So You're Curious About the Latin Mass... {including a giveaway!}

Friday, January 17, 2020

Several of you have asked for this post, and I've got to say... I don't know how equipped I am to really educate you on the Latin Mass! But what I can do is help boost your confidence so that if you want to visit a parish that offers Mass in the Extraordinary Form, you can do it without fear of anyone pointing and laughing at you for being such an obvious newbie!

(Nobody will point and laugh. If you stick out like a sore thumb, anyone with the tiniest bit of charity in their hearts will figure out that you're visiting! But I understand the self-consciousness 100%)

So let me answer some of your questions and hopefully you'll feel equipped to give it a try!

One big question I get is...

 

What do I wear? Do I need to wear a dress? Should I wear a veil?

At our parish, I would hazard to guess probably 75% of women wear skirts and dresses? But dress pants definitely make an appearance - at any Latin Mass, you'll probably generally see a fairly high standard of dress, so if you're typically a more casual dresser for Mass, you may want to up your game a bit just so you don't feel out of place. But honestly, it's unlikely anyone will be looking at you, judging what you're wearing! We over-thinkers just like to be prepared. If in doubt, wear a skirt or dress that falls below your knees, something that covers your shoulders (jacket & tie for men). Think European church dress code.

As for veils, again, it depends on the parish. Some stricter traditional parishes will ask women to cover their heads and then they'll provide veils in the lobby for anyone to borrow. The vast majority of parishes don't require any sort of head covering, and you'll find anywhere from 25-75% of women covering their heads with veils or hats. If you don't usually wear a hat or veil but want to give it a try, you can stick a lightweight scarf in your purse and slip it over your head if it looks like the majority of women are veiling and you would feel conspicuous not doing so. 



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How do I follow along? I don't know any of these prayers!

Honestly, the biggest relief for me is that I don't need to follow along. I spent years feeling grumpy and annoyed because I had no idea what was happening at any point, and I was always holding a baby or a toddler, so I couldn't follow along in the Missal.

Then one day it hit me - all that matters is that I'm praying. My participation is not dependent on me reciting rote prayers or saying the right responses, and what a weight off my shoulders that was! You'll recognize the consecration. Hopefully the readings will be read in English as well as Latin (our parish hands out the Propers, which are the prayers and readings that differ for each Mass, before Mass, so I try to read those beforehand), and the homily will almost certainly not be in Latin. But you don't need to worry about knowing exactly what's happening at any given moment. That's the priest's job!

Just let it all sink in, and unite your prayers with those of the congregation. It can be tricky because it's not the same as a Novus Ordo Mass, but in Latin instead. There's so, so much more that was cut out of the liturgy after the reforms of the second Vatican Council, so it can be hard to catch your rhythm if you weren't expecting that. Go with the flow and you'll catch on eventually!


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How do I know if I'm at a High Mass or a Low Mass? What's the best to start out with?

If you're at a High Mass, the choir will be singing through much of the liturgy, which can make things a little more confusing, but also allows you time to prayerfully let things sink in. A Low Mass is easier to follow along with, in my opinion, and definitely shorter. It's much quieter though, since there's generally no choir, so if you have children it's a little harder for their noises to be hidden by the music. 

You won't always have a choice as far as what to attend - our parish only offers Low Mass most Sundays, so that's what we do! High Mass is always a treat for us, with incense & full choir. But it's longer, so be prepared. If you have children and aren't sure what their reaction will be, it might be worthwhile to sneak out and try on your own first. Or you can just jump right in as a family! 


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>What can I do to minimize looking ridiculous?

The two big tips I have are...

1. Don't sit in front!! You need people in front of you so you know when to sit/stand/kneel, because it's totally different.

2. When you kneel for Communion (and you'll be receiving on the tongue, so be prepared for that if you don't already receive that way), you don't say Amen! The priest will say it for you, you just tip your head back and stick out your tongue. 

>Why are all those people lined up outside the confessional?

Oh how I wish our parish offered confessions during Mass... But at a lot of Latin Mass parishes we've visited, one priest stays in the confessional to hear confessions all through Mass, leaves to assist at Communion time, then returns to hear more confessions. So you can go ahead and get in line with everyone else if you want! You're at Mass anyway, might as well get another sacrament in!

