How NAC seminarians prepare their first Masses


I got this from a reader who is NOT a seminarian at the North American College in Rome. 

This is actually pretty useful.  Deacons out there might want to pay attention.

My emphases and comments.

First Mass Preparation Program

The celebration of a priest’s first Mass is an important occasion in the life of a priest.  While his first Mass will be celebrated after he leaves formation at the Pontifical North American College, the seminarian will be preparing for this celebration while still in formation.  It is important that the celebration be prepared well and that the seminarian receive the necessary guidance and counsel from the administration and faculty of the seminary during this preparation.  In order to help the seminarian prepare for this important liturgy, this year we are asking each deacon to:

  1. Discuss with his formation advisor specific plans for his first Mass.  Among the issues that should be discussed are listed in the attached chart.
  1. While a wide latitude is given to the seminarian as to the style and details of the first Mass and reception, it is important that the style and details be prudent and within the liturgical guidelines of the universal and local church.  It is also important that the bishop of the diocese be apprised of the plans and offered an opportunity to give any guidance to the seminarian that he wishes to give as he prepares for his first solemn Eucharist.
  1. As deemed appropriate, the Rector will forward to the vocation director of the diocese the plan for the first Mass.   [Lot’s of control here, no?]

First Mass Form










Hotel for out of town guests




Rehearsal dinner place




After ordination reception place












Prayer Cards




Thank You Cards




First Mass




First Mass rehearsal [Yah… that Solemn 1962 Mass takes some work.]
















Estimated Number of Concelebrants  [What if you don’t want any?]




Music   Hymns  [What about the Graduale Romanum?]




             Mass parts








Use of other languages –Latin, ["other?" Do Latin priests have to get approval for Latin?]

                         Spanish, other












Vestments (what are you planning to use?) [Must they be approved?]












First blessings












Expenses Covered




Write and send Thank Yous




April 16, 2008


All in all some of these points are good.  It is good to have a check list and get these things worked out in advance.

Still, there is a lot of "control" here.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. From a priest reader:

    I saw the post on your blog about the NAC checklist for the First Solemn Mass of the newly ordained priest. Since the comments were turned off, I thought I’d send this e-mail. I was ordained in 2006 from the NAC, and that list was NOT part of my formation. I think it was started in 2007 or even this year. It is all about control. As I understand it, there was a newly ordained priest who offered his First Solemn Mass in the OF – in Latin and Ad Orientem – all perfectly legit, of course. However, it was in a liberal diocese, and his bishop was angry. So, in politically-correct fashion, the NAC devised these guidelines. I think it’s ridiculous that they try to control an act that takes place AFTER the man has been ordained. Isn’t their approval of his orders enough to say he’s qualified??? While there are some good things going there – and many of the men are very good – pray for the seminary faculty. There are still some liberal and politically correct priests in charge of the formation that do things such as this. I’m glad you brought attention to this!

  2. From a priest reader:

    If you are interested, I would like to make an observation of my own about the recent NAC policy regarding First Mass Plans. I was also ordained in 2006 as an alumus of the North American College. It amazes me how far the Church has come in a few short years…I would be embarrassed if somebody were to see the program from my first Mass today. It was all standard stuff…Sprinkling Rite, Community Mass by Proulx, “O God beyond all Praising”…that sort of thing, and I thought that it was a bit of a push to have “Tu es Sarcedos” as the Hymn after Mass. But with the release of the Motu Proprio by the Holy Father, an entirely different approach to Liturgy has re-emerged amongst me and my classmates. I remember when I returned to Rome, I had requested and received permission from my Bishop to celebrate the TLM while there; concrete request with a definite time-limit; but I felt that I had to do this without the faculty knowing what I was about. Mercifully, I was able to celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost that year at the Fraternity parish (then San Gregorio dei Muratori) with the full compliment of ministers and music. In retrospect it was unfortunate that I didn’t feel at liberty to invite many of my classmates, for fear of being “turned-in”; although it didn’t matter much at that point…I was a priest. How far we have come and how encouraged I am by my brother priests and classmates at the enthusiasm for the tradition of the Church! So a word to the wise “on the Hill”, don’t let them frighten you into the “Status quo”…the past is not the past…it is the FUTURE!

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