A plea for help in introducing young people to the older form of Mass

I got an e-mail today with an earnest request:

Can you kind people help this person? 

Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,
 
I know that you must receive many emails every day, so I shall try to keep mine brief and to the point.
 
I am writing to you to ask for your help, perhaps through your blog.
 
In about a month’s time, I will be singing at a Mass that will introduce a group of young people to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. These are young folks who have never experienced anything like this before. I’d like to have some missalettes for them to follow the Mass in, yet nothing that I’ve seen really meets the needs of the unitiated "ordinary form" Catholic. I’m concerned that if their introduction to the Extraordinary form is not pleasant, then it will affect their future attitudes towards it (first impressions count!). I’m a young person who has grown to love the Extraordinary Form, and I’d like to share it with people in my own age group in a meaningful and positive way.
 
In short, they need:
– A missalette that allows two forms of participation – broad form (ie. what does this prayer getting at?) or particular form (ie. what is the text of the prayer)
– A missalette in modern, sacral English.
– Uncluttered format – information overload is a bad thing.
– A few notes on WHY some things happen when they do.
– A few pictures to guide them along the way.
– A way of distinguishing (quickly and easily) between prayers that are said aloud and those said in the secret voice.
– A missalette that can be photocopied for low cost, mass-distribution – All these new edition people’s missals are great, but right now, we also need something that can be distributed widely at low cost.
 
I’d be delighted if either you or one of your readers could help.

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39 Responses to A plea for help in introducing young people to the older form of Mass

  1. Rick DeLano says:

    I would suggest contacting Una Voce for their handy little red paperback Missalette. It certainly did the trick for my two teenaged boys, who insist upon the Extraordinary form of the Rite regardless of how many hou7rs Dad has to drive on Sunday.

  2. Rick DeLano says:

    I would suggest contacting Una Voce for their handy little red paperback Missalette. It certainly did the trick for my two teenaged boys, who now insist upon the Extraordinary form of the Rite regardless of how many hours Dad has to drive on Sunday.

  3. Royce says:

    I agree with Rick. That red booklet was perfect for me at 19.

  4. Jason W says:

    As far as something for the uninitiated goes, I can’t imagine beating the Una Voce missal already mentioned, although it can be confusing for people who don’t understand what propers are and can’t figure out what is going on when the priest gets to the collect or epistle. Still, I doubt that you are going to find anything more straightforward than this.

    If it is absolutely critical, however, that you have something even more straightforward, I think the only other option might be to create something yourself. This is only practical, I think, if this is more or less an isolated incident of the Extraordinary Use, as that way the Propers can be inserted in their place. This can be done several ways, but I think the easiest would be to just copy the Ordinary off the Net, add in the Propers for that Mass, include yourself any additional notes, such as “the following will be said silently, so stop sitting there with a blank look on your face like nothing’s happening.” Then you can just take it down to the local copy store and have them run off and bind a few dozen copies (or do it through lulu.com or something similar). I think that this is a fairly simple and cheap solution, and it gives you optimal control over what is included in this missal. In fact, if you wanted to go this route, I would even be happy to typeset it for you. I would hold off a while though and see what others have to say.

  5. John says:

    Is that like the red one produced by the Ecclesia Dei coalition? I’d recommend it, provided that the coalition update its name in view of the new situation in the Church.

  6. Mark Johnson says:

    Angelus Press has a “Sunday Missal Booklet” for $5, or a pack of 10 for $30. Granted it is published by SSPX, but the description sounds good:

    “In the early 1980’s, Angelus Press printed its first Latin-English Missal booklet. Others have come and gone since then, but we believe that our new edition is the best available. From the durable cover to the two-color printing (rubrics in red), this missalette is a gem. The complete Mass is in Latin and English. Features include: Short Instruction on the Holy Mass; Ordinary of the Mass for High and Low Masses; the Propers of Trinity Sunday; 22 original illustrations to help newcomers follow the Mass; directions for kneeling, sitting, and standing; copious commentary in the margins on the Mass itself taken from St. Thomas Aquinas and the writings of Frs. de Chivré, Gihr, and Beaubien; the after-Mass Leonine Prayers, Prayer for the Sovereign of England, Thanksgiving Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas, Anima Christi, indulgenced Prayer Before a Crucifix, and the Prayer for All Things Necessary to Salvation. Also includes the Rite of Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. 64pp, 5½” x 8½”, durable softcover.”

