Latin Mass in the Texas Panhandle


I am in no way choosing a side, harping on our Bishop, or on any individual. I am merely pointing out what I was informed by different religious in the area about this issue that was brought up at some point in the past, and it started me thinking.

So, back in the day, naturally all Masses were said/sung in Latin in our area. Eventually (like everywhere else), the vernacular took over and wasn’t really a sticking point for the majority of Catholics in the Diocese of Amarillo (which covers the entire Panhandle). There were a few people here and there that were concerned as to whether the Church was losing some of its identity which I fully understand.

Benedict XVI issued a statement re-allowing Dioceses to include TLMes in communities that truly desire the more traditional Mass. Following this, a small number of families approached our Bishop with such a desire; Bishop Zurek decided to look into it, and seemed to be open to the idea until…some of the main members of this group stated something to the idea of, “Well, if you don’t allow us to have the Latin Mass, then we just won’t go to Mass at all ever!”

This threat convinced his Eminence that the community was not in the right, and he halted any questions into the matter for the foreseeable future.

Now, I’m fine with the NO Mass, it’s the Mass that I grew up with, and I respect and agree with the Bishop’s decision to not entertain someone who threatens to leave the Church over this. My concern is this, is our diocese suffering an absolute absence of the TLM because of these few baddies?

What would you suggest suggesting to Bishop Zurek? Should I even bother? I’d like to see the TLM someday, but I won’t drive hundreds of miles just for that if there are plenty of NO Masses in the area. I don’t consider NO to be a bad thing, and I’m perfectly fine with it. Am I overthinking this?


yes, you are overthinking this.

you really don’t know all of the thinking that went behind the bishop’s thinking.

you’re in a thinly populated region which has relatively few catholics - especially catholics who are old enough to remember latin and want it back.

i don’t think the apparent fact that a few of the small latinphile group are hotheads is the reason for his decision, i think your just assuming


The problem may be there are very few priests trained in TLM. Laity may assume every priests must know it, or if an elderly priest was around during those times he may automatically know what to do. Nowadays not every priest learns Latin; Greek is another language taught in the seminary. So it may be the bishop may have a hard time finding 1) not only a priest who knows how to say/preside at TLM but also 2) a priest who is available. He may have to seek outside of his diocese or find a priest within his diocese who is willing to be trained in TLM, which may take time, especially considering distance and the rarity of finding someone who can train him.


I lived in D/FW about 10-15 years ago. There was one priest who offered the Latin Mass for both cities. He would do a morning Mass for a community of cloistered Carmelite nuns in Dallas in the morning (the Mass was open to the public, but we never saw the Carmelites); he would do an evening Mass at a church in downtown Fort Worth. (Dallas and Fort Worth are two different diocese.) But he wasn’t a homegrown priest from either; he was from the FSSP. So if D/FW, with a combined population of 6.whatever million at the time (and about 1.whatever million Catholics) couldn’t find their own Latin Mass priest, and had to send off to Nebraska to find one… I wouldn’t be surprised if the Diocese of Amarillo (pop. <430k, with about 50k Catholics) is having equal trouble.

The Latin Mass community in DFW were eventually able to get their own parish. I was able to visit it a couple of times when I would find myself passing through the area. It was a beautiful, thriving, vibrant community, last I saw. I was really happy for them. You might chat with them about their path-- how difficult was it to get a FSSP priest, how backlogged they are in terms of available priests vs requests for their service, etc. But there was a nice blog post on the subject of how to grow from visiting priest offering the TLM to traditional parish offering TLM.


Do you have contact with this group of persons who desires the TLM? I assume that most of them are aware of the grave sinfulness of encouraging other Catholics not to attend Mass. This group could request a meeting with the Bishop, offer their sincere apologies, and ask for a TLM. Have you talked to your local priests about this? Is there a pastor willing to host the TLM? Is there a priest willing and able to say the TLM? You want to present this as a way to enrich the Church, not as something divisive. Be a friend and supporter to your bishop and priests, not a problem.


I happen to know someone who was in the group in the Amarillo Diocese who has been working on getting a EF mass there. I can state with 99.99% certainty that the threat to leave the church or not go to mass at all was never made. Complete hearsay.
I do not know why the Bishop has been uncooperative about this, but I do not believe at all that is the reason.


do you know how big the group was?

maybe that was the problem, just a very small latinphile community in the city of amarillo?


It’s not just the old - - younger folks want it too.


For multiple reasons, I am not going to make any more comments on a public forum. I just wanted to dispel one story that I believe is false.


I thank you for your input; what I do feel that I need to point out is that it was not the Bishop or one of his confidants who gave me this information. It was a community of religious sisters with whom I was discussing the Latin Mass. I said something mentioning Pope Benedict’s statement, and wondered if there would be enough people in our community to attempt it. One of the sisters chimed in that Bishop Zurek had been considering the request until a group of TLM advocates threatened to not attend Mass at all until they were give the EF.

I’m not even going to guess or assume that we’re talking about the same group. The same sisters told me that there had been other groups to approach the Bishop, but this one particular group had kind of shut the door on the subject for the time being.


Be persistant and be respectful.


FYI, there is now a diocesan Traditional Latin Mass just west of Clovis in Melrose, NM. Typically, a Missa cantata is offered.

It’s a little over a 2 hour drive from Amarillo. Not exactly around the corner, but definitely closer than driving to the next closest TLM in either Albuquerque or OKC.

Mass is offered by Fr. Carian from Sacred Heart Church in Clovis.

Click for directions


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