My Initial Observations of the Latin Mass

This weekend I attended a Latin Mass in a local parish. Here are some of my initial observations about it…

  • I didn’t feel as out of place as i thought i would. I sat at the back so i could follow what everyone else did and therefore hopefully did not draw attention to myself.
  • The responses to the priest from my Catholic brethren appeared to be largely interior. Only one person spoke his responses aloud…most people spoke their responses in whispers, if at all. It reassured me somewhat that in my not responding or participating audibly during the Mass, i didn’t seem to have a neon ‘newbie’ sign flashing from my forehead.
  • As many women who wore head coverings, did not wear head coverings. Though I have to say that of the women who wore Mantillas and other head coverings, at least half of them fidgeted with them throughout the Mass, which i  personally found a bit distracting as it seemed to defeat at least a part of the purpose for which I assume they were wearing them in the first place.
  • One Latin Mass is NOT ENOUGH!!!! What i mean by that is that there is far too much going on to take it all in, in one Latin Mass.
  • I could not, no matter how hard i tried, follow the Mass in the Latin Mass Book  provided by the parish. I kept looking for recognisable words like ‘Domine’ …’Kyrie’ etc….after a while i just gave up trying and  just tried to  ‘get’ where we were in the Mass by looking for the ‘signs’ given by the priest. I often couldn’t tell though, to tell the truth.
  • I am some kind of dumb ass. I kind of thought the reading/Gospel and homily would be in Latin. ! LOL! Yeah, because every Latin Mass goer knows their entire vocabulary in Latin right? Dorkus!
  • That old chestnut about not understanding what the priest is saying during the Latin Mass, holds more than a grain of truth. Though if one were to attend Latin Mass regularly, i’m sure one would soon pick it up…or at least learn the responses.
  • Alter rails. Love. Love. Love receiving Holy Communion on my knees.
  • There was no handshaking at the Sign of the Peace.
  • There was as much noise going on as at almost any other Mass…there were still children and babies making noise, playing with toys, crying etc…some grown up people left the Mass early etc. Oddly perhaps, that was kind of reassuring.
  • There was a lot more kneeling, and kneeling and sitting at different times as we would when at a Novus Ordo Mass.
  • The collection plate still came around. LOL!
  • There was unquestionably a discernable air of reverence. People entered quietly and departed quietly. Many were on their knees before Mass and after the Mass had ended. There was little, or no chat going on before and after Mass.
  • The congregation was noticeably smaller at the Latin Mass compared with the Novus Ordo Mass which i ordinarily attend, at the same parish.  I got the feeling that there was not such a sense of ‘community’….though the priest invited parishioners to the presbytery for refreshments at the close of the Mass. Most people seemed to head off to their cars rather than take him up on his offer, me included….though i did feel like crap so that’s my excuse and i’m sticking to it. (Admittedly though, i’m fairly anti-social even when i don’t feel like crap). Interestingly, only one person made eye contact with me before/during/after the Mass.
  • I recieved Holy Communion on the tongue for the first time in a couple of years. I stopped receiving on the tongue when an EMHC would regularly stick his finger in my mouth when I was receiving the Precious Host from him. It made me feel uncomfortable and drew attention away from Our Lord because i would be so anxious about the finger in mouth EMHC!
  • There were no music/hynmns although we sang the Salve Regina at the end of Mass.
  • The priest did have his back to us for the majority of the Mass but i didn’t feel ignored. It felt like what it was. The priest was leading us in prayer, leading us to Communion with Christ, therefore he would be facing Our Lord and we, behind him, would be facing the Lord and not the priest. That was okay with me…though when i attempted to look for tell tale signs of where we were in the Mass, i could not *see* what was happing…it still wasn’t a problem  for me though.
  • I did miss participating as per usual, but this could be overcome if i learned the responses in Latin. Perhaps too, it would be a good exercise to practice interior responses…after all, we don’t always have to have something to say, do we?

Okay, they are just some of my intial observations. I admit here and now that since i was having quite a poor day health wise, and had taken a shedload of medication, i probably was not in the most receptive or appreciative state of mind to explore and embrace the beauty of the Latin Mass.

