QUAERITUR: Taking 8th Grade Confirmation Class to a TLM… HELP?!

From a reader:

Dear Father,

Thank you for your work and for maintaining your blog.

I am a catechist for 8th grade Confirmation Candidates at our NO parish. I would like to take them to a local TLM next fall/winter. I realize that I must prepare them and myself since it would be my first time. None of the students have ever attended a Mass in the extraordinary form. Some of them don’t go to Mass in any form on a regular basis. I plan to ask some regular EF Mass attendees for pointers, but I was wondering if there is a DVD or if there is a good
resource out there that your or your readers might know about that can help us. I’m also wondering if I should take them to a high or a low Mass and if I should try a feast day such as Christ the King.

Lots of questions.


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  1. jeffmcl says:

    Angelus Press has a great little booklet called “For the Visitor at the Mass”, which has nice photos and simple commentary on the TLM. Unfortunately, it is focused on the Low Mass, but it is still a nice aid for newcomers and can be purchased in bulk. “Know Your Mass” is an excellent book directed at children and available through Amazon.com. I don’t know of any DVD’s aimed at children, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are out there.

  2. Sodalis says:

    I’d recommend livemass.net run by Christ the King Catholic Church / FSSP and their app iMass or iMassHD to familiarize yourself. Of course, the question pops up and I am getting nothing more than a buffer with livemass.net. The app is working fine though. Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll work its way out.

  3. Bea says:

    IGNATIUS PRESS:”The Old Mass and The New” by Bishop Marc Aillet Diocese of Bayonne in France gives an excellent historical background, includes Pope Benedict Summorum Pontificum and his letter to Bishops on this occasion .
    TAN BOOKS/SAINT BENEDICT PRESS “The Latin Mass Explained” by Msgr George Moorman.

    There were 2 DVD’s, but I haven’t seen them out for a while. I believe it was put out by CUF, long ago. Explanation of the Mass done in ( I believe) the 1940’s also there was “The Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven” A DVD of the TLM Mass .

    Basically the TLM is the same as Novus Ordo Mass : Confiteur, Epistle, Gospel, Sermon, Offering, washing of the hands, Consecration, Communion, Dismissal but you will find the wordings more up-lifting and God-Centered. (no hand-shaking).High Mass has incensing The Priest, Altar servers and then the people, instead.

    Low Mass is hard to follow for new-comers because you have to concentrate extra hard at what point of the Mass the priest is at.
    High Mass raises the soul more with its chants/music and you have a respite of finding your place during the Gloria and Credo. It is a little easier to follow for newcomers.

  4. Yorkmum says:

    My gut instinct says, go yourself a few times before taking the group. (This assumes that you have the opportunity to do so, of course.)

    Also, I think that Missa Cantata or High Mass is likely to have more impact on them than a low mass – which is IMHO harder to appreciate if you are unused to TLM.

  5. 1987 says:

    First of all, you should go to Traditional Mass at least several times beforehand. It is quite difficult not to get lost for the first time: the children will be lost, so be prepared to help them. In my case, great love and understanding of the Traditional Mass came only after some 15 Masses, but now I cannot imagine my life without it. Nevertheless, the first time makes impression, too, so your plan to go there with children just once is not bad at all.

    Anyway, for the first time, I would recommend a Missa cantata or, ideally, the Solemn High Mass. There are at least three reasons for it. Firstly, Solemn Mass is THE Mass, the normative one as it should be celebrated whenever possible, as it was described in Missale Romanum primum and other sources of the early Church. The other forms are derivative and, at least to some extent, inferior to it. Secondly, the solemnity of the High Mass or Missa cantata makes greater impression – smells and bells are not to be regarded as a goal for themselves, but they help concentrate on the mysteries celebrated and fill the soul with great joy. Thirdly, it is easier not to get lost.

