New Priests and the Old Mass

Fr Barone First Mass
(Photo courtesy of the Catholic News Herald)

A very interesting thing happened in the Archdiocese of New York last year. Despite having well over 400 parishes, Father Patric D’Arcy was the only man ordained to the priesthood in 2012. What is even more interesting, however, is that Father D’Arcy chose to offer his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

In June of this year, the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina ordained to the priesthood Father Renaurd West. For his first Mass Father West chose to offer it in the Extraordinary Form.

That same month Father Jason Christian was ordained in my home Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Father Christian also chose to offer his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Last year there were a total of three men ordained to the priesthood in the Charlotte Diocese. One of those three, Father Jason Barone (pictured above), offered his first Mass, a Solemn High Mass , in the Extraordinary Form as well.

Finally, there is the FSSP (the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter), a community of Roman Catholic priests who exclusively offer the Latin Mass. Formed following the issuance of Blessed John Paul II’s motu proprio Ecclesia Dei in 1988, this traditional community continues to grow year after year. In 2013 five more men were ordained in North America by Bishop Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. With nearly 150 young men in seminary between the United States and Europe, the FSSP can expect to continue its decade long average of nearly a dozen ordinations annually.

It’s clear that both Ecclesia Dei (1988) and Summorum Pontificum (2007) are producing much good fruit, and vocations, for the Church.

Concurrent with this is the ever increasing offering of weekly Traditional Latin Masses in the United States. Even just since 2007, when Pope Benedict issued his motu proprio, the total number of weekly masses in the Extraordinary Form have nearly doubled from roughly 225 to over 400 currently.

Latin Masses-growth

So what exactly is it about the Traditional Latin Mass, or the Extraordinary Form, that so many seminarians and young priests find appealing?

In May 2010 the excellent online site New Liturgical Movement posed this question to newly ordained Father Patrick Beneteau of the Diocese of London, Ontario. Father Beneteau’s beautiful explanation is worth quoting at length (emphasis mine):

The entire experience of preparing to celebrate the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite has been an enriching one. In my second year of seminary I read Cardinal Ratzinger’s, “Spirit of the Liturgy” and some of Louis Bouyer’s works on liturgy.

I realized that, in many respects, the Liturgical Movement was still in need of being actually implemented and taught. Thus began my keen interest in the traditional celebrations of the Church’s liturgy in both forms of the Roman rite.

In celebrating this past Sunday’s Solemn High Mass, I was struck with how Christ-centered the entire Mass was. Every gesture, chant, rubric and prayer offered by either myself, the deacon, or subdeacon, focused my attention constantly on the fact that this sacrifice was being offered to the Father, through Christ’s sacred action, not my own – and this was very liberating. The ad orientem direction of liturgical prayer emphasizes this fact so clearly.

An Increase in Vocations

As Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) recently confirmed, this current years total for post graduate level seminarians (3,694) represents a 10 per cent increase from 2005. While the improvement is modest, the trend is clear.

Following the release of Summorum Pontificum, priestly formation for many of these young men now includes learning how to offer the Mass in both forms of the rite. As we have seen from so many of the recently ordained, it is their liturgical and theological formation that has moved them to offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Father Jason Barone of the Diocese of Charlotte explained his decision to offer his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Father Barone told the Catholic News Herald that he wanted to “give God thanks for this great gift of a vocation, and to do so in the most solemn and beautiful way that I can … in a way that He has led me.”

Having spent a year of studies at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska (operated by the FSSP), Father Barone was drawn to the Extraordinary Form because it places “a stronger emphasis on sacrifice … there’s something there that really appeals to the heart, to offer God’s sacrifice.”

It has been over six years since our Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, moved by the Holy Spirit, issued his motu proprio; and yet, far to many dioceses have still not made the Extraordinary Form easily available to the faithful.