    You can find it at angeluspress.com, it’s listed right on the home page.

  7. mrs. k says:

    Is it a Sunday Mass? If so, the Detroit Latin Mass site has already done the propers in a Liturgy guide, very clear. Many thanks to Alex!

    I would also suggest a “pre-concert talk”. Take them out for coffee and go through the Mass with them.

  8. RichR says:

    If people want to graduate to a simple hand missal, they should try the re-printed Fr. Stedman’s “My Sunday Missal.” It explains everything, is small, and walks you right through things. You may create a poster to take orders for these after the Extraordinary Mass. If people are interested, they can sign up to buy it. It sort of takes advantage of everyone’s “consumerist mentality” to expose them to good things.

    http://www.neumannpress.com/mysundaymissal.html

    I make nothing off of promoting or selling these missals. I just own one and think it is very well done.

  9. Joshua says:

    The red missalettes are doable, but I don’t like them. I know many people who did not realise that the propers printed weren’t being said that Mass. So that unless you are doing this on Trinity Sunday, they will be confused.

    Second there are some errors or at least misleading stuff, such as saying the Leonine prayers are optional (they are required except for certain conditions, like a homily being given).

  10. danphunter1 says:

    Coalition Ecclesia Dei has the red ones which are fine.
    Go to their website at: Coalition Ecclesia Dei
    Their phone number is:
    1-847-724-7151
    The missalettes are inexpensive if you buy them in bulk.
    God bless you.

  11. Fernanda says:

    I have never seen this Una Voce booklet but the Institute of Christ the King has one red that is great for beginners. It has pictures so if you get lost with the Latin you can find easy where they are, it has direction when we should to sit, stand and kneel and explanations about the details like posture etc.
    We have at our Church but I know is from Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei http://www.ecclesiadei.org.
    I’ll be praying for that.

  12. anne scanlon says:

    May I offer a word of encouragement. I work with youth, and fre the past several years have taken groups of them to the Tridentine Mass…and it was a bit of a road trip. There was little information beforehand, other than what to expect, how to dress and to not say ‘Amen’ at Communion. After their first experience many would say something like,”Why did they ever change it?” Not one teenager ever made a negative comment. So after using whaterer resources you have available, relax….pray God will touch their hearts and open their minds to His Profound, Mysterious Presence.

  13. Connie says:

    I agree with Ann. Relax and pray…The Mass is not an “experience.” It’s not about US. It’s about God. We are at Mass for God, to worship God, not for ourselves…That is what needs to be taught to our young people, regardless of what missal is used.

  14. Frank says:

    A cleanly formatted missalette with the Ordinary of the Mass can be found at http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lmass/ord.htm. The site has not been responding today, but I have made a PDF file of the missalette that I can email.

    The following will make good background material:

    (1) “The Beauty and Spirituality of the Traditional Latin Mass” at http://www.latin-mass-society.org/beaut.htm

    (2) “Questions about the Traditional Latin Mass” at http://www.stpeterrcc.com/LatinMassQuestions.htm

  15. David Kubiak says:

    I am currently giving a seminar on the history of the liturgy at our Newman Center, where the core group of traditionally minded students has the powers that be very much perplexed. I suspect this is a pattern in many places.