Now that i have been to one Latin Mass, I will certainly consider going again. The Latin Mass is just as much ours as the Novus Ordo Mass is ours. We have just as much a place there as in our regular parish Masses.

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34 Responses to My Initial Observations of the Latin Mass

  1. Angela M. says:

    This is such a wonderful post that I am linking to it on my blog. I would say 99% of it reflected my own experience at the two Latin Masses I have gone to – especially the mantilla fidgeting (however it worked out better the second time.) And the communion rail – what on earth ever made us ditch that wonderful invention?!

    • ukok says:

      Angela, so pleased that the post resonated with you and that you are linking to it also, thank you. Before i became Catholic…. in the darn C of E church i received bread and wine at the altar rail…when i became Catholic i expected for sure that i would receive Holy Communion at the altar rail…but i have only been able to do so a few times. Finding out that i was receiving mere bread and wine as a C of E communicant was what led me to the Catholic Church…its authenticity…that authenticity doesn’t change because i can’t receive on my knees, but it is good for my soul !

  2. Elena says:

    We now have a traditional mass at our parish every week. I think I might just get up my nerve and try it one week – isn’t that funny? When I was a toddler that is the mass we went to! and now I will feel like a stranger there.

    Thanks for sharing your impressions.

    • ukok says:

      Well, we are kinda sisters, our birthdays being on the same day…so it naturally follows we would both be thinking about this at the same time 😉

  3. Mimi says:

    It sounds like it was beautiful and reverent.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to a Latin mass bit it’s not offered here. Consider yourself lucky.

    • ukok says:

      I do, Jennifer. The Holy Father wants all parishes to offer the Latin Mass so maybe it will be available to you at some point?

  5. antonia says:

    When you say ‘Latin Mass’, would I be correct in assuming you mean the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, as opposed to the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) celebrated in Latin?

    Interesting reflections!

  6. Tim J. says:

    Thanks for posting this. I have never been to a Latin Mass, and look forward to going. In the southern U.S., though, they are not that easy to find.

    • ukok says:

      Tim, i hope you get to go to a Latin Mass some time. We are blessed here as last August the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate moved to a parish nearby and have recently begun to offer Latin Mass. It is a great blessing to the deanery. There are two priests and i think 3 or 4 Friars. There are regular Masses, weekly times for Reconciliation and also they have begun to offer Adoration, Benediction and Holy Hour. This has been a long time coming in our area…and on a personal note, considering i’ve had a rough couple of years for one reason or another, i feel that at last, the Lord has really answered my prayer for spiritual strengthening. At times i have been distraught with having to leave my former parish as i did, i even felt i was losing my faith at more than one point…this is like a salve to my soul.

  7. Pablo says:

    Dear Madam,

    Salutations.

    http://www.sanctamissa.org

    This site has the True Mass in video form. It should be very helpful to you and others as well a few bobby pins would also to hold your mantilla in place.

    The Novus Ordo is not ours. It came from the enemies of Christ. The head of the Church of Satan has stated “The new mass came from the Devil. If you look at the results; closed Monasteries, Convents, loss of Priestly Vocations, loss of Religious Vocations, and loss of the Faithful, you would understand this.”

    The True Mass is Christ Crucified. That you do not understand a few things is not uncommon.

    In the True Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is calling you, as He called the Sinner before He rose Lazarus: “Magister ad est, et te vocat te” “The Master is here, and He calls you”

    As Saint Mary Magdalene, the Sinner did, spiritually fall at the feet of our Divine Master and wash His feet with your tears, and dry them with your hair. The Lord is moved to swift action by the tears of women. Pray to him on behalf of the Priest that Baptized you, and the other Priests that have provided the Sacraments to you. Pray for those that are most in need of God’s Mercy.

    If you do these things, you will be following the Holy Sacrifice.

    May God our Lord in His infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us His abundant grace, that we may know His most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.

    Santa María de Guadalupe Esperanza nuestra, salva nuestra patria y conserva nuestra Fe.

