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I rejoice, with many others, that the Traditional Latin Mass (1962) Missal has at last been given its due recognition.
I began to attend the Traditional Rite in January 2006, after the parish we attended for Sunday Mass lost its priest to country WA. The new priest took away the kneelers that the previous PP had placed at the front of the altar for those who preferred (like me) to receive Holy Communion kneeling. I felt that I had nowhere to go except the Traditional Latin Mass.
Although my family and I had attended the Latin Rite several times over previous years, the Mass was quite unfamiliar to me and I had a lot of trouble getting used to several aspects.
The first was the Latin language itself, I having almost no idea, whatsoever, as to what was being said. Following the Mass, using a Missal or booklet, helped very little, since I constantly got lost.
The second problem was the lack of participation. Being so used to understanding completely, and answering accordingly, the prayers of the Mass in English, it felt strange not to be required, (nor even permitted, it seemed), to make the responses.
The third problem was the silence. Many of the Traditional Mass prayers are said silently by the priest, and this added to my problems with following along in the booklet.
Several people told me that I just needed time to get used to it all. And they were right. Within six months I found myself preferring the Traditional Mass to the Novus Ordo Mass. Admittedly, I made myself a new booklet that was less cluttered than the others available, but I am now much better able to use a Missal. Sometimes I follow the Latin, and at other times the English translation.
I found that participation in the Traditional Rite consists of following the prayers, and uniting oneself to the Sacrifice of the Altar. One is permitted to make the responses at Low Mass, in a low voice, and encouraged to sing with the congregation (and even the choir) at a Sung Mass (Missa Cantata).
I am now used to the periods of silence, and have worked out my own way of keeping up with the priest. There are others, I know, who don't even try to keep up, but who simply offer themselves silently, and watch carefully, as the priest performs the rituals of the Sacrifice.
I went to the Traditional Mass for reverence, and that is why I continue to go. The words of the Mass are reverent within themselves, and therefore don't rely on the priest's reverence. A quick glance through the Missal can assure one of that. I also love the sound of a beautiful choir, and a well-sung Missa Cantata can lift the soul.
The Traditional Latin Mass (now called the Extraordinary Rite) is three things, in my opinion. It is pure sacrifice, pure worship, and pure Catholic. If these are aspects of the Mass that you cherish, then I invite you to the Extraordinary Rite. Don't however, just go along once or twice, but persevere, and really give it a chance.
CAROL V. PHILLIPS (MRS)
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 11 (December 2007 - January 2008), p. 14
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