Qst about History of Liturgy?


Say I’m a peasant in England in the 12th c. I can’t read Latin or English. I go to Mass and likely I would understand the Latin from repetition. What about the readings and the homily? Would they have been in English? Can’t imagine why this question came up in my mind. Too much time on my hands.


The readings where usually repeated in the vernacular immediately after the Gospel Reading (first Gospel, not the Last Gospel at the end).

The Homily is a fairly recent addition to the Mass. Back then, the priest would often give a ‘Lesson’ instead, where he’d spend some time teaching his people about the Faith and the Creed.


The English of those years is not exactly the same as the English of today.

Even in the UK, they had and have all sorts of local dialects … even today, some versions of English are difficult to understand.

But local people get along just fine.


Since most of the mass was said in a low voice and there were no microphones, a person in the 12th century would not hear what was being said. He or she would have to depend on knowing the few actions they could see (since the priest had his back toward them) or they would hear the bells indicating what was about to happen.


That was before Vatican II … 50 - 100 years ago, but a thousand years ago? When the numbers of people were pretty small?

Did the people on the way to Church for Mass, … did they gather together and walk with the priest to the church and begin prayers such as the **collect **… out loud together?

Seems to me, the Mass was structured differently.

For example, people did not have clocks 1000 years ago.

So, it would have been reasonable for people to gather in front of their huts, if they were in the country, or in small towns … and begin by praising Jesus and start moving slowly in small groups to the church building.

The priest could get them together and start a lesson as they gathered and started walking.

The cultures of then were different from now.


I don’t know if this was the “norm” in the 12th century? Though, I imagine it varied from place to place…there was significant diversity even in terms of the rites of the mass throughout Europe prior to Trent.


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