TLM in Still River, MA

For those not familiar with Central Massachusetts, Still River is north of Worcester near Harvard. There are very few TLM’s in this area (at least currently, we can always hope the Motu Proprio will lead to an increase). Today I attended a Sung Mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel, located at the school which is run by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary order. I had been familiar with the sung NO Latin Mass offered by the brothers at their Abbey but only recently learned of this TLM mass at the school chapel.

The Sunday Mass is at 9:15 AM with Low Mass at 7:30 AM. There is also a daily Mass as 8:30 AM.

The Mass was very moving, with wonderful singing by some of the brothers and sisters of the order. It was very well attended, I believe every seat of the chapel was taken.

This is a wonderful resource for people interested in the traditional mass living in this area where there are few alternatives.


I grew up for about 12 years on TLM and these liturgies could be very beautiful.

For the people who really want a beautiful liturgy that is done well, it has possibility.

But, in fact, when it was the standard, a low Mass on Sunday was over in about 35 minutes. People liked it because it was so quick, more than anything else. And, very likely, in the hot summer, the priests would get up there and --using different words for sure-- would say, he wasn’t even going to try to preach a sermon. The priests were really pushing to “get it over with.”

TLM is what the priests will make of it. As altarr servers, we saw priests who used “turbo” Latin, and were waving their hands about, almost in mockery of the rite itself. They didn’t reverently make the sign of the cross deliberately, it was kind of just quick hand waving, that degraded things.

For the same reason I mentioned above, they may revise it with all the pauses that came in with the NO (novus ordum). In the English Mass, there were these long pauses, which have inevitably and mercifully have sort of vanished. So, the English Mass was around an hour, just because of all these pauses which nobody knew what to do with. Isn’t it enough to just hang in there with what is being said or prayed, without this artificial pause?

In the discussion on EWTN and in the local catholic newspaper, they have pictures of a “solemn” Mass, which was not the common, everyday TLM all over. It was only a couple times a year that they might have a solemn Mass with a deacon and subdeacon.

In the average TLM, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei are sung by the choir (and the people if they’re “on board”) plus a couple other hymns in English or Latin.

I like the Latin Mass because there were more prayers, such as the prayers at the foot of the altar, right at the beginning. And, there was the reading of “the last gospel” at the end.

If you read all that and keep up during the Mass, it is quite a beautiful thing. But, I’m a bit worried about some excesses in the Latin, right off the bat.

The altars were decorated more beautifully. The altar boys had better looking outfits. I felt that I was participating in an ancient rite, a beautiful rite, a meaningful rite. Although it was in Latin, I never felt that I was like in a foreign country or anything.

I’m glad it’s coming back. I hope things will “shake out” soon, and I believe they will.

I’m glad you found it to be meaningful, because it’s the real Mass.

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