A 1st TLM experience

From a reader:

I know you must be very busy, but I thought you may like to share my experience on your blog. I attended my first Tridentine Mass, which was a High Mass, celebrated at the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis, Missouri today. I had never been to one before, and I thought it was simply a magnificent experience. It just seemed to be so much more reverent the NO Masses which are celebrated at the extremely liberal parishes in my area. It was a stunning experience, and, even though my Latin is very poor, I was able to follow along with what was going on the entire time. It was a truly beautiful experience, and I look forward to being able to attend there again. The Oratory of St. Francis de Sales is run by the Institute for Christ the King, the Sovereign Priest. Words can not begin to describe how beautiful of an experience this was, and I would encourage anyone who has never been to a TLM before that they should attend, even if it’s only once, just to experience such a magnificent Mass.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Same thing happened to me, that was 3 years ago and I have kept going…It truly was the most beautiful Mass I ever saw….Maybe in the 70’s it just wasn’t appreciated and they almost lost it..Who would really want to tinker with it, I will never understand..I can understand having added maybe a few options to allow what the Second Vatican Council decreed, but the wholesale dismantling of the Mass was a travesty. The Latin will become more and more familiar, I love it.

  2. ssoldie says:

    We in Brainerd, Mn will be having the ‘Gregorian Rite’ The Traditional Latin Mass of all ages at St. Frances Catholic Church On Sunday Sept 13th, 5:30 p.m. the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, for the 1st time in 40 years. Fr. Eric Hastings from St Benedict’s Catholic Church in Duluth will be praying ‘the most beautiful thing this side of heaven”. We are blessed and thank God.

  3. Magpie says:

    The most amazing Mass I was ever at was a Missa Cantata for the Assumption in 2007. It inspired in me such feelings of wonder and awe. Awesome. We need more of that.

  4. Rellis says:

    I think we should be careful not to raise expectations too high for newbies. Just as often, the first experience is one of confusion, not euphoria (which should come later in this case).

  5. chcrix says:

    There is very fine work done at St. Francis DeSales.

    If you are in the St. Louis area and happen to be in west county there are also daily Extraordinary form Masses in a modest setting at the Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine on the grounds of the Benedictine Abbey near Conway and Mason Roads.


  6. patrick_f says:

    The Oratory truly has some amazing things going on. I recently got involved with their men’s Chant Schola. The music director there is amazing, and most importantly , humble.

    Keep going to the oratory friend, and balance it with the NO. Its like two lungs to the same body.

    Also, St Gregory and Augustine is a wonderful little parish, with an amazing Rector as well. Both places will teach you your faith in ways you never could imagine.

  7. I attended my first High Mass this morning! I’ve attended quite a few low Masses, but this High Mass took my breath away! The music was just gorgeous. It made me think of the angels in Heaven singing. The incense was wonderful too; it always helps create an otherworldly atmosphere.

  8. zgietl says:

    I attend Washington University in Stl. A couple days ago I was talking with one of my friends who is Jewish and she had recently attended Mass at the Catholic Student Center. She told me she was very disappointed that the Mass wasn’t in Latin…she said she prays in Hebrew so it doesn’t make sense to her that our Mass is in English. I’m trying to get her to come to an EF Mass.

  9. adamwelp says:

    I too had my first TLM experience this week. I went to Low Mass at St. Martin in Louisville. This will not be my last TLM! Though, I did have a hard time following along because the priest was talking at about one hundred words per second :). I believe this blog prepaired me well for this first trip to a TLM. I can’t wait to attend again, this time it will be a High Mass.

    God Bless!

    P.S. Keep up the good work Fr. Z!

  10. JaneC says:

    I am looking forward to singing for an EF Missa Cantata for the first time on September 20. I have been to the EF in all three forms (Low, Cantata, and High) several times (not to mention all sorts of other liturgical adventures–various Eastern liturgies, OF Missa Cantatas both English and Latin, etc.), but I have never been part of the choir for one. I will be conducting some of the chants–Sts. Cecilia and Gregory, pray for me, and for my husband who will be conducting the rest!

