Many people can feel a bit confused when they first attend a Mass in the Extraordinary Form. It is different from the Ordinary Form and there are some additions (such as the sprinking rite, called the Asperges) and there are parts of the Mass that the priest says quietly. There are also moments during which the priest is praying while the choir is singing, and it can be hard to follow along.
Don’t worry! We’ve all been there. If you find yourself at a Latin Mass for the first time, just try to relax and enjoy the liturgy, the beauty, the reverence, and the quiet moments. Lift your heart up to the Lord and pray along with the Mass. Here are a few things I can recommend:
(and don’t forget, sometimes a simple Google search will help you find answers to your questions).
Know Your Mass
This little gem is a great book. It is meant for children, but it is quite heavy and involved. I would recommend it to adults, too. All the parts of the Mass are covered, including explanations about vestments and sacred vessels. It was originally published in 1954 and now is making quite the comeback.
It is available here and here, and also from the FSSP bookstore (for a little cheaper!) Alas, I could not find a Canadian supplier. But, if you got a group together who all wanted a copy, you could split the outrageous shipping costs.
Here is a peek at the inside:
Treasure and Tradition
I only just recently heard about this book and I really want a copy. It has rave reviews and looks excellent. It’s full title is Treasure and Tradition: the Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass.
Apparently it has beautiful illustrations and great explanations. Once again, I could not find a Canadian supplier! Luckily for me, I have a relative in the States I can ship to! Otherwise, it is available from St. Augustine Academy Press and Biretta Books and the FSSP Bookstore.
(Update: Canadian supplier here)
Missals contain the translation of the Latin Mass with the Latin and English side-by-side. The Ordinary is the part of the Mass that (generally) doesn’t change from Mass to Mass, and the Propers are the parts that are different at every Mass, such as the readings from the Bible and some prayers and chants. The great thing about missals is that they usually contain the Propers. Many of them also contain extra devotional prayers and some instructions on the Mass. I find many of those old prayers found in missals to be profound and beautiful. You can find vintage ones online or in stores, and you can also buy one of the beautiful modern missals that are in print. Three popular ones are the St. Edmund Campion Missal & Hymnal, The Roman Catholic Daily Missal, and The Baronius Press Missal. I couldn’t find an online Canadian supplier of these missals, but sometimes they are carried by Catholic book stores. You could check your local Catholic bookstore, and if they don’t have it they might be willing to order it in for you. The FSSP Bookstore also carries Missals, including the famous small “red missal”.
The St. Edmund Campion Missal is quite popular, and its the one my old parish in Edmonton decided to order for the parishioners. It is a bit bigger and heavier than other missals (it is hardcover), but it has absolutely beautiful illustrations inside.
I also have a petite missal booklet that contains the Ordinary in Latin and English and nothing else. It is published by Catholic Truth Society and it is simply called The Extraordinary From of the Mass. I picked mine up at a Catholic bookstore for only $4.25. (I actually have an extra copy if anyone is interested).
I’m no expert on Latin myself, but if you want to brush up, there are some books specifically about ecclesiastical Latin (which is slightly different from Classical Latin, mostly in the pronunciation), like this one:
Lo and behold, it’s available on Amazon.ca.
Otherwise, for general Latin I like Wheelock’s and Cambridge.
A couple links:
For further reading:
“Lift Up Your Hearts: 10 Tips for Newcomers to the Latin Mass” by The Catholic Gentleman
“Frequently Asked Questions about the Latin Mass” by Shower of Roses
If you have any other great resources to suggest, I’d love to hear about them!
Thanks for stopping by.
By the way, in case you are wondering, I am not being paid to endorse any of the above books.