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My first TLM or EF Mass June 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass.

This past Sunday my family and I satisfied our obligation at an Extraordinary Form High Mass at Mater Dei.  For those who don’t already know, Mater Dei is the only parish in the diocese that celebrates Extraordinary Form Mass.   It is administered by two priests from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), Fr. Thomas Longua and Fr. Wolfe. 

I had seen TLMs several times on EWTN, both High and Low Mass.  The form for High Mass was a bit different from what I remember on EWTN (these Masses have also been celebrated by FSSP priests).   At present, Mass at Mater Dei is celebrated in a general purpose room.  They haven’t completed modifications to the sanctuary they will eventually occupy at their new location, which used to be a baptist church near the Frito-Lay plant in Irving (a hint – don’t stop at the Chevron station just north of the plant when a south breeze is blowing, it’s almost unbearable).  So, the aesthetics are not what they will eventually be, but having said that, I found the EF Mass beautiful and reverent, with a great emphasis on our need for Christ’s salvific action to be saved.  There is much more emphasis on our unworthiness to receive Christ’s gift of salvation in the EF Mass – it’s not the beat down people who dislike the EF Mass have said, though.  It’s a  different emphasis – we are sinful, we are really unworthy to partake in the Great Sacrifice that Christ offers to God once and for all time, but the Triune God loves us so very much that he allows us to draw so utterly close to Him, to actually take Him into our bodies.  There is a constant awareness in the EF Mass that we men of crude substance are being allowed to join into this ethereal (but utterly real), supernatural Sacrifice. 

From the orientation of the priest (ad orientem) to the numerous prayers on behalf of the people, one cannot escape at an EF Mass the fact that we rely totally on Christ to approach the Father.  It’s a really different emphasis – far more the vertical aspect of the cross, than the horizontal.  Everything is focused on God, on re-presenting the only Sacrifice that is acceptable to Him.  I’ve only been once, so I’m probably having a hard time describing it, but there is definitely a heightened sense of the profound mystery of salvation at the EF Mass.  It all seemed more transcendent. 

Now, I have been to extremely reverently celebrated Novus Ordo Masses.  And, I would say that there is much to recommend in both the EF Mass and a very reverently celebrated Novus Ordo Mass.  However, the Novus Ordo is rarely so reverently celebrated, with times of silence for prayerful reflection (especially immediately after Consecration/before Communion – this is huge) and with the long form Eucharistic Prayer 1 which is most strongly based on our Catholic Tradition.  Even with a very reverently celebrated Novus Ordo, there is still a slightly less transcendent quality, slightly less of that quality of mystery that is so important when we, in great humility, approach Christ in the most August Sacrament.  It’s something I’m going to have to think on more as I assist at more EF Masses.

Practically, I did not get lost.  I did not “get into” the Mass as deeply as I would have liked because I did have to focus some attention on the different forms of prayers.  But, having picked up some Latin and trying to learn more, I could follow the prayers relatively well.  I don’t think anyone need be completely lost, there are  many handy red booklets with Latin/English translations side by side to help guide one through the Mass.

All in all, it was a very good experience.  We shall attend more EF Masses.  I don’t know if the EF Mass will become our Sunday norm, but it is something I definitely want to experience several more times.  I don’t think there is any question that more frequent celebration of the EF Mass will bring great graces to the Church, and help reinvigorate our Catholic identity.


1. Colleen Hammond - July 2, 2010

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about the Traditional Latin Mass at Mater Dei! I remember being in awe the first time I attended a TLM and quite frankly…I was lost for weeks. But, with Latin on the left page and English on the right (with all the motions written out in red) I quickly learned to follow the Mass and have found it to be far more peaceful and reverent for me.

Let me know the next time you’ll be there, as that is our parish and I’d love to meet you. We attend the 9am Mass and are pretty much the tallest family there. 😉

tantamergo - July 6, 2010

We’ll go again in a couple of weeks. Between travel and Mater Dei we haven’t been to our ‘home’ parish in a month, we need to get back there. I will let you know when we plan to celebrate Mass at Mater Dei next. As for being the tallest family there, it’s possible, although I’m 6-3 and my wife is 6-0, and our oldest daughter (10) is already about 5-4, so we’ll just have to see. 🙂

2. Colleen Hammond - July 2, 2010

Here’s another reflection from a priest in England that has both forms at his parish: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/features/2010/07/01/why-the-old-form-thrives-in-my-parish/

3. Colleen Hammond - July 3, 2010

Oh, and also…the Propers for each Sunday are available at the door to use with the Red Missals!

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