Attending the Latin Mass for the First Time
/ Catholic Tradition
the Latin 'Tridentine' Mass for the First Time
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that you've found an approved Latin Mass
(and it might be quite a drive), you find
that you're not really sure what to do once
there. Fortunately, Latin/English missals
are usually available which provide both the Latin
and English version of what is being
said. Some of these missals are
generously filled with information about
what is occurring during different parts
of the Mass (which may be especially
helpful during silent periods). These missals may also instruct you when
to sit, kneel, or stand. So, simply
follow along in the book. Note: It might
be wise to contact the parish before
attending to confirm that they provide missals. If not, they may
be purchased from various sources for a
nominal amount or may be printed at no charge from
best see what is going on at Mass, you may want to sit towards the front
of the church (although you might want to initially avoid the very first
couple of pews, since you may not yet know when to kneel, stand, or sit).
If possible, sit near a friendly person who is familiar with the Mass
and can quietly assist you in finding your place in the missal.
the Mass begins, you should privately offer various prayers (usually
contained in the Missal) and be recollected and prepared for the day's
Mass. Note that you should determine whether the Mass will be a High or
a Low Mass, since the posture differs depending upon which type of Mass
you attend (Low Mass involves more kneeling). Probably the easiest way
to determine whether you will be attending a High or Low Mass is to
observe the number of lit candles. Six lit candles on the altar
indicates a High Mass, while two lit candles on the altar indicates a
the Mass begins, simply follow along in the Missal. Try to pay attention
especially to what the priest is doing. Even if you don't understand (or
hear) the words, you should be able to pick up what is going on by the
externals. And, should you accidentally "mess up" by sitting,
standing, or keeling at the wrong time, don't feel too bad - it's probably
happened to everyone at least once. Sometimes it's most helpful to
follow another parishioner who does know when to sit, stand, or kneel
(sadly, not all will).
that the reaction to one's first 'Tridentine' Mass may vary from tears
("I can't believe they took this away from me", "It's so
beautiful", etc.) to mixed feelings ("It was okay,
but..."), or even to disapproval ("I don't get it").
Should your first experience of the 'Tridentine' Mass be in any way
unfavorable, remember that the most important thing is not to give up.
Remember that your tastes may be influenced by regular attendance at the
Novus Ordo Mass of the 1960's, which has a very different focus (click
here). The 'Tridentine' Mass, on the other hand, may be compared
with fine wine - one's appreciation of it grows over time. Note that it
is also helpful to learn as much as possible about the 'Tridentine'
Mass. It seems that the more one knows about it, the more one loves it.
To this end, we recommend you consider the resources on this site as
well as other appropriate resources. Whatever you do, don't let a
negative first impression turn you away from what might be one of the biggest
blessings in your entire life.
you've attended "the Mass of the Saints" a few times, you should
begin to feel more comfortable. If you keep attending, pay
attention, and participate through interior prayer, it is likely that
your appreciation for it will begin to grow rapidly. In fact, the
'Tridentine' Mass may soon capture your heart like it has so many other
Catholics over the centuries.
the 'Tridentine' Latin Mass - the Mass of our Fathers and "the most
beautiful thing this side of Heaven"!
It is very possible that one's conduct in church may have been
conditioned by regular attendance at various Novus Ordo Masses.
Therefore, it may also be helpful to review information on proper church
behavior before attending the 'Tridentine' Mass (click
here for information on 'proper behavior in church').
the Latin Mass?
Mass (Topic Page)
of the Latin Mass (Summary)
Latin Mass Postures: When to Sit, Stand & Kneel at the Traditional Latin
Mass (User-Submitted Article)
Traditional Latin Mass vs. the Novus Ordo (New) Mass
Traditional Liturgical Calendar
of the Latin 'Tridentine' Mass
to Find a Latin 'Tridentine' Mass
to Learn More About the Latin 'Tridentine' Mass
Catholic Tradition: Q & A
Traditional Latin Mass: A Brief History
Holy Eucharist / Mass (Sacraments Section)
News for Traditionalists
to Do / How You Can Help
Statement Regarding "Illicit" Latin 'Tridentine' Masses
Language Facts & Pronunciation Tips
of the Latin Language
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