Monday, December 8, 2008

Going to Latin Mass

I got to smell some incense on Sunday- we went to our first Latin Mass. I'd have to go several more times to begin to feel like I'm picking it up and to unpack my impressions, but here's what I noticed was different. I'd also like to know why these things are not done anymore...
  • The prayers were stunning in their portrayal of God's holiness and the egregiousness of our sin (an English translation was provided) - definitely not of the 'Jesus is my best buddy' variety
  • There was a line for confession during Mass. I think the priest stopped hearing confessions right before the Eucharist
  • We received the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling
  • Almost all the women wore chapel veils
  • No 'passing of the peace'
  • Choir was men only
  • Less music
  • Less scripture read
Throughout the Mass, I couldn't help but think about how God is a mystery and the ways of heaven are mysterious. Maybe that was just me drawing a parallel between not being able to understand what the priest was saying, but it's still the dominant impression I have of the Latin Mass as I think back on it now. After going to this Mass, I'd like to know more about why the liturgy was changed. I can understand why making the switch from Latin to English seemed important, but the other changes? It felt appropriate to kneel for the Eucharist and the prayers were beautiful and true. It seems odd that people decided these things were no longer useful for Catholics. I know very little about liturgy, but I think I can see why people would cringe over some of the changes.


Maggie said...

I discovered your blog via Fr. Z's blog over at and I love it! I'm a convert too, so welcome home! Keep up the good blogging :-)

Figulus said...

Fr. Z had quite a few comments on this post over at his blog:

My favorite quote: "As a convert, I had the experience of discovery. I recall the powerful moment of comprehension that when I became a Catholic all of "this sort of thing", ... the music, the liturgy, the lives of saints, the art, the architecture, suddenly became mine. It was my inheritance. My patrimony."

Spera In Deo said...

Dear Jogger Mom:

As a member of the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community (PMLC), which sponsors the Extraordinary Form (latin) of the Mass at St. Boniface Church (Holy Wisdom Parish), I was extremely pleased to learn of your favorable impressions at the High Mass of this past Sunday.

We of the PLMC have been blessed for nearly twenty years now with the traditional Tridentine Mass in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. It has grown from one Mass on Sunday to two Masses on Sunday, one on Saturday, one on each First Friday and one on all major holidays. Marriage, funerals, First Communion and Baptism are also conducted per the Missal of 1962. And, only this year, the diocese provided an auxillary bishop to conduct Confirmation according to the old rite.

Again, I am pleased your experience was positive and I hope you will avail yourself soon of the opportunity to attend again and hopefully become a member of the PLMC.

By the way, we also have a fine program of religious instruction for your children. And yes, several of these youngsters have gone on to become priests!

God Bless.

Spera In Deo