NYC: Opus Dei priest at St. Agnes canceled the Sunday TLM after decades of tradition

In New York City for over 30 years, long before Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum, the Traditional Latin Mass or Vetus Ordo was celebrated at the Church of St. Agnes near Grand Central Terminal.  Opus Dei took over the parish.

The Opus Dei priest in charge has announced that today will be the last day for the old use.   Thud.

It will be replaced by the Novus Ordo in Spanish.   Yet another Novus Ordo Mass in Spanish.

So much for not making those attached to Tradition feel marginalized.

A photo from today’s final Mass…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I used to go to the TLM at St. Agnes. My last TLM at St. Agnes was New Year’s Day 2022. Suddenly, the TLM disappeared. No notice, nothing. I kept wondering why. The TLM was well attended, unlike the English language Novus Ordo Mass right before it. Such a shame. They have a good choir and a lovely little church.

    I ended up going to Holy Innocents after the cancellation of the TLM at St. Agnes. Holy Innocents church has a very crowded TLM. I hope it continues.

  2. deaconjohn1987 says:

    So Sad! My daughter and I used to attend the Latin Traditional Mass back in the late 80’s. Fr. Rutler was the main celebrant. After Mass there was a small gathering of worshipers for snacks and chat. I remember Fr. Rutler asking me if I would like to assist at Mass as deacon, but I declined due to not knowing much Latin. I’m praying for all those who are suffering because of this cancelation.
    Deacon John

  3. arga says:

    A little confusing. When did Opus Dei take over the parish? And did the priest explain why the Masses were canceled?

  4. The Astronomer says:

    I was the head of the altar servers in the 1990s at St. Agnes in NYC. It was a wonderful home for Tradition. I had the honor of being TLM MC for the likes of Msgr. Gene Clark, Fr. John Perricone, Fr. George Rutler, Father William Shelley, and many other fine, holy priests.

    My heart is empty today…

  5. hilltop says:

    Opus Dei are the neo-cons of the Church in these US. Traditional, up to a point.

  6. oledocfarmer says:

    Shame upon shame.

  7. Centra Valley says:

    I saw this story earlier today on Facebook. It brought back Bakersfield memories of a once thriving Latin Mass Community at the San Clemente mission in its halcyon days. Sadly, in the metropolitan Bakersfield area the only traditional Latin Mass available is with the Society of Pius X and that mass is standing room only every Sunday. All of that great pastoral care from the Diocese of Fresno…….

  8. Patrick-K says:

    There are exceptions, but in my experience Opus Dei is a business networking club with light Catholic window dressing.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    That is pointless, sadistic cruelty. The only possible reason to treat Catholics that way is having black hearts, dead souls, and an imprimatur for cruelty. People who inflict such on the people have much to dread when they must answer to God.

  10. misanthrope says:

    Tragic. Was in NYC with my wife years ago for a wedding anniversary and attended TLM at St. Agnes. Packed as I recall.

    I looked into Opus Dei years ago; got a big packet of information in the mail. Looked it over and tossed it. Something didn’t sit right with me about it all, but perhaps it just wasn’t for me. I think Patrick-K’s comment hits the mark in my memory.

  11. Publius IIII says:

    Very sad. Having discovered the Mass at St. Nicolas DuChardonet when living in Paris in 1985 right after college, it seemed like a minor miracle when it started up at St. Agnes. Over the years, this Mass has survived various assaults. Terribly disappointing to have been done in by the Work, but this seemed to be the fear even from the moment Opus Dei took over, well before Traditiones Custodes.

    While Holy Innocents is an obvious alternative to St. Agnes, please consider Our Lady of Sorrows in Jersey City. It is the oldest continues EF Mass in the Archdiocese of Newark having started in 2002, soon after McCarrick had departed for DC. Fr. Perricone, formerly of St. Agnes, is the regular priest with coverage from CFRs and Canons Regular of St. Leopold. The Community boast the best choir in the NYC City and metro area. Here’s our web sites: and also

    OLS will have a full Holy Week, transitioning for the first time to pre 1955 Good Friday. Tenebrae on Wednesday evening is at 7:00 and will alternate with chant and polyphonic settings of the psalms.

  12. Ave Maria says:

    Opus Dei, eh? I am thinking it best to steer clear of them.

  13. Gaetano says:

    I attended St. Agnes as early as 1990, when I worked across the street. Fr. Rutler was the priest I remember best.

    The church caught fire in December 1992 and had to be rebuilt completely.

    Opus Dei took over the church a number of years ago, and I knew one of the priests in residence.

    Opus Dei was instrumental in keeping me in the Church in the early 2000’s after leaving religious life.

    The TLM is not their charism, but they had weekly meetings, solid preaching, Eucharist Adoration & Confession. It benefited many people.

    If I had to guess, this change was not of their own making.

  14. eamonob says:

    Having grown up in a parish with a large Hispanic population, which offered a couple Spanish Masses each weekend and in Holy Days, a bilingual Mass, I always wondered why we didn’t just do the Mass in Latin and have everyone at the same Masses.

