First TLM - Help!


I will be attending my first Tridentine Mass this Sunday. I have quickly read through the Ordinary of the mass, but I am still nervous about the gestures, what to say, when to say it, etc. Any suggestions?



You are not obligated to say the responses, in fact the Mass you are attending might not even be a dialogue Mass where the congregation is allowed to do so. So don’t stress over that.

As for when to stand, sit or kneel, all you have to do is watch the people around you. There are no rubrics in the traditional Mass for the congregation, so some things differ from Mass to Mass in regards to the actions of the laity, although the rule of thumb is to follow the servers.

Do not worry. Your role at the Tridentine Mass is the role of Mary at the foot of the Cross. As the priest offers the sacrifice of the Mass you join in offering the the sacrifice spiritually, just as while Jesus offered Himself for us, Mary spiritually offered Him up too.

Well, the servers do a lot more kneeling than the congregation, and if it’s a high mass, different servers will be in different positions at any given time. If you’re attending a TLM that has been around for a while, you can just follow what evryone else does. If the TM is new to that location, perhaps most of the people won’t know the customary actions, but in that case you won’t stick out, either.

This page has a simple guide to what is generally customary for the congregation at a TLM:
I’m not going to vouch for everything on the site, but this page might be useful to you. Of course, it does require that you know what the different parts of the mass are, so you might also need a latin-english missal to follow along.

I hope you find it the Mass a profound experience…dont fret over the small stuff…it will mark you as a visitor is all, possibly some kind soul will introduce themselves after Mass and will be able to answer one or two questions…otherwise post em here :slight_smile:

Don’t worry at all…just enjoy the experience. I was in your shoes last spring when I was going to be going to my first Latin Mass in 40+ years. I purchased a little red Missal from the Catholic bookstore and studied it a bit…asked several questions of the good people here…got up my courage and went. Now 6 months later…it is very familiar. Gosh…it was familiar after just a few times. Just watch what others are doing…as far as kneeling, standing and sitting and you will be fine.

God bless…


To see the order of Mass, I would suggest this website:

I also highly suggest that you purchase a 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal. Two good companies are Angelus Press and Baronius Press.

Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite/Traditional Latin Mass
1. Mass Booklet - EWTN Televised Mass, September 14, 2007 (PDF)

A rather beautiful little booklet (above).

(( Also: ))

Mahalo ke Akua…!
E pili mau na pomaikai iaoe. Aloha nui.

When in doubt, kneel.

There are no congregational responses - the responses are done by the Altar servers.

Posture changes are signalled with the ringing of a bell - just listen for the bell, and do whatever everyone else is doing. If you miss the bell, don’t worry about it; just kneel until you get caught up again.

Another difference you’ll notice is that they don’t go up for Holy Communion in rows - you just go forward when you feel ready. If nobody else in your pew is going, just excuse yourself and cut past them by the shortest route (ie: if you’re nearest to the side aisle, then go that way - don’t crawl over your whole row to get to the centre) - you can process forward from the sides as well as down the centre aisle. When you get to the front, kneel at the first open space at the rail; the priest will come back for you, if he has already passed that spot once - he goes up and down the row several times until everyone who wants to has received.

Please let us know how the Mass went!


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