PRAYERCAzT 09: The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar – 1962 Missale Romanum

Welcome to another installment of What Does the Prayer Really Sound Like? 

This installment begins an additional approach to what our prayers really sound like.  It is time to start learning to pronounce and memorize the set prayers, or Ordinary, of Mass. 

This time we tackle the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.

To start, you will hear the prayers at near normal speed.  Then some harder words and phrases will be broken down and repeated with pauses so that you can repeat them.  You can use this with or without a printed text.  Our purpose is to get the sound in your ears, the feel of the words in your mouth, before developing bad habits of pronunciation.  Do this work out loud.

After the first section, we’ll hear the prayers at closer to normal pace in two phases

First, we’ll hear the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar from the perspective of the server’s part: the server’s part will be lower in volume, so that you can speak over that part and, together with it, practice as if you were the server.  After that we’ll hear the prayers from the priest’s perspective, with priest’s part lower in volume so that you can speak over that part and, together with it, practice as if you were the priest.
Why do all this?

In Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum we read that a priest must be idoneus, or qualified and capable of celebrating Holy Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum.  This word idoneus refers not only juridical capability, but also the priest’s knowledge and competence.  One of the daunting challenges some younger priests will have in learning the older form of Mass will be the meaning and sound of Latin.  Some bishops have stated that they will examine priests who express desire to learn the Traditional Latin Mass.

If priests who are learning to say the older form of Holy Mass can get these prayers in their ears, they will be able to pray them with more confidence. So, priests are my very first concern. 

However, these audio projects can be of great help to lay people who attend Holy Mass in the Traditional, or extraordinary form: by listening to them ahead of time, and becoming familiar with the sound of the before attending Mass, they will be more receptive to the content of the prayers and be aided in their full, conscious and active participation.

My pronunciation of Latin is going to betray something of my nationality, of course. Men whose native language is other than English will sound a little different.  However, the standard for Latin in church is the way it is spoken in Rome.  Since I have spent a lot of time in Rome, you can be pretty sure my accent will not be too far off the mark.

I usually will deliver the prayers at a slower pace than I would during Mass.  Hopefully the slower pace will help you hear the words more clearly.

If this was useful to you, let your priest friends know this resource is available.  Also, please make a donation using the donation button on the left side bar of the blog or or by clicking here.  This is a labor of love but those donations really help. 

Pray for me, listen carefully, and practice practice practice.

Nota bene: With the beginning of a new liturgical year at the 1st Sunday of Advent, I will be evaluating whether or not I want to continue to do these audio projects based on the download statistics.  Good stats – PRAYERCAzTs – Bad stats – …. cf. Hamlet V.ii.363

I am not able to tell how many might be using this project from iTunes, but my podpress plugin is showing these results for downloads.  Don’t forget to check out the PODCAzTs!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Geoffrey says:

    Thank you, Father! I am noticing mistakes that I have been making in my own Latin pronunciation. Now to correct them! :-)

  2. Stu says:

    Thanks Father. My boys and I will be practicing.

  3. John F. says:

    Thank you, Father.

  4. Le Renard says:

    Excellent, Fr. Z!

    I like the way that you repeated phrases and words in order to reiterate how to pronounce them.
    This might be a good thing to do in future installments!

    Also, does anybody know if it is acceptable for a priest to utilize Classical Latin pronunciation versus Ecclesiastical?

    To me, I don’t see why this shouldn’t be acceptable; but, just in case, I am wondering if this would be okay.

  5. Andrew says:

    Also, does anybody know if it is acceptable for a priest to utilize Classical Latin pronunciation versus Ecclesiastical?

    I think it should definitely NOT be used. I don’t want to hijack this thread by discussing it at length but there are good reasons why it should not be part of the Church’s liturgy.

  6. About Classical pronunciation: I guess I would have to ask which classical pronunciation. 

    I think it would “cause wonder”, even more than regional variations of  the usual ecclesiastical manner.  It would seem like an affectation.   Any one who had gotten to the stage of saying Mass in Latin, would know the different between the Church’s way and the classical fashion.

    If you like a classical pronunciation, recite Horace.  For Mass, stick to the Roman way.

  7. Le Renard says:

    Thanks Fr. Z and Andrew!

    I was thinking more along the lines of restored latin; however, I could see both your points.

    I don’t want to go further on this tangent, but I would surely appreciate it if anybody could explain how the ecclesial pronunciation came about.

    Initially, when Latin became the official church language in the 4th century over Greek, was the Latin pronunciation at the time already utilizing the ecclesial pronunciation or was it the vernacular Latin of the Romans?

    At any rate, God bless you, Fr. Z!

    Many blessings to you for doing this!

    Because of this great act of BXVI, I have finally been able to attend the TLM at a nearby parish.

    God is Good indeed!

  8. Kim says:

    I am technilogically challenged and just figured out how to access your Podcast on the computer. Haven’t figured out how to down load them yet and when I do it will take alot of time to learn how to bring them back up. Just wanted to let you know there are folks out there like me considering your 1st Day of Advent deadline. Wanting to learn the responses so I can hopefully serve at a TLM. I am 52 and kind of late coming to the ballpark. Thanks for everything and God Bless. Kim

  9. Joe says:

    Father, Do I have your permission to burn this pronunciation series to CD & distribute ?

  10. Kim says:


    If you get permission I would love to get a copy. Thanks. Kim

  11. I think people should be referred back to this blog. That is a very easy thing to do.

Comments are closed.