for EF Masses, but, the new, Abp. Sample, has been unable or unwilling to supply a single priest for the stable group of trad Catholics that has been here for several years. Priests are shipped in from other dioceses, none from the Abp’s own diocese. Fr. Z likes to talk about getting on the bike and riding, but, the fact is, the archbishop holds the key. Personally, I am hoping the SSPX will set up shop here. Enough of the madness.

  12. Gaz says:

    Obliged to go to Mass but free to choose which Mass to attend.

    I moved here nearly 17 years ago. When I first moved here, my closest connections were with the neighbouring, Cathedral parish. I usually attended Mass there. In time, I got to love my neighbours and now attend in my own parish most of the time. For about 4 years, we had an EF Mass celebrated on Mondays in the parish at that was a highlight – along with the Sunday EF Mass in another parish, I attended the EF more than the OF. Now that assistant priest has moved on and I’m normally at the church around the corner from home. Time and opportunities change. I have found real value in being part of my local parish and doing my bit to encourage the faithful celebration of the Roman Rite in the place where I live.

  13. JerrytheYTPer says:

    As a college student, I don’t often go to the parish I am a member of back home. When I am at school, I find I mostly go to the nearby Byzantine Rite church, though I function as an occasional lector for “Mass” (there are so many things wrong there that I am not even sure if it’s legit or not) at my college chapel. If I know I will be busy all day Sunday (once in a blue moon), I will put up with the mediocre sappy music at the other church near my school. I would go to the EF Mass in town, but only one parish offers one per weekend and it is Sunday at 9:30 AM. I need all the sleep I can get and I am usually up a while on weekend nights, so I won’t be getting up before 9:30 most of the time. Also, the only Latin Mass parish in my college town is in the “bad” part of town and it was a $20 fee for the taxi ride to and from my apartment. It’s too bad my college’s diocese is rather hostile to the Latin Mass or else I would likely have more opportunities for the EF.

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