The first Latin Mass I've attended


This Tuesday our new curate is arriving. He will be saying the monthly Latin mass in the evening. It will be a Mass for the feast of the Assumption.

As it’s a hold day of obligation, I thought I would go and meet the new priest and thought it would be really interesting to go to my first Latin Mass.
I have no idea what to expect, beyond Latin, incense and hopefully, reverence. I tried to ask the deacon if there was anything I should know, but I think he misconstrued me and just made clear that he prefers the vernacular Mass.
Well, I may well do too, but that really wasn’t anything to do with my asking!!

Anyway, I don’t want to mess anything up, so any advice anyone can give me would be hugely appreciated.


It’s spectacular, overwhelming, ineffable… Really, just an unbelievable experience. The very position of ad orientem, combined with sacred language, incense (at high mass,) chant, (at high mass, unless it’s simple tone at low mass: rare) sacred silence, and all the other sacred traditions are just wonderful. If it’s low mass, be prepared for an abundance of silent prayer: which is a positive, by the way: and an overflowing beauty for high mass. Good job on making the leap. It cannot be good for a Catholic to know only half his rite. Know that this is the mass of the centuries, that all the saints and popes of almost two millenia attended. The mass of Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Maximilian Kolbe and so many others. You won’t be disappointed.


The first time I went to the TLM, I sat in the back and just followed everybody else. There was a missal, but I found I got lost a lot (some parts were silent or whispered even though it was a solemn High Mass), so after a bit I just put the missal down and soaked it up. It was really, really lovely.

In the back you’ll also get a chance to see how people line up to receive communion, which will likely be at a rail. The priest says “Amen,” and you don’t say anything.

Enjoy it!


Just to clarify, the priest says:

’Corpus Domini Nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam, Amen’

One does indeed remain silent.


Thanks. I more meant that we do not have to say it. :slight_smile:


I thought you might have. Didn’t mean to correct, so much as to fulfill. God Bless!


Excellent, thank you, that’s exactly kind of help I was hoping to find on CAF! I know literally nothing! Very much looking forward to the experience, my favourite of all the Masses said at our church are the early day/ late evening ones because our priests always leave lots of silence.

Would they be likely to use hymns at all? We only have them normally at the 5pm Saturday Mass and the 11am Sunday anyway.


Hymns sung by the congregation? Probably not, with the exception of the Salve Regina at the end. This should at least help guide you through the Mass a bit! You can follow along with it on your phone if they don’t have missals there. Look for a little red book. There should be a separate sheet with the propers. Don’t try to focus on every little thing the priest says or does! The choir will give you more of an idea in terms of theme.


I personally have found many low masses today do away with hymns (though you may find them) to give a greater emphasis on the actual sacrifice of the mass. That’s the whole point of low mass anyway. Even if they’re there, it’ll only be for very limited parts. If you like silence, you’re in for a treat!

High masses are chanted (which is, of course, the most beautiful and appropriate music you could hope for) but there are nearly always supplementing hymns, in Latin or the vernacular, sung usually by the choir. Just don’t expect ‘Gather us in’ or ‘Shine Jesus Shine.’ Definitely more subdued than at most OF masses.

Expect something like this (if you’re lucky) :


The parish I attend for Latin mass posted some good resources on there website recently have a look


Our TLM parish sings a hymn at the beginning and end of Mass. The homily is in English and the priest may read an English translation of the readings before preaching. The rest is Latin. The readings may not be the same (edit: Assumption is on the same day on both the old and new calendar.)

You should definitely feel free to dress as you normally would, but my experience has been that regular attendees will be more formally dressed and the women are more likely to cover their heads (hat, chapel veil or mantillas, scarf.) This isn’t universal but you might want to bring something if you’d like to make sure you blend in.

Honestly, my experience is that there are frequently new people and the “regulars” are happy to help you out. If this is at your regular parish, you may already know a couple of people!


Umm - on the New Calendar , i.e. Gregorian, the Feast of the Assumption [ Dormition ] is on Wednesday 15th August.

On the Old Calendar, i.e. Julian, the Feast is on Tuesday 28th August


This drives me a bit nuts; the Ordinary Form Mass (aka “Novus Ordo”, Mass of Paul VI), can also be said in Latin. In fact it is so. Regularly. I’ve been to several, both public and private (last one was a private Mass where I read the Old Testament Reading, Psalm and Gospel acclamation in Latin). What you are probably talking about is the Extraordinary Form Mass (sometimes referred to as the Traditional Latin Mass), which is always in Latin. The Ordinary Form can be in Latin or the vernacular, but the Editio Typica (typical edition or the source edition) is in Latin.


Sorry, I mean the traditional Latin calendar (or whatever its proper name is, I’m sure somebody knows.)

Man, if there is a nit to pick, a CAFer will find it! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I think we all know what she means. We also know the OF can be said in Latin. Why be pedantic?


There are Masses in Latin and Masses in Latin . They are not all the same . I attended my first Mass in Latin in 1946 , and have attended thousands since .

Like Liquorice Allsorts , there are a variety of ways in which they are celebrated .


I built my career on using precise terminology. Anybody reading Church documents, whether it is the General Instructions of the Liturgy of the Hours or any other document, realizes that the Church does the same.

Calling the EF Mass, regardless of whether we all know it or not, the “Latin Mass” is wildly inaccurate. The term can apply to the Latin-Rite EF Mass, Latin-Rite OF Mass, Ambrosian-Rite Mass, Mozarabic-Rite Mass, Carthusian-Rite Mass, all licit forms and rites in the Roman Church. Many monasteries celebrate the Mass exclusively in Latin, in the modern rite. I know of at least 4 in our congregation.

This Forum is often consulted by newcomers to the faith, so I think it’s important that they get an accurate picture.


Yes but this is neither Lumen Gentium nor Rerum Novarum ! It’s a light-hearted forum post by someone discovering the treasure of the Tridentine mass. What could possibly be the benefit of inundating her with formalities? We know what is being referred to, and the OP knows what is being referred to, and the term used is useful because it highlights the greatest difference noticeable to the naked eye between most EF and most OF masses. If you really want to get pedantic, I think it would be useful to add that the term Traditional Latin Mass is no better, since the OF can be celebrated in Latin and corresponds to sacred tradition. I, for one, prefer to call it the Tridentine mass (as it expunges all doubt) or the Extraordinary Form for forum purposes, but I answer to what I know is meant. Why need it be any harder than that?


Eager to hear of your reaction and thoughts about it.


Nothing for you to mess up at Latin Mass. Just stay silent in prayer, follow it if you can, the structure is much the same as Mass in the Vernacular.

In the Traditional Latin Mass, professional staff- priests and altar servers do all of the vocalizing.

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