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)