    In my experience of introducing young people to the traditional rite the single most important thing you have to explain to them is the idea of different theaters of liturgical action, which develop naturally in all religious traditions. They are used to everybody being on the same page at the same time, a rationalist flattening out of our beautifully complicated ritual inheritance. I tell them, for example, that if they want to sing the ‘Sanctus’ that’s fine, but if they want to follow the priest immediately with the Canon, that’s fine too. The Proper problem is serious. Ideally every community should print and distribute them every week, but that’s not possible in all situations. If and when they decide to buy a missal be sure to tell them that Fr. Lasance (which the ones who get really interested will want to have eventually) has pre-1962 elements that can be very confusing. But basically just get them to Church and let God do the rest through the liturgy itself. And over the last twenty years I have seen many, many times that He does.

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    Anne,

    Your experience with young folks (teenagers or college-age) at the TLM is the same as mine. Without any systematic preparation, they always react favorably. Many are over-whelmed in the most positive sense, never having experienced anything so palpably reverent and sacred.

    It’s probably a “new Mass” concept that the liturgy is something didactic, a channel of information that one needs preparation to accept. But the older form of Mass has been fine-tuned over the ages to connect with the senses perhaps more than directly with the intellect.

    Our community provides the ubiquitous red missalettes (www.ecclesiadei.org) with their pictures and explanatory comments. But I often advise newcomers to just set them aside, and not be distracted from the action at the altar. To just unite themselves with it, let it surround them. Don’t worry about when to sit, kneel, or stand, just do what everyone else does. With such a simple 1-page guide as this …..

    http://www.knoxlatinmass.net/OldNewMass.pdf

    ….. which can be freely printed and distributed, people who are familiar with the new form should be able to keep their place in the older form, keying on the “high points” of Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Consecration and Elevation, Preface, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Holy Communion — and, indeed, see their unity as (as our Holy Father emphasized) two forms of one and the same Roman rite.

  17. anonymous in Michigan says:

    Here is something the SSPX has put out:

    http://www.dici.org/dl/fichiers/fascicule_MesseUS.pdf

  18. JA says:

    I agree that Fr. Steadman’s “My Sunday Missal” is a superb resource. It is deeply catechetical.

  19. Henry Edwards says:

    PS: I meant to add that the OldNewMass guide linked above is indeed keyed with its page number references to that ubiquitous red missalette. So by saying. Lay it down and watch the altar and listen to what’s happening, I really mean ….. It’s ok to page through the missalette as the Mass proceeds to keep track of where you are — Just don’t try to read all that stuff at Mass, or you’ll loose your place for sure.

    Incidentally, no need to plop down $4 each (or whatever) for the red missalettes if they’re not already available. You can go to a site like

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lmass/ord.htm

    and freely print you own 16-page missalettes.

  20. Resonare Christum says:

    The red booklets aren’t horrible, but I agree with Joshua that they can be confusing. Something similar with a note indicating “see introit on separate sheet” (or some other indication that the propers are listed elsewhere) in the proper places (pun intended) would help tremendously. Other than that, I think the red booklets are good.

    I think sung masses are inherently confusing. You can try to follow what’s happening at the altar or you can follow along with the schola. I don’t know how one would explain this in print form so newcomers could follow along easily.

    After assisting at 3 or 4 sung masses during the past year or so, I assisted at a low mass for the first time for last Sunday. It was much, much easier to follow. I’m not saying that it was better, just easier to follow.

  21. Henry Edwards says:

    Mark: Angelus Press has a “Sunday Missal Booklet” for $5, or a pack of 10 for $30. Granted it is published by SSPX, but the description sounds good

    And indeed it looks good; the ad blurb is probably not exaggerated. I saw one for the first time a couple of weeks ago after Mass when a young father showed me his. He’d decided he wanted his children to grow up learning the real prayers of the Mass rather than the little stories in a typical children’s mass book, and so had bought 8 copies of this Angelus Press Sunday Mass Booklet for his growing family. (It ought not to be critical this this fellow is a respected Church employee and as non-suspect as it gets).

  22. Don Taylor says:

    I suggest giving a little overview, both theological and practical, of what the Classical Mass is. That way they will know what to expect and won’t be confused.

    Also, have people experienced in the rubrics sit in front so that everyone can follow them (naturally).

