Differences in Masses


Hi All,

I have been a long time reader, but just have joined. I am a young’n… just 25 years old.

As you see from my user name, I am from WI. In our state, I have been to Masses in both the Diocese of Green Bay and presently at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. I have also been to masses outside the state in the Tampa, FL area.

In my experience, it seems mighty hard to find Masses that are carried out in a traditional/pure way. By this I mean traditional organ, the Priest actually respecting the Tabernacle by bowing and not speaking in front of it during the homily, etc. Presently, I am very happy/fortunate to have a Parish that has a few thousand members part of it that is very traditional, and who has a Priest that respects what comes from Rome in terms of carrying out the Mass. It is a very busy mass every week, with 3 Masses on Sunday and members coming from areas where they pass two to three other Parishes on the way. I have to feel one of the big reasons for this is because it is carried out the way it is… and it really is such a great Mass every week.

However, this seems to be (at least in our state) an exception to the rule. I had a Jesuit marriage retreat day at a local Parish on the other side of town that made me feel so very uncomfortable, that had a rock band with tambourines, keyboard, and two guitars. The Priest was walking around in front of the Tabernacle in the middle aisle during this homily, no respect for it, and was wearing one of those microphones that went in his ear and over his mouth (which I attribute to seeing at those mega churches). I felt so illegitamite that I ended up at our church the next day on Sunday to feel like I legitimately went that week.

Sadly, at least in my opinion, this seems to be a lot more common than not around here in both of the Dioceses that I have belonged to. Interestingly enough, those masses tended to be more empty than the ones I went to that were more traditional… I wonder if that could be a coincidence or not… but one has to wonder.

How is the mass carried out where you are? Is our state abnormal in this, or is this become pretty commonplace? I just get saddened to know it is getting harder and harder to find the traditional mass that I grew up with.

May god bless you all…



I see you have just joined the CAF club today .

You know the answers to your questions .

So why have you come on this forum ?

You will find plenty on here creating division and breaking the Body of Christ again , again ,and again …

How sad !


I attend a Byzantine Divine Liturgy on Sundays and Mass during the week.

On Sundays, my priest wears a microphone over his ear as you describe and we are grateful, for otherwise we would not be able to hear him, as he is quite soft-spoken. The liturgy is always reverent and beautiful.

During the week, I attend an early morning Mass at a local parish. Each of the three priests who say the Mass is reverent, The one hymn is sung acapella , but I believe they use a piano on Sundays. I have no reason to believe that Sunday Mass is not also beautiful and reverent, although I’ve never been there on a Sunday. Last Advent, this parish brought in kneel ears for those who wish to receive kneeling. They are used by most who attend the early morning daily Mass. Based on the hymnal in the pews, I think this Parish does use some Praise and Worship music, but also traditional hymns and some chant.


I guess, for the longest time, I have been trying to figure this out… it almost frustrates me. I remember when I was younger and living with my parents, we tried to go to three different churches in a weekend and walked out of all of them because they had the hand clapping and tambourines and such. This was after we had moved. It was a horrible experience.

I was just at our Easter Vigil at my Parish, which was just as beautiful as you can get… it felt like a Mass at a Cathedral. I felt instant happiness and joy throughout my whole self… when they sang a couple of the songs in Latin, it was just beautiful. They sang the Lamb of God in Latin… it was the most beautiful thing I have heard. Some of the songs were sung as Gregorian Chants. Some songs had the piano with a viola/cello, some had the organ, some just were bells, and at the end…we had a song with a trumpet and organ (which went with the song perfectly)… it was a blend of everything beautiful… and I really don’t understand why some Catholic churches would diviate from such beauty…


Sadly, the level of charity exhibited by some individuals in this forum is far less than Godly.

Set their unnecessarily harsh tone and outright arrogance aside.

Welcome to the forums. In answer to your question, there is a huge amount of diversity in the personal style of pastors and how they lead the liturgy. It shouldn’t detract from our personal devotion to the Lord but sadly sometimes it does. Perhaps we should be thankful that parish churches are still numerous enough for most us to be able to find at least one, nearby, which allows us to find our personal spiritual connection with the liturgy and through it with God.


it is kinda obvious that you prefer a very “traditional” Mass and the things that so with it. But you need to keep in mind that reverence and respect are subjective things. So just because you went to some retreat that had from the sounds of it a more contemporary music doesn’t mean that those there were any less reverent and respectful because you are viewing based on your own opinions of these things. Not every Catholics prefers and gravitates to the music and things you like and it doesn’t mean the use of music at Mass can’t be in step with the parish or situation. The problem with what I’ve seen of “trad” Catholics is that they set up in their minds what should or shouldn’t happen at Mass and the things they are drawn too is subjective and tastes yet think that what they prefer should be true for every Catholic every where and for all time.


