From a reader:
I have recently learned of an EF mass about an hour from my home. I would like to attend. In the past when I’ve had the opportunity, I’ve chickened out.
I have two fears- not know what to do, though I’m sure I can just watch others and follow them. The second is not knowing what to wear.
I always dress up for mass, but is a mantilla or any other garment necessary?
I am glad you are interested in going and very glad that you are concerned to do the right things.
As we have discussed quite a few times on the blog, the mantilla is no longer necessary according to the Church’s law. When you go to a TLM, however, you will find that most of the women use it. You would not stand out in that crowd if you wear a mantilla. I suspect there may be a few women there who don’t use it. If you don’t have one, don’t let that keep you from going… at least for that reason.
I suppose the old adage of wearing your “Sunday best” doesn’t mean much to younger people today. But I recommend a nice dress. Perhaps this isn’t the best occasion for the LBD.
You will probably see some young families with lots of kids and also maybe one or two people who will strike you as… odd. That’s par for the course.
For your first time there you might sit farther back so you can see what everyone else is doing. Get there a few minutes early to see what booklets they have available.
Also, it may be a good idea to read the readings and prayers for the Mass at least once before you go. When you are there and in the thick of it, it may be hard to follow your book and also take in everything going on.
Remember: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Some expectations may be met, some confounded. Just relax and see what happens!