  23. Andrew says:

    I have no experience introducing a group of people to the older form, but I would like to suggest a thought: handouts might potentially become an obstacle. It could turn into a frustrating challenge for some trying to “keep up” and “figure out” what’s happening. First time attendees should be given more freedom to absorb the event on their own and to experience it without the “booklet”. They should expect to be somewhat unfamiliar with something new and not feel pressured to immediately find it familiar. And especially they should not expect to find it amusing in any way. A good introduction prior to attendance might be better than any handouts.

  24. I have produced a little leaflet for lay people unfamiliar with the older form of the rite. It emphasises that there are many different ways to participate and includes the text of St Francis de Sales on “How to hear Holy Mass”. Available at my parish website Free Downloads page.

  25. Palestrina says:

    I think the Ecclesia Dei booklets aren’t great for a “first outing” because:

    1. They suffer from “information overload”
    2. They contain the propers for Trinity Sunday, and a first-timer could get easily confused by that.
    3. The translations are in a form of English which may be difficult for somebody coming straight from ICEL translations to comprehend.
    4. The distinctions between the ceremonies of High and Low Mass are compressed into one booklet, which can be a little confusing.

    RichR – I agree that the Stedman is an excellent missal for beginners – the numbering system means that anybody could follow Mass easily…
    But:
    1. It is too expensive for mass-circulation
    2. It doesn’t really contain much information about the cermonies of High and Low Mass.

    I think new folks are most likely to get confused when either:
    1. The choir sings something while the priest is simultaneously doing something different (e.g. Introit/Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and more importantly Sanctus/Canon), or
    2. The priest uses the secret voice.

    What we need is for somebody to put together a nice booklet that can be downloaded and used. The sacred-texts.com site certainly has the TEXT of the Mass, but is this likely to be useful, by itself, to a newcomer? Something more along the lines of the EWTN booklet, maybe with some tweaking so that it is useful for ANY Sung Mass would be handy…

  26. Palestrina says:

    I think the Ecclesia Dei booklets aren’t great for a “first outing” because:

    1. They contain lots of information, which can be a bit overwhelming (or at least I found this to be so)
    2. They contain the propers for Trinity Sunday, and a first-timer could get easily confused by that.
    3. The translations are in a form of English which may be difficult for somebody coming straight from ICEL translations to comprehend.
    4. The distinctions between the ceremonies of High and Low Mass are compressed into one booklet, which can be a little confusing.

    RichR – I agree that the Stedman is an excellent missal for beginners – the numbering system means that anybody could follow Mass easily…
    But:
    1. It is too expensive for mass-circulation
    2. It doesn’t really contain much information about the cermonies of High and Low Mass.

    I think new folks are most likely to get confused when either:
    1. The choir sings something while the priest is simultaneously doing something different (e.g. Introit/Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and more importantly Sanctus/Canon), or
    2. The priest uses the secret voice.

    What we need is for somebody to put together a nice booklet that can be downloaded and used. The sacred-texts.com site certainly has the TEXT of the Mass, but is this likely to be useful, by itself, to a newcomer? Something more along the lines of the EWTN booklet, maybe with some tweaking so that it is useful for ANY Sung Mass would be handy…

  27. Dennis Martin says:

    For five years I have been sending 40-80 students a year to observe a Latin Mass either in the Extraordinary or Ordinary form as a university class assignment. I show them videos, work through the “Red” Booklet Missal etc. They buy a copy of the booklet missal (and the Coalition Ecclesia Dei reprint of the elementary school book, “Know Your Mass” as textbooks for the course and are asked to read these through.

    However, the one thing I have learned over these five years is to tell them not to expect to be able to follow along in their booklet missals. I used to think that if I just tried hard enough, asked them to tell me which Sunday they’d be going and then providing them the propers for that Sunday, that they might sorta kinda be able to follow along.

    I’ve concluded that that is bad advice. The first time I show them a video (the FSSP Tradition, or the Most Beautiful Thing . . . or even the Our Lady of Sorrows 1940 Fulton Sheen voiceover one), I tell them not to try to follow, but rather just to look at the overall ebb and flow, to try to identify the climactic moment (shouldn’t be hard) and to observe the choreography–the movements of priest and server back and forth, in and out, everything prescribed and executed with care and precision–in order to honor God, leading those in the pew in their prayer.

