Attending Mass in a foreign language? Also, Latin Mass?


#1

If I choose to attend a Mass in a language I do not understand or speak, is it valid? What if it’s my only option? I speak English, and am curious if I were to attend a Spanish Mass if it would meet my obligation. I don’t know how much I would ‘get’ out of it, other than my own worship; I wouldn’t understand most of it, including the Homily.

Also, I don’t speak Latin; if I attend a Latin Mass, I would guess it still qualifies as my obligation; is the Homily given in English?

Thanks!
Christina


#2

[quote="ccmcmg, post:1, topic:323741"]
If I choose to attend a Mass in a language I do not understand or speak, is it valid? What if it's my only option? I speak English, and am curious if I were to attend a Spanish Mass if it would meet my obligation. I don't know how much I would 'get' out of it, other than my own worship; I wouldn't understand most of it, including the Homily.

Also, I don't speak Latin; if I attend a Latin Mass, I would guess it still qualifies as my obligation; is the Homily given in English?

Thanks!
Christina

[/quote]

It is valid.


#3

The Mass is the same, regardless of language, or what language we speak. Christ is present and understands all. At many Spanish language masses in the US, the priest will give a homily in both English and Spanish.

Yes, the homily at a Latin Mass in an English speaking region will be in English, The Bible readings will sometimes be in English as well, or sometimes will be in both languages.


#4

I date from well before Vatican II, and traveled extensively during the 1950's, 60's and '70's.
When the Mass was in Latin, it made no difference what country you attended it in, because it was the same all over the world. The pronounciation of the Latin words might vary, but if you had a basic knowledge of the Mass, you could understand it.
At that time, almost every practicing devout Catholic had a Missal, and used it. The Latin words of the mass were on one page and the approved English (or other language) translation was on the next page, side by side with the Latin.
When the Venacular Mass was ordered, all of that changed, except one thing...the need for a Missal if you are travelling to a foreign country in which you do not know the local language. If you have a modern missle in your own language, following the Mass is not that difficult.
I am a member of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Church in Manhattan, New York City, largely because I am 1st generation Polish/German American and I live only a couple of blocks from it.
They have only 2 Masses a week in English. I understand enough Polish to get by with relatives and in the neighborhood. But, it is not good enough to get full benefit from the Mass in Polish. That is why, when I have missed the 9 AM Sunday Mass in English and have to attend Mass in Polish, I follow it using the English language Missal provided in the pews.
It is the same when I attend the Rosary before the Saturday Vigil Mass which is in English. The Congregation recites the Rosary in Polish, but I am more comfortable saying it in English because that is the language in which I learned it.
If you attended Mass at St. Peters in Rome, chances are that it would be said in Italian. Your following it in English still would make it valid.


#5

[quote="ccmcmg, post:1, topic:323741"]
If I choose to attend a Mass in a language I do not understand or speak, is it valid?

[/quote]

If it's a Catholic church, it meets your obligation. I frequently attend liturgies in languages I do not know. :)

[quote="ccmcmg, post:1, topic:323741"]
I wouldn't understand most of it, including the Homily.

[/quote]

If you're familiar with the liturgy being used (e.g. the Roman Rite), you will understand most of it because you already know what's being said. For example, "Aha, this is the Gloria" or "Now it's the Creed." :)


#6

[quote="ccmcmg, post:1, topic:323741"]
If I choose to attend a Mass in a language I do not understand or speak, is it valid? What if it's my only option? I speak English, and am curious if I were to attend a Spanish Mass if it would meet my obligation. I don't know how much I would 'get' out of it, other than my own worship; I wouldn't understand most of it, including the Homily.

Also, I don't speak Latin; if I attend a Latin Mass, I would guess it still qualifies as my obligation; is the Homily given in English?

Thanks!
Christina

[/quote]

A homily, while usually beneficial, is not that important in the grand scheme. The Mass is valid with or without a homily. If you are a practicing faithful Catholic, you understand what is going on in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, regardless of what language is spoken by the priest. The Mass is valid and your participation in the Body and Blood of Christ is the same wherever in the world you happen to worship and participate. That is what is so wondrous and beautiful about our one holy Catholic and apostolic church.


#7

Of course it’s valid! When I was younger, before I could understand the language, my Latino parents often took me to the Spanish masses.


#8

Perfectly valid. Some people actually derive more spiritual benefits in hearing the worship in a foreign tongue.


#9

[quote="ccmcmg, post:1, topic:323741"]
If I choose to attend a Mass in a language I do not understand or speak, is it valid?

[/quote]

Of course.

I assume you mean, does it fulfill your obligation. Yes.

