Thursday, September 11, 2014
Growth of the Traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese of El Paso

I received this following email update and wish to pass it along.  Praying for this group is a good intention:

 After 1045 days of consecutive prayers, including many rosaries, novenas, penances, sacrifices, letters, tears and petitions to numerous ecclesial authorities (up to and including the Apostolic Signatura), the Diocese of El Paso finally established a Traditional Latin Mass parish in the City of El Paso. The previous bishop had abruptly destroyed our parish life back on September 20, 2011 when he transferred Fr. Michael Rodriguez to the furthest extremity of the diocese, about 250 miles away. On 1 Aug 2014 our current bishop entrusted Immaculate Conception parish downtown to the the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. This is one of the oldest parishes in the city and for a time actually served as the 'cathedral' before St. Patrick was built. It still has its original high altar and a communion rail. It is quite a beautiful with a choir loft, saint statues, and one row of stained glass windows. It seats approximately 275 people. If you wish to see what the Church looks like, you can actually watch the video of a Solemn High Nuptial Mass which Fr. Rodriguez offered there back in Dec 2013 (Video Link Here). The FSSP has since sent two priests, Fr. John Shannon and Fr. Kevin O'Neill, who are offering the TLM daily (twice on most days). The parish is still in its very initial stages of growth. The parish still lacks a lot of the basic liturgical resources to carry out normal parish life (e.g. vestments, monstrance, thurible, processional candles, crucifix, etc...), but over the weeks and months to come this place will surely flourish (with many prayers and sacrifices of course). Nevertheless, the 10AM Sunday Mass has been quite full the past three Sundays, even standing room only on the first Sunday Mass. The priests then added a second to take on some of the overflow.

To my knowledge, Immaculate Conception is the only such diocesan parish in a very large geographical area: from Phoenix to the West, to Albuquerque in the North, and Dallas in the East. On the Feast of the Assumption, I told myself: "Wow, today there will be five Traditional Latin Masses in the City of El Paso, and six within the geographical area of the El Paso Diocese." Then I thought to myself, when is the last time that has happened? Well, I certainly don't know the answer for certain, but I am quite sure that it has never before happened in my lifetime. Thinking in those terms helped me reflect upon how much has been granted by God through many prayers and sacrifices towards the restoration of our Faith. And I was so very grateful to God for it all. I certainly consider this a miracle only possible through great supernatural aid. So I once again profoundly thank all of you who have helped in this effort. Of course, there is still so much work to be done in this recovery and restoration of our Faith in this Diocese and all over the world!


Back on 20 Sept 2011, Fr. Rodríguez was assigned as parochial vicar of Santa Teresa in Presidio (El Paso Diocese). This parish also serves three outlying missions: Shafter, Candelaria, and Redford. Sadly, in May 2013, the pastor (administrator) of Santa Teresa announced to his parishioners that he was leaving the priesthood. This left Fr. Rodríguez as the only priest in the area, the closest being about 90 miles away in Alpine, TX. As of 11 July 2014, the bishop assigned another priest as pastor of Santa Teresa and gave Fr. Rodríguez the assignment of Administrator for Sacred Heart Mission in Shafter. Shafter is a "ghost town." It had actually thrived earlier this century when the largest silver mine in Texas was discovered and the town was built to serve the mine. The mine was shut down in 1942 though and now the town has a population of maybe 40 souls. There is no stop sign in the town, no gas station or store of any kind, or any public government building. The Church and cemetery are by far the most notable sites, and there are some old Spanish explorers buried there from the 1600s. Perhaps the most notable historical fact about Shafter is that Venerable Maria de Agreda, a Spanish Conceptionist cloistered nun living in the 17th century, bi-located there and preached the Catholic Faith to the natives before the Spanish missionaries arrived.

Fr. Rodríguez continues to exercise his priestly ministry there and offers the Traditional Latin Mass daily. The nature and circumstances of this mission have thrust him into a quasi-hermetic life, but he enjoys it very much and is very grateful to God and our Blessed Lady for all the graces he has received there over the past three years. He has had more time to study, pray and do penance. Nevertheless, he still finds himself in a difficult situation, since it seems unlikely to me that the bishop will leave him there in that situation for long. In my opinion, the primary source of tension is Father Rodríguez's efforts and commitment to remain fully faithful to our Catholic Tradition in liturgy, doctrine, morals, preaching, and all other aspects of Catholic life. Moreover, the lawsuit filed against him by the previous bishop (very unjustly, even deceitfully, in my view) remains unresolved. Thus, please do keep him very much in your prayers. 


Once Immaculate Conception was established as a traditional parish, our continuous novena was concluded (Jul 31) and we also brought to end our praying of the Rosary outside the diocesan chancery (we had done that 3 times a week for the past 1045 days). However, many of the faithful have expressed the desire to continue praying novenas, as this is a very good spiritual practice to develop as a habit. Acknowledging the need for greater flexibility in schedules and prayers, I will only suggest two novenas a month. As part of the spiritual efforts of the St Vincent Ferrer apostolate, we do encourage every one to pray the monthly novena to St. Vincent Ferrer. (The start of the month seems an appropriate enough time to do so, days 1-9 of the month, although any other time is also viable). Please pray it for your particular intentions as well as for the recovery and restoration of the Faith in your diocese and all over the world (as this is the purpose and goal of the St Vincent Ferrer Foundation). 

In the following nine day gap, those who wish to pray another novena on their own may do so easily in that time frame. We have many novenas at our website that you can choose from ( or from any other good traditional Catholic source.

Each month I will then only suggest one  novena with a particular intention (usually from the 19th through the 27th of the month). Please feel free to add your own intentions as you pray these novenas. These will also be found at the St. Vincent Ferrer website under the main tab PRAYER, and then CURRENT NOVENA.  For this month, I am suggesting a Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help beginning tomorrow (Aug 23-Aug 31).

4 comment(s):

del_button September 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM
Chris Whittle said...

Thank God the City of El Paso once again has a TLM parish. I am disturbed to hear that the other priest in Fr. Rodriguez' current parish left the priesthood.

del_button February 24, 2015 at 11:44 PM
Anonymous said...

This picture from Germany looks beautiful. TLM is so beautiful also.

"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me. Russia will be converted. A period of peace will be granted to the world." -- Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917.

del_button September 16, 2016 at 8:29 PM
Unknown said...

I would welcome being put in touch with the author of this post, to find out all they did in El Paso to bring in the FSSP's. We here in San Antonio are facing a very uphill battle, as well, to preserve the one TLM we currently have, and try to bring in this order. Any insights would be most helpful. Any possibility that my email address could be sent to the author?

del_button September 28, 2016 at 5:55 PM
Matthew said...

Unknown, I believe you have the local parish of St. Pius X in San Antonio that offers the TLM as well as a nearby SSPX Chapel too. Is that correct?

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