Brick by brick in Virginia

I am hearing about this sort of thing all over the place.

The first Traditional Latin Mass by this priest at this parish drew
120 people!

This text is from the bulletin of St. Francis Church in Purceville, VA:

About 120 came to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass (sometimes referred to as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass) in the midst of the 40-Hour Eucharistic devotion.
Father Mullaney spent several days getting his crash-course training to celebrate his first Traditional Mass because the priest who originally was scheduled couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict. Father Mullaney did an amazing job with just a few days of practice to celebrate the Latin Mass. Our Director of Religious Education, James Blankenship, served as master of ceremony and trained Father for the Mass. Several who attended their first Latin Mass enjoyed the solemn experience and remarked how different it is from the Ordinary Form that we normally celebrate.
A few were brought to tears as they reminisced last attending this Mass way back in their youth (likely from the AARP eligible crowd).
There were also several who came from other parishes who were grateful that we offered the Mass.

Brick by brick, my readers, brick by brick.

This mentions the AARP crowd.  However, I’ll bet most of the congregation was much younger.

Those people must now get hyper-involved with all the activities of the parish and not just disappear.

And if you go to their website, be sure to click on the “Gregorian Mass” link on the upper menu. Amusing… AND TRUE! I hope that some of you will do the same for me!


I had an interesting email after posting this.

Apparently, based on stats from a few years ago, the Diocese of Arlington was one of very few dioceses in these USA that was not bleeding red… and I don’t mean rubrical ink.

Another factoid is that of their 70 parishes, some 17 have the TLM, which would probably be the highest percentage of any diocese … anywhere.

Now… I don’t want to stray into post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacious reasoning.  Nor do I want to stray anywhere near a “prosperity” gospel view.  However, I do believe that reverent liturgical worship has its own mighty ripple effects.

I’m just sayin’.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I don’t know anything about that ‘host poc prego’ thing you said but I have wondered to myself for a time that many of the more liberal catholics in my environs don’t attend mass a whole lot. Now the ones who attend the TLM go every week (i see them every week). So my thought has been that maybe, maybe those who attend every week would actually be more…. giving to the parish? i.,e. use the collection basket more…maybe not…. post prego… On second thought i think i’ll make me some gnocchi ….

  2. Rellis says:

    We also have a regular 9:30AM Sunday TLM at St Rita’s Parish in Alexandria, VA. It’s consistently got 100-150 people at it and is a permanent part of the schedule. Brick by brick.

  3. Spade says:

    “However, I do believe that reverent liturgical worship has its own mighty ripple effects.”

    I assure you that this is 100% true.
    I live in the Diocese of Arlington, first under Bishop Loverde and now under Bishop Burbidge. A lot of our ugly 1970’s churches are being torn down and replaced with more classic churches. We’re building churches. We have more priests than we have parishes, a ton of seminarians and a ton of religious. Bishop Loverde pushed confession pretty hard, teaming up with DC to do ads during lent and advent. My church offers confessions twice on Saturday and on Wednesday evening during adoration (which now goes from Wednesday until Friday). I don’t go to confession at my home parish because the lines are too long. You can show up 30 minutes early and still wait an hour past start time. Adoration is a big thing too. You’re never far from a TLM (and we don’t even have the FSSP here).

    Bishop Loverde was really good at, I’m told, quietly moving priests who were, shall we say, not in line with what he wanted done. Fr. Brutalist wants a to build a church in the round for a new parish? Oh, well, I guess we’ll need your services elsewhere and here’s your new pastor Fr. Cruciform who can just take over that project for you.

    Things are pretty good in Arlington.

  4. Josemaria says:

    Wonderful news!

    I’m a parishioner of St. John the Baptist in Front Royal, which has Mass each Sunday in both the ordinary (with incense, Gregorian chant, some Latin (including the Canon), and ad orientem orientation) and extraordinary forms. Mutual enrichment lives here!

    The hermeneutic of continuity lives in our diocese! Part of me hopes our boys will grow up to be called to be priests in other diocese not as flush with vocations as we are here.

  5. Adaquano says:

    I grew up in the diocese and can attest to it’s strength. Even parishes where there is no TLM, there are many parishes with great pastors and faithful congregations in Arlington. There are a few places that are goofy, but on the whole parish is very healthy, dating back to the 90’s. Bishop Keating who was bishop from 83-98 did not allow for the use of altar girls, which was changed with Bishop Loverde. On Bishop Keating’s watch many great men with through the seminary, I remember in the late 90’s early 00’s as these men were becoming pastors they oversaw the construction of many beautiful churches – Our Lady of Hope, St. John’s in Leesburg, St. Teresa, Holy Trinity (just to name a few). Bishop Loverde while not as orthodox as Bishop Keating gave these men great latitude to continue pursuing traditional practices.

  6. Mary Fran says:

    We moved to the Arlington Diocese 2 years ago to be part of one of these amazing parishes that has the TLM. Over in Front Royal. The NO Masses here are very reverent too. After a while, we forget how unusual it is until we go to Mass at one of our children’s parishes. We don’t like going to Mass anywhere away from home.

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  8. WVC says:

    I know Fr. Mullaney. He is a good priest, and I’m happy to hear he’s learned the Latin Mass. He has a fantastic singing voice, too. A perfect candidate to offer High Mass!

  9. Father Bartoloma says:

    Kudos to my St. Charles Seminary classmate, Father Mullaney!

