TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS
at St Augustine’s, Meir every Wednesday at 19:00
(check in the bulletin)
“Traditional Latin Mass” is the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass celebrated according to the Missal of 1962, which was codified by the Council of Trent (1570). It would remain the common and normative form of the Mass for nearly 1500 years till the late 60s of the last century.
This Mass is celebrated using the official language of the Church, i.e. Latin, and facing toward the East (‘Ad Orientem’), or what we might call the ‘liturgical East’.
Though this Mass is wrapped in mystery and uses unfamiliar language, I invite each and every one of you to experience the beauty and sacredness of this ancient form of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is so important to our Catholic identity, our history and tradition. It may take a little effort to grow comfortable with it. However, it is an opportunity to experience the tradition and mystery of our Catholic Faith.
Many liturgical changes in the last 50 years weren’t penned by the Second Vatican Council Fathers in their document on liturgical reform “Sacrosanctum Concilium”. This document actually says, for example, that “the Latin language is to be retained” and “Gregorian chant… should be given pride of place in liturgical services”.
In his Mottu Proprio “Summorum Pontificium” (2007) Pope Benedict XVI said: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too”. And further: “It behoves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place”.
AD MAIOREM DEI GLORIAM!
In the Traditional Latin Mass, there are two primary types of Masses celebrated: the spoken or “Low” Mass, and the “Sung” Mass (sometimes referred to as High Mass).
Low Mass (missa recitata) is celebrated by a priest assisted by one or more altar boys. The prayers are spoken (in Latin), and much of the Mass of the Faithful (after the offertory) is almost inaudible, in imitation of the ancient Jewish liturgies given by God to Moses, and emphasizing the fact that we are faced with a profound mystery.
During Low Mass, only the altar servers respond to the priest. The priest alone says the Pater Noster (Our Father) prayer, and only he assumes the Orans prayer position (hands extended and held shoulder-width apart).
Sung Mass (missa cantata) is normally celebrated once a week, usually on Sundays, as well as Holy Days of Obligation and other special feasts throughout the year. Sung Mass includes the Asperges before Mass, in which the priest sprinkles the congregation with Holy Water as part of the opening liturgical ceremony. Sung Mass is so called because many of the prayers of the Mass are sung by the priest, choir, or schola. Sung Mass also usually employs the use of incense.
At Sung Mass, the faithful chant the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei with the Schola (choir). The congregation also responds to the priest in chant during multiple points during the Mass.
Solemn Mass (missa solemnis – also known as a Solemn High Mass), a type of Sung mass, is the full ceremonial form of the Tridentine Mass, celebrated by a priest with a deacon and a subdeacon, requiring most of the parts of the Mass to be sung, and the use of incense. The parts assigned to the deacon and subdeacon are often done by priests in vestments proper to those roles.