    But if you choose the Low Mass, you have to know that there are various types of it, too. The main types (with some variations in between) are the silent Mass and Missa dialogata. I don’t know which type is more common in the US. In Europe, where I live, the silent Mass has, unfortunately, almost disappeared in many places. It is very beautiful and moving with its silence, contemplation. But Missa dialogata is also very beautiful, with full active participation (even in the sense of V2-spirit guys) of the faithful, but it also requires at least basic knowlegde of Latin.

    In any case, just do it. This Mass will bring great spiritual fruits, greater than the Novus ordo, as Card. Bertolucci stressed in his address to our Holy Father Benedict XVI. And don’ try to understand every word, to follow the missalette at each point of the Mass: it will take time to be able to do that. Just come, pray, look at the movements of the priest, of the servers – the ancient Mass is not just about the words, it’s about sensuality, visuality, it involves all your senses.

  6. kallman says:

    The children need to be appropriately educated and cathechised about the Mass first in terms appreciable to their age and state. The idea of familiarising yourself first as their leader and teacher is very important and it will take quite a few Masses to achieve this (from my experience). The low Mass is easier to understand as there is less going on at any given time. The Missa Solemnis or Missa Cantata makes a bigger impact on the senses but has multiple things happening simultaneously at many time points which can be confusing to the uninitiated. The DVD “Greatest thing this side of Heaven is readily available but is not pitched at children. It is straightforward nonetheless and they could be taken through it. There is an excellent YouTube video with commentary by Father Calvin Goodwin FSSP which you could find useful in terms of briefing yourself re the formation/catechesis of the children. Also there are DVDs produced by the FSSP and materials at Sanctamissa.org which may help you in teaching the children. You will need to download a children’s missalette for them to have and tell them when to turn the pages. THis is a worthy endeavour . Hopefully the children are young enough to be formed but old enough to understand.

  7. Jim of Bowie says:

    Very good low mass video narrated by Fr. Calvin Goodwin, FSSP at:

  8. jbosco88 says:

    Just invite Father to talk about it regularly. Use visual aids – the Chalice, Vestments, Paten, precious cruets etc. All the other “resources” are nothing compared to that.

    Personally, I don’t think a video is enough or advisable. Father MUST be invited and should be an integral part of this learning.

    It will captivate them.

  9. NoraLee9 says:

    As a life-long secondary educator, I will say the following:
    Absolutely attend the EF many times before you take the students.
    Take the to the High Mass. Students love music. You will get some great lessons from the music.
    Where are you located? Do you have a choice of venues?
    Be aware that there are “church ladies” everywhere you go. I was coordinator of a chapel once, and before I could welcome an obvious newcomer, “a church lady,” (although this one was a church fella), jumped all over this person for arriving dressed in shorts. In order to avoid a flock of church ladies pecking your crew, I suggest that you tell your students to:
    dress nicely, like they were going to, ummm, Church. Or out to dinner at a nice restaurant. Or to a job interview….
    Tell the gals that a head covering is usually worn at the EF. If you are brave, point out to them 1 Corinthians 3-16. Everyone likes to get tchatchkas. Get a few yards of inexpensive white lace, and take it over to the dry-cleaners/tailors. Have them make a mantilla for each of the girls (and a special long one for you, because you deserve it). It shouldn’t cost you more than 25-30$ if that. You can make them yourself, easily, if you are good with the sewing machine.
    In SOME EF congregations, women in pants are frowned upon. This is something you can look at in your scouting missions.
    The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the middle of the altar, in most places which celebrate the EF. Make sure the students know how to properly genuflect.
    Try to arrive early so that you can sit up front. The EF is not an auditory experience from the point of view that the congregation does not have many responses. It is more visual. The closer you sit, the more you will see.
    That being said, make sure that you warn the students that talking in church is VERBOTEN. I usually arm my mutants with little pads so that they can send me notes, if necessary, and make notes for questions later.
    You won’t get pecked by a swarm of helpful church ladies, but you will raise the bar of understanding if you can lay your hands on an EF missal and xerox the Ordinary of the Mass, as well as the psalms, collect, epistle & gospel for the day, for each student. Hand it out the week before you go, and go over the Rite and the Rubrics. You can either collect the papers to be handed out again the following Sunday, or make extra copies, because some of your students will forget to bring the copies you gave them. Missals are expensive. You may want to get this from the Internet.
    I’m sure there are folks who can recommend a good site.
    I hope some of this is helpful.