  11. Sid says:

    Although I had been contributing money to the FSSP for a decade, the first MEF that I attended was 2006 March, on a weekday, a Low Mass, at S. Gregorio dei Muratori, M. Rev. Joseph Kramer, FSSP the priest. Like most folks new to this Form, I got a bit lost, even with Missal in hand. Yet what impressed me the the most was the Holy Silence. I knew then that the MEF was for me.

  12. Gabriella says:

    The Mass of All Times and of All our saints is indeed an awesome experience.

    I always suggest newbys get a little information first but I’m sure the Mass in the extraordinary form always leaves an impression on one’s soul anyway.

    Thank you for sharing.

  13. I was the one who sent in the above story, and I actually live in West County about ten minutes from the Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine, so it’s a lot closer to me than St. Francis de Sales is. I have a friend who is similar to my age (I’m 16) who invited me to come with him. I did’t have a proper missal, only one I printed out off the internet, but I’m going to be ordering a missal hopefully this week. My brother attends Washington University as well, and plays guitar at the Catholic Student Center. He invited me there for Mass one Sunday, and I was frankly shocked at all the things that went on there. The priest and deacon both wearing shorts and sandals under their vestments just turned me off. Not to mention any “He” referring to God was changed to simply “God.” There were lots of words changed in the Eucharistic Prayer as well. It almost made my parish seem attractive, and my parish is incredibly liberal, as are all the parishes in my area. Thankfully, we did just receive a newly ordained priest who has been a blessing to us all, as he is truly a wonderful, holy priest. I’m hoping someday that I will be able to see a Mass in the EF at my parish, but the pastor seems opposed to it because of the Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine being so close to us.

    John P.

  14. S. Murphy says:

    Re Rellis’ comment about not raising expectations: my first TLM was not a great experience. Wasn’t the TLM’s fault, or that of my Latin being 15 years’ rusty, and never really worked on orally/aurally in the first place. The sound system was bad, or didn’t work with the accoustics in the church – St Mary’s Cathedral in Austin. Whenever the choir sang, I could figure out where we were in the missal. Unfortunately, the priest had his mouth too close to the mic when he gave his homily, so I could barely understand a word in English, either. So it was a strange and frustrating experience; but on the other hand, it was nice to see the TLM apparently taken in stride in a place as laid-back as Austin. I was just visiting, so I don’t know if the sound is always that bad.
    Anyway, congratulations, John P., I’m glad it was a moving experience for you. And I get where you’re coming from with the damnatio of pronouns, lest we refer to God as “He.” I’m a she, and somehow it never occurred to me to be bothered by that. And I’m certainly not saying my experience turned me off. I would like to see the parish I usually attend when I’m home try at least the NO in Latin to bring the congregation together — they have English Masses, attended by older folks, whose names end in -ski or start with O’, and Spanish Masses — and last year, an old folks’ Easter Vigil at 7:30, and a Spanish Easter Vigil at 9:00. Why not 8:30, in Latin? I don’t think it was crowd-management, because there’s only one Midnight Mass.

  15. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Two cautions, one of which someone has already posted here, seem in order. Analogically, he who is accustomed to McDonald’s will balk at the prospect of a fine five-star restaurant, both in terms of the quality of the food and the environment. Second, however, and more importantly, Mass isn’t valid because it produces good vibrations, regardless of whether those “vibes” are produced by altar girls and the ministry of movement or by “smells and bells”, to borrow an Anglican expression. The point, surely, is the content, the matter, the substance, which those things chose suitably ( or unsuitably, as the case may be) to clothe.

  16. Dr. Eric says:

    We were supposed to go to St. Francis de Sales yesterday, our daughter woke up with coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath in the middle of the night so we didn’t go. She was fine later in the morning, about 10 am when the High Mass would have started.

  17. james says:

    You know, it would be a great “ecumenical” olive branch for all priests to
    encourage their parishioners to check out the Latin Mass. Wouldn’t it?! :)

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