The numbers are growing and the “gravitational pull” is getting stronger

Did you all see the article in the Washington Examiner?

It tells us something that we all know. All of us, even the libs. Some day, more bishops are going to admit that this is a trend. Then we’ll see what happens.

Traditional Catholic parishes grow even as US Catholicism declines

Traditional Catholic parishes run by one society of priests are growing in the United States, defying the trend of decline in the broader American church over previous decades.

Over the past year, parishes run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of priests dedicated to celebrating the traditional Latin form of the Catholic liturgy, have reported large increases in Sunday Mass attendance. The traditional liturgy that draws attendees is the form of the Mass celebrated before the reforms instituted at the Second Vatican Council, a meeting of the church’s bishops in the 1960s.

In Los Angeles, the fraternity did not have their own church until 2018, but Mass attendance over the past year doubled from 250 per Sunday to 500. The parish’s pastor, Fr. James Fryar, commented for the fraternity’s website that, after his parish added a fourth Mass on Sunday, “another 200 people came.”

The Naples, Florida, parish has been around for less than two years, but close to 400 people attend every Sunday, an increase of 20% from 2018. The pastor, Fr. James Romanoski, told the Washington Examiner the parish has been “averaging a new household — sometimes a family, sometimes an individual — every week” for over a year.

One Naples parishioner, Greg Colker, was a Protestant who converted to Catholicism but first attended a “standard” American Catholic parish, “not at all particularly traditional, not at all particularly liberal,” he told the Washington Examiner.

The traditional liturgy proved transformative for him, and he described it as “something that has formed from the heart of the church to form us into better people.” He added, “There’s this big lie that the traditional stuff is legalistic and rigid. I have found it to be anything but. I have found the teaching to be clear and useful.”

Sunday Mass attendance at the fraternity’s parish in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho increased by about 29% in the past two years, while the parish in Atlanta has grown by 30% in the last year.


I have been away from the parish for a month because of my sojourn in Rome.  This morning, the church was full and there were lots of new faces.  One couple with four children under 5 years old said that they have started attending the TLM rather than the later Novus Ordo.  They’ve been looking for “more”.

The number of priests saying the TLM is quietly growing.  The number of parishes with the TLM is quietly growing.

I’m tempted to give Pachamama the TLM “Salesdemon of the Year” award.

This will provide a “gravitational pull” on every aspect of the life of the Church.  Even if the priests still are mostly celebrating the Novus Ordo, there will be a huge knock-on effect through how the priest perceives himself to be at the altar.   In turn, congregations will be affected by the priest’s ars celebrandi.

We are our rites!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. albinus1 says:

    Father James Fryar, quoted in the article, is the priest who married my wife and me in 2011 when he was at Christ the King in Sarasota, FL. The day after our wedding we went to Mass in Ocala; he was the celebrant of that Mass as well. He is also the celebrant in the Mass photos in the St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    Benedict said it would be smaller, and one could surmise more “intensely Catholic”. But maybe it will only be smaller for a while. People don’t stop needing truth and a spiritual home just because Rome goes into apostasy. All the reasons to want to be a Catholic are still there in the TLM. Thank God for Summorum Pontificum.

  3. JTH says:

    Attendance at the TLM at my parish has doubled in the last year and a half- a diocesan parish/priest.

  4. moosix1974 says:

    I have been telling everyone that the crazier and stranger and more bizarre things get in Rome, the more people are going to have their eyes opened. I think the veil has been lifted for this very purpose. People are not going to leave their comfortable NO until they realize that they are on the train to Crazy Town. Get off the train! Come share in the Mass of the Ages and be refreshed!

  5. moosix1974 says:

    Also, our TLM parish in Tampa (Diocesan) is growing tremendously this year. Lot’s of new families! Our weekly Solemn High High (usually) is gorgeous Gregorian chant and polyphony and babies. Lots and lots of babies.

  6. AveMariaGratiaPlena says:

    Our bishop is defying Summorum Pontificum & only allowing the TLM once a month. He appears to have no intention to increase its frequency because it’s “divisive.” Sigh.