As you can see by viewing Father Barone’s First Mass Highlight Video, there is much fruit being borne from the continuing reform of our sacred liturgy. As availability to the Traditional Latin Mass further increases in the coming years, we will continue to be blessed with vocations to the priesthood, such as those of Father D’Arcy, Father West, Father Christian, Father Beneteau and Father Barone.

Posted on September 30, 2013, in liturgy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. I pray that this clerical remnant will inspire piety in all the faithful. God bless!

  2. Brian Williams:

    Great post! I really enjoyed reading this — Well said, indeed!

    Just one thing: that chart about the Latin Mass was published in Regina Magazine –I’m the editor — a couple of days ago.

    You can of course continue to use it, just as long as you attribute it to us.

    Bev De Soto

    • Properly sourced now! My apologies Bev. I always seek to give credit to others for their work and intellectual property. I hadn’t realized this was a chart created specifically by Regina Mag. I actually shared that very article on the FB page for Liturgy Guy. My wife and I, along with many others in our Catholic FB community, enjoy your magazine immensely.

      God bless you and keep up the good work!

      Brian Williams

  3. Father Patric D’Arcy is not even from New York! He is from Cambridge, Ontario.

    • Hi Teresa,

      I noticed that too in the NY Times article from last year. Ontario’s loss appears to be New York’s blessing!

      Always appreciate your comments Teresa. God bless!


  4. My diocese does not yet offer the Extraordinary Form. I travel to 2 other dioceses for diocesan EF Masses. Please pray for more dioceses to get this beautiful Mass including the Diocese of Saginaw.

    • Hi Janet. I will pray for you and your diocese. Additionally, here is an approach you and others can take in an effort to acquire the EF Mass:

      What if there’s no Mass in my area?

      Due to the wisdom of Benedict XVI, this problem can be resolved on the parish level, according to the principle of subsidiarity. Parishioners should encourage their parish priest to study and learn the Traditional Latin Mass. If the request is not met, parishioners should contact the local bishop for assistance, who is encouraged to welcome this request and make the necessary provisions. If the parish or diocese is unable to find a solution, parishioners may contact the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in Rome for assistance:

      Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,
      H.E. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos,
      President, Piazza del Sant’ Uffizio 11,
      00120 Vatican City, Italy


  5. Cardinal Dolan and the officials of the Archdiocese of New York were furious that their one newly ordained priest said his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Across the country, priestly vocations are up over 16% since 1995 and 10% since 2005, – but not in New York which seems to have bottomed out. Go figure.

    • That is a shame Bill. One would hope that ALL of our bishops would rejoice at the newly ordained valuing the Holy Mass as much as Fr. D’Arcy obviously does. Those dioceses which choose to unapologetically support the EF, and who demonstrate orthodoxy and reverence through sound liturgy and solid catechesis will flourish and produce vocations. Those who don’t…

      God bless!

  6. If you check your history, the original foundation priests of the FSSP were trained and ordained by the Saintly Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who founded in November of 1971, with approval of Rome the Society of Saint Pius X
    What amazes me is that this site is always using EF for the Latin Mass. It is like someone is afraid to say use the term Latin Mass. Why might that be?
    Originally, prior to Vatican II THIS WAS THE Ordinary Form to be used for Holy Mass and – It is still the Ordinary Form since it was never abrogated by the Vatican.

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, as I recall, the original FSSP priests were those 12 or so men who accepted Blessed John Paul II’s invite back into full communion with Rome at the time of the 1988 ordinations by Archbishop Lefebvre.

      This site has used various terms for the Traditional Latin Mass, often including the EF, or Extraordinary Form. Since this name was designated for the TLM in Summorum Pontificum by our Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, and is recognized as such in most dioceses, I often employ it.

      While I do not exclusively attend the TLM, I primarily do. It is my preference as well. It is transcendent and stunningly beautiful.

      Please continue to share your thoughts and experience on future posts. God bless!


    • Right on Mary, and I have always referred as the Latin Mass, or the Mass of Pope St.Pius V.codified at the Council of Trent.