  10. kristen says:

    Pro Multis media has a video called ” The Traditional Latin Mass for Children” that goes through every step of the mass and what the priest and alter boys are doing at each part. I would definitely try for a high mass. I would not take them to a low mass for their first experience with the EF. It looks like you’ve gotten some great suggestions here all ready. Good luck and God bless you and your class.

  11. SweetSauerPhoto says:

    Youtube has a video narrated by Fulton Sheen that may be helpful.


  12. AM says:

    Why is no-one talking about the elephant in the living room?

  13. Elizabeth says:

    What a great undertaking! I would disagree with Bea in that basically the Old Mass is the same as the New Mass other than the exalted language, etc. I’d say that some parts might be recognizable but overall, the traditional Mass itself and the theology expressed, is different from the Novus Ordo.

    I also think the resources she recommended might be too advanced for 8th graders, let alone you (since you’ve also never been to the traditional Mass). I agree with others that it would be best for you to go to as many High Masses as possible before you take the kids. You’ll need some familiarity already in order to prepare them. And they should be prepared ahead of time, that’s for sure.

    I liked the YouTube suggestions offered via FSSP ~ they’re good videos. I also agree with the suggested book published by Angelus Press “For the Visitor at Mass”. You could get one for yourself to prepare for your initiation to the Mass, and then decide for yourself if it would be appropriate or not for the 8th graders. And definitely High Mass for beginners, especially kids.

    It’ll take you a bit to get familiarized enough to be able to help them to appreciate it. Good luck!

  14. eyeclinic says:

    I agree! Why are we confirming children who don’t attend Mass regularly? Is there no longer a necessary predisposition to the reception of the Sacraments? This may be a rabbit hole…

  15. homeschoolofthree says:

    AM…I assume the elephant that you are referring to is “Some of them don’t go to Mass in any form on a regular basis”. In everyone’s zeal to talk about the EF-the fact that they aren’t going anywhere on a regular basis is being ignored. Why are they being confirmed if they aren’t going to church and why the worry about taking them somewhere else when they aren’t even going to their home parish? If there parents aren’t getting them to Mass regularly, I think there is a bigger problem than getting them veils!
    While I agree that attending the EF might be a great eye-opener for these children, without any background or parental support getting them there, it could become more of a confusing thing for them. Perhaps the catechist should attend and pray for the children that he is charged with catechising, that someday they may all come to know and embrace the beauty of their faith.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    A couple more suggestions. This first link will take you to the FSSP site for a DVD that will definitely help you, and you can decide if it would be good for 8th graders:

    This next link will take you to Angelus Press, a book that is just awesome. It’s a reprint of a book written by Fr. Dunney in the ’40’s I think ~ everything you wanted to know about the Mass, presented in a clear, interesting fashion. This is the book I learned SO much from. It’s a real keeper, but it’s too long for just an intro to the traditional Mass for you and the kids. Just a suggestion for the future. Can’t recommend it highly enough:

