Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Tridentine Mass, and Praying the Mass

Today I attended Mass at a nearby church that has a Latin or Tridentine Mass. This is only the second time I have attended a Latin Mass, and it is certainly different from what I am used to, but at the same time it's very beautiful. Side-by-side Latin-and-English missals are very helpful. I still found it hard to read simultaneously the English translation, the side notes on what I was supposed to be doing, and the Latin text to keep up.

(Me and my chapel veil)

A little background information:

The Tridentine Mass is a common name for the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until promulgation of the later form of the Roman Rite. In nearly every country it was celebrated only in Latin.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued a moto proprio entitled "Summorum Pontificum" accompained by a letter to the world's bishops. The Pope stated that the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal is to be considered as an "extraordinary form" of the Roman Rite, of which the Missal as revised by Pope Paul VI in 1970 is the ordinary, normal, or standard form. As a result, some refer to the Tridentine Mass as the "extraordinary form" of the Mass. The 1962 Tridentine Mass is also sometimes referred to as the "older form" to differentiate it from the newer form of the Roman Rite in use since 1970.

Other names used include Traditional Mass and Latin Mass - though the revised form of the Mass that replaced it also has its official text in Latin, and is sometimes celebrated in that language.

As I was reading through the Latin-English Missal, I was struck by a quote from Pope Saint Pius X...

"Don't pray at Holy Mass, but pray the Holy Mass. The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Corss, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens on the altar. Further, you must pray with the priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says to him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass."

Wow! I had never quite thought of attending Mass in this way. When I got home from Mass, I was doing some research and found an article written by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. and I would put parts of it in this post, but the whole thing is really phenomenal and I'm going to put the web address here so you can just read the whole thing for yourself!

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