...checking out a Tridentine MASS

I’m not interested in hearing why you think it’s better than the current practices or not. I’m not interested in a debate… I am looking for simple, straightforward advice and maybe some strictly factual information. I can promise you that I will continue going to the style of MASS that I am used to, with the contemporary choirs and whatnot…

but… I am exploring a little, as I am currently at a Catholic college in a sweet little Catholic town up North…

and they will be offering a Tridentine MASS on Friday evening. I plan to go in the morning to the usual MASS and in the vening to the Tridentine… and I am nervous as all get out.

they will have books with latin on one side and english on the other to help understand…

but can anyone describe to me the essentials of what to expect? do people go up for communion differently? what will be expected of me?

in Christ,
Esther Rose

All depends if it is a “high Mass” or a “low Mass”.

At low Mass, most likely you will be kneeling 99 percent of the time and not responding.

If it is a High Mass you will be sitting, standing and kneeling similarly to the Novus Ordo. You will also be allowed to sing the Latin responses after the prayers at the foot of the altar.

For reception of Holy Communion, do not dare to put forth your hand for Holy Communion is received in a kneeling position, at the communion rail and on the tongue only. Also, you do not say “amen” when receiving Holy Communion at the TLM.

What would be expected of you, since you are new to the TLM is NOT TO RESPOND AT ALL to the Latin responses since you most likely will not know how to sing or say the Ecclesial Latin correctly. Just follow what the congregation does as far as sitting, standing or kneeling.

Following the Mass in the missal will be almost impossible at first. Do not let that discourage you. I was in your boat myself- within one year I was able to be Master of Ceremonies at Solemn Mass - the MC is the one who can even order the Priest or Bishop what to do at the Mass.


There is the possibility, as in my indult parish, of something between these two, namely a dialogue mass. Here the postures for the dialogue mass are the same as the sung mass—which is similar to a high mass without deacon or subdeacon. But the dialogue mass is said without the Asperges and without incense, and with the inclusion of the prayers ordered by the Pope, as after a regular low mass. Though the dialogue mass is a low mass, the faithful speak the responses along with the servers at the points (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc.) that we would have sung them during a sung mass.

Since you are a college student, I will assume that you are reasonably intelligent and familiar with the Mass.

Although some of the rubrics are different for the congregation, they are not all that different. Postures will normally be noted in a missal, as they are in the current Mass. And the ususal psotures apply - sitting, standing and kneeling. How long and where may be a bit different than you are used to.

The best advice, if you are concerned, is simply to get to the church or chapel 15 minutes early, pick up a missal, and look through it. Look through it for the rubrics first, not the readings. Most likely you will have other people there who are not completely familiar with all the rubrics either, so you will be in good company.

I may presume too much, as I have had Latin in both high school and college, but Latin isn’t that awfully hard to repeat (as opposed to understand), and if it is a dialogue Mass, your responses will be written out. You are not required to answer (if it is a dialogue Mass) as if you were a lector speaking for the whole congregation to hear; go ahead. This isn’t rocket science, after all, it is the Mass, and we are there to worship God. It is therefore not a spectacle or a show, either; you should pay attention to what is going on, and read along in the missal.

The general structure of the Mass is the same; Readings, Offeratory, Consecration, Prayers after Concecration, Communion, and Prayers after Communion. You will notice differences.

Don’t worry about doing something wrong; the right thing is to join with the prayers of the priest in worship. You’ll do fine.

Friday the 17th will be the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and it should be a Tridentine High Mass with Incense and Gregorian Chants. Here is the link for the Chants:

It is common practice to sing along with the choir in Latin, and you can load the MP3 files into your player and practice now.

The Kyriale (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus) are also sung in Latin by the choir, and I have noticed some singing from the congregation. Here is the catch: The Propers of those four have different numbers, so I would learn the Gloria first. You will have to contact the Choir Director to find which Propers will be used for that Mass?

Here is the link for the Kyriale:

In any case, it will be a lot more work than what you are used to, but well worth the effort. I have been at it for a couple of months now, and finally starting to get the hang of it.


