Losing the old Sunday Missal


I am 75 years old; was converted at 16 to Roman Catholic. In years past, one could travel anywhere in the world, attend Mass with the Sunday Missal and know exactly what was happening by referring to the Latin side of the page. Now, I have a hard time following Mass in America, as the priest has the option to change so much of the Mass readings. Why did we get so far away from the beautiful R/C Church rituals, and become more protestant? I left the Baptist when I converted, I don’t want to return to the watered down version of the old Mass. I see less and less people singing, reciting, or even paying attention now. I believe we have lost much and gained little by becoming less attached to the old ways. An old codger here.


I do have one of the pre-1960 Missals in my bookcase, and a hymn book from the period as well as an old penny Catechism, the words known by rote by Catholic schoolchildren prior to Vatican Two, but while I understand your regretful remembrance, I might not agree wholly with some aspects of your experience.

Although the lack of a unifying language is a fair point, and there is no obvious answer to that, even if to mention the value of the vernacular for local clarity.

However, perhaps some of those losses, of involvement in singing and responses, varies from parish to parish, and isn’t a universal experience?
In many parishes there would be more involvement perhaps, there is certainly a high level of involvement in singing the hymns in the parishes in my city … so I might say it isn’t a universal experience that there is less congregation involvement.
As the words are always dislayed in data projection, or in individual monitors throughout the churches, or cards provided, there is little to discourage people from singing or responding.

I’d not comment on how involved people are in teh Mass, because it’s hard to assess others’ minds and hearts, and to be observing others, might mean that I’m the one not paying attention to the Mass, I think.
There is certainly more involvement of the congregation regarding responses, than when the altarboys gave the responses for the congregation in Latin whilst the congregation largely remained silent.

At 75 a person is entitled to the nostalgia of past ways, past devotions, and perhaps I’m a little cynical about the glow of the past because I always tended to find my own fire in it all, including the Mass where I would say “the Mass is the Mass”.

My mother-in-law came from a strict English Presbyterian background, and unlike you, her yearning for a past kind of church led her to reject any other, including Presbyterian, so she never returned to church before she died. That was sad. I don’t have a great sense of nostalgia for the past because it, too, has its imperfections and its lacks.

In the end, whatever we have or do not have now, may God bless us all, and bless us with the graces we need for faith and faithfulness, and for love of God above all and others with practical love that Jesus demonstrated to be essential for our salvation, when He described His judgement of souls in Matthew 25, 31-46.

I hadn’t itended to go into all that. I felt a sympathy for you in the loss you feel. There are always losses, and they cause sadness sometimes.

God bless you abundantly!


Beautifully expressed. We have indeed lost so much. Let’s hope we can still regain our Catholic heritage before it’s too late.


Are you aware that many places still offer the old Latin Mass validly? In communion with the local diocese – I don’t mean SsPX.


@gmblair . I experienced the Latin Mass for longer than you did .

For many years I was an altar server and saw the Latin Mass close up . I have no illusions about it having been so much more reverent , with so much more mystery about it than today’s liturgy . The mystery was that people didn’t know what the heck was going on .

Few Catholics were able to follow it even if they had a missal , because they couldn’t hear the priest , and if they could they still wouldn’t be able to follow because they were clueless about Latin .

I believe we have gained much through the reform of the liturgy .

Another old codger here .


Yes, and I have attended several in my travels; however, the nearest to me is not close. But, thank you for caring. :grinning:


Try other parishes close to you, perhaps.

A good, reverent Ordinary Form Mass can be closer to the EF than you think


So many of the peaceful reverent times in the church, which drew me to R/C in the first place, have been replaced with ‘loudness’. Sometimes the choir singing is so loud, I have to wait to say my prayers. lol.


:grinning: I understand your point of view; thanks for understanding mine.


Very true! It’s beyond me how you could think swamping parishioners with unnecessary and distracting noise is in any way an aid to prayer life. As you can imagine, I’m also not a fan of the tacky, (bad) guitar 70s music that seems to have permeated into our liturgies and churches. One wonders what Paul VI (and I won’t even mention John XXIII or Pius XII) would think of some of the things that go on today!


I hope you find what you are looking for…but, I was all into the Missal after my conversion, but after 60 years, aren’t you comfortable with the order of the mass to the point you don’t need a missal?

I’ve attended mass in dozens of countries, many not in English, but in the local tongue or Latin, and have never found a need to have a missal…its the same order.


LOL, yes Heriam, after 60 years I do know the Mass; however, when I converted, it was stressed to use the Missal and read along with the priest, etc. It has been a long-observed habit for me. It also serves as a reminder when I forget why something is being done. I also enjoy whenever Latin is used; I miss that, and travelling to foreign countries, I can usually figure out what is being said when it is used. Just a preference, and I miss the old Mass very much. Thanks for your input.

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