Affiliate links below:

Looking for more resources? This book is what finally helped me be able to follow along properly after years of trying! We even use it in our homeschool because it's so incredibly informative. I have heard great things about this book for beginners (check out the giveaway below!), both adults and teens. This booklet/missal is what you'll find in a lot of pews, and is helpful if you don't have a missal of your own. And if you/your kids are graphic novel fans, you will love this book! If you'd like to fall down a rabbit hole of research, you might enjoy the Fish Eaters website, which explains the meaning behind many traditions.

And here is a quick "cheat sheet" so you know when to sit, stand, & kneel! 

What do you think, is your interest piqued? Or have I made it seem a whole lot more complicated than it really is? I think it's worth a try if you have a Latin Mass available nearby! After all, this is the Mass so many of the saints would have experienced :)

If you'd like to learn more, Derya Little has generously offered TWO copies of her book, A Beginner's Guide to the Traditional Latin Mass for two of you readers! Simply enter the rafflecopter below, and please consider leaving a review for the book if you have already read it, reviews are a huge help in helping books like this get greater visibility!


  
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

39 comments:

  1. A lot of good tips here. There is just one that I have a minor quibble with. I strongly encourage all new TLM visitors to strive to find a High Mass to attend. I've run in to too many people who were completely discouraged and disillusioned by the quietness at the low Mass, and the fact that they can barely hear a thing he priest is saying, and get completely lost. If you're not used to the Latin Mass, it's actually more difficult to understand what's happening.

    Low Mass developed to be used as a private Mass in monasteries, where you had tons of priests, all needing to fit in a daily Mass (it's name is, in fact, Missa Privata). High Mass is the norm for a public Mass.

    I realize that in many churches, they may not have the resources to offer a High Mass every week, but I do recommend experiencing this fuller form if possible!

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    1. Thank you for weighing in! I think that's a good point—our parish unfortunately isn't permitted to offer High Mass except on major feasts, but hopefully other parishes are given more leeway! I think it's a better intro for sure, especially if you have kids.

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  2. I've only been to one Latin mass and it was before I converted. I've been curious about going with the family it just hasn't worked out with our schedule yet.

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    1. It seems like in a lot of places you either have to wake up early to get to a 7am Mass or skip lunch/naps and get to a 12:30! So frustrating...

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  3. Hey Rosie! If anyone is looking for a list of Latin Masses close by, latinmassdir.org and Ecclesia Dei have good lists. But always check with the individual parish website too. I keep trying to send in corrections for our parish and it still has outdated information.
    Love the post. :)

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    1. Oh thank you, I meant to include links to those! I'll try to edit to add them when I can get on the computer 😊

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  4. One of our family goals this year is to get to a Latin mass once a month. We have to drive about 30 minutes at this point, but are praying our new pastor will want to include the option at our parish someday!

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    1. That is awesome, Ashley!! Is there interest from other parishioners? You might be able to invite visiting priests periodically to see what kind of crowd it draws—Fr. Tom at Christendom would probably be worth reaching out to since he's not far!

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  5. Thanks for the interesting post, Rosie!! I will say -- my favorite part of our NO Mass is that the "off duty" priest stays in the confessional from half an hour before Mass until the line is done, however long into Mass it takes! Makes going to confession SO much easier. :)

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    1. I love that!!! I wish it were standard practice in every single parish!

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  6. Thank you for this! I haven’t been to a Latin Mass since I was a little girl, but my husband and I would like to start going as a family. He’s a convert, so he’s completely lost.

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  7. The Treasure and Tradition book is a beautiful resource! As is the red missal! I like the cheat sheet, too, but be aware there are some local quirks to postures.

    Also, a tip we were given is to listen for Dominus vobiscum. It's sort of like a guidepost to help you get and keep your bearings.

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  8. We've been prioritizing going to the Extraordinary Mass at least once a month for several years, and yet I feel like I am only just beginning. My oldest boys have grown so deeply in love with Christ by serving there.

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  9. We've been going to the TLM for about 2 years and LOVE IT! We even brave 5 hour long ceremonies during Holy Week with 5 littles. It's tough, but so worth it! We always encourage everyone to try it out!

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  10. What you say about just entering into the Mass by praying makes so much sense, and I never thought about it that way before. Thank you!

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  11. This is so timely for us. My husband and I have been talking more and more about attending the Latin Mass. We just ordered Treasure & Tradition the other day! Thanks for the encouragement!

