Subtitled:  A Latin Mass, Whale Watching, and fun at the Beach! 

Our family loves the Latin Mass.  The only problem is, it is rather hard to come by where we live.  In fact, we usually have to have a baby in order to get a Latin Mass around here! (ie: My brother-in-laws’ fly out to baptize the new little one, offering Mass while they are in town.)   The closest parishes that offer the Latin Mass (or rather, Extraordinary Form) are 3 hours north and 5 hours south, with a couple mountain passes to cross each direction.  As much as my husband would love to move, it just doesn’t seem to be in God’s plan for our family at this time.

Recently we found out that there is a priest about 2 1/2 hours away, in another state and diocese, that is now offering a Latin Mass every Sunday!  The only problem is that it begins at 8 a.m.  Rather early, when you have that far to drive with an over full van load of kiddos and a baby that doesn’t sleep through the night.  We discussed making the drive again this past Saturday, but I just said I don’t know how it could even be possible, without going over the night before, so we didn’t even bother to prepare or set the alarm… However, amazingly, the baby woke us up at 4:25 yesterday morning, Rascal was already awake as well, Hubby felt abnormally rested, and we decided to give it a shot.  We woke the rest of the kids up, got dressed for Mass, packed a bag with extra clothes and snacks, and were on our way by 5:45.   We made it to Mass with 15 minutes to spare!

As we pulled up to the church, not seeing another car or person in sight and wondering if they still offered the Latin Mass, the pastor walked out of the rectory with a visiting missionary priest (who is headed to Bolivia today) and welcomed our family!   We had been expecting a low Mass, but the visiting priest was able to play the organ and sing the responses, so we were blessed with a beautiful sung Mass!

After Mass we visited some more with the pastor and he invited us back to the hall, following his English Mass, to attend a reception for their newly ordained deacon and to meet some of the other parishioners.   In the meantime we went to pick up a couple coffees and breakfast for the kids.

After attending the cake reception at the Church, some of us changed from our Mass clothes, and headed to the beach.  A trip to the ocean was on our “Summer Bucket List” and we were all so happy to finally be able to check that off our list!   When we pulled off the highway we couldn’t believe our luck when we spotted a whale just off the shoreline!!  (What a perfect way to kick off our new school year, and our study of Swimming Creatures!) 

If you look closely at the following pictures you can see a little glimpse of the whale spray/blow in the first two pictures, and the top of the whale in the third.   I wasn’t successful with getting a picture of the tail when diving, but the kids were so excited to see that.   This was the first time any of them actually got to see a whale that wasn’t in captivity!  Very exciting, for sure!

We then spent the rest of the afternoon having a blast on the beach!   And, yes, I am going to share a whole ton of pictures, as usual… It was Bud’s first trip to the ocean, after all!  ðŸ™‚

We spent  a little more time watching the whale before it was time to head home… The kids were all sad to leave – even if they were quite tired! 

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we are able to make the trip again… However, with the cost of gas and over crowded mini-van we won’t be able to go too often.  In the meantime, we will just continue praying for a local (and frequent) Latin Mass.


  1. Anonymous

    Sounds like a perfect Sunday. It looks like an oregon coast beach? We have a dairy farm on the northern oregon coast.

  2. Mom2Seven

    A happy Sunday and a beautiful family! +JMJ+

  3. penelope

    What a glorious way to spend a Sunday ! The children look so happy.

  4. Julie

    Looks like an amazing family adventure!!

  5. Christine

    Wow – you made me realize how thankful I should be to have a Latin Mass so close to me. They have DAILY Mass even, and it's in WALKING distance from our house. I hope your area is blessed with one soon!!

  6. Summer


    I have been reading your blog for a long time now, but am shy about posting comments. I had to this time as your pictures of Bud in the puppy outfit made me do a double take. I bought the whole outfit for my fifth little one as a celebration that his big brother would finally have another boy around. It is so sweet! We have seven altogether also.

    May your family soon be blessed with a Latin Mass. We love the old Mass and travel every Sunday morning for 45 minutes to attend. You and your husband are incredible to travel such a distance. As always, it was lovely reading about your adventures.

    God Bless,

  7. Anonymous

    What a great day! So many things to love — that you got to go to the Latin Mass (!), Snuggles dirty jeans :-), the kids sleeping in the back seat! What fun pictures! Silly question, but since Summorum Pontificum, is it not possible to petition a local parish (or one in a nearby large city) for a Latin Mass? I know that Pope Benedict said it can be at the request of just a few people — he made that clear after the bishops in England were being stingy with it. Anyhow, I have no doubt that with family connections you have done all of the research…but Ecclesia Dei is there for you when you're up against a wall! – Genevieve

  8. mel

    goodness…we have a latin mass close to us, about 20 minutes, and have nver been…just because I've never been….so I'm intimidated by trying it. But you make me want to go try it!

