SEATTLE – Under the authority granted to diocesan bishops by Pope Francis, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne has issued a decree allowing celebration of the pre-Vatican II Mass in the Archdiocese of Seattle only at North American Martyrs Parish in Edmonds and St. Joseph Parish in Tacoma.

In his September 8 “Decree implementing the motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, in the Archdiocese of Seattle,” the archbishop also decreed that priests living and/or ministering in the archdiocese “are not authorized either to begin or to continue enjoying the faculty to celebrate Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962.”

The authority to restore some limits on the celebration of Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal, often called the “Traditional Latin Mass,” was granted in Pope Francis’ July 16 apostolic letter issued motu proprio, “Traditionis Custodes, On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970,” according to the guidelines of the Apostolic See. Pope Francis’ accompanying letter to bishops stated his intention “to re-establish [unity] throughout the Church of the Roman Rite” and his vision that those celebrating the older form of the Mass “need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.” (Read more about the apostolic letter.)

The pope’s apostolic letter directs diocesan bishops to designate one or more locations where people can gather for the Latin Mass, but not in parochial churches and without creating new personal parishes. The bishops can also designate the days on which the older form can be celebrated.

North American Martyrs and St. Joseph, Tacoma, are staffed by priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP). In his decree, Archbishop Etienne said it has been determined that FSSP priests, who are entrusted with the pastoral care of the faithful attending Masses at the two parishes, “do not deny the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform as directed by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs, and therefore may continue to use the Roman Missal of 1962.”

In addition, since North American Martyrs Parish “was canonically erected as a personal parish and location for the faithful to gather for the eucharistic celebration of Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal, the parish will be retained so long as it is effective for the spiritual growth of the faithful.”

St. Joseph, Tacoma, has been granted a dispensation to continue using the Roman Missal of 1962 “since it will contribute to the spiritual good of the faithful,” the archbishop wrote.

The archbishop’s decree is effective by publication on the Archdiocese of Seattle website,, and in the archdiocese’s official publication, Northwest Catholic.

Read the full text of the decree below: