Does anyone else remember the transition from the TLM to the NO?

Does anyone else remember what went on between say 1965 and 1970? Do you remember the transition from the TLM to the NO? I do. I was in high school during these years. I was also an altar boy to the end. I never felt a need to change the liturgy or to go from chant and sacred polyphony to “a’strummin’ and a’grinnin’”. Pange Lingua to “Sons of God, hear his Holy Word”. From the sublime…

The transition from the TLM to the NO was earth shattering to me. I enjoyed being an altar boy. I enjoyed singing in the choir. And, in the interest of being fair, I never listened to the music of my generation. I will freely admit to being what you would call today “a geek”. But I really don’t think that Bridge Over Troubled Waters makes a nice Offertory hymn nor does the Sound of Silence make a nice Communion hymn. I was subjected to both at my Catholic high school graduation in 1969. I have never forgotten.

But I don’t believe that I am alone. The little I saw of the Solemn High Mass this morning on EWTN brought tears to my eyes. I fully intend to watch the entire Mass tonight at 6.

I’m not alone. Can we talk all of us who were not ready to boldly go where none has gone before? Where is the voice of us who loved HMC as she was in 1965?

This is an interesting video from Youtube:

It is a clip from a 1969 movie starring Elvis, called Change of Habit. In it, Elvis plays a doctor who falls in love with a young nun (dont worry, at the end of the movie she leaves him and returns to the convent ;)). This clip depicts a transitional Mass- it is a bit odd to see an Ad Orientum Altar, servers in cassock and surplice and nuns in habits, with happy-clappy music, dancing and the laity approaching the Altar.

My transition from the Tridentine Mass to the NO was smooth without any major disruptions. It might be because I was a military dependent and change is a constant in that life.
As part of Cathecism, we were learning the parts of the Mass. To help in the learning process, the chaplain turned the altar around. He made an announcement to the congregation that he was doing so to help us learn the parts of the Mass. The altar was simply never turned back.
I understand that for others the transition was much more traumatic, contrary to recommendations of Vatican II. This was more often in parishes where the priest was reluctant to implement the new changes. Suddenly statues were removed and altar rails torn out. Again, this was not my experience and I have no desire to return to the Tridentine Mass.
I belong now to a small parish with a church that is over 100 years old. There are stained glass windows and the decorations are simplistic and do not distract from worship. The altar rail is made of wood. What I think about the old rite is how the gates were closed and today they are open. I am able to much more fully participate in the liturgy.

That sounds like something one of my school teachers told the class: before Vatican II the gates to the Holy Spirit were closed.

I was born in 1964, so all I know is the NO. But my Dad, who was 18 when I was born, remembers very clearly the first time he went to the new form of the Mass. He tells me that he got back in the car afterward with his Dad, and asked him what the heck is happening to the Church? He was really truly scared and concerned that something horrible was happening. An altar boy for all of his childhood, he didn’t understand it, and didn’t like it. My Grandfather (God rest his soul) told him that this is still our Faith, still our Church, and it is still Mass, and the Holy Father knows what’s best for us. He was a wonderful man, my Grandfather, he gave me my own Faith. :slight_smile:

Anyway - for many many years my Dad did not attend Mass, until this year he finally has come back to the Sacraments (Glory Be To God!!!). But I know that the transition (and some life choices at the time) had a lot to do with his falling away from his Faith, something he always felt very strongly about. I’m not sure he’s ready to go to a TLM just yet, he’s come to know and like the NO Mass, but maybe one day I’ll get him to Grotto with me and all that Latin will just come flooding back to him. :slight_smile:


I never felt I was not able to participate in the liturgy. When I served as an altar boy, I fully realized and understood that I stood in place of the populace. We were the vox populi - the voice of the people. When I was with my family out in the pews, I never felt separated from the liturgy.