  15. Publius IIII says:

    Dear Gaetano:

    Yes, that ‘s the puzzle. The Work does a lot of things right and has many good people. Yet its attitude to the liturgy is inexplicable. Mass is ad orientem in most centers and has an ethos of 1971, the New Rite done very soberly without fanfare.
    I think members are discouraged from going to any place that tries to make the liturgy beautiful- NO or EF. Liturgy has to be the charism of every Christian. It’s not optional and you can’t treat it like its best if made to be a sort of commodity that doesn’t stick out.

    Publius IIII

  16. Emilio says:

    There are strong currents of ultramontanism and clericalism in Opus Dei, not so different to the kind that produced monsters like Marcial Maciel in the Legionnaires of Christ. A Pope cannot be questioned or criticized for them, he cannot do wrong… neither can “El Padre”… whomever is the current Prelate of Opus Dei, or past ones either for that matter. So while they are “orthodox” and were “reform of the reform” long before Pope Benedict popularized the “Benedictine altar arrangement” … imagine what kinds of problems arise in a prelature where Pope Francis can do no wrong. The gaslighting from an Opus Dei priest or lay member is astounding when attempting to get someone to explain the unexplainable, or justify the unjustifiable in something like Amoris Laetitia, or the Pachamama Synod. They will endeavor to remain “orthodox” mind you, but they will also be like ostriches with their heads in the sand in the current ecclesiastical crisis, feigning obliviousness to the chaos and disarray CAUSED by the incumbent Pope. They remind you how it is sin to attack or criticize the Pope or El Padre. Ergo, with all the above in mind, I have no doubt that Traditiones Custodes, to them, must have emanated from the fingertip of the Almighty, and can’t be resisted or ignored. The irony is that Francis reviles Opus Dei, refusing to consecrate their present Prelate a Bishop as Popes have done with every Prelate since Saint Josemaria. The Prelature also likes to ignore the fact that Saint Josemaria could not bear to NOT celebrate the TLM only to his last day, and begged Paul VI for an indult to not have to celebrate the Novus Ordo. They are an enigmatic bunch of people.

  17. reganwick says:

    …and just before Easter.

    Covid lockdowns; Canceled TLMs – very often right before solemnities. (Recall the “Christmas Massacre” from 2021)

    This is not a superficial coincidence of these sorts of cancelations and major solemnities. This is engineered.

  18. Fr. Reader says:


    “I think members are discouraged from going to any place that tries to make the liturgy beautiful- NO or EF.”

    No, it is not like that.

  19. Fr. Reader says:


    There are different ways to understand unity in the Church, and to navigate through pachamama’s Church.
    Also for “resisting” or not justyfing the unjustifiable there are different ways of action.
    There is need for wisdom and prudence, and not every individual has them, so the “ostrich” reaction might appear.

    Some might find it enigmatic, but it is not Opus Dei style to criticise people they dislike, including the two religious institutions that have caused more troubles to the Work, or Church Authorities, so the resort to vague answers, that might sound confusing or awkward.

    More enigmatic might be to you that josemaria Escriva personally made a correction to Paul IV for his pasiveness in front of the situation of the Church. I would like to know the content of that conversation.

    This week Opus Dei members might be paying more attention to Praedicate Evangelium than to Traditionis Custodes. :)

  20. Padre Pio Devotee says:

    NeoCons going to NeoCon.

  21. Gil Garza says:

    The founder of the Work asked for and was granted a personal indult to celebrate only the TLM until his untimely death. The reason given for the indult wasn’t because of any shortcomings of new ritual but rather because of the “poor eyesight” of the founder who found difficulty reading the new missals.

  22. twoadaydanny says:

    I am not affiliated with Opus Dei, but I have children attending three different Opus Dei schools in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many Opus Dei priests and numeraries over the years.

    Take it for what it’s worth, but I have not seen any hostility towards the TLM among Opus Dei members. And among the families at these schools, I’d guess that perhaps 20% or more regularly attend the TLM at Saint John Cantius. There’s a lot of crossover.

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  24. Ranger01 says:

    I respect many things about the Work. The priests seem well trained. The priests are not distracted by fads and offer the Mass reverently.
    Blind, complete loyalty to the pope is one reason I keep OD at arms length. Another is the very comfortable lifestyle that its priests and numéraires enjoy. OD caters to the upper class and, in my experience, are always looking for donations for some very expensive project.
    The arrogance displayed by canceling the TLM at this time of year with no explanation is not surprising, not at all.

  25. matt from az says:

    This is a major bummer. I remember when Old St Agnes burnt down and the fight Msgr Clark had with the architects to create a traditional church. The architects kept trying to do something post modern to shock and surprise. Msgr Clark made sure it is 100% traditional.
    If I recall correctly, it is one of the few churches in the USA post-Vatican II to be properly consecrated rather than merely dedicated.
    I used to go to mass (the real mass) and confession there often. It was great to nip into confession and then walk over to grand central station to ride a train home. It was perfect for us commuters and a genuine gift.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Opus Dei put the kibosh on it. Sad. Vindictive.

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