It’s all perspective.
My husband and I are from Evangelical Protestant backgrounds; he grew up in the Assemblies of God and I was Baptist.
The first Mass we attended was in a contemporary-looking clamshell nave (built in 1974), and was an OF Mass with a priest who routinely wore a Chicago Bears jersey under his vestments. The 4-hymn sandwich option was used, with 2 “traditional” hymns and 2 “contemporary.”
For my husband and me, this Mass was strange and ritualistic, and we felt that we had stepped back in time to the Medieval times. We knew the traditional hymns, but we had never heard the “contemporary” hymns (most of these contemporary hymns are considered “Catholic” by Evangelical Protestants and never used).
The only thing we were able to recite was the “Lord’s Prayer,” and we knew that Catholics didn’t say the last line of the prayer, so at least we didn’t make fools of ourselves. :o
We didn’t realize that there are still Latin Masses–if we had attended one of those for the first Mass, I truly believe we would have been out the door within ten minutes shaking the dust off our shoes!
Coming from church backgrounds where no liturgy is used, and a worship service is different every week (although when I was little, there was an “Order of Service” that was used each week), and not only guitars, but full-fledged rock bands or a rollicking gospel piano or piano/organ routinely provide the music–the OF Mass was incredibly ritualistic to us, and the songs were so ancient (even the so-called “contemporary hymns” felt like oldies before our time!).
Like I said, perspective! You have to remember that many Evangelical Protestants like us have little or NO accurate Church history and little or NO experience with any kind of chant other than in the movies (unless they were part of one of the “alternative worship services” that some Evangelical Protestant churches offer during which the “ancient practices” like lectio divina, candles, chant, and confession are utilized to make the “worship experience” more meaningful for the congregation. This is kind of dying out now–it’s yet another “bandwagon” that Evangelical Protestants jumped on, rode for awhile, and jumped off again).
You also have to realize that many Evangelical Protestants have been heavily influenced by teachers like J.I. Packer, who teach that ALL images (including pictures of Jesus) are forbidden in the Scriptures! Even though most Evangelical Protestants don’t go that far, many are extremely uncomfortable with “statues” of human beings except in the manger scene. Thankfully the parish we attended has the Holy Family as the patron saint, so the only “statues” look like a giant manger scene! Lucky us!
And most Evangelical Protestants are wary of crucifixes, since Jesus rose from the dead!
And most Protestants are used to a sermon that is at least 30 minutes, although pastors who preach for such a short time are suspected of being “fallen away,” since a good sermon should last at least 45 minutes, and an hour is not unusual at all!
So it shouldn’t be surprising that the Mass was very, very unfamiliar and strange to us.
We actually liked the “ritual” and the ancient feel of that first Mass, and we definitely loved the friendly pastor in the Bears jersey. Like I said, if we had gone to a more traditional OF Mass (chanted), or a Latin Mass, I think we would have been so uncomfortable and actually scared that we probably would not have come back, and we would have left believing that Catholics are practicing ritual instead of relationship with Jesus.
So God was good to us to lead us to an OF parish at the beginning of our journey to Catholicism!