How to Get the Traditional Latin Mass at Your Church

Monday, February 15, 2021 - 10:13am

How to Get the Traditional Latin Mass at Your Church


Wish you had the Extraordinary Form Mass at your parish?  Perhaps this straightforward guide can help.

There were four of us sitting in a circle outside of the rectory smoking cigars and sipping on whiskey.  Our pastor paused to take a long puff on his Dominican maduro when after exhaling the thick smoke, he said to us, “You are going to see a lot more Latin in Mass soon.”


It was 2008, I was in the early stages of learning about the Catholic faith, and I had no idea what he was talking about.


Years later, I finally attended an Extraordinary Form Traditional Latin Mass, and I was confused, intrigued, and convinced that this was more than an artifact from the past.  I knew that this, “Mass of the Ages” or “Mass of the Saints”, was here to stay and would help rebuild the Church. 


The Traditional Latin Mass has had a major comeback and within the last year alone, there has been an overwhelming interest in it.  Most people seek it out because they simply want to be able to worship God and pray with the utmost care and reverence without being distracted. 


I live in a part of the country, where on any given Sunday, 5 parishes within a 30-minute drive offer the Extraordinary Form, also called the Traditional Latin Mass.


Sadly, this is not the case for most people, and throughout the United States and the rest of the world, it is still difficult for many to access it.


There are a variety of reasons why access is difficult and pushback is common. Everyone who wants to bring the Traditional Latin Mass to their church needs to be sensitive to and aware of the following:


  1. Many older priests, bishops, and laity are against it; they do not understand its comeback, and are afraid of allowing it.
  2. Many priests who want to offer it are afraid because of backlash from their bishop.
  3. Several laity are aggressively demanding it, causing digging in.  
  4. There is continued widespread ignorance about why it is so wonderful and known as the Mass of the saints.

Pete 1

Related: How to Easily Grasp The Traditional Latin Mass: A Step-by-Step Explanation 


On July 7, 2007, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI issued The Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum which allows for Catholics to petition their priests to have them offer, or allow to be offered, the Traditional Latin Mass or Extraordinary Form. The document says:

Article 5


1. In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church. 


2. Celebration in accordance with the Missal of St. John XXIII may take place on working days, while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held. 


3. For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.


4. Priests who use the Missal of St. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded. 


5. In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Article 6

1. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of St. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.

Article 7

1. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in Art. 5, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

Steps and Tips to Follow for Encouraging and Starting a Traditional Latin Mass a Your Parish


  1. Nothing is more important than prayer! Pray that your priest grants your request and that things go smoothly!
  2. Keep copies of all correspondence.
  3. Stay organized and stay focused on the single issue of establishing the Traditional Latin Mass.
  4. Be as polite and respectful as you can possibly be.
  5. Make the job as easy for your priest as possible, removing obstacles in his way.
  6. Remember to never be aggressive or obnoxious. 

Meet 1

Step 1. Form a "Operation Bring the Traditional Latin Mass to Our Parish" Group

Related: How to Build a Strong Traditional Community

  • Find out if there is interest in having the Extraordinary Form Mass offered near you and demonstrate it.

  • Form and name an exploratory TLM group.
  • Get creative with the name!
  • Create an Email List so that when you have your "stable group of faithful," you'll be set up and ready to easily communicate with all of them via email.
  • Police the Group for any disrespect.  This is a positive effort. Don't let anyone, because of their imprudence, ruin what you're trying to do.


Step 2. Lead to Way to Start the Traditional Latin Mass at Your Church

  • Write up a short flyer with a brief outline of what you're trying to accomplish in establishing a "TLM" in your parish.'
    - Stress the positive!
  • Hand out the flyers after Mass as the personal touch always makes things nicer.
  • If you are not finding enough people at your parish, try handing out your flyer to folks at nearby parishes.

Download a sample flyer in .pdf format from
          -   Staple these pages together along with a pre-addressed and, if possible, pre-stamped envelope

  • Have each of the like-minded write a letter describing the reasons he wants the Traditional Lation Mass and how he believes it would benefit him, his family, and the parish as a whole, and have him send that letter to you.
  • Ask each to include all potential TLM-attending members of his household as signatories to his letter.
  • Copy these letters to show your priest when it is time.

Stay Organized

  • Keep a list of names and contact information (including email addresses and phone numbers) and a note that indicates the number of folks living in each household who would be attending the TLM.

  • You will need this so that all interested parties can stay in contact, get necessary things done, and keep informed. Be sure to invite each letter-writer to the Email Group.

Download a sample contact sheet, in .pdf format from

Bonus: Download a free Mass guide to bring to Mass for both the Traditional Latin Mass or Ordinary Form. {Printable}

Step 3. Reaching Out to Your Priest to Establish an Extraordinary Form Mass

Once you've collected 25 or so letters from committed people, write a letter to your priest, asking if he is willing to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.


