Welcome to 52 Masses

CONTACT ME: I welcome any visitors to the site to reach out to me directly if you are interested in sharing any information with me, are looking for more information or are interested in learning when the book is published. Please email me at 52Masses@gmail.com if you’d like to reach me or be added to my mailing list.

Welcome to 52 Masses. Thanks for joining me.

My name is Daniel Markham. I’m a lifelong practicing Catholic who worships at St. Gerald in Oak Lawn, Illinois. I have also been writing professionally for almost 30 years. Now, these two biographical data points have collided.

Starting in June, I have embarked on a mission to attend Sunday Mass in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. At each parish or place I visit, I will write about something going on there, a short profile of the many interesting and inspiring people and endeavors in the Catholic Church in the United States. Upon completion of my year-long trip, the journey will be chronicled in the book, 52 Masses.

These won’t necessarily be groundbreaking types of stories – merely interesting ones. It’s my assertion that every parish has at least one story to tell, if not many. Every day, Catholics across the country are doing amazing things, putting their faith into action in innumerable ways. The hope is that through this collection of stories, I can paint a broader picture of life in the Catholic Church in 2021.

Here, I’ll update the progress of the book over the next two years, then chronicle highlights of the trip as it takes place. I welcome any and all to join me, with thoughts, comments and suggestions. I hope to have many of you accompany me on this journey, at least in the digital sense.

God Bless

Experiencing the Eastern Church

One of the really neat aspects of the pilgrimage I’ve undertaken is to encounter things truly new to me. My visit to Atlanta in late August was just such an experience. For the first time, though not the last, I experienced the Liturgy in a parish outside the Roman Catholic tradition.

St. John Chrysostom is part of the Melkite Church, an Eastern church with roots in Greece, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East that is in communion with the Holy See. I was invited by Father John to the parish, where I enjoyed Orthos (the prayer service) and Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch and the opportunity to meet many of the parishioners.

It was an enlightening experience, one that serves as a reminder of the breadth and diversity of our Catholic faith.

For the architectural buffs among my readers, it’s worth noting that the church building was once the mansion of Coca Cola Company Founder Asa Candler. I’d say now it’s closer to the Real Thing.

The church is located in the Druid Hills section of Atlanta.
There’s no mistaking the Middle Eastern style.
In the Byzantine Church, they don’t use statues, only iconography.

The ceiling above the sanctuary.

Worshiping Outdoors in Alabama

This past week was the first time I’ve been on the road for an extended period, venturing across the south over the course of nine days. I’m just now playing catch up.

My visit started in Alabama, in the river town of Tallassee. The parish there is St. Vincent de Paul, though that’s not where I spent the Vigil Mass.

Each Saturday in the summer, SVdP moves its Vigil Mass to the Church in the Pines, a nondenominational outdoor structure located just a few feet from Lake Martin. Vacationers, boaters and other summer sorts take a break from their leisurely activities to worship.

My experience featured virtually all of the elements of the outdoor Mass setting, beginning in the sweltering heat of an August day in Alabama, watching the darkening clouds behind Father Mateusz Rudzik while thunder rumbled in the distance, feeling the spray of the blowing rain when it finally broke through, then watching the skies clear again for a beautiful sunset.

You can see where the Church in the Pines gets its name.

Catholic Radio Appearance

Tomorrow morning, Thursday, Aug. 19, I’ll be featured for about 10-12 minutes on a radio station in Kansas City. I had a nice conversation with host Ken Billinger yesterday, to be broadcast between 7:35 and 7:50 a.m. Thursday on his program.

He’s also welcomed me to come back periodically to update him on the trip.

Here’s the link below if you’d like to listen live. And many thanks to Ken for reaching out to me to set this up.


Greetings from Michigan

The first day of August took me to Dexter, Michigan, eventually to the right location.

I headed up early in the morning, plugging St. Joseph into my phone. I arrived at about 20 after 8, giving me enough time to patrol the grounds and snap some photos before Mass. By 8:30, it dawned on me there was no way Mass was taking place there at 9 a.m., given the complete absence of any other human beings. I was at the Village Church, which is still home to daily Masses but gives way to the Country Church on Sundays.

I hightailed it a few miles east (I think) to the new facility. As you’ll see from the photos, each church is beautiful in its own way. I guess that’s always the case.

I had a nice morning at St. Joseph, meeting a host of parishioners after the 9 and 11 a.m. Masses, while enjoying lunch with a handful of folks from the parish’s music ministry. All in all, a satisfying trip.

I’m be back on the road at the end of the month, hitting up three parishes in the South. I pray the COVID surge there, and everywhere, is on the wane by then.

The Village Church

The Country Church

Back on the Road

It’s been a long three weeks, but I’m finally getting back on the road this weekend. I’m heading to Cabot, Arkansas, to worship at St. John the Baptist.

St. John the Baptist serves as the Latin Mass parish for the Diocese of Little Rock, with all services being performed in the form. I’ll be writing about the appeal of the form to those Catholics who prefer it.

This won’t be my first Latin Mass. When my oldest son, Ian, graduated from Johns Hopkins, I woke up early on graduation day to take in a daily Mass at National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori, which just happened to be sitting across the street from our hotel. Here are a few photos of that beautiful church, once home to St. John Neumann.