Any tips for tlm first-timer?

(sorry if this question has been asked before as i’m sure it has, but i was unable to find a similar post in the archives).

i’m planning on attending a latin mass for the first time and i was wondering if i absolutely need to get the appropriate missal first or whether i can just go. that is, is it something i can just go and experience or is there any kind of preparation i need to do, especially as far as what i should expect with regard to the blessed sacrament? any tips?


Don’t try to draw too many conclusions from attending only one Mass. If you’re used to the new Mass then the old Latin Mass is going to seem extremely different.

Whatever happens in TLM, stays in TLM.

Couldn’t be farther from the Truth. To quote a priest I know: "What we do in here (in the sanctuary and the liturgy) affects what goes on out there (in the world at large). But don’t take it from me: have a listen to the audio (poor audio quality, but excellent content):

parvenu74 is right. The Tridentine and the normative Masses have many elements that are alike, but they also have elements that are different. It will take getting used to.

The best advice I could give is to watch a mass video online and see how it flows. Maybe have a missal in your hand to follow. The link above has a Mass for the Last Sunday after Penetecost.

Realize that one guiding principle in the TLM is that the priest’s performance of each ritual act is done relatively independent of the laymen in the pews. There are some points of dialog, but for many parts of the Mass the priest is doing something while the choir/pewsitters are doing something of their own. That’s okay. Think of it as time to meditatively read and pray the Mass, as opposed to having it blared out at you over a loud PA system. The overlapping of Mass parts may be confusing to those of us used to a linear progression of Mass, but it will become second nature. Realize that the priest is fulfilling his role as the priest. He is offering the Sacrifice for the people to God. That’s what he is ordained for. We don’t have to be vocally or audibly involved at every step. He’ll take care of his part.

Also, you may have a hard time with not being able to hear everything like you can in a contemporary Mass. This is okay, too. Use the silence to contemplate the mystery unfolding before you. Think of it as a time to pray along i the MIssal and be at peace with your thoughts.

Finally, if you get discouraged, know that it is merely an adaptation phase. Everyone goes through it, and most are glad they persevered.

You will be OK with no Missal but somewhat confused.
My TLM ‘parish’ has booklet Missals with the Ordinary, that is, the prayers that are always the same. Your local TLM may too. These help.

Father Jim Tucker has a useful posts on this subject:

If you are a woman you will feel more comfy most likely if you wear a hat or veil (or kerchief tied around your hair etc) as most of the women there will.

hi there Tomarin,
Thought I’d give a little description of my first time at a TLM this sunday just gone, for a fellow first timer:

After a few weeks of deliberation, I found that there are only two TLM churches near me, both around 20 miles away, not exactly ages away, so I ventured to one of them, which I have been recommended by a fellow CAF Poster after finding directions with an internet routefinder.

I have to say it was really different (obviously!) as I am so used to the NO mass, having grown up with it over the 20 years ive been alive!

I can say, though, that I am waiting for a Missal, the Baronius Press one is out of print until september, and I want that one, but I went along anyway, thinking I could just quietly and reverently observe if I struggled to follow what was happening.

Let me say that you don’t really need a Missal in your first mass, (the church I attended had copies of the order of mass anyway, so the congregation could follow) it is not really necessary to have one to get a feel of whats going on, but it does help to know what Father is saying/praying :slight_smile:

As for the mass, I really loved it!
Yes, it was a struggle to hear the Priest and keep up, but this just taught me to sit nearer to the front in future;)

I have posted before saying how I have been attracted to the TLM for a long while because, as a 20 year old Catholic, all I have ever experienced is the NO mass, and whilst I now attend a very reverent parish, with a traditional church, I felt there was something lacking, and I thought that maybe I had a traditionalist yearning, it seems I may have been right after sunday.:smiley:

Being completely new to reciveing the blessed sacrament in the traditional way was a bit daunting, but I just waited to see what others did before making my move, and it was fine.

All I was a little disappointed with, was how inaudible the Priest was, due to no microphone. I am aware that the mass isn’t aimed at the people, but it would have been easier to hear him with a mic! I found myself getting lost in the order of mass and after what seemed like a few sentences, it would turn out we were on another page altogether! But these things will iron themselves out in time. (Other churches may have the priest microphoned up, I don’t know, I’m sure those who are used to the TLM may know whether churches do this?)

Another disappointing factor was the fact that I could not recieve the blood of Christ, I love the fact I can recieve both Body and Blood in my current church, as some NO masses I have attended in the past only give the host, as the TLM did on sunday. :frowning:

Other than that, it was great!

I will have to persevere, as other posters have suggested, as I need to get used to the TLM, and attending once or twice will not do this alone! It will probably be better with my missal, when I get it eventually, and once I can follow the order better after a few weeks things will become familiar. Stick with it, as they say, as I will, and I’m sure it will be rewarding for both of us, and many others!:slight_smile:

If you have any questions for a fellow first timer, send me a PM and I’ll try to oblige! :slight_smile:


They provide missal booklets for the laity, but before you purchase a Missal book see first what happens in the TLM.
TLM is somehow different from the NOM, so at first you’ll be confused a little bit because of the language, responses, and gestures.
You’ll be okay just let the presence of God touch your heart.

Laudater Jesu Christo

thanks for the info and advice, everyone. that helps and i’m looking forward very much to this sunday.

(i’m male, by the way, so will be veil-less.)

Yeah, avoid the veil as a guy.

Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture!

I have been to 2 TLM masses. The 1st without a missal, the second with. The 2nd mass was harder to follow than the 1st. Problem #1: too much flipping around. Problem #2: the missal contains the rubrics for the Priest but not the congregation so in addition to flipping back and forth I still had to keep an eye on everyone else to know when to sit and stand.

I haven’t been to my 3rd one yet, but when I go I plan on just using something like this which just has the ordinary (but with the rubrics for the congregation).

The readings are re-read in English at the sermon, so that cuts alot of the flipping back and forth.

The Missal I have is awesome as a prayer book and has good commentary as to what’s going on, but it’s like drinking from a firehose when you are still learning your way around.

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