  7. Dear Liturgy-guy

    As I have reported to others here and overseas, this phenomena you attest to – the TLM impact on vocations and young priests , is reoccurring all over the world. Young priests and young people are responding to the TLM in the traditional parishes – they have grown up with the man centred- ruptured, banal and un-sacred liturgy – the N.O liturgy.

    Intrinsically these young men and women know that Paul VI’s Mass DOES NOT bring them to God – to experience His real presence, does not make God visible in the church – and so they have gone and looked elsewhere. Those lucky enough – like me – to have found God in the God-centred action of the TLM – and thanked God for it.

    I think this truth was understood by Benedict, but I fear Pope Francis is infected with a heavy dose of the Vat II liturgical illnes.

  8. And an addendum, after reading Mary’s post- I too look on Marcel Lefvebre as Saint Marcel, for he stood up against the storm of modernism that swept Catholicism under Paul VI’s – and others in Rome and elsewhere who knew it was wrong sat back and did nothing.

    Future generations of Catholics will say Archbishop Marcel Lefvebre’s name with great reverence, just as educated Catholics now hold great reverence for St Pius V. In their own ways, both men shone a light of hope for a church under siege; a light they guided Holy Mother Church to a safe shore.

  9. Thanks for those statistics! Does “weekly” means these 420 TLMs are celebrated on weekends or simply once a week on any day of the week – so every Tuesday for instance?

    The growth rate in Traditional Masses between 2007 and 2010 was huge – 78%!

    However, according to the graph, the rate of growth seems to have dropped off during a similar 3 year period between 2010 and 2013: only 5% growth during those three years. Does anyone know why?

    If by “weekly”, we mean “weekend” TLMs, here’s what this translates into nationally.

    Per CARA, In 2013, there are 17,413 parishes in the US who offer an average of 3.8 weekend Masses per parish which means that about 66,169 Masses were celebrated on an average weekend in the US. For a total US Catholic population of 78.2 million (this includes all who still claim a Catholic identity whether or not they are practicing) in 2013.

    The 420 weekend TLM’s would make up about 6/10th of 1% of American weekend Masses in 2013.

    The approximately 65,749 OF Masses would constitute 99.4% of American weekend Masses in 2013.

    If “weekly” means that the TLM is celebrated once a week on any day of the week, we’d have to compare that figure to all Masses celebrated once a week in the US and I don’t know that anyone has those figures.

    • Hi Sherry,

      Thanks for your comment. To address your questions:

      The 420 or so Traditional Latin Masses are indeed Sunday masses. Here is an excellent Regina Magazine interview with Byron Smith of Una Voce America from last summer:

      While the stats you reference are interesting, I think the resurgence of the Traditional Latin Mass in America is a much more miraculous story than the numbers reflect.

      We begin with literally just a handful of TLMs in 1984, in only about 3 dioceses total, to less than 20 Sunday masses at the time of Ecclesia Dei in 1988. Then, as you noted, a 78% increase in weekly Sunday masses from 2007-2010! Of course the pace then slows down since we still do not have enough priests trained to offer the Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Also, many traditionalists begin to transfer to the parishes offering TLM’s.

      What’s most interesting now is that over 170 dioceses offer the TLM! With almost 200 diocese in the US, that means that nearly 90% now offer a regular Latin Mass. What an awesome resurgence! Anecdotally, what we now all realize too is that those assisting at the TLM are YOUNG families…and BIG families! This is not nostalgia, but instead, it is the next generation.

      As you may know, there was a great deal of resistance to the TLM in many places up until Summorum Pontificum…and this unfortunately is still sometimes the case.

      Sherry, I am not as familiar with your work as I should be. Having authored “Forming Intentional Disciples”, do you agree with prelates such as Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Sample that evangelization and the rebuilding of the Church MUST include recovering sacred liturgy?

