Would like to observe a Latin Mass

To see what people are talking about. I have a few different options
All are a short 1 hour drive from my home:

3 parishes that have been offering a Latin Mass with permission from their local bishops. I do not know if they are TLM or NO.

2 parishes that offer a TLM, but are not listed in their diocese directory.

1 parish that offers a Latin Mass, but doesn’t advertise it, is associated with the diocese, but won’t do things like marry a Catholic to a Protestant. So I don’t know if they are obedient to Rome or their bishop, just that they are not excommunicated.

So my questions are:

How do I decide which parish to attend?

Is it acceptable to bring young children to a Latin Mass?

Do I have to understand what is happening for it to be a beautiful spiritual experience?

How do I figure out what they are saying and what is happening?

I am pregnant again and kind of limited as far as my wardrobe goes. What is the usual dress code for Latin Masses?

Thanks in advavnce for your advice.

If you just want to go to observe, you would be free to attend any TLM, regardless of whether it was in communion with Rome. However, if you intend on trying to worship in common it would be best for that Mass to be licit. If you have any doubts about the status of the Mass or the priest, I would suggest you refrain from receiving communion.

Why not call a local Catholic parish or call the diocesan office and ask where you might go, for what you’re looking for.

Then, check with that parish if they have or can recommend a particular Mass book, so you can follow along.

The Latin Mass is, in the first place, just the Latin version of the Mass you know in English. In the second place, it had a few more prayers and/or longer versions of the one you know in English. And, third, the priest had his back to the people during the “canon” or what we now call the Eucharistic prayer.

I am old enough to have attended Latin masses until I was about 13. I never saw a Latin Mass that looked like the one that was broadcast a couple weeks ago on EWTN. That Mass was ritualized to the point of absurdity, such that it took two hours, for one thing. They did things that looked downright silly. They would put on their liturgical hats (birettas) for two seconds and then take them off and then put them on again for ten seconds. It was ludicrous.

If you’re going, get right into it, with your prayer book in hand. If you have kids, you might miss half.

If you really want to research it before you go, you might want to look for some document from the Council of Trent, at which time the Latin mass was standardized considerably, as I understand it.

I think it’s called the Tridentine Mass, but that sounds like the “three teeth” mass, to me. It must mean something else.

I would likely just observe, since I wouldn’t be sure what to do, and I am abstaining from receiving the Blessed Sacrament until my morning sickness passes.

But to clarify, I am new to Christianity and would rather not walk into a parish where I might be misled or confused by anything. I am just not sure how to tell which parishes are in communion with and which are not, and which ones are orthodox in their theology and which are not.

Thanks, I will talk to my priest when he gets back from overseas. He might have some pointers.

I don’t think I am going to make a habit of attending a Latin Mass, I just want to see if it is really as wonderful as some people say.

Tridentine has always made me think “three teeth” also.


I would first try to visit one of the three churches that you know are approved by the bishop. If it turns out the the mass is simply the NO said in Latin, you can just try one of the others. Eventually you will probably find one you like. I would advise against attending one of the non-approved churches because it is too easy to get confused by some of their teachings and there are possible problems with the priests’ ability to hear confessions validly.

Small children should always be welcome, as long as they don’t get out of control. TLM churches usually have lots of little children in attendance.

You don’t have to understand what is happening at every moment to benefit from the experience. It helps, however, to have a latin-english missal although many people don’t use them.

You probably won’t have to say anything to participate in the mass. As far as the gestures go, such as when to stand, sit, or kneel, just follow what others are doing.

People tend to dress more conservatively at the TLM. Just stay away from anything that shows a lot of skin or is otherwise too revealing, and try to look nice, i.e., a t-shirt with sweatpants is probably too casual. Some churches have a dress code and some don’t, but I think they all are happy to have newcomers and will cut you slack if you miss the mark, especially since you’re pregnant.

Hope you enjoy the experience. You wil probably have questions after your visit, and this forum is a great place to post them!

PS: I believe “Tridentine” comes from the Latin word from Trent, which is Tridentum. It refers to Council of Trent, which called for revisions in the mass. The product of those revisions was the form of the mass (give or take some minor changes) that we call the Tridentine Mass.

Tridentine actually comes from Tridentum, Latin for Trent.

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