See, this is part and parcel of my problem. “Oh, prior to V II, I did not feel a part of the liturgy.” Baloney! Hog Wash! I have not attended a TLM since the late 70s. Do you honestly think that I would not be able to attend a Solemn High Mass like today’s Mass on EWTN and not be able to respond? The problem is that prior to V II, I was able to feel a part and parcel of the liturgy. That shibboleth that we didn’t know what was going on is just that - a shibboleth.

DebChris - what I am trying to elicit here is not that you are happy with the way things are. Peace be with you!.

I am trying to talk to my brothers and sisters who were profoundly affected by the change. Those of us for whom the change from that which we had known to the new came as a profound shock. I’m sorry y’all. It took me 8 years to find my orthodox parish. I even went to an SSPX chapel until I learned they were not in union with the Holy Father.

I am trying to contact my brothers and sisters who are of an age with me. I am trying to contact those of us who were alive during the transition between the NO and TLM and who did not want to abandon our traditions. We are a voice that seldom gets heard.

Yes, Virginia, there were people who did not embrace the changes after Vatican II.

I will allow this discussion, but there must be no denigrating of the NOM or any other rite of the Church, ordinary or extraordinary. Thank you all.

ACK! That was horrible! I’m so grateful that I wasn’t around in the 60’s…

My experience was not easy. I was in the Air Force stationed in San Francisco. We went to a TLM one Sunday and the next week the everything was changed. No Latin and the alter was turned, the rails removed etc. I have discussed this with some others that had the same experience and we all came to the conclusion that those in charge were waiting for the change and had made preparations. It took me 16 years to return to Holy Mother Church in full Communion. I pray this never happens to anyone else no matter what Rite.

God Bless

In my recollection, it took close to four years to transform from the TLM to the NO. The transistion as I remember was completed before 1970 although 1970 marked the final completion date.

The Lord’s will be done. It was frightful folks. It surely was.

Still Serving Mass at College Chapel in 1958. Became a reader/lector or whatever soon after the change over. It was sort of rough at first, but Father soon hit his stride. I thought it was a wonderful change and I guess I still do. I am still nostalgic about some of the old Marian Hymns and the sung Latin. However some, in fact a lot of the new songs for guitar were pretty bad. Not a few people my age and older were upset by the unexplained abruptness of the changes. It is quite understandable when we were brought up with the belief that nothing in the Church ever changes.

I was in college seminary while Vatican 2 was completing. It may be due to that, and an early interest in all things Catholic, that the transition did not seem so abrupt. I was in the military when the OF was instituted.

Yes, I do remember that we were bereft of much of anything in the way of music; Michael Row the Boat Ashore still makes me roll my eyes, although I can’t recall when I last heard that one in a church.

However, I do not carry baggage over the issue; someone once said of me that I do not carry a grudge, so it may be an issue of personality with me.

I recently asked my mother, who is 90, what she thought of the changes in the Mass; and without so much as a heartbeat, she came back with the fact that she thought the vernacular was the best thing that had happened to the Church. And she was the one that taught us all to use a missal and made sure we did.

Given the state of affairs today in many parishes, “Sons of God, hear his Holy Word” would be judged as not even fit for the Mass since parts of it is well, politically incorrect and uninclusive to the feminine gender. :rolleyes:

I was around for the transition and, at the time, thought the changes were great. I was really happy that we switched to English although I studied Latin in high school. At the time, I did not realize that we were losing so much.

I had this thought last night: the Novus Ordo is great as a “low mass” and the Tridentine is just sublime for a high mass.

The experiences of some of the people here completely blow the claims some of my school teachers made right out of the water.

