Rorate Caeli

You report: the advance of the TLM in the Diocese of San Bernardino, California

Una Voce Report
August 29, 2009
San Bernardino Diocese, CA, USA.
The present officers of Una Voce San Bernardino (UVSB) came together to take on this apostolate for the promotion of the Latin Mass in January of 2009. One of the first things we did was to write our Bishop to introduce ourselves to him and what we were planning to do with this apostolate; after three (3) letters, we have received no response. Much discussion and action has taken place since then, from meetings and contact with numerous priests within the diocese as well as outside the diocese to discuss practical issues concerning the implementation of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum (SP), to the development of a locally popular website (, as well as other resources made available through the website such as studies and booklets. Shortly before SP, there was only one parish offering the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in the diocese, and that was at San Secondo D’Asti in Guasti, CA. It continues to average about 350-375 persons assisting at the TLM.
Shortly after SP, the TLM began in Palm Desert at Sacred Heart Parish. But, we were told that after a few months, the numbers dropped from close to 200 down to 30-50; later I think we found out why. In February of 2009, 3 officers of UVSB assisted at what we had expected to be the “TLM” in Palm Desert, but to our amazement, we found not the TLM, but a sort of hybrid Mass, which I could only describe as a “Novum Tridentum” Mass. Needless to say, it followed neither rubrics of the TLM or the Novus Ordo Mass. The abuses were too many to enumerate here. UVSB drafted a letter addressed to the pastor about our concerns and our willingness to help rectify the issues, but we received no response.
About a year after SP, the TLM began in Adelanto. Here too the numbers are reportedly dropping. But, I do not think it is due to the way it is celebrated. In fact, I have heard good things about the priest who celebrates this Mass. It must be something else then. It is at a parish that is hard to find and “out of the way” so I have been told. They were also told by higher authorities that they had to have at least 50 persons assisting, not including children, to continue in the future. Though this is not a requirement of SP, obviously, I have received confirmation that it is standard diocesan policy that a pastor has the right to abolish any Sunday Mass celebration which has less than 50 persons assisting.
We have also been advised by a person doing this apostolate for many years, that any parish who wants the TLM needs to form a “Latin Mass Committee” at the parish level, to do all the leg work to help the pastor implement the TLM. He advised no more than 4-5 persons. One person is the MC, the other handles the music, then one for altar server training, the other is concerned with contacting priests, and perhaps one for ushering. We have done just that, and contacted persons interested in having the TLM at their parish to form these groups for at least 2 additional parishes, which are about 20 miles apart from each other, and from the other established parishes already in existence. We have compiled a list of priests willing to substitute for any of these regularly scheduled TLM’s, but could not themselves offer it regularly. I was told by one of them, the responsibility for celebrating this Mass for the people who request it, is primarily the pastor. If he cannot learn it, he must provide a priest who can.
This past week, on August 26, Richard Friend and Mike Parish from Temecula organized the celebration of a Missa Cantata at St. James the Less Parish in Perris, CA, inviting Father Carl Gismondi, FSSP from San Diego to celebrate this Missa Cantata. I was contacted by Richard three months prior to this Mass. Many hurdles needed to be jumped over before we were able to make it happen. We scrambled for liturgical items, and even on the evening of, a few hang ups took place, but by the grace of God, the most important thing was a success, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, with every bit as much dignity and reverence that is “right and just” due to God. There were close to 200 people asissting at this Mass; we even ran out of consecrated hosts.
The entire Mass may be viewed at the following link:
Also, there is talk of the formation of a young adult group which would have chapters in the Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Bernardino Dioceses.
By the grace of God, this work continues, here and elsewhere.
Instaurare omnia in Christo
Laurence Gonzaga
Una Voce San Bernardino
Apologies for the delays in posting other news, especially those entailing translations, commentary, and extensive editing. I am tired and under the weather right now. CAP.


Sine said...


The Fourth Secret of Fatima

by Antonio Socci

"Newly translated into English - Over 100,000 sold in English already!

"This fascinating inquiry into the theories and the truths of the most disconcerting mystery of the 20th Century was a huge bestseller in Europe.