  9. Jacqui

    beautiful pictures and family! You're making me want to try Latin Mass, we have one about 45 minutes away. We'll pray that you get on in your area. Swim creatures? we just started too, and we're very excited about it. About 2 hours from home a new Marine center just opened, and it's free! It's going to be a long trip, but so worth it! Your sweet bud is just darling! My baby is 5 months old and I'm taking every bit of him in =)
    Your girls always dress so beautifully, where do you get their skirts? TFS

  10. Elizabeth Williams

    This is one of my favorite posts you've ever done! What a completely awesome family adventure! It is stuff like that your kids will remember forever 🙂
    God bless you!

  11. Collette

    Wow, what a beautiful Sunday!
    And, what a blessing in how it all came together for your family, too (in the morning)!
    You really have such a knack for family pics – they all turned out so sweet! I have a hard time getting my *four* kiddos to smile at the same time, lol. 🙂
    Have a blessed Tuesday!

  12. Jennifer Elia

    Looks like a beautiful day. The kids really enjoyed the beach! They are always so beautiful. You look great, how are you feeling? I hope much better. You continue to be on my mind. Best wishes on the start of the school year.

    I am getting back to school jitters:)

  13. pauline

    What a blessing for your family! We have been driving 2 1/2 hours once a month (for my eldest son to learn to serve) and over an hour 3 times a month to attend a Latin Mass for a couple of years now. Ours is also in a different diocese and a neighboring state. It has been such a blessing for our family!! We have figured out where to get cheap gas along the way and where to with save money on fruit and produce at roadside stand. We always pack a lunch and either picnic along the way or eat in the car. We are a bit spoiled since we "have" to cut through the Blue Ridge Mountains to get there (but you have the beach!!). 😉 We have had some of the best adventures hiking, picnicking and site seeing. We listen to books on tape, sing, pray and talk. It has been such a blessing for our family to be free of everyday distractions! It's also a great witness for your children to "Keep Holy the Sabbath". Maybe you could attend once a month?

  14. Anonymous

    Thank you for this subtle reminder to thank God of the amazing blessing in my life: not only both a Low and High Mass EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY, but (for the past year-and-a-half) a DAILY Low Mass!!! I believe we're the only Diocese in the US that offers this (the Pittsburgh Diocese). And I often don't realize how rare this blessing is, or how thankful I should be, until I read about families like yours who have to drive for hours to attend one, and it can only be a rare treat.

    Thank you also for posting the pictures of your day at the beach. Looks cold where you are!!! 🙂 Your family is lovely and you are always an inspiration.

    White Oak, PA

  15. Christine

    Your family is beautiful…especially that blue eyed baby boy in his adorable little hat…cute cute cute.

  16. fadfd

    Jessica, that is such a classic photo of the kids asleep. Every mother has at least one shot of their passed out children from a day of FUN! So funny!!!

  17. Anonymous

    I remember being on the Oregon coast and seeing the whales. I think it was off of Cape Perpetua. So scenic!


  18. admin

    Amazing day! (gotta love sweaters in August…). :o) Becky

  19. Anne McD

    Hi Jessica– when you say "Latin Mass," do you mean the Novus Ordo in Latin, or Tridintine? I feel so spoiled– we have a Tridintine mass every Sunday, and on Holy Days. I, ahem, accidentally went to the TM on a Holy Day, and it was difficult to follow with my children, who had no idea what was going on. However, I've since come across a prayer book in the cry room for the TM, and when I read the prayers, I found myself really drawn to start going. Beautiful pictures, and it looks like a perfect Sunday!!

  20. Anonymous

    We are blessed to have a close Latin Mass as well. However like another person who commented I am a little scared that I will "mess up" because our family does not know Latin. Any advice you could give to your readers? Also I noticed in your amazing pictures that your family had on winter clothing. Is is cold there? Here in Indiana we are hoping for cooler weather soon! Blessings to your family! (Michelle)

  21. Christine

    We too are praying for a move to, preferably, a Fraternity parish, or at least a Tridentine parish. My brother is a priest in the Fraternity, and we recently made the trip out to see him. It was wonderful to see him and have daily Latin Mass–even a first communion. Your family's intention will be in my prayers.

  22. Lori

    Hi Jessica. What a fun day trip! I love all the pics! Especially the one of you and all of your blessings! And I LOVE your hair in the braid! Did you do that yourself? I'd love to learn! Hope you are feeling better. Peace, Lori

  23. Anonymous

    There is a lovely DVD from Pro Multis Media called The Traditional Latin Mass for Children. It really should be marketed to everyone, because it is really for everyone! If you search "Latin Mass" at Catholic Free Shipping a lot of resources come up. Search for "Missal" there too, and you will see a red booklet called Latin English Booklet Missal. That has the Mass in Latin with English translation and tells when to stand/sit/kneel. I'm sure Jessica will have some great resources.

