The Traditional Latin Mass (Other names: Mass of Pope St. Pius V, Tridentine Mass, Tridentine Rite, Usus Antiquior), now has a proper name in this time of the Church and i.e. the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (EFRR). This is the Mass that, has produced the countless saints of the Church over the centuries for more than a thousand years.
The Latin Mass dates back to the time of Pope Saint Gregory the Great in the 6th century. Even before that, the Canon of the Mass dates to the 4th century, and the Latin Mass itself was in its infancy in the 1st century. The Consecration has remained unchanged since Saints Peter and Paul first preached in Rome.
After the Second Vatican Council, there is the Mass of Pope Paul VI, commonly known as the Novus Ordo (Latin for New Order) Mass. By then, the Novus Ordo had already become the Normal Mass and the TLM is discouraged. And contrary to popular belief, the Traditional Latin Mass has never been abrogated (forbidden), it was just suppressed.
Two very famous saints were known to have requested permission from Rome, to allow them to continue celebrating the Tridentine Mass. They are our dear Padre Pio and St. Josemaria Escriva. Pope John Paul II in 1984, granted a universal indult (permission), for any priest to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, but with approval / acknowledgement from the Local Bishop. Then in 1988, PJPII encouraged a “wide and generous application of the directives of the 1984 indult”
During Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontificate, he issued a motu proprio titled, “Summorum Pontificum” on the 7th of July, 2007, which allowed any Catholic Priest to celebrate it freely, without informing the Local Bishop. This is to encourage the wider use of the Traditional Latin Mass. I think this was the point of time where it is formally called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Just recently, another document, the Universae Ecclesiae, was issued to clarify the Summorum Pontificum, regarding certain issues like the definition of a “stable group”.
Okay! Enough of the extremely brief history of the EFRR! Let’s try this in an FAQ format.
Wear your Sunday’s best! For Males, a Shirt and Trousers (Smart attire) is encouraged, otherwise at least Jeans and a Polo Tee. For females, wear decent, like you would wear to a Mass every sunday. Dress like Mary, and you won’t go wrong! =p If you’ve a Veil at home, or a shawl/scarf, bring it along! Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine! It’s not a canonical requirement to veil in Church anymore though I would highly encourage it!
Question 2: It’s all in Latin! How would I be able to understand?
Fear not! For there will be a Latin-English Missalette provided for, often at the back of the church/chapel. However, the TLM can be pretty confusing for people attending it for the first time. If you’re unable to follow the Missalette, it’s okay, because what’s most important, is that you actively participated in the mass, i.e. the internal disposition like Mary, not Martha. Actively participated in the sense that you are one with the priest, when he offers up the most august Sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.
Tip #1: Read through the Propers and Readings of the Day before Mass begins.
Tip #2: When you’re lost regarding when to stand, sit, kneel, do the sign of the cross, just follow the congregation!
Always remember that we are there to worship God, and not to be entertained. Don’t be surprised if you dont hear any clappings or active hugging at the Sign of Peace or Priests walking around holding cordless microphones! Chant along if you can but if not, dwell in the sense of mystery of the Sacred Music of the Church. Focus on the Altar, Focus on the Passion of Jesus, Focus!
Question 4: I heard that the Priest will have his back on us and I think that’s rude. Is that true?
That’s not true! The Priest is one with the Congregation, facing the tabernacle and worshipping God in the same direction! Because it’s really just about God. Not us. Don’t you think it’s more rude for a Priest to have his back to God? Think about it! 😉
FINAL THING TO NOTE:
When you receive the body of Christ, here’s what’s going to happen:
Priest: Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen. (May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ bring your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.)
You do not have to say Amen. The Priest has already Amen-ed it for you. =)