Was the Tridentine Mass ever celebrated outside of a church or chapel?

Was the Tridentine Mass ever celebrated in such places as sports fields?

there is a photo that has been published many times of Pope John Paul II, when he was a young priest, celebrating Mass on a camping trip with college students, using an upturned canoe as an altar. Certainly Mass was always celebrated for soldiers in field conditions. There are also photos and film clips of Eucharistic Congresses and other such events pre-1960 where Mass was celebrated in public places like arenas, stadiums. What is notable is that in such photos you always see the crowds of people kneeling at the proper times, no matter what the conditions.

Any outdoor altar of any kind MUST have an Altar stone. The Mass actually takes place on top of the Altar stone, which the corporal covered.

Priests used to have spare Altar stones which looked like small concrete square slabs, which they took around with them when out… Military chaplains included, during WWII.

This is a Rubrical mandate in the Old Mass.

No such requirement with the New Mass. Normal Church Altars don’t even need an Altar stone anymore.


I think in the 2nd video there is a clip of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli celebrating High Mass in a stadium in Germany. Now this is how open air Mass is celebrated :wink:

Pope John Paul II, while he was Bishop/Cardinal in Poland, celebrated an open-air Christmas Vigil Mass every year in a town where the Communist government refused to allow a church to be built. I believe he did this every until he got permission to build the Church of the Ark there. (I think the name of the city was Nowa Huta?)

He also regularly celebrated Mass with young people on hiking trips.

(I’m in the middle of reading JPII’s biography right now :stuck_out_tongue: )

I remember going to a parish when I was a kid where Mass was said in a airplane hanger; until we got a church. Also I went to a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Spellman and it was in some sort of outdoor arena.

Let’s not forget the many Masses celebrated for soldiers in fields and on ships during wartime. I remember a wonderful thread of just such pictures in this forum that even had some from the (U.S.) Civil War.

In the 18th Century in Ireland the Penal Laws were passed. Under these laws Priests and Bishops were forbidden from saying Mass. As a result people would gather at a “Mass Rock” (a large rock in a field) or at a “safe house” where the Priest would say Mass unknown to the authorities. These would have been occasions when the Tridentine Mass would have been celebrated outside of a Church or Chapel.

I have seen a cloth with relics sewn into it, which I was told used for celebrating the Mass in unusual locations. But I may have been misinformed (I’m thinking there is a similar cloth that is part of eastern liturgical accoutrement?)


When I was a kid, the priest would come to the grange hall and say mass there. Just a table and corporal.

We knelt on the wood floor and sat in folding chairs.

Gave all our responses in Latin.

Our Pastor has one of these cloths.

Jeep Mass:


Civil War Mass:

Ah! I found it – cf. Wikipedia Antimension or New Advent Antimensium.


Wow! Great pictures.

I posted some other great war pics of soldiers at Mass on other threads in the past, but I can’t seem to find those pictures anywhere :frowning:

Very nice pictures. I heard some of these outdoor Masses even had participants from all sides of the war worshipping together. However, I feel it would be a stretch to believe there were soldiers from each side at the same Mass. But you never know. :slight_smile:

Here’s another good outdoor Mass picture–the priest should look familiar :wink:

From history - there was a time in Irish history when it was illegal to say a Catholic Mass. People and priest hid among the hedge rows and Mass was said outdoors away from prying eyes. Some say this is why the Irish, while naturally great singers at pubs, don’t sing in Church. Singing would have brought the authorities down.:irish3: These were known as hedge Masses associated with hedge schools.

I don’t think it’s Pope Benedict XVI, but was it Pope John Paul II (before he was pope, obviously)?

I’ve attended mass in the woods (Ft. Benning), in a private home (Franklin, NC), in a store room over a drug store (Winnsboro, SC), in a Baptist church (near Hemingway, SC), and even in the Shrine temple here in Columbia after the PC school kicked us out before our own building was finished.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.