I found interesting this post, by a fellow named Christopher Humphries.
My emphases and comments.
Got a Hand Missal (1962) & My First TLM (FSSP)Submitted by Christopher on Monday, 13 October 2008
Disclaimer: these are my personal opinions and I am only sharing experiences. It is relative to my growth in faith and personal experience. I have no desire to tell another person the right and wrong methods of obedient Catholic practice. This is what works/fails for me growing closer to God and Our Lady of Grace.
The Hand Missal
As I spoke of before, I wanted a hand missal (1962) for the Traditional Latin Mass. The missal doesn’t change, so it’s nice that all you need is one missal. So, I ordered one from Amazon (Angelus Press edition).
I was planning on going to a TLM this past weekend and so I needed a missal to follow along. It came in on Friday, so had it in time to get familiar with it. Now that I have my missal, I’m ready for the Mass!
The TLM ran by FSSP
Arriving into the parish, I realized that I wasn’t dressed properly enough. I was in jeans, yet had fancy shoes and a nice button-up dress shirt. Everyone else was wearing suits and most men had ties on. They all had dress pants on. [This isn’t something to worry about. Adjustments can be made along the line.]
All the women had veils over their heads, which to my surprise was quite beautiful. One women I saw in the sunlight, as she was walking back from receiving the Eucharist, looked like Mary surrounded in light. It was quite amazing. I believe that that is what the image of women is to be like, at least in our hearts. So, that part was interesting. [And no surprise either!]
The choir was just amazing; they sounded like angels. While I didn’t understand what they were singing, the intent and beauty was communicated. [That’s it!] That was one of my favorite parts and the choir even has a CD!
One interesting and a touch uncanny tidbit, not the liturgy or Mass itself, was that Father Orlowski, FSSP, was the Mass celebrant. This name may not ring any bells with anyone and he is a good priest, yet probably not famous as far as priests go. He is important in my faith and vocation experiences. The reason is that we spoke on a plane from Scranton, PA to Detroit airport. The hour long conversation meant a great deal to me and helped to get the priesthood vocation wheels turning.
I found out later that he was stationed at another parish in another state, and he just happened to be in town this past Sunday and celebrated the high Mass.
His topics on grace, computers (he used to be a programmer also), history, priesthood vocation, and sacraments were very interesting to me. Yet, it wasn’t until over time that I remember them and meditate on them in prayer. The discussion with this humble priest, of great love and passion for God and Our Lady, was a very special experience for me. I was very grateful for this time. God does work in mysterious ways, the Holy Spirit is amazing.
Thank you, Father Orlowski.
My Impression Of The Mass
While I did have my missal, I still didn’t know what was going on. This was to be expected, as noted by Father Z. I was excited, yet didn’t know what to expect or do. I felt nervous as I genuflected before entering pew, as I didn’t know if I was supposed to or not! If unsure, genuflect to the Lord, right?
Well, the priest and all the altar boys entered. There were about eight boys and teenagers. I wasn’t expecting that, as that just doesn’t exist in the Novus Ordo Masses I’ve been to. So was a ‘hrm interesting’ moment. Father then blessed everyone with holy water from the aspergilum and everyone genuflected as the holy water came their direction (seemed like a genuflecting wave as he started up one side and came down the other [stopping to pray halfway through], was amazing).
The entire Mass seemed to all have direct focus on the altar and priest. Everything was very reverent. There wasn’t much in the way of distractions. The wasn’t anything uncomfortable. There seemed to be much more focus on prayer during the Mass also, which I appreciated.
Something which I think got lost in communication with the Novus Ordo Masses I’ve been to. Maybe I needed a better missal?
This is text from the Angelus Press hand missal, in the Ordinary of the Mass part, II-A, 13. The Offertory Verse (page 859), that is written in the side notes, which I found very awesome:
This moment brings us back to our true place before God and purifies us. It prepares us to enter into God and share in His divine activities. The Offertory opens the door to the secrets of God and to union with Him.
As this bread on the paten and this wine in the chalice are in a state of expectancy of becoming Christ’s Body and Blood, so we present ourselves to God in voluntary expectancy of a change to be made in us–an expectancy of divinization.
In the Offertory, Christ unites our desires and prayers to His own offering of Himself to the Father. As our intentions are joined to the Passion of Christ, the yassume the value of the Passion in the eyes of God.
In the Agony in the Garden, Christ performed His offertory, giving Himself in advance to all the sufferings of Calvary. This is the spirit we should take from the Mass; an entire acceptance in advance of what God’s grace will ask of us.
The Offertory reminds us that the law of salvation is generosity without discussion.
A parallel contrast look on the Mass from the TLM perspective will help any future Mass I go to.
Everyone finished the song after priest and altar boys left. Everyone stayed on their knees in prayer and all focus to the altar till the priest removed the Mass chalice, paten and other items. That is something I’ve never seen at Mass before. [Excellent!] I felt at home there.
All focus is on Christ, from start to end. It is quite amazing. In a sense, the orders of the Mass didn’t matter. The missal was enough to know what was going on. I was too busy focusing on the Mass to worry about too much of the details, there is plenty of time to explore that later.
After Mass had ended and people started to exit the church, I stopped one person and asked if it was normal for the priest to come to the front of the church and speak with the people, as in all the other Masses I’ve been to. The gentleman that I spoke with happened to know Father and his son was an altar boy. So, he took me to the back where I got to see Father again, face to face.
We spoke for a bit and caught up briefly. He then introduced me to the other priest of the parish, whose name escapes me now. Then we went downstairs into where they have tables set up, with a kitchen and coffee/donuts. Apparently, everyone gets together and eats a meal together after Mass. This was truly amazing to me! There is a real sense of community. [Of course!]
Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. I couldn’t stay for a meal, and Father even offered to buy for me (to which I could never accept, I help pay for priests not the other way around). I look forward to meeting everyone.
I’ll definitely be going back to this parish for Mass whenever possible. While I do not have a car, I’ll gladly pay the price for cab fare ($20 round trip). I feel this is where I belong. Maybe I can speak to someone eventually that happens to live near me that I could get a ride from? [Indeed!]
Another thing I need to do is purchase nicer clothes. I need to get some nice dress pants and dress shirts (and a tie or two).
I was curious of the FSSP seminaries, so I researched it a bit from their site and found they have two: one in the US and one in Germany (I used to live in Germany and relearning German wouldn’t be that difficult). While I am still not accepted into the Church yet, I am discerning the priesthood and was curious what FSSP seminary was like and requirements for acceptance, etc.