    Rather than hoping that people with no exposure at all to the Extraordinary form can learn it in advance from books, I think it’s more important to make sure they know the major segments, understand the markers that move from one to the other (in most cases, a “per omnia saecula . . . ” or “Dominus vobiscum” or “oremus” said audibly) so that they can find their place at these major transitions–they need to know the overall outline to do that.

    They also need to be tipped off to know that they often simply can’t hear what is being said at the altar–in a Low Mass because it’s not audible period, in a Solemn High Mass because it’s overlaid by the choir singing–and therefore not to get worried about that.

    They need to know that the Extraordinary Form was designed to be “read” and “heard” as much visually as aurally–so showing them at which points the priest turns to face the congregation, at which points he can be expected to sit down at a High Mass while the choir finishes an extended Gloria, for instance.

    Things like this they need to know, rather than trying to equip them to follow all the propers or even all the Ordinary prayers.

    Of course, it depends in part on how familiar they already are with the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite–at least some of the major segments have some comparability and then one can describe what’s entirely different (Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Last Gospel) as an add on. But half of my students, even though nominally Catholic, don’t even really know the main parts of the Novus Ordo–so much for the much ballyhooed “increased active participation” that was to be produced by the Novus Ordo Missae.

    And above all I emphasize, along the lines of Professor Kubiak, that the Extraordinary Form is an ancient/traditional way of worshiping in which the assembled congregation, with their priest coming forth from their midst to stand in front of them and lead them, offer sacrifice to God. This was the way the ancient Jews worshiped, this was the way Christians worshiped–it’s the only way that made sense to them. It’s my way of trying to nudge them out of their parochially modern tunnel vision in which worship is all about us and our community and handholding chumminess.

  28. LeonG says:

    I am writing this for those who may be in a difficult situation as we are. Some of the ideas may be generalised. If the comment is too long then I am sure you will remove it. It can help if we try to create a partly Latin environment around the home. In this country where we live and work there is no Latin Mass just novus ordo novelties & badly dressed noisy congregations week by week. This is how the problems have been tackled. Every Sunday morning at 8 o,clock my three older children and I pray through The Latin Mass almost as though we have a priest at Mass. I prepare a catechism session and an explanation of aspects of the Epistle and Gospel. Sometimes we look at the structure & responses of The Mass and my children share in the recitation of the basic prayers of The Mass. The Canon of The Mass & a spiritual Communion are met especially reverently and mostly in Latin. We have seasonal hymns each Sunday at the beginning and at the end. Each part of The Mass is faithful to its proper order and structure. There is a type of altar with crucifix, candles and a statue of Our Blessed Lady. To encourage use and pronunciation of Latin we use some at grace before meals and some in our family Rosary recitation. My children hear me singing the chant in the study when at prayer. Sometimes a little Latin drops into the conversation. This stimulates curiosity. Also, we have encouraged an admiration for Roman culture and civilisation which is not very difficult for four lively young boys. We are now in our third year like this and it remains fresh. Next year we will be leaving here for a place where there will be Latin Mass & regulasr Confession. Thankfully, my children will be quite well prepared as they have attended some Latin Masses in various places where we have been on holiday. If Latin is approached in a natural manner without proscriptions or rigid enforcement then it can be successful. Also, we adults must be enthusiastic, warm and affectionate with our children and the same about Latin and The Roman Catholic Church, even if she has lots of wrinkles these days which we also talk about with them. Sometimes the whole family meets for our Sunday Latin “Mass”.

  29. Palestrina says:

    Just another thought I had about the Stedman Missal…

    I particularly like the way that each “prayer” in the Canon has a little title (e.g. “For the Church) – Okay, okay – I know – The Canon is one big prayer. I just think that from a practical point of view, this is handy – If you can’t keep up with the pace of the priest, you can at least understand what he’s praying for at a particular point. I wouldn’t mind seeing a missal with little summary headings like that everywhere. Some priests say Mass quickly, so it’s just about impossible to follow them word-for-word.

