7 Tips for Attending Your First Latin Mass
The Latin Mass may seem daunting for the newcoming. These are some tips so that you feel more comfortable as you experience this ancient and sacred form of worship.
1. Don’t worry if you aren’t quite sure what’s happening.
While it isn’t hard to familiarize yourself with the Latin Mass, it isn’t going to happen overnight. St. Augustine tells us “If there are some present who do not understand what is being said or sung, they know at least that all is said and sung to the glory of God, and that is sufficient for them to join in it devoutly.”
Allow yourself to be immersed in the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t be worried if you don’t know exactly what is going on.
2. Follow the postures of those around you.
The congregation participates by standing, kneeling, and sitting at various times. To feel more comfortable simply follow the postures of those around you, and know that no one will be offended if you seem unsure.
3. Be aware that many of the men will be wearing ties and many of the women will be wearing veils.
While those attending Mass are expected to dress in a modest and dignified manner, there is no need to feel embarrassed if you feel underdressed in comparison to some of the other parishioners. For more information on modest and dignified attire, please visit our FAQ page.
4. Know that the Canon (eucharistic prayer) will not be audible.
According to ancient custom the Canon, or “eucharistic prayer” as it is known in the new Mass, is said silently so that no one but the priest may hear these most sacred words. The silence increases our reverence at the most sacred moment of the Mass, removes the Consecration from ordinary vulgar use, and is a symbol of our Lord's silent prayer in the Garden and silence during his Passion. The “Consecration” refers to the precise moment when when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of our Lord.
You will know that the Consecration is coming when you hear a bell rung. After he has consecrated, the priest will elevate the Host and Chalice so that the faithful may adore.
5. Prepare for the traditional way of receiving Holy Communion.
Communicants (who must be baptized Catholics in the state of grace) will kneel along the altar rail to receive Holy Communion. It is received on the tongue. The communicant does not say “Amen.”
6. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone after Mass.
Those who attend the Latin Mass are happy to welcome visitors and newcomers. While we like to remain silent in the Church so that we may pray and show respect to Jesus in Blessed Sacrament, you are certainly welcome to strike up a (quiet) conversation in the back of the church after Mass.
7. Keep learning and keep coming back.
For centuries the Traditional for For centuries the Latin Mass inspired saints, nourished the souls of sinners, and converted nations to Jesus Christ. It is a Powerful experience of worship worth becoming familiar with.
For more information check out the following: