Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thoughts on Children and the TLM

A Young Father Meets the Old Mass

From the article: What I do know, however, is the power of the older form...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Spirit of the Liturgy Column

Zenit has launched a new Spirit of the Liturgy column, the first of which is The Priesthood and the Mass. From the article: As we see, St. John Mary points to the greatness of the priest with the privileged reference to the power that he exercises in the sacraments in the name of the Person of Christ. Benedict XVI brought this light, citing still other words of the Curé d'Ars, which refer in particular to the office of celebrating the Holy Eucharist. The Pope writes that the saint "was convinced that the fervor of a priest's life depended entirely upon the Mass: 'The reason why a priest is lax is that he does not pay attention to the Mass! My God, how we ought to pity a priest who celebrates as if he were engaged in something routine!'"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Medieval or not?

This is just slightly off topic, but there's a battle going on about Chant. I would love comments from those in the know.

This article Sacred Music, Sacred Time by David P. Goldman sparked this:

Gregorian Chant: General: First Things: chant was the "invention" of Solesmes, and other odd claims on MusicaSacra forum.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


“The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman Liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.”Gregorian chant is uniquely the Church’s own music. Chant is a living connection with our forebears in the faith, the traditional music of the Roman rite, a sign of communion with the universal Church, a bond of unity across cultures, a means for diverse communities to participate together in song, and a summons to contemplative participation in the Liturgy."
Sing to the Lord (USCCB), 2007
(For more chant by Vianini Giovanni, see here)

Veni, Creator Spiritus
mentes tuorum visita
Imple superna gratia quae
tu creasti pectora.
Qui Paraclitus diceris,
donum Dei Altissimi,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
Tu septiformis munere,
dexterae paternae digitus,
tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis,
virtute firmans perpeti.
Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus,
ductore sic te praevio,
vitemus omne noxium.
Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium,
teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio qui a mortuis surrexit,
ac Paraclito in saeculorum saecula.

COME O CREATORCome, O Creator, Spirit blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


The Altar is the structure on which the sacrifice of the Mass is offered. In unusual circumstances such in mission lands or on the battlefield any usable surface will do, but usually Mass is offered on a proper altar in a church.

“I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God.” (Rev. 6:9.)

In the early centuries of the Church, Mass was sometimes celebrated over the graves of the martyrs, in the Catacombs. When the Church came out of the Catacombs the tradition of placing relics of the saints in or under the altar became universal.

In recent centuries they were often sealed in a removable altar stone rather than the altar itself. When the priest kisses the altar it is this place he kisses, venerating not only the altar itself (which is a representation of both Christ and the Cross) but also the saints whose relics are present.

“We beseech You, O Lord, by the merits of Your Saints whose relics lie here, and of all the Saints, deign in your mercy to pardon me all my sins. Amen.” (Said in the traditional mass just before the Kyrie.)

Upon the altar there are three cloths these represent the grave cloths that wrapped the body of our lord. There are also two smaller candles on each side of the altar (or on the altarpiece behind it); these are used at Low Mass. Behind these are six (or four) larger candles used at High Mass. Candles must be at least 51% beeswax.

In the center of the altar there is a crucifix. (There may or may not be a tabernacle in the center of the altar, it is to be covered with a veil.) The altar missal is on its stand; if the book is closed the page edge always is pointed toward the center of the altar. (I don’t know what the significance of this is.)

At the center of the altar and at each side there are altar cards containing often-used parts of the Mass for the priest's use. (Printable altar cards can be found here: Calefactory, or here: Rosary.)

“Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the sacred Body and Blood of your Son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing.” (Said after the consecration at Mass.)

(By Ben)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

TLM teaching videos!

A series of teaching videos about the Traditional Latin Mass are now available online. Very helpful! Here's the first one. The link takes you to ten other ones.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why Latin?

The traditional Mass must be celebrated in the Latin language, while the ordinary form may be celebrated in either Latin or vernacular languages. The reason for using Latin is that it is universal. It belongs to no one, which means it belongs to everyone. By the early Middle Ages with the breakup of the Roman empire it had become the universal language of educated people (mainly clerics and royalty) in the west. This was a time when local languages varied to a great extent, and so over time Latin became the Church’s language.

It is for Roman Catholics what Hebrew is for Jews, Arabic is for Moslems, and Old Church Slavonic is for the Russian Orthodox. These are all examples of ‘sacred languages’, some used almost exclusively for worship. The advantage of this is that it spans the different vernaculars, does not change meaning over time (spans centuries) and becomes sacred as a result of being used for worship.

Here are some common Latin phrases used in the Mass:
Deo Grátias. Thanks be to God.
Dóminus vobíscum. The Lord be with you.
Et cum spíritu tuo. And with thy spirit.
Orémus. Let us pray.
Glória tibi Dómine. Glory be to Thee, O Lord.
Laus tibi Christe. Praise be to Thee, O Christ.
Per ómina sæcula sæculorum. World without end.

(Written by Ben)

Monday, August 31, 2009

First Latin Mass

My husband and I attended my very first Traditional Latin Mass the Sunday before last. We traveled about an hour-and-a-half from home to a little country church which has not been 'wreck-ovated' (thanks for that, Tom!!).

It was absolutely beautiful. The altar was flanked by statues of St. Patrick and Mary and Jesus. An alabaster Last Supper scene graced the front of the altar. The stained glass windows were heavenly. The stunning beauty of the interior helped to ready one for worship.

Parishioners were quiet and prayerful -- no talking and laughing and whispering going on.

I have to tell you that I went there with the idea that I was going to soak up the atmosphere. I wasn't going to worry too much about what I was supposed to be doing. So we sat in back and followed those who were experienced.

I found that I was MUCH, MUCH more focused on worship. I understood the flow of Mass, even if I didn't understand all that was going on every moment. But it was all so much more reverent. The Mass was truly about worshipping God. Everything, all, was focused on Him. I didn't feel as if the priest was 'ignoring' me when his back was to us. We were all facing God together.

The traditional vestments were like a painting to me. The altar boys knew just what to do, and the beauty of the Mass was enhanced by each movement.

My chant friends were in the choir loft and the chant was so uplifting, so directing, so much closer to heaven than any other type of music.

And, what also meant much to me was the kneeler! We were able to receive kneeling, on the tongue, replete with paten. It was natural and right and I was so very grateful to experience it.

I should say that I brought a scarf to cover my head, though I wasn't sure about wearing it inside. But when I saw three other ladies who were covered, on it went. And it also felt so right.

If anyone else who was there is reading this, please feel free to share your impressions, too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

For all us first-timers

Attending the Ancient form of the Mass?
What to expect and how to prepare for attending
the Extraordinary Form of the Mass

By Ben

This article is intended for those who have never attended a Latin Mass before. It will give some suggestions on how to prepare for this experience as well as an outline of what to expect. Unfortunately, due to the nature of this article the theology and spirituality of the traditionalmass can’t be explored in an enormous amount of depth.

The Traditional Latin Mass exists in several different forms but can be divided into two basic categories, ‘low’ and ‘high’. High Masses are those in which the texts of the Mass are sung. If at all possible I recommend you make your first Mass a High Mass. Many people attend their first traditional Mass expecting Gregorian chant and clouds of incense only to be disappointed and confused by a nearly silent, bare bones low Mass. This can be real culture shock for some people (this is not to knock the low Mass, it just is alien to modern minds that are used to constant noise and activity).

Part 1

What to do to prepare? Obviously the Traditional Mass is in the Latin language. Many people who regularly attend the Latin Mass and aren’t fluent in Latin (most of us) follow along in a book called a hand missal. This book contains the order of the Mass in Latin and English as well as translations of the prayers and readings particular to the specific day.
Pope Pius XII encouraged the lay faithful to use the missal to “pray along with the priest in the very words of the Church”, but if this is your first Mass in this form, you don’t want to spend the entire Mass buried in a book. Besides, you will probably lose your place and get confused.
My advice is to save the missal for next time if you choose to use it. Rather, take some time before you will be attending the Mass to read through the Order of Mass.

Many publishers have printed a booklet containing the Order of Mass for the Extraordinary Form (Una Voce, Roman Catholic Books, Ignatius Press) it can be found here http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/latinmass2.html, as well. It would also be good to read the proper prayers and readings for that particular day as well (which can be found here http://www.uvoc.org/Propers.html ).

It would be helpful to familiarize yourself with the basic responses. In particular, the Et Cum Spiritu tuo (and with your spirit) to the Priests ‘Dominus Vobiscum” (the Lord be with you). If you are inclined and have the time you may also wish to be familiar enough to recognize the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) and Anus Dei (Lamb of God), as well as the ‘Domine non sum dingus . . . (Lord I’m not worthy . . .).

Keep in mind that it is not necessary to hear and understand every word, or to see every action of Holy Mass in order to ‘actively participate’. There are two types of ‘active participation’, internal and external. Internal participation is far more important than saying and doing things. Know what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is. Unite yourself and your sacrifices and difficulties (no matter how insignificant) to the sacrifice of our Lord made present in the Mass. Doing this is the best way to assist at Mass and it can be done without knowing the exact words being used at the altar.

Part 2: What to expect

The structure of the Extraordinary Form of the mass is different from the structure of the Ordinary Form. Let’s walk through the Mass. This will be a general description of a sung Mass--depending on what type of Mass there may be slight differences.

Before Mass begins there may be a sprinkling rite. Father will sprinkle the congregation with Holy Water while the Asperges (You will sprinkle me with hyssop, etc.) is sung. During the Easter season Vidi Aquam (I saw water) takes the place of Asperges.

At the beginning of Mass the server(s) will lead the priest to the altar as the Choir, or Schola, will begin to sing the Introit. While the Introit is being sung the priest and server(s) (or ministers) will say the prayers at the foot of the altar. If, after the Introit and Kyrie, it’s a day when the ‘Gloria in excelsior’ is used, the priest will intone it and the singers and congregation continue.

