St. Joseph the Worker Church celebrates pre-1962 Latin Mass

Source: Tyler Morning Telegraph

St. Joseph the Worker Church celebrates pre-1962 Latin Mass

Published on Saturday, 21 February 2015 00:57 – Written by By EMILY GUEVARA,

Every day in a small church on Farm-to-Market Road 14 in north Tyler, a group of Catholics gather to celebrate Mass.

Their dedication is not unlike their peers across the world, but their method of worship is slightly different.

At St. Joseph the Worker Church, parishioners celebrate the traditional Latin Mass. That means the liturgical rites — whether ceremonies, Mass or sacraments — are celebrated according to the Catholic rites that were enforced before 1962.

Basically, everything the parish priest says is in Latin, and the steps he goes through follow procedure as it was enforced in 1962 and prior.

To the casual observer, the primary differences when compared to the new Mass include: the priest and altar boys almost always face the altar with their backs to the parishioners; there is less verbal interaction between the priest and parishioners; and less movement (standing and kneeling) for the parishioners.

But the true differences are a bit deeper.


The 1960s remain somewhat of a dividing line in the Catholic world between the old way of doing things and the new way of doing things.

From 1962 to 1965, the Second Vatican Council, which included all of the world’s bishops, worked to address challenges in the world and the church.

Father Scott Allen, who is with The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and parish priest at St. Joseph the Worker, said the council called for some changes in the traditional Catholic worship and in the way the Mass was celebrated.

Based on the council’s directives, appointed religious experts came up with a new book with all the instructions and text needed to celebrate Mass throughout the year.

Pope Paul VI approved the new rite of Mass in 1969, and from that point on many Catholic churches embraced the new way of doing things.

There was an almost universal loss of the Latin language in the church liturgy, except for those who continued practicing the traditional rites, Allen said.

St. Joseph the Worker parishioner Olga Gonzalez, 62, a real estate agent in Tyler, said, in her experience, it was almost impossible to find a traditional Latin Mass in the years after Vatican II.

When she lived in California in the 1980s, she drove to another part of the state the first and fifth weekends of the month to celebrate Latin Mass.

She said she appreciates the reverence, the richness to the prayers and the uniformity of the Latin Mass.

Sister Margarita Igriczi-Nagy, with the Bridgettine Sisters, said much the same.

“The church was always able to experiment a little bit then draw back, you know,” said Sister Margarita who attends St. Joseph. “It was a legitimate experiment, but I think initially they were a little bit too heavy-handed about it. I think the two rites should have existed side by side. This is usually how the church operates.”



St. Joseph the Worker began in 2003. Allen, who wasn’t here at the time, said then-Bishop Alvaro Corrada wanted to take care of the spiritual needs of the Catholic community in the Diocese of Tyler so he invited the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to come to the diocese in 2003 to provide the traditional Latin Mass and traditional rites of the sacraments for Catholics in the Diocese of Tyler who wanted that.

Father Carlos Casavantes was the first priest to come and served from 2003 until Allen came in 2007.

From 2003 to 2006, the Catholics who preferred the traditional Latin Mass celebrated at St. Paul’s Chapel in the Chancery Building on Loop 323.

In 2006, Corrada approved the acquisition of the existing property and the church has been there ever since. Corrada made St. Joseph the Worker a parish of the Diocese in 2011. Prior to that, it had been a mission church of the cathedral.


On a recent Thursday morning before 7 a.m., about 16 parishioners sat quietly in the small church. Women wore scarves to cover their heads because of the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the presence of the Lord in the form of bread and wine.

Some people read quietly from books until bells rang as the priest and two altar boys entered.

The Mass proceeded with a series of readings as Allen and the altar boys completed the prescribed actions and recitations.

Allen said during an interview that there is an appeal for that traditional way of doing things, for the more subdued or interior approach that is inherent in the traditional Latin Mass.

“Some of the people just want to worship at Mass in more silence and it’s not to denigrate anybody, but we might say there tends to be maybe outwardly at a traditional Latin Mass maybe a more of a display of reverence.”

Allen said it’s not that people are irreverent at the Norus Ordo, or the new order, Mass, it’s just that things are less regimented in that Mass.

In the traditional Latin Mass, there’s no room for the priest to make things up or be spontaneous.

“It’s much more regimented,” he said. “The priest follows the book.”

After the receipt of Holy Communion and a few more prayers and words, Allen and the altar boys leave the sanctuary and the church is quiet. Some parishioners remain appearing to pray while others go outside.

George Robles, 44, a Spanish interpreter from Whitehouse, said he and his family moved to East Texas eight years ago and have been attending the traditional Latin Mass or Tridentine Mass since then.

Robles said he began attending and celebrating the traditional Latin Mass in 1994 when he lived in California.

The Tridentine Mass offers a greater depth, he said. It’s more intimate, more of an interior participation to the Mass than an outward participation.

About two months ago, he and his family began coming to Mass daily.

As Catholics, they believe the Mass is a representation of Calvary, Robles said.

He said the decision to go to daily Mass came about because he views it as an opportunity to receive from God.

“He’s here to give us His treasure, His body and blood,” he said. “It’s constantly waiting for us.”

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2 comments on “St. Joseph the Worker Church celebrates pre-1962 Latin Mass

  1. The description of the Mass is written quite obviously by someone who doesn’t understand what the Mass is all about, especially the loss of the “sacrum” which characterizes the novus ordo. Too bad, really, but this is one of the fruits of the “new springtime.”

  2. Sister Margarita is a wise, authentic and very traditionally Catholic nun, who has inspired and taught me much. I visited her and this church over a year ago, and would love to go back, even move there…but my days of moving around are not quite what they once were.

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