  • Send to your priest short, concise, and positive, but powerful information about the Traditional Latin Mass.
  • Include reasons that it's beneficial to offer it, how the demand for the traditional Sacraments is growing, how traditional parishes bring about vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life, etc.
  • Ask kindly. Ask very kindly. And prepare to be patient.
  • Never attack or be negative about the Ordinary Form or Novus Ordo rite. This is extremely important. 
  • Include a copy of the Motu Proprio, with paragraphs 5.1, 5.2 and 7 highlighted and the letters written by your fellow parishioners (which you've already copied and filed).
  • Whenever you engage your priest, be respectful, kind, positive, and avoid all behaviors and attitudes associated with the stereotype of a "trad" (said stereotype, sadly, not being such without reason).

Related: How to Easily Grasp The Traditional Latin Mass: A Step-by-Step Explanation 

Download a sample letter to your priest in .pdf format from

  • Give Father at least a month to respond. Remember that priests are very busy.
  • After a month or so, re-send your communication along with a note that shows you are giving him the benefit of the doubt (e.g., "Gosh, it's been a while since I sent you a package, and I haven't heard back, so I thought I should send it again in case it got lost!")
  • If you still get no response, talk to him in person to try to get a "feel" for what's going on.
  • Give him the benefit of the doubt and be gracious!
  • If you get a negative answer, ask him if there is anything that worries him about establishing a TLM, or if there's an obstacle he sees that you could help eliminate.
  • Show him that you are serious but also sympathetic toward him, understanding the work it would entail for him, and willing to do whatever you can to help.
  • If his concern is the cost of training, assure him that your group will cover the cost, including the cost of travel for workshops, and will provide all necessary materials.
  • If it's a matter of his not wanting to learn, ask him about bringing in a visiting priest. If the latter is OK with him, then start calling around to the closest places where the TLM is offered and ask the priests there if they would be willing to offer the TLM in your parish (try locating such a priest via the Reverent Catholic Mass Map.


Bish 1


Step 4.  (If Needed) Your Priest is a Lost Cause: Contact Your Bishop

If your priest still says no or ignores your request after two months and two letters, it's time to write to your Bishop.

Download from Una Voce at sample letter to your Bishop in .pdf format


  • Send your Bishop this letter and copies of the letters you've received from members of your group.
  • Give your Bishop a month to respond, then try writing again.


Bonus: Download a free Mass guide to bring to Mass for both the Traditional Latin Mass or Ordinary Form. {Printable}

Step 5. (If Needed) Your Bishop Says No or Ignores You:  Onward to the Vatican


If you receive no reply or a negative reply after two months and two letters to your Bishop, the next step is to write to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. 

A sample letter to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith from, adapted from a sample letter given at Una Voce:

Just make sure you address it to the following as the leadership has changed:

Monsignor Patrick Descourtieux,
Palazzo della Congr. per la Dottrina della Fede
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11
00193 Roma

(Send copies of the letters written by your group members along with your letter.)


Related: How to Easily Grasp The Traditional Latin Mass: A Step-by-Step Explanation 

Step 6. Making it a Reality: Officially Brining the Extraordinary Form to Your Parish


When, at any point along the way, your request is granted, be prepared to purchase vestments, liturgical vessels, altar cards, training materials for your priest and for altar boys, and the materials and training your schola (choir, which should preferably be all male) will need.


  • Look for beautiful vestments and liturgical items in parishes that are closing down, and look online -- from stores that specialize in liturgical vestments and vessels. Find the most beautiful and traditional items you can afford!
  • If your priest isn't trained, but is willing to be trained, there are workshops available for him to attend. Be prepared to absorb the cost of his attending, including the cost of travel, food, and lodging.

Step 7. Create a Welcoming Community


Once your TLM is established, do all you can to build the most inviting parish community possible around this Mass.


Related: How to Build a Strong Traditional Community


  • Advertise it.

  • Tell others about it.

  • Invite folks from other parishes.

  • Make flyers to leave in other Catholic churches, letting people know that the TLM is available in their city.

  • Take an ad out in your diocesan newspaper.

  • Get a bumper sticker advertising it.

  • Get creative!

Step 8. Be Thankful!

Be grateful and generous with your time, and encourage your priest onward; do not make him regret his decision by forming a community of ultra-picky ingrates who like to play "smarter-than-thou" with the liturgy.

Be sure to thank your priest! Write a letter of praise about him to your Bishop and encourage others to do the same to counter any negative letters the bishop might receive from the "revolutionary types" who get his attention to complain that there is a TLM available!

And, finally, thank God for the grace of having the "most beautiful thing this side of Heaven" in your very own parish.


Related: How to Easily Grasp The Traditional Latin Mass: A Step-by-Step Explanation 


Special thanks to for giving us permission to slightly modify and reprint this excellent article! 


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