      Great quote here from Archbishop Sample:

      “I am solidly convinced that an authentic and faithful renewal and reform of
      the sacred liturgy is not only part of the New Evangelization—it is
      essential to its fruitfulness. The liturgy has the power to form and
      transform the Catholic faithful. We must live by the axiom lex orandi, lex
      credendi (the law of praying is the law of believing). What we celebrate
      in the Mass expresses the essential content of the faith, and it also
      reinforces our faith when celebrated well and with fidelity. The liturgy
      both teaches us and expresses what we believe. If we do not get the sacred
      liturgy right, I fear that we will just be spinning our wheels rather than
      getting the New Evangelization going in the right direction. If we are
      transformed by the sacred liturgy, then we, as believers, can help
      transform the culture.”

      God bless and let me know your thoughts!


  10. Fr. West was a member of our parish, St. Mary’s in Greenville, SC. Both he and Fr. Chris Smith, also a St. Mary’s alumnus, now pastor of Prince of Peace in nearby Taylors, offer the EF Mass.

  11. Do you know what the numbers are for 2011 and 2012 on the bar graph?

    Thank you!

  12. I think that the EF is the fruit of the SSPX. Without the resistance of SSPX the Latin Mass would have been forgotten about. This appears to be the “destruction of the everlasting sacrifice” spoken of by Daniel and refered to by St John, which cannot be destroyed but diminished by the antichrist. Think also of the 2 witnesses who will preach the truth to the whole world and be slain by the antichrist (isn’t excommunication a form of spiritual death) and restored to life by the breath of God ( the voice of the Church). We are living in extraordinary times calling for extraordinary actions.

  13. When attended the Latin masses, most of the people were saying the rosary , a private prayer.

  14. The bishop has the final say as to allow the F.S.S.P. priest, and the Latin Mass into his diocese and how many.

  15. Raymond F. Rice

    Many newly ordained seem to like a Broadway approach to the liturgy: lots of sparkle and theatrics. Have they ever asked the congregation what they like???? And why are the nostalgic seminary professors teaching it?? Old time clericalism is coming back with all it encompasses!

    Welcome Father Ru Paul!!!

    • Nicholas Altenberg

      The Mass SHOULD encompass “sparkle and theatrics” because that’s what liturgy IS! In liturgy, we give to God the best that we can give. This has been expressed culturally, for a thousand years at least, in terms of a visual feast for the senses. Odd that you would ask the congregation what it wanted. It’s the Church that’s the custodian of truth, and the vehicles that make that truth manifest, not the people. Odd that you equate all of this to “nostalgia”. The very word “religion” comes from the Latin, “religio” (hard “g”), meaning “to rebind, to reconnect”.

      To what? To God, to the saints, to our ancestors in faith, and to each other – via traditions! Nothing wrong with reforms but after Vatican II, the baby did in fact get thrown out with the bathwater. That explains why the altar stone from our “old fashioned, non-trendy, non-relevant” high altar ended up in a back room cabinet along with rags and brass cleaner. Thank God that the Mass of Ages – which nourished people for centuries – is available again. Our faith, like it or not, is a MYSTERY faith. Like St. Anselm said, we believe in ORDER to understand. The past dumbing down of the liturgy so that people could “understand”, and the emphasis that priests put on the social implications of the Gospels versus saving souls and the world to come totally flew in the face of that.

  16. FYI – Father Patrick Beneteau of the Diocese of London, Ontario is now the Vocation Director for London, Ontario!

  17. Do you have the full version of this mass? I’ve never heard of the Adagio for Strings Agnus Dei being sung at mass! It’s absolutely beautiful.

  18. In the Novus Ordo, the priest functions as “presider” over an assembly with the altar between them. In the old Mass, the priest functions AS A PRIEST! He and the people face God on the altar together. He turns to the people, back to the altar, to the people, and back to the altar as an INTERCESSOR, which is what a priest in part is. The old Mass stresses the sacrificial aspect of the liturgy. The new Mass stresses the communal meal aspect. Totally understandable that men wanting to be priests – want to ACT as such!

  19. I liked that even me I would like to join to the priestly fraternity of your congregation

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