We all have different tastes and, in some cases, different pet peeves. Rome doesn’t have rules regarding what type of microphone a priest uses because it is completely irrelevant to the Mass. If it bothers you, then find a parish where the priest uses one you approve of.

In my area there are a number of different parishes with a number of different “styles.” I can attend one parish with a traditional organ, another with a guitar, a third with generally contemporary music accompanied by a piano or organ. The priests at those parishes also have different styles, even different styles when there are two priests in a single parish. Fr. X stands behind the ambo to give his homily, Fr. Y stands in front of the altar, and Fr. Z walks up and down the main aisle. Again, none of this is important except to the extent that I may prefer one or the other.

Here’s what is important: each of those priests, whatever his individual style, has dedicated his life to the Church and to God. Each of those priests, whether I’m a fan or not, makes the Eucharist available to me. And I’m grateful for each of them!


I will say that I am fortunate to have a Church I can go to. I am just more or less curious how each Diocese is set up. It sounds like it is a blend all around throughout the church.

I jush wish they would outline more what kind of Mass I am going to be in for… maybe say “Contemporary Mass” or “Traditional Mass” on the sign by the road or on their websites. I respect that is what some people like, and what some Priests prefer, so that is not my gripe. I understand some churches will be like that, and accept it as what some people prefer.

I just want to know, if I am visiting an area, what kind of Mass I will be in for… or what Parishes that I would rather go to… instead of going to a Mass that I thoroughly won’t enjoy or even be happy at. When everything surrounding the Mass isn’t what makes me feel comfortable, it is hard for me to accept God into my heart… that is just me…



No, it’s not abnormal. I find the concluding comment above to be amusing, considering you are 25 years old so would have “grown up with” the Mass as celebrated in the 1990s… I’ve never heard of the 1990s described as a time when “the traditional Mass” was widely celebrated.

Anyway, I suggest staying with the parish/liturgy that is most helpful in aiding your growth in holiness. Don’t worry about the other practices. On this topic, Michelle Arnold has a new post up on the Catholic Answers Blog. You might find it helpful. catholic.com/blog/michelle-arnold/everyones-a-critic



Well, I guess my “traditional” mass isn’t that before Vatican II, when the mass was in Latin. Though I feel like I would probably enjoy an all Latin mass. I grew up in a Parish that had organ at every mass, that had a polish Priest who was very traditional, to which my comfort level has grown with the church. It isn’t all about the microphone… like everyone is concentrating on… it is the entire experience that I am talking about here that is making me uncomfortable at some churches.

I apologize for speaking that every other Mass should be like what I am used to… that isn’t what I was meaning at all. I just wish it were easier for me to find Masses that I enjoy these days when traveling and visiting other areas… that is all. For example, a Parish I went to in Tampa three years ago was a lot more traditional than when I went this past February to the same church. They added the electric keyboard and really was a lot more uncomfortable for me than the last time we went.


so lets say it is a life teen Mass and that is the only one you could go to, then you wouldn’t go at all because it might be more “contemporary music”?You are making bigger issues out of minor details. If it is a valid Catholic Mass by a validly ordained priests and it is the Body and Blood being consecrated, then whatever the music is or isn’t is not a reason not to go and this is much ado about nothing and elevated personal preference above and beyond the importance of attending Mass at all.


I would chose a different church and go as far away as I had to for a traditional mass if there was a Life Teen mass, and specified as that. I think our Parish has a Life Teen mass once a month on Sunday evenings. The problem here is that there is no way that I can differentiate, being a stranger to the area, if one of their Sunday Masses is with the rock band or not. Oftentimes, they have done away with the organ 100% and replaced their instruments with the rock band. I have never once been able to find out how a Mass is performed before I go in. I really wish there was a way I could tell before it gets to that point…



You don’t have to apologize–I know what you mean. There is no way you will always be at a Mass with which you are most pleased. You can try to research the parishes in the area you will be visiting (look at online bulletins, check the reviews of the church, etc.) but sometimes you don’t have a choice as to where you will attend Mass and you won’t “like” the way it’s done. It is inevitable. In those cases, be thankful you can attend Mass.



I appreciate your understanding. I can tell I hit a nerve with some… which is not what I am trying to do. The way I found our current Parish is through one of my Uncles who attends the church. He told me that it is very good, and he and I are similar in ways. I bypassed even trying the two closer Catholic churches for that because of what he said. I am glad he did… as the ironic thing is that the Deacon that did our marriage prep for my wife and I, was friends with the Deacon (who was also my Grandma’s brother) who Baptised me. It has been a church that has connected with me on so many levels…that makes me want to do more for them because of how they carry out Mass, and how good of people they are.

