How To Request a TLM
Una Voce (Latin, “with one voice”) is an international association dedicated to ensuring that the Roman Mass codified by St. Pius V is maintained as one of the forms of eucharistic worship which are honored in universal liturgical life, and to restoring the use of Latin, Gregorian Chant, and sacred polyphony in Catholic liturgy. The following is adapted from their website.
Read Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum, especially the twelve points.
Before writing a letter, take some time to find out who in your parish may be interested in attending the traditional Latin Mass. Additionally, you should talk to any priest you may know who is interested in celebrating the Traditional Mass. Depending on the situation, you could talk with your pastor directly and offer an informal request for the celebration of the Traditional Mass in your parish. This could avoid the need to write any letters. A friendly dialogue with your pastor is preferred to a formal letter writing campaign.
If your pastor will respond better to a more formal approach you should write first to your pastor, not to your bishop. Write to the pastor of the parish where you are registered. If you are not registered at a parish, register at the parish in whose territory you live, before writing to him. Registering at a parish does not obligate you to attend there every week.
At this initial stage, the more letters the better, so each person should write his own letter. Husbands and wives can write separately, as can children.
- Be polite, even if your requests were turned down in the past.
- Be brief; stick to the request. One paragraph should be plenty; one page is too long. Do not include complaints or other matters.
- Request the Mass for both Sundays and weekdays. This does not obligate you to attend every day or every week or every month.
Anyone who likes the traditional Mass can write a request. You do not need to mention how often you plan to attend. Be sure to mention that your request is according to “Summorum Pontificum, articles 5.1, 5.2 & 7.” And if you know of a priest who is willing and able to offer the Mass, mention that. Your pastor may not know of a priest who can do so.
Wait a month for a response. If you have not heard back in a month, write to the pastor again, the same letter. If he does not respond within another month, write to the bishop (see below). Keep copies of the letter, and the pastor’s response, if any. It is worthwhile for one person in the parish to have a copy of everyone’s letters. This may be helpful if the matter is taken to the next step.
If there is a chapter of Una Voce in your area, be sure to join. Or, find out how to start a chapter.
Try this Sample Letter to Pastor (Microsoft Word .docx file).
If you have written two letters to the pastor in two months and have received a negative reply, or have received no reply at all, the next step is to write to the bishop.
At this level, it becomes even more important to form a group, since the Motu Proprio mentions a group within a parish writing to the bishop. Do not make this more work than necessary; you do not need to have meetings. Come up with a name for the group and get a list of names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of those who might be interested.
Write individual letters, mentioning that you are a member of the group. If you haven’t formed a group, but you know that others in your area have requested the Mass, politely mention that. Also:
- Mention the letter(s) you have written to your pastor, when you wrote them, and his reply.
- If you have unsuccessfully requested the Traditional Mass from the bishop in the past, you might politely mention your previous requests.
- In addition to asking for the Mass at your parish, request that the bishop appoint a chaplain or establish a particular parish for the extraordinary form of the Mass. This was not included in the letter to the pastor, because only the bishop has this authority.
Again, keep copies of the letter, and the bishop’s response, if any, and have one person keep a copy of everyone’s letters.
Follow the same procedure as you did before: wait a month for a response. If you have not heard back in a month, write to the bishop again, the same letter. If he does not respond within another month, write to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Try this Sample Letter to Bishop (Microsoft Word .docx file).
At this level, it is extremely important to be part of a group. Each person in the group should write a letter to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
- Name your parish, your diocese, and the group to which you belong.
- Mention that you have already written twice to your pastor and twice to your bishop, and include their replies (if any). If you made a request for the Mass in previous years, mention that.
- Ask that your group be given a chaplain or a particular parish.
- Attach to this letter a copy of your letter to the bishop.
Do not send these individually. Rather, have one person write a cover letter, and include all the individual letters (with copy of the letter to the bishop attached to each) in one mailing. If you have been given one Sunday Mass, but you have a group that would like a daily Mass, request a chaplain or a personal parish.
Try this Sample Letter to Ecclesia Dei (Microsoft Word .docx file).