  10. TonyO says:

    Spade, you have to go back to the 1970’s to explain the Arlington Diocese: it was formed out of the larger (all of Virginia) diocese, by priests who could not stand the liberal disaster pushing from the southern parishes, and petitioned to divide the Diocese. The northern part of VA got the tradition-minded priests. Bishop Welsh was (apparently) a no-nonsense dude who stuck to the book: give them the true mass (though N.O.) with reverence, confession, blessings and proper teaching. Stop messing with the nonsense. Bishop Keating was much the same, and installed an absolutely fantastic vocations director who was pulling in young men in droves for the seminary. In the period from ’88 to ’98, the ratio of men in the seminary to parishes was actually significantly higher than it is now. If I recall correctly, one year there were 13 ordinations. Thirteen!

    When Bishop Loverde came, he was more than a bit of a liberal, at least comparatively. He made some strange moves, (replacing the vocations director, for one) and some bad moves (trying to have some of the seminarians train at bad seminaries, like the one for his former diocese), some really bad moves (allowed girl altar-boys for no good reason whatsoever) … but eventually he kind of leveled off. I think he must have learned a lot from his much more conservative priests. He allowed the TLM, which the previous bishop had not. (This was before Summorum Pontificorum). He put out a parish – homeschool relations guideline that actually made sense (he consulted homeschoolers for it :-).) He was adamantly pro-life, and vigorous and visible about it, so I tend to overlook some other foibles – like the silly nonsense of thinking that the Church needs to abolish the death penalty. But of note: the ratio for seminarians to parishes (or to registered Catholics) is probably about 1/3 lower than it had been, which is still a lot higher than most other dioceses. Which, come to think of it, accurately reflects Bp. Loverde’s choices and policies: fairly decent, but not quite up to the level of his predecessors.

  11. clarinetist04 says:

    Yes, the Arlington Diocese is doing very well (it is my home diocese and where I have a relative who is a diocesan priest and know many of the priests here personally, including Fr. Mullaney). But there are attacks on Bishop Burbidge from many who call the diocese too rigid, too traditionalist, too all-those-things-you-expect-to-hear-from-the-catholic-left. Please do not forget to pray for him, and all of our bishops and priests to weather the storm of attacks.

    And a note of clarification – Bishop Loverde did open up altar serving to girls but he left it to the parish pastor to decide on whether to implement. Most churches here, from my experience, still retain an all-male altar boy corps. As one pastor told me, they have 200 altar boys, they don’t need to open it up to girls! So they have also implemented other apostolates for the girls to participate in and celebrate their part in the life of the church unique to them as girls.

  12. This is really good. Fr. Mullaney is a conscientious orthodox priest who has the support of his dedicated pastor. Indeed, we have many diocesan parishes that offer the Tridentine Mass, and even more parishes that are liturgically sound. Miraculous.

    This same pastor had told me years ago that his experience in one of the most way-out parishes of the diocese had taught him that nothing works better than first teaching parishioners to pray – sound teaching has little effect without this opening up of hearts.

    The Purcellville [named after the Purcell family] parish has had a very strong liberal resentful dug-in contingent for decades. When the present pastor got installed [after enduring a somewhat contentious term as administrator for 3 years], the music as one of the first changes, hiring a director who loves chant, and tightening up the liturgy a bit. The parish also beautifully re-created the interior of the church recently. These changes have been a great painful effort and the fruit has taken a long time.

    Unlike Catholic-saturated areas of just about every other state, Virginia has always been very Protestant. This particular area is full of descendants of Quakers who first settled in the 1700s, the other half of the county were Lutheran farmers who settled just before the Quakers arrived. Growing up here, the few parishes were mission churches and you could about count the Catholics on one hand in the schools. It was very lonely being a Catholic and I grew up always being embarrassed and feeling the misfit as a Catholic. On top of that, it was the liberal Richmond diocese. When Vatican II hit, ‘regular’ parish priests suddenly revealed themselves as viperous progressives. And those evil seeds sprouted, growing still in many parishes. The diocese did get split as mentioned already, due to the enormity of the state-wide diocese. The first bishop Walsh was too conservative and was quickly and suddenly removed – but somehow vestiges of what he had started did survive. Bp Keating was okay and very fatherly towards his priests, though a very middle of the road sort. Bp Loverde was more liberal and unquestionably authoritarian, but our very committed priests were able to negotiate with him to allow the Tridentine Mass. These spectacular priests could not have succeeded without curial support of the Benedict reign. Really, the flourishing of this diocese is due to the sacrifices, vigilance, and faith of our extraordinary priests. Truly supernatural and miraculous. My mother and I would discuss this phenomenon, wondering if there was some hidden victim soul offering themselves to this end.

  13. Mike says:

    It is a pleasure to observe and participate in the restoration of our Faith in Arlington in many important ways, of which reverent liturgy is by far the most important. Here in the neighboring Archdiocese of Washington it is sometimes a struggle to be reminded that love of neighbor must be grounded in reverence toward our Creator rather than deference to the agendas of the National Catholic Reporter and the Democrat Party. Happily, Arlington’s witness seems to be producing something of a ripple effect north of the Potomac (where Tradition has always had a sturdy, if sometimes beleaguered, core of adherents); one is emboldened to hope that even here authentic Catholicism might eclipse Spirit of Vatican 2 heterodoxy within our lifetime.

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Nobody has mentioned the Institute of Catholic Culture. They do talks at parishes in their Northern VA area, and then put them online. It’s really amazing how many talks they do, how deep some of them get, and what a great resource their website is. It’s also nice that it’s not just Roman Rite, but also all kind of Catholic rites’ clergy, religious, academics, and other laypeople who are involved.

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