Understanding the Traditional Latin Mass

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"What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place." -- Pope Benedict XVI’s Moto Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, 2007.

 

 
  • The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is our opportunity to stand on Calvary with our Lady, St. John and the holy women and offer ourselves to Jesus just as He offers Himself for us on the cross.  Think for a moment about how awesome that is!
 
  • At Mass we unite ourselves with Christ, Who offers us with Himself to God the Father. That is why we call it the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  This is how we render perfect adoration unto the Father. And we do this as a community, not simply as individuals gathered together. In this process the priest represents all of us and presents all of us to God.
 
  • Because he is offering the Sacrifice to God on our behalf, the priest says this form of the Mass facing the same direction as the people.  He is not excluding the people, but rather he is leading the faithful in offering worship and sacrifice.
  • This is referred to as "ad orientem" or facing East.  In the old days, churches were built with the altar facing East because according to St. Augustine, East is where Heaven begins (symbolized by the rising sun), and it is from the East that Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Therefore, we face the East in joyful anticipation of our salvation.  Today, the term simply refers to the priest facing the altar (with us) since most churches are no longer built with the altar facing East.
  • The Traditional Latin Mass is divided into two main parts: The Mass of the Catechumens (the purpose of which is to offer prayer and to receive instruction) and The Mass of the Faithful (by which we re-offer the Sacrifice of Calvary and receive Holy Communion).
 
So there you have it. The Traditional Latin Mass in a nutshell. There is so much more to it than what can be described in a few short paragraphs.  But don't be intimidated!  This is your Catholic heritage. This is the Mass that has created countless saints and evangelized every corner of the world.  It is literally the foundation of western civilization.  So come and join us to experience the beauty, the solemnity and the sacredness of the Traditional Latin Mass.

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