"On June 26, 2000, Vatican officials (including Cardinal Bertone) released what they claim was the Third Secret of Fatima. They further said that it was a prediction of the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981. Antonio Soccis, an acclaimed Italian journalist and television personality, originally sided with the Vatican's interpretation of the Third Secret.

"Upon closer investigation of this matter, the evidence led him to the conclusion that there is another document of the Third Secret containing the actual words of Our Lady. So far, the Vatican is still hiding this text while claiming that all is released.

"Antonio Socci, for the first time, in this book produces the testimony of a still-living witness from the inner circle of Pope John XXIII, to prove his point. This book, by a friend of Pope Benedict XVI and former friend of Cardinal Bertone, has caused a public sensation and debate.

"Far from being a 'dead issue' the urgent message of Our Lady to the shepherd children of Fatima is now being more critically discussed and examined than ever before."

Anonymous said...

The book is good except for the author at the end trying to insert medjujorge into the Fatima event

Peter Kim said...

The Missa de Angelis sounds great! You did a right job. I like the Chant without organ.

Richard Friend said...

Thanks for this report, Laurence, and thanks to Rorate for posting this. Despite tall odds, we are working to promote the return of a sacred rite and a rich liturgical tradition to the life of the Church.

I was also told by the pastor of my local parish (not St. James) that our local ordinary requires that there be at least 50 people asking for the TLM before it can be considered by the pastor, and that no existing Novus Ordo Mass can be bumped off the schedule to make way for a TLM.

Of course, we all know SP does not impose a prerequisite number of people, but the bishop's word is law in the diocese. We also have to contend with the fact that the Vatican Press Office did release an information sheet that said "In parishes, in practice, the liturgy being used will not change: instead, it will be possible for the pastor to add to the Masses celebrated in the ordinary form, a second Mass according to the extraordinary form," strongly suggesting that a TLM does not replace, but is in addition to, the schedule of Masses.

In a diocese that has a severe shortage of priests, where priests already say several Masses on Sunday and parish Mass schedules are already crowded with various Masses in English (adult, life teen, children's), Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, etc., finding a parish to agree to host a TLM under these conditions is daunting, to say the least. And there is also the equally challenging problem of finding a priest who knows the TLM, forming and training a schola, and getting all those expensive altar wares and furnishings without any financial help from the parish or diocese. I could go on, but you see the picture. It's the same scenario in much of the Catholic world. Yet, despite the entrenched opposition, the TLM continues to survive and grow. One can only imagine what the Church would be like today if only bishops and priests were more supportive of SP.

Anonymous said...

The reason(s) for TLM attendance numbers declining after an initial high attendance is/are rather simple.

First, it is just too large of a leap for the average person. The majority of people do not have any TLM experience. There's simply no latin foundation to build upon.

Second, I believe the TLM faction lacks a missionary spirit. I realize the risk in compromise but an "only latin" alienates quite a few people. Where are the free CDs with latin prayers/chant (i.e. Our Father) that could be incorporated into the NO Mass?

Just 2 cents from a NO member of San Secondo


Anonymous said...

The more likely explanation for a decline is the time/distance involved in travelling to many TLMs that are likely scheduled in the middle of Sunday afternoon or at the crack of dawn. People go every once in a while.

Richard Friend said...

Pyrogrunt, thanks for sharing. I understand your position. The other day I met with the liturgy director of my home parish who attended the Mass at St. James in Perris. He said it was a beautiful Mass, but having no previous TLM experience could not follow along and felt like a spectator. This is a problem facing newly-forming TLM communities. As in St. James, a significant number of those attending are Novus Ordo people with no TLM experience, and with nobody to teach them about the TLM it is not hard to imagine why some would choose not to stick around. It is easy to generate interest and enthusiasm for the TLM among those who have never experienced it before; the problem is teaching them enough about it so that they can follow along, deepen their understanding of the ancient liturgy, and grow to love it. For many people used to the Novus Ordo, love for the TLM does not happen overnight; it must be nurtured.

St. Rafael said...