  7. GypsyMom says:

    Attendance at our diocesan parish TLM has been growing steadily over the last year. There has been a noticeable jump in attendance in the last few weeks, beginning precisely at the start of the Amazon synod. Like parishes mentioned above, our numbers are also up about 25 – 30% over the past month. We even reached a record for attendance at the TLM on All Saints Day, at a 5 pm Mass–a difficult time for many people to attend, when people are often just leaving work. Our tiny schola is also growing. People seem to be getting fed up with the nonsense and outright evil in modern Catholic parishes and from the Vatican, and they are looking for alternatives. Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.

  8. JGavin says:

    Yesterday was All Souls. I attended my Parish in the AM. My envelope with family names was there. It was 1969 Missal. At 2:15 , I attended a Missa Cantata at our Cathedral. I would have been able to attend in Norwalk at 9:00 AM , Bridgeport at 10:15, a Solemn High in New Haven at 11:00 and two Missa Cantatas here Fairfield. 20 years ago it would be unheard of to have four Traditional Masses in Bridgeport/ Fairfield. I was amazed that St Mary’s has done so well. The influence is slowly but steadily growing. With this will come conversions and a true Springtime of the Church.

  9. carndt says:

    Keep praying. I live in the Rockford Diocese in Illinois. Our bishop sent a letter to his priests repealing their right to say the TLM.

    But we are blessed to be moving close to the Naples, FL church mentioned above. God is good!

  10. LeeGilbert says:

    One day in late September 2018 I arrived early for 7AM Mass at Holy Rosary in Portland only to discover a priest already at the altar. The Dominicans had begun offering a private Mass at 6am in penance for the scandals. They needed a server, so last year in early October I began serving the Dominican rite low Mass, the 6am Mass in Latin, and did so for five or six months, then trained two other men to cover midweek. I had kept Mondays and Fridays for myself, but then we thought a move to AZ was coming up so I trained someone else to replace me for that slot, too. So . . .I worked myself out of a blessing. Then I was out in the congregation at the 6AM Mass, being far too attentive to how well my trainees were doing.

    But now that they have settled into the routine, I find myself assisting at Holy Mass as I used to in the years immediately after my conversion and before the big liturgical changes, i. e. 1964-67 or so. The priest is at the altar praying quietly for the most part and I am in the congregation doing the same. It is an entirely different way of assisting at Mass. Honestly, I never want to hear Mass in any other way ever again, from here to eternity. You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped, for never did I think of myself as a traditionalist per se.

    There was a prayer I heard from Protestant pentecostals some years back, and it applies in so many areas including this: “Lord, restore to us the years the locusts have eaten.” Looking it up now I see that it is a riff on “ I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you” Joel 2:25. They have eaten us alive, but the Lord can restore us, IS restoring us, thanks be to God.

    But if someone is condoning idolatry, may another take his office.

  11. Shonkin says:

    My diocese (Helena, MT) has TLM’s in several cities. With only 50,000 Catholics distributed over 52,000 square miles and a priest shortage, that’s doing pretty well. I belong to a parish (Sts. Cyril and Methodius) in the city of East Helena. Our parish priest was ordained only about 4 years ago. Besides taking spiritual care of the home parish church and two remote missions (with one deacon and no other help) he celebrates the TLM twice a month at a college chapel in Helena. There is an extremely enthusiastic congregation attending those Masses. (The other TLM locations are west of the Divide.)

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  13. JonPatrick says:

    My wife and I live in Eastern Maine where there is no TLM, but recently we have been visiting in Lewiston where the St. Gregory the Great Latin Mass Chaplaincy has one of the 2 weekly TLM’s in Maine. It seems to me, not having been at this mass for a while, that the communion lines are much longer than before and attendance is up. I wonder if the recent goings on at the Vatican is “red-pilling” a number of people and that is responsible for the uptick.

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    Our TLM attendance in Knoxville is up over 30% in the past year, up over 50% in the past two years. Some have wondered whether this is a “Francis effect”.