    *

    • ukok says:

      Hello Pablo,

      i’m sorry that you believe that the Novus Ordo came from the ‘enemies of Christ’, because i disagree wholeheartedly that this is the case. In my opinion your comment is an example of all that is wrong with Traditionalism – which is the very reason so many of us are put off going to Latin Mass – for fear of encountering radicalist Latin Mass goers who vociferously drone on about the invalidity or evil of the Novus Ordo Mass.

      You are doing the Latin Mass a diservice dear Sir, if it is your understanding that you represent all who embrace/attend the Latin Mass, because thanks be to God, you are not representative of all who attend the Latin Mass.

      There are many Catholic’s like myself, who regularly attend and intently participate in the Novus Ordo Mass, in a reverent and deeply meaningful way. To read your attempts to negate it, makes me sad, and more than a little cross. Not for myself, but for the Lord.

  8. Angela M. says:

    Pablo, people like you actually turn others OFF of the Latin Mass with comments like that.

  9. Pablo says:

    Dear Miss Angela,

    Show my comments to your Priest and Confessor.

    If he says they are incorrect or uncharitable, I will publically apologize.

    Pray for the Holy Father.

    *

  10. Charlotte says:

    Pablo,

    Concern yourself with charity, rather than being right. It’s folks like you that have me at complete odds with TRADS.

  11. Leslie says:

    I’ll publically apologize for Pablo……..What a jerk!!!

    It takes a few times at the Latin Mass to get the hang of the Missal and following it. The site that Pablo recommended is really a good resource.

    And as for Pablo,
    I really wish you would keep your opinions to yourself. I really do not think that you need a Priest to tell you that you are the one that is wrong………The Pope has stated that both forms of the Mass are valid and to be celebrated. It is because of people like you that people are hesitant to attend the Latin Mass and dealing with folks like you make parish priests more than just a little hesitant to celebrate the Mass in latin in the first place. So just let me say this very clearly for you Pablo so maybe in the future you will not comment with your opinions in such an uncharitable fashion …..you are doing a disservice to your Church and to all the other people of the church that happen to prefer the older form of the Mass by making your comments.

  12. Pablo says:

    Dear Ladies,

    I do not believe I have called any of you jerks, or commented to you women in an unmanly manner…

    None of you have rebutted the facts I put forth.

    If the Holy Father did not care which Mass is said, that both are okay, why is he in a dogfight with the world’s Bishops to force them to say the Tridentine Mass?

    It is not the Latin Mass, that is just the language used during the Mass.

    The Tridentine Mass is Christ crucified.

    The resource I gave for understanding the Mass at Sancta Missa is a good one; may it edify your souls.

    If you expect for me to knuckle under to your slanders, you’ll be waiting awhile. I do not need for a girl to apologize on my behalf; that is an insult.

    I entrust this whole matter in the hands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “Mother of the Priest par excellence, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him, of all priests in whom she forms her Son”.

    *

  13. Leslie says:

    # 1 I did not say that I was a women or a man.

    #2 Were do you get your information that the Pope is in any kind of fight with the Bishops concerning the Latin Mass???Don’t get me wrong here, I would love the Pope to come out and say anything definitive on the matter of more liberal use of the TLM but to my knowledge there is no public “dogfight” going on. If you would post the source of your information then maybe I could try to have some respect for you. In Summorum Pontificum 7-7-2007 the Pope states that both Masses are equal and valid. I have never heard anything that contradicted that coming from the Pope. Here is the link if anyone is interested. http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/b16summorumpontificum.htm

    #3 I guess I will apologize for apologizing for Pablo…………….He wants to be perceived as he is so be it. What can I say??? Really most of us are really nice and have no ill will towards the Novus Ordo Mass or the people that prefer it. I wish that the feeling was reciprocated from the Novus Ordo crowd but I guess we have some real PR issues with all the “Pablo types” that love to post on blogs………….