The problem with the diocese of San Bernardino and other dioceses in the country is that they are trying to bring the reverence of the TLM into parishes where the Novus Ordo Masses lack reverence and where anything goes in the Mass. The Novus Ordo is too far apart making the experience of the TLM, foreign.

You have priests who want to bring the TLM into their parish because they see the reverence and the sacred in the TLM, while at the same time they allow altar girls, an army of Eucharistic ministers, sloppy dress, guitar and rock music into their own Novus Ordo Masses.
The TLM willbe sucessful in a paish where the priest also has a sacred reverant Novus Ordo. The priest should bring some Latin into all his Novus Ordo Masses like in the gloria, our father, or lamb of God. That way the parishioners can transition into the TLM alot easier.

If the priests of San Bernardino celebrated their Novus Ordo Masses like San Secondo celebrates the Novus Ordo, then they would find it easier to have the TLM Mass acceptd and become a success in their parish.

Iakovos said...

One of the Anonymous said:

"First, it is just too large of a leap for the average person. The majority of people do not have any TLM experience. There's simply no latin foundation to build upon.

Second, I believe the TLM faction lacks a missionary spirit. I realize the risk in compromise but an "only latin" alienates quite a few people."

Ah, at last. The voice of sweet reason, that is reason, mind and heart joined we move closer to the truth.

Anonymous said...

I believe the TLM faction lacks a missionary spirit.

Can you clarify this comment? I'm interested in what you mean and want to understand the comment according to your original intent. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Missionary spirit!

Look here

Peter Kim said...

I believe the TLM faction lacks a missionary spirit.

Even before Vatican II, there were a lot missionaries full of zeal to spread the Good News. Thérèse of Lisieux who rarely talked to people outside of the cloister was the person of "the missionary spirit" and became the patron of the Mission. Of course, it is the TLM that nourished her with the strong missionary spirit.

Nowadays, missionaries often become of the sources of misleading messages causing confusions and controversies. We often see it in the movement of inculturation and interreligious dialogue.

Anonymous said...

On modern missionaries - Archbishop Lefebvre warned of this as did Cardinal Ottaviani (sp) and most of the Pius Popes including a Saint before them, about messing with the faith.


Iakovos said...

"... Archbishop Lefebvre warned of this as did Cardinal Ottaviani ... "

These two good men of the Western Church were members of a group who frequently opposed the spirit and sometimes the letter of Pope John XXIII's purpose in calling the Council when certain schemata were discussed. There were not, however, prophets and visionaries of the future. They were very much the Bishops and Cardinals who opposed changes at Trent which was also followed by a period of time of confusion and resettling of the Church.

Anonymous said...

The two good men of the Western Church as you call them referred to and quoted warnings from the many Pius Popes (one a saint) and Pope Leo.

You compare their action to the opposition after Trent. Who then opposed the council of Trent and which writings of Popes and Saints did they use as a basis for their argument?

Are you a Catholic?

Iakovos said...

There were political, and to the point here, religious disagreements during the C of T enough to stop the council a couple of times during its long course. There was also a big squabble about the role of Pope in the Council with divisions. My point is -- what's new? -- this must always be the case and those Bishops taking a contrary view to the council fathers don't necessarily contain a prophetic voice. Archbishop Lefebvre and Cardinal Ottiavanni, et al., predicted or just said in understandable fear (at the time), that vocations would cease, conversions would stop, that religious liberty and unity documents would fail if applied, etc. Turmoil ensured after the Council when the "new" -- actually old -- ideas of the Church were unleashed on the world, 1) with very little preparation for the priests and laity, and, 2) the opportunity for true Modernist rebels to make their play AFTER and far from the letter and spirit of the Council. Now after 40 years of -- call it what you may -- the claims of the so called extreme conservative voices of the Council have not proved prophetic at all: vocations to the priesthood and monastic life and increasing for the first time, conversions to the RC and Eastern Churches are on the rise, Orthodox and RC have had several significant meetings, the Mass of Trent has been freed, and reform of liturgy and doctrine are underway. If indeed the Holy Spirit works with men at such a council as Vatican II -- and I believe this is the case -- His ways and His timing are mysterious and certainly do not conform to OUR ideas of fair play, justice, and all other such human demands.

