Attending My First Latin Mass

I finally did it!  I finally attended a Latin Mass – the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite –  A Missa Solemnis according to the “Usus Antiquior.”  Una Voce Toronto is “dedicated to the development of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the Archdiocese of Toronto.”  On August 15, the Feast of the Assumption,  High Solemn Mass was celebrated at a church just north of Toronto.

I thought I had died and gone to mantilla heaven!  For the first time since choosing to wear a veil during Mass, I didn’t feel singled out.  Many women and young girls wore a veil that evening.

My personal guide was a seminarian friend who is well acquainted with the EF Mass.  Following along in his 1962 Missal and standing, sitting and kneeling when he did was a tremendous help.  Although he reassured me that it was OK to take pictures, I was too scared and too mesmerized to take out my camera.

So what did I think of it?

Mysterious.  Special.  Elevated.  Beautiful.  Reverent.  Majestic.  Confusing.

It took some time to get used to the Latin text and having a Missal with English translations as well as being with someone who knew what he was doing certainly helped.  Latin added to the air of mystery and reverence.  It elevated the Mass to a celebration of uplifting richness.  The music and the canting enhanced the majesty of the evening.

The main celebrant, deacon and sub-deacon were clothed in exquisite vestments that beautifully honoured our Blessed Mother on the Feast of her Assumption into Heaven.   Their actions at the Altar held them apart from the congregation but clearly they were leading us in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

When the Blessed Sacrament was elevated,  the faithful had no choice but to bow in adoration.  How else could anyone act in the presence of such solemn beauty?  Holy Communion was received on the tongue, kneeling at the communion rail.  I haven’t seen a communion rail since I was a little girl but eagerly kneeling to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist was just so right.

Everything was so right.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our Catholic churches could incorporate more of the traditional elements into the Novus Urdo Mass?  I’m not advocating for a complete and total change back to the Latin Mass of my parents – I think that’s unrealistic and would be too foreign for many people.  But bringing back some of the older traditions –  the priest facing ad orientum and kneeling at the communion rail to receive Jesus on the tongue would remind us that it is Jesus present in the Eucharist that calls us back to Mass each week.   And we would remember that His actual presence in the Blessed Sacrament is the reason for the Sacrifice of Mass, not Father’s amazing jokes or the feeling of a community gathering.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

Deo Gratias

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12 Responses to Attending My First Latin Mass

  1. I’m so glad you got to experience it. It truly is extraordinary.

  2. Deo Gratias 🙂 It sounds like you attended a beautiful Latin Mass. I agree with everything you said, from the Latin enhancing the mystery to the kneeling for Communion just feeling right. It acknowledges just what we are doing! This is God up there.

    The priest that celebrates the Latin Mass I go to does a very interesting Novus Ordo as well. He celebrates the Novus Ordo Ad Orientem, and people line up at the altar rails just as they do at the Latin Mass. Most people at the Novus Ordo receive kneeling and on the tongue as well.

    Also, two churches in Bloomington, IL have introduced portable kneelers that are brought out during Communion. Many people at those Masses also receive kneeling and on the tongue. So at least in the Peoria diocese, some of the greatness of the Latin Mass is making its way back into a few of the the Novus Ordo Masses 🙂

  3. dboncan says:

    Uplifting eh!

  4. cherrytf says:

    Thanks for sharing this. An acquaintance has been inviting me and my family to attend a Sunday Latin Mass and after reading your post I am now more inclined to go to one.

  5. reinkat says:

    I am glad that there is this opportunity for you, for others who cherish it. I remember Latin Mass as a child. Occasionally even these days, I end up at one, while travelling or by chance.
    I am so glad that there is an alternative, too. I have to truthfully say that I would leave the Church if it went back to Latin, back to not being able to see what the priest is doing and feel a part of it. But I know that is just me. There is a majesty and beauty to the traditional Mass, but it is not necessarily lost in the simplicity and elegance of the Masses I attend today.

  6. ivan1971 says:

    Sounds like a truly exquisite experience of the Mass.

  7. catholic123 says:

    This is wonderful! I am so glad you got to go to a Latin Mass. I pray that many others will have at least one opportunity to experience the mystery of the Extraordinary Form.

  8. Hi 8 Kids! I hope that you are doing well. I was thinking about you and came on to see how things were. I know I have been so busy and away from blogging forever, but I was excited to see your post on the Latin Mass!

    I am so glad to hear you liked it! It sounds like it was beautiful and you were blessed to have someone help you through it. I have a missal, but I hardly ever use it as I find that I can contemplate more during a Latin Mass than an English one – but sometimes I have used it. I find the Latin Mass more participatory than the English for that reason – I can contemplate and pray better I think. Ah, I am so happy you liked it!

    I feel sad when I read that some people would leave the church if it went back to that. Given that the church’s liturgy is the essence of worship, and the Latin Mass defined that essence for over 1500 years, to deny that and say someone would leave over it suggests a lack of understanding of one’s faith. How can they deny the form of worship that was used for over 1500 years? It is practically denying ones faith already. 😦

    But, I am so happy to hear you liked it! (Did I say that yet? LOL 😉

    God bless you!!! Thank you for sharing your experience!

    “Furthermore, by these presents, in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force. . . .” Pope St. Pius V, Quo Primum

  9. This is quite a nice blog, between your medical care issues and your family life and faith articles.

    I’m actually a TLM server in the diocese via other Latin Mass initiatives. I am so pleased you found the Latin Mass and experienced the reverence, solemnity, and seriousness of it all!

    I wanted to direct you to a new blog I made to help promote all the Diocese’ s Latin Mass initiatives (parish and lay-organized) here: http://torontotlmserving.blogspot.ca/ . It’s more from an attendee/serving persepctive vs. anything official, but I am content to leave it at that level. Further if anyone in interested in serving in any one of the initiatives it could be a starting base for them and I could either bring them on board to my group i helped to get established for a monthly practice out in Scarborough, or I could help direct someone to one of the diocesan lay run or parish initiatives. I also try to keep up to date with the Solemn Masses that occur every so often, so that people like yourself can attend them more and with multiple offerings. To you and your other readers I hope you will enjoy. Julian.

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