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Faithful Catholics march from Arlington, Virginia to Washington D.C. in support of the Traditional Latin Mass.Kevin Ceigersmidt/YouTube Screenshot

ARLINGTON, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — Three hundred faithful Catholics held a peaceful pilgrimage march from St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington, Virginia to St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in a show of support for the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington have both cracked down on the TLM, citing Pope Francis’ 2021 decree Traditionis Custodes.

The march “commemorate[d] the 15th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum,” a news release prior to the event stated. The march also aimed to “express sorrow” over the restrictions in D.C. and Virginia, which organizers called “cruel and unjust.”

“The pilgrimage was amazing!” organizer Noah Peters told LifeSiteNews. “We had 300 faithful Catholics marching through Arlington and DC chanting the rosary and Catholic hymns. We had beautiful banners and torches, and the march was visually stunning.”

“It is important for us to reclaim space as Catholics, and we truly had that feeling as we marched through the streets and over the Key Bridge into Washington, D.C,” Peters said in his email. “We successfully demonstrated the vitality and reverence of the movement for the Traditional Latin Mass within the Church. It was all the more stunning because this was a completely grassroots effort. We had no outside organizations backing us or funding us.”

He said “ordinary parishioners” from both dioceses organized the event in a month. “The March strengthened our resolve to work with Pope Francis and our Bishops to restore the free celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, and also to take on greater leadership roles in our parishes and our dioceses.”

“The Traditional Latin Mass is the form of the Mass celebrated by most Catholics until the 1970s,” the news release noted. “Marked by incense, chanted prayers in Latin, and reverent silence, it continues to nurture and sustain the spiritual lives of thousands of Catholics across the globe.”

Bishop Burbidge eliminated 13 of 21 Latin Mass locations, forcing some parishioners to worship in gyms or old churches that did not have pews.  For example, parishioners at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fredericksburg had donated to build a new church with communion rails and an altar against the wall, perfect for a TLM. Instead, the bishop’s decree relegated them to the old, outdated church that did not have pews because the parish had sold them. It went into effect on September 8.

Cardinal Gregory’s decree, which goes into effect on Wednesday, eliminated the popular St. Mary Mother of God parish in Chinatown as a TLM location. He relegated the TLM to three churches, including two in Maryland. He also, like Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, banned the TLM from being used at Christmas, the Triduum, Pentecost Sunday and Easter, despite Traditionis Custodes containing no such requirement.

Liturgical scholar and theologian Dr. Peter Kwasniewski described Cardinal Gregory’s decree as “restrictive, vindictive, heartless, and pastorally cruel.”