    • ukok says:

      Leslie, thank you so much for commenting on this thread and for all that you wrote that echoes my own belief that most Latin Mass goers do not think the Novus Ordo is from the devil. LOL! Bless you and thank you 🙂

  14. Angela M. says:

    Pablo, get over yourself. Your spiritual pride and your idolatry of the Latin Mass do not win converts. I have been to the Latin Mass. I prefer the Latin Mass. But I don’t go around hitting people on the head as it were with my opinions. I think English must be your second language as you are obviously not catching the nuances and subtleties of the language that UKOK, Leslie and I are using.

  15. mum6kids says:

    Fascinating post Deb.
    I have wanted to attend an EF but have seen so much written by regulars that has put me right off that I have never done so.
    I was glad to know children were welcome at the one you attended.

    I always receive on the tongue and like you have had EMHCs struggle to give Holy Communion properly.
    I’ve taught my 7yr old to receive on the tongue.

    One other thing that keeps me with the OF is the fact I sit throughout Mass. Along with other crips this is accepted. I think I would stand out like a sore thumb at an EF. (That’s probably my pride speaking)

    Still there is a part of me that would love to attend at least one EF…

    • Rita says:

      I don’t think sitting throughout the EF would be a problem. In fact I’ve see it done. We do attend the EF from time to time but it is not a case of preferring one rite over another.

      What we have found strange about the EF is the congregations leave you feeling like you’ve walked into a meeting of the Plymouth Brethren. I have long hair and always wear skirts below the knee but they leave me feeling like a tourist refused entry to St Peters for immodesty. Their children stare, we smile back, yes we don’t have to look like your mum and dad to be Catholic……

    • ukok says:

      Shell, at the Latin Mass i attended a family of 8 were in the pew in front of me. The Mum and Dad had 6 children ranging in ages from about 3 yrs to 10 yrs. All the little girls wore Mantillas as did their mother. The girls were no bother, but the younger boys were being boys LOL! I thought of you and your family and how the Church (bigger church, not necessarily individual parishes) welcomes families into the fold and it made me feel a kind of contentment.

      I always use to receive on the tongue also but the EMHC really put me off as he would have saliva on his finger from someones mouth before giving Communion to the next person. YUCK! I’m not fastidious about germs by any means, but i am susceptible to infections and i wouldn’t want to get anyone elses if they have any nor give an infection to any one else. I think it’s beautiful that you have taught your children to receive on the tongue. /I taught my two to receive on the tongue also. We used to practice with crisps….they really enjoyed it, as you can imagine. Now they are older and have turned away from the church 😦

      About the sitting through Mass…well i have to tell you that the other week I was actually smarting with tears threatening to roll my face and though i would like to say it was because of being moved by the Spirit it was acrtually because i couldn’t bloody get up from the kneeling position. I’m experiencing a lot of pain in other parts of my body now as well as the chronic head/eye pain and my Mum who was next to me had to tey and help me up. I weigh as much as a ships anchor so it was a bit laughable really. I really won’t put myself through that agony again, because it really was excruciating and the pain was terrible for the next few days. So my words of advice to you would be to do what your body tells you to do. Sit if you need to sit, and don’t let it put you off attending the Latin Mass 🙂

  16. pablo says:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

    This web site is very informational.

    It should demonstrate to you, and others, the fight our Holy Father is in.

    The video of the Novus Ordo Mass I posted should clearly indicate something is bad wrong in the Novus Ordo.

    The gates of Hell shall not prevail against Holy Mother Church.

    Pray for God’s grace that we return to the busom of Holy Mother Church.

    *

  17. Suzanne says:

    I think we are almost twins! I would have given almost the same identical feedback! In fact, I’m trying to recall what I would not have agreed with you on, except the fidgeting of the mantilla or the children noises..there were not many little ones at the one I went to and I don’t recall the fidgeting, but there probably was some! 😉 I, too, respect the kneeling for Holy Eucharist..bring THAT back everywhere! Amen? Amen!
    Oh and I love your cupboard love post..you have a kitchen of the heart and I too, like that look, however, I haven’t ever canned! We’ve only grown tomatoes, green beans, green peppers and a bit of okra one year and used them all up that particular season. I should learn to do that.