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  12. Saginaw Diocese just approved our first TLM, we are so happy. I have never been to a Latin Mass and now we will be able to worship in the manner we have yearned for!

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  13. These are great recommendations! I agree with the comment to find a High Mass, if at all possible. It can also take a little bit to become adjusted, so try attending at least 4 Masses if you are a newbie. Mother Love (a mother's prayer book) is a great resource for moms to pray all the time, but it has specific, beautiful prayers for meditation during Mass. Dr Taylor Marshall has some really good videos on how to attend the TLM and reasons to attend, for those interested.
    Our family LOVES the TLM! We currently get up at 5:30am on some Sunday mornings and drive 2.5hrs to the nearest one as often as we can (much less often in winter). Please say a prayer we can somehow figure out a job to actually move closer!

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    1. Wow that is quite a drive!! Will absolutely pray for a closer job ❤️

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  14. I'm definitely curious about the Latin Mass, and this post just might encourage me to give it a try! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  15. Who was the dummy who wore jeans to high mass? THIS CHIC! And I didn’t realize till we were 15 minutes in. I looked and felt like a fool! No one told me beforehand! And we are pretty devout Catholics and already know a lot of Latin and do many prayers in Latin in the new Mass. DOH.

    And kicker......we sat in the second row bc I wanted to see! Thank goodness we had people on front of us to copy. Again, I felt like a fool :/

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    1. Oh no!! I'm sure everybody knew you were visiting ❤️

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  16. What a great post! We miss St John's and Old St Mary's.

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  17. We're extremely lucky to have a 9:30 Nissa Cantata EVERY Sunday at St. Rita's. We actually started going just because the time of mass was so much more convenient, even though the parish is 25 minutes away. It's been so worth it. We love the reverence and the predicability. And (no one kill me!) our High Masses never ever run more than 60 minutes, sometimes more like 45-50 (which is WAYYYY shorter than all our huge, long-homily, long-Communion line, slowwww music N.O. masses were!)

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    1. *Missa Cantata...thx autocorrect

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    2. I wish you hadn't corrected that. I was having fun imagining that the real spelling was "Nissan Cantata" -- a great car for the Catholic family that sings!

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    3. HAHA! That's such a funny typo!

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    4. LOLOL, yes my hubby walked by and saw the typo and read, "Oh, Nissan Cantata! I like that!"

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    5. Yeah our Mass length depends greatly on the length of the Communion line... St. Rita's is small enough that it can't get too long!

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  18. Thanks for the tips...love your photos!

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  19. Praying hard about whether to attend the TLM or stay at our NO parish where we are very involved. The closest TLM is an hour away and we have 7 kids. :/ Thank you for writing this as I think more people are being drawn to the TLM and need the extra nudge to go.

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    1. That is a hike!! I don't know the specifics of your situation, but maybe you could see if your pastor would be willing to host visiting priests who can celebrate the Extraordinary Form? It's definitely spreading!

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  20. I am curious about TLM. We are converts to the faith and haven't been to one yet, but there is a parish in our diocese that offers TLM.

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  21. I'm a convert (almost 2 years Catholic!) but haven't made it to TLM yet. This post has encouraged me to give it a try soon! :)

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  22. Leaving a comment to win. I've been to TLM by myself with friends, but I really want to bring my family.
    This book looks like just what we need!

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  23. The parish we attend has low mass Saturday mornings (which I’ve only gotten to once) but for the feast of the immaculate conception we had a visiting choir and our priest took advantage by offering a Missa Cantata. It was so lovely! Such a treat.

    Is it St Johns you go to that has a low mass on Sundays? Which mass time?

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    1. The 12:30 is the Latin Mass—LOTS of families there, you will feel right at home :)

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  24. We have an FSSP parish in Canberra with high (and sometimes low) mass at 10 AM and it has spoiled me for when we move back to VA! It’s taken me nearly 3 years to actually be able to follow the missal with any regularity and have a clue what’s going on, but you’re right Rosie the important thing is just to prayerfully be there:-). I also tell the kids to count the candles to figure out if we are having Low or High Mass that week!

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I *love* reading your kind comments and will always try my best to reply right here in the comment box so we can keep the conversation going! If you have a blog of your own, please do link to it so I can visit back :)

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