I am, let’s just say… a very… process/comfort zone oriented person. I have Crohn’s disease (autoimmune/digestive disease), so anything that upsets me or makes me feel uncomfortable makes me get ill. I understand things in life are sometimes out of my control, but I try to mitigate these things as much as possible. I try to let Jesus carry my burden through life as much as I can. In regards to a comfort level at Mass, this is a key thing to whether I can connect to Jesus/God the way I want to/need to or not. I know that isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it is me… I can’t change that. Though I know God loves me for who I am.

I appreciate the comments thus far… and I guess maybe this is just something I will have to try to involve myself with more/fight for within the Church itself (that is, the ability to differentiate Masses before going for people dependent on what they are looking for). I have to know I am not alone in feeling this way…


I have been fortunate to be able to travel the world. The one thing that has stayed consistent is the Mass. It may be in languages I don’t understand. There may be cultural nuiances in music and participation. But the Mass remains the same, even when it is a TLM. I understand what is going on and why I am there.

Even with Mass at my Parish, the Spanish Mass is lively and engaged. The English crowd is progressive and more Protestant than Catholic. They (we) can’t sing worth a dime, while the Hispanics sing up a storm. Heck, German’s can belt out the classic hymns like you would not believe. Differences in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai are interesting.

My parish takes short cuts and leave out the consecration bells. Parish near work is very reverant and intertwines Latin. Diversity of practice means go worship where you feel most closer to God. Just remember that the central core of the Mass is the same everywhere.

and yes, I’m seeking another Parish more in line with my thoughts, feelings, and practice.


Of course you get to know your own parish, so you know what to expect. (At least until you get a new pastor or new liturgy director and things start to change.)

It’s harder when you’re visiting and have no clue what the Masses are like. I’ve found it helpful to use a combination of masstimes.org and parish web sites to get a feel for the various places. Even then, they may not turn out to be the way you expect. (I’ve walked out of Mass sometimes thinking "if I lived here, this would definitely NOT be my parish!)

If it turns out the Mass is really not to your taste, you can be thankful that you are only there one weekend and will be able to return home. Just be aware that it is a question of preferences and that’s not what really matters in the end.


I know exactly what you mean, as I feel the same way myself as I come from an ultra orthodox Jewish family, so I like things to be traditional, why there is less of the Latin Songs in the Church and sometimes it feels (maybe not) more of the Protestant style drums, etc. What we should remember is the Latin Songs are hitting the Charts at No. 1 and they would not do so if people did not like this type of singing.

Here in England I go to a Church that has a lady soprano and a gent playing the Organ, most the Hymns are in English, some modern some not, but then at other times I like the more traditional and go to the Tridentine Mass(which Pope Benedict XV1) put on equal footing as the Novus Ordo, have you tried looking for this Mass or have you tried going to a Byzantium Mass as they are under Rome, there are a lot of options if you look for them.
Would there be book printed on all the Catholic Churches in all of the Parishes, with phone Numbers , so you could ring Fr. before hand and ask about the singing or whatever.
Maybe try the Internet. I personally would make a list of all the Parishes that have the Tridentine Mass and Byzantium Mass or is it Liturgy, and keep the list along with the Church that has the traditional Novus Ordo with music that lifts the heart not the feet.


That is a great idea… thank you for your input! My wife and I want to travel to Europe someday, and one of our stops will be Rome. I can guarantee you that we will be going to a Mass over there.

I guess I will just have to do more research on my own, and who knows…maybe can make a database for people like me who want to know what kind of Mass certain areas have, at different Parishes. A lofty and maybe impossible idea, but it could be useful to many, I think…


People look nicer when they are dressed up, but it’s not about the clothes. It’s about the person. Why would you run away from Jesus? Whether well dressed, in rags or naked, He is still there.

or is it only about you and how you feel?


It is about where I feel most with Jesus. There is a reason I don’t go to a mega church, or a Protestant church, or any other church. I choose a Roman Catholic church as that follows what I believe and follow. I would be content with the original pre-Vatican II Masses as well. I think that Latin is beautiful and Gregorian chant is as well.

I am not saying I wouldn’t go to church… I am just saying I will go to a Catholic Church where I feel most “with” god. When I have drums, tambourines, guitars, and keyboards… that isn’t solumn and I cannot have a prayerful one on one relationship with God that way (this is just me, again, not talking about what others should or shouldn’t believe). It is distracting me from the core thing I am there to do. Mass, for me, is the one day a week I can just sit for an hour and be with God, in a prayerful, respectful way.

Again, others may be fine with it… and that is OK. Go to that type of Catholic Community, and enjoy. If you can connect with God more that way, then that is totally individual. There are some though, that find it a distraction and interrupts the core reason that they go… and thus the reason why I wish there would at least be a label to what kind of Mass it is… so it respects those who go, and allows them to pick a Mass that they feel most “with God” at.

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