Bad spirit there, rhetorically suggesting I am not Catholic -- well, for clarification, thanks be to God's Church, I am not a Roman Catholic -- I belong to one of the Eastern Rites in communion with the Pope of Rome. Now let me tell you, I am quite a poor Catholic or Eastern Rite Christian of any kind. I didn't know at first that conversion took this long!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, the two good men are not prophets - though Archbishop Lefebrvre said the prior Popes warnings were prophetic. I say the warning of the pre V2 Popes were not simply "politics" nor are those "extreme conservative voices" ineffectual- We disagree on that.

The preliminary V2 documents were good - too bad they were abandoned or hyjacked.

Glad to hear you are in communion with Rome, to me it sounded like you were Orthodox. No bad spirit intended. Being bold is not uncharitable but being blunt can be and I apologize for that.

May God bring them (Orthodox Christians) into full communion as the conciliar church says. Full and partial communion what does that mean for a soul in the economy of salvation?

May God help you with your faith...being a faithful follower of Christ is a constant vigil. Let us pray for each other.

God does indeed work in mysterious ways. I pray He stops punishing the Church. Now that the TLM is freed we see an increase in vocations. Is that a coincidence? If more Catholics would hold to the tenets of the Church we would see even more +ve results - in my opinion.

I pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary proper.

Good Day Sir.

Iakovos said...

"The preliminary V2 documents were good - too bad they were abandoned or hyjacked."

Many of the original schemata were returned to committees, to Pope John XXIII, rewritten, and reintroduced, vetted, and voted on and accepted, unanimously, overwhelmingly. There is no evidence of high-jacking as you say, all proceedings were transparent to the Council Fathers, and if not in committee then all initiatives and interventions included open debate about changes and revisions; proceedings were very well covered by the media at the time (pleasing to no one), and thousands of pages of proceedings and commentary for the public for many years now. Where's the high-jacking? There were many, many Bishops on the Prep. Commissions and Committees who were in mind and heart with John XXIII's idea of the council, far more than those Bishops who wanted the Church to continue to act as the Church did during the Reformation. That the Council's original intention under John XIII was abandoned and subverted by nefarious Modernist bishops and periti is an anguished cry from a few Bishops and their followers who desired a Council more in line with Trent who never accepted that John XXIII and the majority of council Fathers wanted to make sure this was different from Trent, binding but "pastoral". In other words, to move the Church out of the Counter-Reformation mood and return to an earlier more time in Her life, i.e., the Fathers, East and West. This less doctrinaire spirit was mistaken by some Bishops and others as "liberal" and "modernist".
"Glad to hear you are in communion with Rome, to me it sounded like you were Orthodox."

I am Orthodox; but in communion with the Bishop of Rome, just as are all Uniate Eastern Christians -- though Orthodox and some Eastern Catholics do not particularly like either qualification.

"I pray He stops punishing the Church. Now that the TLM is freed we see an increase in vocations. Is that a coincidence?"

I must say, in all charity, this idea of God punishing His Church -- that is to say, Himself! -- is a precise example of the kind of gloom of the past that Vatican II wanted to lift away without calling it heresy. Man, and man's sin, regardless of degrees of culpability, bring these calamities to the world and the Church that is run by men. God is Love as St. John teaches and he doesn't possess so much as He IS Love and It's expressions -- Patience, Suffering, Forbearance, and so on.

I cannot say the TLM alone or at all is responsible for increased vocations and the desire for a deeper spiritual life notable in the Church -- the vocation numbers and general return to tradition (and not just one part of it) is occurring in the Church that has more closely followed Vatican II.

"I pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary proper."

As I mentioned in another post, neither Russian Orthodox nor Russian Christians in communion with the Bishop of Rome see the need for the consecration. Certainly, you can see why, with such a long history of devotion to and miracles of the Theotokos. It could be somewhat insulting if you can see this from their point of view.

God bless.