…Be Not Afraid…it will seem awesome at first…just go and look, it will be very different, then try following with the missal…you WILL get lost with the Low Mass, the Missa Solemnis has up to three things happening at once…

God Bless

Well said. The important thing is entering into the mystery. Every place is different, but my experience has been that people are not nazis about posture (some people kneel through every Mass, but do not expect that of everyone else). I commend your openness. A friend of mine says that during your first Tridentine Mass you need to just be a sponge and try to absorb what you can. It may seem like system overload, but don’t fret; we can never exhaust the mystery of the Eucharist.

we will be having high mass at the cathedral. Do I have to wear a matilla?

It would probably be best to.

My sister is a Protestant. She was meeting with my Priest a few years ago and taking Catechism classes. During one of the first meetings she said “I was at Mass on Sunday”. The Priest said “Oh, were you?”. She replied “Yes, I was the one in the back without a veil”. She felt a little self conscious because she was the only one not wearing a veil.

My recollection is that if there was a specific rule, it was in the 1917 Code of Canon law, which is no longer in effect.

That would make the issue a matter of choice, rather than obligatory; but you may find that peer pressure, or someone who thinks they know the rules and intends to impose them, to be issues to be dealt with.

There certainly is nothing forbidding you to do so, but it is not an essential issue with the Mass, per se; it may be essential as per peer pressure.

People have opinions; some of them have more than one opinion. There has been much discussion of the opinions and peer pressure exerted in the OF; do not presume that there is none in the EF.

The difficulty comes in where your opinion may not match exactly with someone else’s, or a number of someone else’s, and how much either you or they are going to put into the issue.

We sometimes lose sight of what is important or essential, and what is peripheral or non-essential. What is essential is reverential worship of God. Keep that focus, and it should provide you with answers to the rest of the questions.

side question: if i’m in the state of mortal sin at a tridentine mass, do i just not go up to communion at all?

Correct. It would good to make an act of spiritual communion in the pew.

It would not be any different at a TLM as at a NO Mass…you would never want to receive Communion in a state of mortal sin.

You would just remain in your pew…and maybe make a spiritual Communion.

God Bless…

I Heard That You Don’t Say “amen” After Recieving The Eucharist. Is That Correct?

When you receive communion at a TLM, you don’t say a word. Just kneel and stick out your tongue for the priest to place the Host on. He says :
“Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.”

"May the body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto live everlasting. Amen. "

well yeah, i was just making sure. in the NO masses i’ve been to, non-catholics and people in mortal sin still go up, but cross their arms over their chests and receive a blessing. figured that wouldn’t work kneeling and i was right.

thanks guys! :smiley:

Unless they have told you specifically that they are in a state of mortal sin, you have no ability to judge the matter, and in charity, no reason to make such a statement. [Edited by Moderator]

Absolutly nothing to be nervous about Esther Rose. Just pray, pray with all of your heart.

This past year I attended two Tridentine Masses. I was all excited about getting a taste of the kind of Mass that my father used to attend when he was young. I have to admit that I have been hesitant to go back because I felt so lost:hmmm: . I tried to prepare in advance, but I still couldn’t keep up.

Oh, did I mention that I also brought my husband, my 3 1/2 yr.old son, and my 1 1/2 yr. old son:D ? My little ones always go to mass with us and were missing the parts of the mass that they have already learned to respond to.

What is the protocol for children in this type of mass?

Snowymom…I attended my first TLM last April since I was a kid. I was so nervous and asking everyone here what to do. Finally I got up the nerve to go. I don’t wear dresses so I was afraid I would stand out. I didn’t think my mantilla would look right. I was afraid I would say or do something to make myself look stupid and surprise!! None of those things mattered. At the time I used the little red missallette that has both English and Latin, but not the days current readings. I had bought it and studied it for a couple of weeks before finally going to Mass. I sat toward the back and kind of just followed what others did and tried to follow along in the missallette. After a few times I bought a 1962 missal and now I feel like an “old hat” at it.:wink: It just takes a little time and you will feel that way too. It is not really all that hard after a few times going. The children I have observed have pretty much done what the adults have and are quite good. Here we have a no dialogue Mass where just the server answers…except for the “Domine Non Sum Dignus…”

I love it and good luck…

God Bles…


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