Father will then say a prayer and read the first reading from the right side of the altar. (He will face the altar and the readings may be in the vernacular as is now permitted.) Then he will read the Gradual and Alleluia while the schola sings it. The Missal will be moved to the left side of the altar by one of the assistants. The Gospel will be proclaimed from the left side of the altar.

The sermon follows. After the sermon the priest will return to the altar and intone the Creed, which will be sung by the schola and congregation. This concludes the ‘Mass of the Catechumens”, and now begins the second part the ‘Mass of the Faithful” . . . the Sacrifice.

The offertory prayers and preparations are made while the schola sings the offertory chant. Then the priest turns to the faithful and says, “Orate fraters” (Pray brethren that my sacrifice and yours), etc. The proper responses are made. He then turns back to the altar and sings the preface. The schola and congregation sing the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy).

Then is begun the canon of the Mass (Eucharistic prayer). It is offered in silence, the consecration whispered as a sign of reverence. The voice is only raised at the phrase ‘Nobis quoque pecatoribus’ (To us your sinful servants) in order to incite humility.

After the Amen Father sings the ‘Our Father’, the schola and congregation joining at the phrase ‘sed libera nos a malo’, (but deliver us from evil).
The ‘Agnus De’ is sung, responses are made, and communion is distributed.
Communion is received while kneeling at the altar rail and on the tongue. If you were never taught to receive on the tongue , here is how: A server will place a plate under your chin, the priest will hold up a host and say ‘May the body of Christ preserve your soul to life everlasting’ (in Latin). Don’t say ‘amen’, but tilt your head back slightly and part your mouth, extend your tongue so that it covers your bottom lip. Father will place the host on your tongue. That’s it.

After communion concluding prayers are said, the blessing is given, and then the ‘last gospel’ is read, which is always the first chapter of the Gospel of John.
Sometimes postures are different. Take a cue from what the regulars are doing. At low Mass in most places congregants do what the servers do.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Upcoming Latin Mass in Belfast, NY

St. Patrick's in Belfast, NY has a Latin Mass. At the August 23 Mass some friends will be singing there. I'm going. Anyone else want to go?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Do Watch

Mass in the Extraordinary Form

Jeff over at The Cross Reference notes an upcoming Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Philadelphia on June 28. Read here. It would be wonderful to go. Anyone interested?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Latin Missal

A friend just handed me a copy of the Latin-English Booklet Missal for Praying the Traditional Mass, put out by the Coalition in Support of Eclesia Dei (www.eclesiadei.org).

It is a simple and simply beautiful little booklet that gives clear explanations and takes you right through the Low, High, or Solemn High Mass.

Thank you, friend. I think this would be mighty handy when attending a Latin Mass.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Interlinear Mass

Here is an interlinear translation of the TLM. Very helpful. It's from the L.P.H. Resource Center. They have classes for Church Latin--for elementary children, but I've always found it helpful to go to children's resources when I am just being introduced to a subject. The explanations are often much clearer than in adult texts. I'm thinking. Does anyone have any ideas? Look in the left-hand column for more resources on learning Latin. I'd love to get a class started around here. Any suggestions are most appreciated.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Images of the Catacombs

Take a look at these 3D images of the Roman Catacombs. (h/t to The Anchoress).

Friday, May 1, 2009

On the Eucharist

The early Church was already well aware that the bread once changed remains changed. That is why they reserved it for the sick, and that is why they showed it such reverence, as is still the case today in the Eastern Chruch. But now, in the Middle Ages, this awareness is deepened: the gift is changed. The Lord has definitively drawn this piece of matter to himself. It does not contain just a matter-of-fact kind of gift. No,the Lord himself is present, the Indivisible One, the risen Lord, with Flesh and Blood, with Body and Soul, with Divinity and Humanity. The whole Christ is there. In the early days of the Liturgical Movement, people sometimes argued for a distinction btween the "thing-centered" view of the Eucharist in the patristic age and the personalistic view of the post-medieval period. The Eucharistic Presence, they said, was understood, not as the presence of a Person, but as the presence of a gift distinct from the Person. This is nonsense. Anyone reading the texts will find that there is no support anywhere for these ideas. How is the Body of Christ supposed to become a "thing"? The only presence is the presence of the whole Christ. Receiving the Eucharist does not mean eating a "thing-like" gift (Body and Blood?). No, there is a person-to-person exchange, a coming of the one into the other. The living Lord gives himself to me, enters into me, and invites me to surrender myself to him, so that the Apostle's words come true: "[I]t is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). Only thus is the reception of Holy Communion an act that elevates and transforms a man. (From The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Very Helpful Book

If you are at all interested in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite, Thomas E. Woods, Jr., has written Sacred Then and Sacred Now. The book includes a brief guide to the Extraordinary Form, aka the Traditional Latin Mass (from here on out referred to as the TLM), and some of its important features. The text of the moto proprio Summorum Pontificum is also included, as well has Benedict XVI's Letter to Bishops, July 7, 2007.

Rite or wrong?

"I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It's impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent." (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millenium)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Roman Rite

From the letter:
"It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church."

Monday, April 13, 2009