  18. Suzanne says:

    PS..There are many things you would get used to..there is an “air” of reverence at a Latin Mass and it is also nice because of the language change, one is somehow “away” from the rest of the world for awhile. Does that makes sense? I love it for that and I did grow up with Latin Mass until I was a pre-teen, I think is when it all went away..:(..statues taken down, all sorts of mess..too much change done without the consideration of what it was going to do to some people’s hearts and faith. So much of it broke my “converted” momma’s heart. She would love that people are going back to this at least sometimes! 🙂

  19. Suzanne says:

    Tee-hee..I’m going to make the 30th comment here…I also forgot to tell you that we have three of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate here also!
    They have a Friary here at what is called Mother of the Redeemer Farm. It is in the country and a nice drive there..it is a beautiful place of peace and you kneel oh yes, you kneel for Holy Communion.
    BTW, one priest at our own parish also told me the other day that if he could serve where he most “wanted ” to serve, it would be in England..hmm.. just so you know. 🙂

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Dear UKOK
    I am so glad you’ve dipped your toe in the water – all the time I attended the 3pm Masses at Cobridge, I wondered if you’d ever manage to make one! However, now the Friars are saying it regularly, I think it is a much better opportunity for you to try. I am only sad that we will soon be moving from the area, so I probably won’t be able to meet you. Please, please do visit the presbytery after Mass if you feel well enough, you will find that the community is truly there, with an odd assortment of people from all different backgrounds, and with one main thing in common, their love of the Old Rite, and the Traditions of the Church – and you may find some of your first impressions of people there are changed, eg. did you know that the large family with lots of (gorgeous) noisy children are not dyed in the wool traddies, having always been brought up in the Old Rite, but a convert mum who has been through a lot because she found she started to love the Old Rite, and a dad who’s not (yet!!) even a Catholic? and they’ve only been regularly attending within the last year!!.
    Your observations are not much different from mine on my first visit to an EF Mass (about 5 yrs ago.) It took me a while to get over the feeling that ” I was out of place,” “I didn’t know what was going on”, “where were we in the Mass, and would anyone of those obvious experts out there be able to detect that I don’t know?”, LOL. But what was humbling about attending the Old Rite was precisely the fact that no-one noticed me – because they were generally focused on the Mass, or Jesus, truly present in the tabernacle.
    A word of advice, if you pluck up courage to sit nearer the front you won’t notice the mantilla twitching, and you would have more of a sense of where the Priest is in the Mass – also, if you could take time before Mass to read through one of the booklets, – or look at one of the tutorials on the web, you would soon pick up the pointers to where you are in the Mass. And you are right, no one gives a toss whether you kneel, sit or stand in the right place (although you might feel like a mug for getting up at the “wrong time”) – I often sit straight after the consecration to give my knees time to recover enough to be able to walk up for communion. Older people often receive communion standing, but I LOVE to kneel, if my knees are up for it, and the Communion rails are a real aid to getting down, and up again!
    As to understanding the Latin, well, I don’t know any, but it doesn’t bother me, I have begun to understand that it is a Liturgical language, appropriate to the Holy Sacrifice being offered, but I am blessed to have a Missal, which has the English and Latin side by side. I was not really aware of being present at Calvary in the New Rite Mass – ever, I don’t think; and even now, if I go to a NO Mass, I find that the English language, the face of the Priest, and the generally “chummy” atmosphere of the thing, distracts me far more than anything in the Old Mass, and often it is time for Communion, and I haven’t had enough silence in my head to be able to realise what has gone on!!
    By the way Rita, don’t children stare at all Masses? I’m sure it’s not because you aren’t dressed like them, it’s because you’re a new and interesting face, – and I don’t know where in the world you’ve attended the OR but I’ve never come across a Mass in the UK where everyone (apart from me, as I always am) is dressed like the Plymouth Bretheren, LOL!

  21. Pablo says:

    Dear Miss Ukok,

    Would you please comment on the Our Lady of Good Success video, on it’s message, please?

    http://vimeo.com/13791347

    I was very surprised the first time I saw it, as, Priests, during my childhood, (the early 1950’s), never seemed to have commented on it.

    Thank you in advance.

    pablo

    *

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