  15. Michael Haz says:

    My wife and I belong to a TLM parish (ICKSP) and are weekly amazed by the ever-increasing numbers attending Mass. The most rapidly growing age group seems to be 20-40s, with many large and growing families. It’s such a blessing!

    I counted twenty-seven servers at yesterday’s High Mass. Twenty-seven! Deo gratias!

  16. Titus says:

    Attendance is up at the diocesan Mass in Nashville: it’s gone from “someone in just about every pew” to “definitely standing room only”

  17. moosix1974 says:

    @JonPatrick, Fr. Clement up in Macchaias knows how to say the TLM. He used to say it pretty regularly (every Sunday) when he was here in Tampa at Incarnation. He doesn’t say it at any of the four churches he says Mass at, but he can. Maybe talk to him and see if he can offer one maybe once a month?

  18. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    1.) Father wrote, “One couple with four children under 5 years old said that they have started attending the TLM rather than the later Novus Ordo.” I have a little metric I run every time I’m in a parish. I take the first ten families with children I see, and I take the average number of children per family. To be generous, I add number of however many altar boys there are to the numerator.

    The results can be:
    Nullset to One: there are not ten families with children, or there are only 10 children in ten families. This is a Zombie Parish. It doesn’t know it’s dead and just keep going through the motions.

    One to Two – This parish is dying. Parish in Extremis.

    Two to Three – Replacement level parish.

    More than three. Healthy parish.

    I have never seen a non-traditional parish have an average of much more than 3, and if I’m there, Bean Ui Bolguidhir (my wife) and I are bringing our four, and we include the altar boys, and it’s easier to see families with many children first, so there’s already an bias in favour of the parish surviving. It is routine to have a number less than two at a novus ordo parish, and that frequently involves children brought by what are obviously their grandparents. There should be a penalty for that, because if they aren’t being brought by their father and mother, they aren’t likely to keep coming when they’re older.

    At traditionalist parishes, the average is almost never three or less than three, and can be greater than five. It’s a quick metric that tells you a lot about the future of the Church.

    2.) CARNDT: In justice I must say that HE the Bishop of Rockford just confirmed two of my sons in the traditional rite in Rockford. I know how that letter reads, but had you listened to his sermon that day, you might have a different opinion about how he views tradition. St. Mary’s Oratory in downtown Rockford is the oldest ICKSP parish in the USA.

  19. Kevin says:

    I am a little off topic…I apologize. But, watching today’s Papal Requiem Mass here:

    Look at time markers 52:50 and 53:01. A Holy Priest refusing to give Christ in the hand! Off topic but little by little….

  20. Lots and lots of babies were audible yesterday at the FSSP parish in South Bend, Indiana as well– it was almost a crying contest at one point, but I didn’t let it bother me as this tells us where things are headed long after the right parenthesis on this pontificate has closed.

  21. davidjmccormick says:

    I love seeing these comments!

    I just brought my family to the ICKSP in Detroit last weekend and we were in awe when a parishioner told us that they started out 3 years ago with 75 people for Sunday mass. Now they have about 500 regular attendees and so many kids at mass that we blended right in. Amazing growth and exactly what we’ve been searching for. Probably going to need to work closer to Detroit soon. The “mixed use” parish that we’ve been going to just can’t even come close to what a real TLM parish offers. Priests need to form the souls in their care, not farm it out to volunteers and others. The trad communities get that.

  22. romanrevert says:

    Pope Francis and the German Bishops are sharing the award for “TLM Promoter of the Year” – an award given to those person/persons who have successfully exemplified, by their words and/or actions, the efficacy and truth of the Traditional Roman Rite as the One True Faith in opposition to the lies of the world and Modernist bent that has infected the Church today.


  23. Semper Gumby says:

    Great article, post, and comments.

    Here’s an interesting TLM website: Find Traditional Latin Masses Around the World. It’s showing 581 in the US, 194 in France, 162 in Great Britain, etc.

  24. Semper Gumby:

    Frankly, I think the number in these USA is low. I get notes from people rather frequently that yet another priest has quietly integrated the Traditional Mass in a parish.

  25. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z: Excellent.

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