Bill and Janice Marshall have a fondness for the Tridentine Latin Mass.
The problem: In the past they had to drive 120 miles from their home in Onalaska to Ballard to find a parish that holds those services. Then, more than two years ago, a priest from Portland started coming up to their parish in Toledo from Portland, but he recently said he would no longer be able to continue the trip up north each month.
New priests, however, have agreed to come to Toledo, and the Latin Mass will continue with them starting in July.
“It is such a blessing and not just because we’ll be saving money on gas,” said Bill Marshall, 71, who advocates for the parish to find priests to perform different Mass services at St. Francis Xavier mission. “We have friends that live in Olympia that have been looking for the Mass as well. I know this will bring more people to the parish.”
Priests Mel Starzicich of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Kelso and Cal Christiansen of St. Rose Catholic Church in Longview will begin alternating months conducting the Mass.
St. Francis Xavier mission was established in 1838 and was the first permanently established mission in Washington state. It is located off Jackson Highway in Toledo.
“We have been so fortunate to have had Father Anthony Patalano,” Marshall said. “He has been amazing to come up here for the past two and half years to give us the Dominican Latin Mass and we are grateful, but he has been traveling from his parish in Portland and may soon be transferring to another parish out of state. When we first found out that we may lose Father Anthony we started looking around for another priest and found two and both that can say the Tridentine rite, that’s a sign.”
Father Patalano is from Holy Rosary Parish in Portland and performs the Dominican Mass which was established in 1215-1220 by Saint Dominic.
Father Patalano’s last Mass at St. Francis Xavier will be May 2.
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969. In nearly every country it was celebrated exclusively in Latin.
The term Tridentine is derived in response to a decision of the Council of Trent in 1570. Other names include Traditional Mass or Gregorian Rite. The Latin Rite Catholic priests are free to use either the 1962 version of the Tridentine liturgy, or what is now the ordinary form of the liturgy. These Masses may also be attended by people that are not Catholic. Permission to use the Tridentine Mass in parish Masses may be given by the parish priests or by the diocese itself.
“Our next goal is expand our availability and consistency of Masses,” Marshall said. “It would be great to eventually have Friday Mass as well. We really want to grow and have available all the Mass we can for the community and to add members to our parish. People have disappeared either from not enough options or not enjoyment at the parish either from lack of old or new traditions. We really want to bring people back.”
St. Francis Xavier is also looking for volunteers to start a chant choir.
“Anyone interested to develop the choir or any help in that department, please call, we are really struggling,” said Janice Marshall.
A chant choir is needed to perform what is called a Missa Cantata, a sung mass.
“We need voices, we are all amateurs.” Janice said. “You don’t have to be Catholic to sing in the choir, you just have to enjoy beautiful music.”
Sara Welsh is a freelance writer living in Lewis County.