I was taught, before I found the Tridentine Mass, that somehow the Church’s Liturgy “hid” God from the common peoplem through ritual, mysticism, superstition and rigid doctrine until Vatican II came along and changed that all, and everyone was happy. :rolleyes:

Then again, the same teacher also told us that the Eucharist was purely symbolic and that Rome abolished the Sunday obligation…

In 1966 (at the age of 10), I was eligible to join our elementary school’s choir and to thus sing at the daily and Sunday masses. The first year, 1966-1967, it was all Latin and it was beautiful. Sure, it was harder than singing “English” but after all I had been following along in my missal for 5 years by then.
The second year, 1967-1968, was a ‘hybrid’ year. We still did the Gloria, the Credo, the Agnus Dei, the Sanctus, and various collects or hymnody in Latin. . .but we also were doing some of the responses in English.
The third year, 1968-1969, was all English as I recall, but the postural ‘changeover’ had not fully occurred; thus, still had for the solemn, the sung, and even the ‘low’ Masses the ‘orientum’ posture, the incense, the prayers like the collect and the secret, even the last gospel, in place.
The final year, 1969-1970, was our 8th grade graduation. All English, the prayers changing (I KNOW that I remember the Creed, for example, as having differences in the English version from the one we said in 1967 as opposed to the one we say today; I think the Gloria changed also). We stopped saying, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”, we stopped, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou should come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”, etc.

Our director was a wise nun. Though they themselves went from floor length habits in 1966 to knee length in 1967 to ‘suits’ by the very early 1970s (IOW, they were having their own personal issues along with liturgical ones), they downplayed any aspect of ‘this is the SPRINGTIME of the Church’ in favor of, “this is a time of change in the church, which some may find uncomfortable. We should all strive to pray for guidance to best serve God’s will.” So instead of focusing on what was ‘new’ and ‘different’ she made a conscious effort to focus on what ‘remained’. The Mass is ALWAYS the Mass, whether it ‘changes’. A sister is always a sister, even if her visible ‘attire’ changes. God is always God, even if our perception changes. The ‘changes’ may be good, bad, or indifferent, but the permanancy and stability of Mass, of sisters (and brothers and priests) being servants of God, and above all of God Himself, remain despite what external ‘changes’ may occur.

It was somewhat later, in my public high school–I had to move, no Catholic one available–and in my ‘Catholic’ college–that I experienced the full on blast of “why we HAD to change the Mass–the habits–the devotions–” --most of which appeared to center on ‘empowering women from the patriarchical tyranny’ and ‘bringing the Church into the 20th century’. Luckily, no matter how much the trumpet blasted with the ‘whys and wherefores’ that wise nun’s explanations, given to a perfectly ordinary and average, ‘little Catholic schoolgirl’, remained. . .God does not change.

I was insulated some from “the change” by going out of the country. :slight_smile: We left the US (Army brat) in 1965. We attended a large Catholic multicultural parish in a large city in Asia. Possibly because of the multitude of languages in the congregation, we didn’t really go vernacular. Readings and the homily were usually in English or Thai but the readings in the US had been in English for some time anyway. It must have been the time of the Missal of 1965 but the changes were so subtle, I never noticed them while following along with my 1959 Missal.

Back to the US in 1968 and it had all been changed. Guitar Mass, all English, missalettes, the works. We still received Communion on the tongue and kneeling for another 8 or 9 years but nothing else was the same. I was still young enough to roll with it.

Go to or a similar site and look up recordings of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, and listen to some audio clips. It could best be described as Missa de Angelis meets Hair. Bizarre as it was, it did capture the spirit of the times as I recall them.

I just listened to a few of these clips over at Amazon. What’s up with the “Non Credo”? And “Things Get Broken” at the Fraction of the Host. Puh-LEEZ! Truly dreadful. A chaotic, deconstructivist cacophany if ever I heard one. Like Charles Ives on acid. Ugh!


I was born in 1958, so would have been 7 years old in 1965. I do remember the change from the Latin Mass to the NO. As a child, I was glad when the mass was finally said in English. The Latin Mass always felt kind of dark and scary to me. I didn’t like the priest with his back to us, and I never really understood what was going on. We never missed Mass and I remember dreading it. My parents liked the Latin Mass…probably because that was all they had ever known. My mother still talks about it.

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