  30. Sean says:

    From my own experience a very basic outline of the structure of the mass would have been most helpful on day 1:

    1. how an ordinary is intertwined with a proper.

    2. what ‘ordinary’ and ‘proper’ actually mean.

    3. a simple list of the Latin name of each section, new mass equivalent name, priest audible or silent, sit/stand/kneel.

  31. Tinlin says:

    The toughest part when you’re new is getting back on track when you’re lost following the mass. I would certainly recommend any booklet with minor rubrical notes. If you make sure to emphasize parts like the lavabo and the orate frates they’ll have a visual cue to follow.

  32. Norman says:

    I have a booklet in Microsoft Word format done up for a particular feast day, which allows you to modify it to suit your needs.

    Priest’s private prayers are in dark background. Arrows tell people which page the next audible prayer is.

    Email me!

  33. Palestrina says:

    Norman – Your email address doesn’t appear as part of your posting.

  34. Norman says:

    Apologies. You may send your requests to: pluck_a_star (at) yahoo.com.sg

    As I have said, its for a particular feast, so you certainly will have to modify the contents.

  35. Marysann says:

    I am surprized that no one has mentioned the new Latin-English sunday Missal published by Roman Catholic Books for $8.95. It is beautifully printed in black and red type, and illustrated with paintings by the old masters. It gives clear instructions for when to stand etc. I have purchased several of these so that I will have them when I take guests to Mass. I think that your young people would like them. Roman Catholic Books website is BooksforCatholics.com.

  36. Palestrina says:

    Marysann, I’d like to see some more pics of that missal, and a review of it somewhere.

    It would still be nice to have something to download and mass-photocopy – I mean, Una Voce Orange County has kindly provided very neat propers for the liturgical year. All we need now is a missalette to go with it (actually… We could do with several different types: Low Mass, High Mass, Requiem Mass (Low and High separately) and Nuptial Mass).

  37. Henry Edwards says:

    From my own experience a very basic outline of the structure of the mass would have been most helpful on day 1:

    http://www.knoxlatinmass.net/OldNewMass.pdf

    The Propers problem is serious. Ideally every community should print and distribute them every week, but that’s not possible in all situations.

    http://uvoc.org/Propers.html

    A nice 4-page booklet — print front and back of a single letter-size page, then fold to get a nice 4-page booklet for each Mass — that one can insert in his ubiquitous red missalette if desired. I do this every week for our community — quick and easy — and put them out on the tables with the missalettes. Our community web site also provides a page with links for those who want to print out the propers in advance to study — as anyone who’s serious about “praying the Mass” should? — before attending Sunday Mass:

    http://www.knoxlatinmass.net/propers.htm

  38. AlexB says:

    With all due respect to the fine folks at Una Voce Orange County, their Propers handouts are riddled with typographic errors, as is every other on-line source. That is why I invested over 500 hours in preparing and proofreading the Latin/English Propers handouts that Mrs. K referred to above. One year was spent preparing and proofing, and a second year was spent re-proofing the previous year’s work.

    Originally prepared for the Windsor and Detroit TLM sites, you can download the PDFs by clicking on the dates at: http://www.detroitlatinmass.org/jospht/Music.htm

    The original Word docs are also available. E-mail me at the address on the above web page for details.

  39. Henry Edwards says:

    Alex: It is true that one spots the occasional obvious typo in the Una Voce O.C. propers that so many TLM communities like ours have been using. Your own propers, which I had not seen before, look especially attractive. I recommend that anyone interesting in downloading and printing propers for their local use take a look at them.

    So let me take this belated opportunity to commend you for what has obviously been a great labor of love, and a wonderful contribution. The St. Josaphat Tridentine Community in Detroit is widely known and admired among traditional Catholics throughout the country, and one of the reasons for its success is clear.