[quote="ccmcmg, post:1, topic:323741"]

What if it's my only option?

[/quote]

Yes.

[quote="ccmcmg, post:1, topic:323741"]

Also, I don't speak Latin; if I attend a Latin Mass, I would guess it still qualifies as my obligation; is the Homily given in English?

[/quote]

Of course it would.

I am not sure what makes you think it wouldn't.


#10

You do have to admit, a priest that could speak Latin well enough to deliver a homily in it would be pretty cool.


#11

I totally agree.

Sometimes we end up at a Spanish Mass because it’s the only one available to us for whatever reason. I enjoy hearing a good homily but don’t know enough Spanish to understand it, so sometimes I will go online and find the Bishop’s or another priest’s homily from the same Sunday. It is not difficult to find something like that. But, as others have said, it is not necessary to understand a single word spoken during the Mass. Otherwise, people who are completely deaf would never be able to attend a valid Mass. You’re fine. :slight_smile:


#12

[quote="VanSensei, post:10, topic:323741"]
You do have to admit, a priest that could speak Latin well enough to deliver a homily in it would be pretty cool.

[/quote]

There was a time when I would have probably been able to do this (though I'm clearly not a priest!) I had YEARS of Latin in high school and college and got pretty fluent. Long time ago though.

To the OP; of course a Mass in Latin or any other language fulfills your obligation.


#13

[quote="1love, post:11, topic:323741"]
Otherwise, people who are completely deaf would never be able to attend a valid Mass.

[/quote]

Some Masses have sign interpreters, and some deaf parishioners use missals & misalettes to pray & read along. (Here's an example of ASL interpreter training for the Archdiocese of Washington.)

The latter may also be useful in a Mass at which one does not understand the language. I sometimes attend Mass in Vietnamese, a language I do not know. But I can take my English missal with me, if I choose, to help me follow the liturgy. :)


#14

[quote="George_Stegmeir, post:4, topic:323741"]
I date from well before Vatican II, and traveled extensively during the 1950's, 60's and '70's.
When the Mass was in Latin, it made no difference what country you attended it in, because it was the same all over the world. The pronounciation of the Latin words might vary, but if you had a basic knowledge of the Mass, you could understand it.

[/quote]

When I was growing up in the 70's, the parish my grandmother went too was about evenly split between Hispanics and Irish\German. It really didn't matter pre-Vatican II, everyone came to the same Mass.

After Vat-II, the pastor there just switched from the EF Mass to the OF Mass in Latin. Everyone still came to the same Masses like they did before.

Since we often took our grandmother to Mass, I had lots of exposure to the Latin OF Mass.

Later in life, like you, I had to do lots of international travel. Before I would go to a city, I would email the local diocesan chancellery and find out where the Latin Masses were.

In that way, I could fully participate verbally, along with everyone else. I might not get much out of the homily, but all the rest of the Mass, I could understand and follow along with.


#15

When I don’t attend the Latin Mass, I attend the Spanish Mass by choice. The English Mass to me tends to get over-analytical, hardly what I consider the proper prayer environment. As far as the homily goes, I just follow the tone. I might even pick up a Spanish word or two along the way. If it works for the very young kids who are there, it can work for me. :slight_smile: La paz.


#16

[quote="ProVobis, post:15, topic:323741"]
When I don't attend the Latin Mass, I attend the Spanish Mass by choice. The English Mass to me tends to get over-analytical, hardly what I consider the proper prayer environment. As far as the homily goes, I just follow the tone. I might even pick up a Spanish word or two along the way. If it works for the very young kids who are there, it can work for me. :) La paz.

[/quote]

Analytical because of the English language itself?


#17

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:16, topic:323741"]
Analytical because of the English language itself?

[/quote]

Let's put it this way, if the Church were to ban all barbaric languages in/from the liturgy itself, I wouldn't mind it at all. :)

That's not to say it can't be explained in English though, as opposed to translated.


#18

There are so many Spanish Masses, it’s only a matter of time before I end up at one. I heard Communion at Spanish Masses are usually by intinction. Is that kneeling or standing?


#19

[quote="johnmann, post:18, topic:323741"]
There are so many Spanish Masses, it's only a matter of time before I end up at one. I heard Communion at Spanish Masses are usually by intinction. Is that kneeling or standing?

[/quote]

I have not seen intinction at the Spanish Masses I've attended. Basically they receive the same way as the Anglophones do with one notable exception --- many abstain from communion.


#20

Thanks for all the answers.

I hope to attend a Latin Mass soon, and I am not sure of my options when visiting New Mexico soon, so I appreciate the information.

For me, much of my prayer comes during private prayer, as well as singing our prayers.

Christina


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