Well I’ve attended my first Latin Mass…

Posted: October 4, 2009 by datechguy in catholic
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…and it was interesting.

When we entered the church I had expected more people since it is the only mass of it’s type in the area but attendance seemed sparse, lower than what I would expect at the regular 8 a.m. mass at my own church. (then again Immaculate Conception is a weaker and smaller parish.)

There were veils available for the women at the entrance to Mass. I was unaware that women were expected to either wear hats or veils when attending, that caught me by surprise.

My mother attended ahead of us and unfortunately sat in a location that put me behind a pillar during most of the mass so it was harder to see what was going on.

A very helpful young lady gave us new Mass books with the Latin/English pages. I actually had two of the old ones from the 40’s on me. The old ones were useful because they had the reference reading for the particular week as opposed to a generic reading at the various locations.

There were a LOT of alter boys and they were kept busy all during mass.

Since there is no alter rail a series of kneelers were lined up at the front during communion.

The mass ran 90 minutes considerably longer than a vernacular mass. The sermon was long as well. The mass was celebrated not by the pastor of the parish but by another priest who I never saw before.

My impressions.

Most of what the priest said was inaudible, I’m still unsure if that was by design or just the acoustics.

The choir was nice and the changes echoed well.

I like receiving kneeling down it reinforces the solemnity of communion and the fact that we are getting the body of Christ.

But overall, I can REALLY see why they changed to the vernacular. It is VERY hard to follow and although my sons have both had either two years of Latin or are in their 2nd year they were constantly lost.

Other than the various standing and sitting on cue there was almost nothing to do. I remember reading this line from the reviews of the pass from my earlier post:

I had the distinct impression that Father, the altar servers, and the choir were actually praying (not acting out roles) as they solemnly carried out their offices with unaffected reverence.

That is true, but unfortunately that doesn’t extend to the people. The Mass is the single greatest prayer to God there is and the public who was there wasn’t praying they were attending, it felt like a mandatory meeting at work rather than the celebration of Mass. I can’t see myself going again and my wife and family are even less inclined to do so.

Now does that mean that the Latin mass shouldn’t be offered? Certainly not!

You have to remember the reasons for Mass:

To worship God

To receive communion

To preach the Gospel and to teach

And the overall purpose of all of these things is the saving of souls. That is the bottom line of the Church. All it does should be toward that goal. As Paul says:

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law – though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ – to win over those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it. 1 Cor 9:19-23

For some the Latin Mass bring them closer in their faith journey to the Lord, to others it may seem an obstacle. Remember what I said once before:

You know we Catholics have daily mass, we have the sacrament of confession, we have the Holy Eucharist, we have the Rosary, we have Sunday mass, we have the Blessed Sacrament, we have Sacred Scripture.

All of these things are there on a daily basis waiting for us to take advantage of them to bring us closer to Christ. How many Catholics take advantage of them?

The Latin mass has a place in bringing people to Christ as does all the other tools that the Church provides. If it is a useful tool for you than by all means take advantage of it. If not that’s fine too but lets not throw it away.

Update: Consider this:

“ ghorgh SoH tlhob, jatlh, ‘ maj vav Daq chal, may lIj pong taH polta’ le’. May lIj Kingdom ghoS. May lIj DIchDaq taH ta’pu’ Daq tera’, as ‘oH ghaH Daq chal. | nob maH jaj Sum jaj maj daily tIr Soj. | Forgive maH maj yemmey, vaD maH ourselves je forgive Hoch ‘Iv ghaH indebted Daq maH. qem maH ghobe’ Daq temptation, ‘ach toD maH vo’ the mIghtaHghach wa’.’”

That is believe it or not, the Our Father. In the end it doesn’t matter if you say it in Latin, English or as above in Klingon. If you say it in prayer to the glory of God, it will be heard.

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