  24. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you! I had my hair down at Mass, but it was so windy that I grabbed a rubber band and braided it as we were getting out of the car at the beach. The pictures were the first I saw of it, and it didn't look at all like I had pictured in my head (wrapping around) – instead it just looks crooked! 🙂 I am feeling better, mostly, but I still have the appt scheduled with a specialist in a couple weeks.

  25. Jessica Gordon

    We LOVE The Traditional Mass for Children. I have learned so much from that DVD. The Latin English Booklet Missal is also so very helpful.. I just love reading the translations, which are so very beautiful!

    As for "messing up" – I do all the time! I always find myself standing and kneeling at all the wrong times and mispronouncing words! (But usually, at least around here, everyone else is too!) lol But it is so worth it, and I am sure I will learn over time, along with my children. 🙂

    And, yes, it was chilly at the beach with a high of 55 on Sunday. We aren't quite ready to lose the warmer weather here, but the seasons are changing whether we are ready or not…

  26. Jessica Gordon

    How wonderful! I would love to visit one of my husband's brother's parishes someday! What a special trip for your family!

  27. Jessica Gordon

    I mean the Tridintine Mass. You are very blessed!

  28. Jessica Gordon

    I'm not sure we will be able to afford to go monthly, but we are hoping that we can at least go once every couple months. We are still praying that we can find a way to have it locally as well, even if just on occasion with a visiting priest. Our other challenge will be the roads in the wintertime, especially if it stays so early in the morning. The two-lane road to the coast isnt' the safest. Still, it really was so nice and we had such a wonderful day!

  29. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you! It really was a perfect day! I was a little worried when I was posting it that I was adding an excessive amount of pictures, but it's hard not to with this many kids, without leaving some of them out! 😉

  30. Jessica Gordon

    Only 20 minutes away?! What a blessing! You'll have to let me know what you think when (not if!) you go!! 🙂

  31. Jessica Gordon

    We are very excited to get started on Science this year. My kids are much more interested in studying Swimming Creatures than they were about Flying Creatures. I'm hoping that we can find a field trip or two to tie in this year as well. Your new Marine center sounds perfect!

    The girls jean skirts were from Old Navy. Some were given to us and the rest I purchased. I'm really wishing I would have ordered a couple larger sizes… Twinkle Toes is going to need the next size soon, and they are no longer selling them. 🙁

  32. Jessica Gordon

    Walking Distance!!! If only…. You are very blessed!

  33. Jessica Gordon

    Awwww! I'm so glad you commented! Isn't the puppy outfit adorable?!? I love it!! I actually bought it for our 5th little one (Snuggles) and just pulled it out from storage. Snuggles was born in June (not Dec like Bud) but was big at first and then really slowed down. I'm so glad that some of his hand-me-down's are going to work for Bud after all!

  34. Jessica Gordon

    We have petitioned our local parish a number of times. At one point we were given a monthly NO Latin Mass on occasion, but was stopped due to a "lack of interest" (50-100 people apparently isn't enough around here, even for a non-regular, unadvertised, NO Mass…) The excuse has always been that there isn't a priest in the area capable of offering the Mass.

    Last summer we were finally blessed with a newly ordained priest who offers and loves the Latin/Extraordinary Mass. We petitioned the (also new) pastor and were refused since "he wasn't going to make any changes for the first year". Within a month the new priest was swiftly transferred away. At that time we switched parishes.

    Our new pastor is not capable of offering the Mass, but isn't nearly as opposed as the other new pastor at our old parish. He gave us permission for my Husband's brothers to use the church when they visit, the last time for a baptism and two first communions, and our hope is that eventually we will be able to find a priest that is able to come in on occasion and offer the Mass.

    In the meantime there are many frustrated parishioners in our little corner of the diocese. After years of petitioning we just aren't getting anywhere. The good news is we will be getting a new bishop this year! We are praying fervently that he will be a good and holy man, who is open to the Latin Mass and honoring the Holy Father's wishes!

  35. Anonymous

    I just knew you had/were working on it! It is so sad that the Bishops are disobedient. Summorum Pontificum and the latest clarification state that the bishop MUST provide a priest and if one is not available, one must be trained for that purpose alone (and he meant a "few" people — 50 – 100 is a lot!!). That is where Ecclesia Dei can help out. I know, sometimes you are willing to wait and see what the new bishop will be like! I'll pray that he is an obedient and faithful one! In the meantime, you're having quite the adventures! – Genevieve

  36. Jacqui

    thanks! You're so sweet taking the time to answer all these emails. God bless you!


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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