  17. FXR2 says:

    I am sure that you have limited time to prepare the children for their Confirmation. You may have as much as an hour a week.
    I would look at the prayers that somewhat correspond between the NO and TLM. I would start with the Confeitor, the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Orate Fratres, the Suscipiat, the Sursam Corda, the Sanctus, the Concecration, the Pater Noster, the Agnus Dei, and the Domine Non Sum Dignus and the common responses such as Et cum spiritu tuo.
    Ad Orientem is likely to be the biggest shock to them. Preparation for kneeling silently for communion and genuflecting during the Credo and the Last Gospel would be helpful.
    I would concentrate on the similarities of the forms of the Mass. Many of the differences will be apparent to them.
    A sung mass would be easier for them to follow even though it is layered.
    I would make copies of the Ordinary of the TLM in Latin and English and the misalette from the parish so they could compare them and see how they relate.
    Dressing appropriately is taken seriously in most TLM settings. I am sure it is also taken seriously in most places where the people truly believe the Lord is present in his Body, Blood Soul and Divinity under both species of the Eucharist.
    I love the ‘Know Your Mass’ comic book. I do not believe you will have time to do it justice with all of the other lessons you have to cover.
    Explain to them the Chant and the music written for masses by every composer worth his salt through the ages.
    Good luck remember you hold the future of the Church in your Hands!


  18. marytoo says:

    Make sure your students realize they will be receiving on their knees at the communion rail, and on the tongue, and that they must be in a state of grace. It’s a great opportunity to discuss this with them.

    Maybe the priest saying the EF, or your own parish priest, could do an hour of confession for the class the day before. If you count on everyone going to confession right before Mass some will get left out and then can’t receive. Sometimes they continue confession during Mass, but I think this would be very confusing and disorienting to newcomers.

    Have them prepare ahead of time for confession by doing an examination of conscience and jotting down some notes on a little card for their pocket. Run through what to say and the act of contrition, etc. Some of these students may not have been since their first confession.

    You must attend the EF a few times before taking this on. Don’t worry, you will love it – it’s irresistible. You are doing a lovely thing – most of these kids will never have another opportunity to attend this beautiful Mass.

  19. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Remember not to say “Amen” when receiving Communion.

  20. flyfree432 says:

    As a DRE/Youth Minister:

    1) Go anyway. I am getting a bit discouraged reading this thread, so you must be. Even if you can’t get them fully prepared and they don’t understand every single moment of the liturgy, go anyway. Even if one of them shows up in shorts, its worth ruffling the feathers of regular EF crowd to get them there.
    2) As a DRE I would give you a copy of the Ignatius press booklet (It’s like $4) that has the order of the EF Mass. Sit down with your class and walk them through it as best as you can. Tell them they are going to be lost at times. That’s okay. The grace of being there is worth it. Don’t spend $200 on resources you don’t have time to use.
    3) Make sure your pastor/DRE knows you are going. Humor the DRE, ask her/his permission. If there is not one, ask the pastor.

    The elephant:

    4) The EF Mass is a great way to expose them to the EF Mass and get them interested in going to Mass. Take them to an Eastern Catholic divine liturgy as well. We take them to one of each every year. Be holy, and present the faith to the parents and kids as best as you can, giving every opportunity you can (like going to a EF Mass). Brick by brick.

  21. Glen M says:

    It is very admirable for this reader to seek out advice realizing the E.F. is more complex thus requires study. The goal of the Novus Ordo was to simply the rites; Pope Benedict describes people who prefer the Usus Antiquior as more liturgically formed. Let’s remember that in generations past children were taught the Mass gradually while they attended it weekly.

    As someone commented, there is an elephant in the room when discussing this subject. Explaining the Usus Antiquior requires a comparison to the Novus Ordo. Obviously the two have many differences, yet as our Holy Father points out they are the same rite, the same lex orandi. In my opinion you need a deep liturgical understanding to be comfortable with this premise.

    Although not a direct fault of the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) itself, the reality is for most post-Vatican II Catholics the Mass is a happy communal gathering where the Last Supper is re-presented. We are taught Jesus loves everyone, wants us to be happy, and we should love everyone else unconditionally. Although not directly taught (hopefully) the conclusion most make is don’t worry, be happy, salvation is guaranteed. Confessionals are empty.

    When one discovers the Mass is actually the re-presentation of Calvary, that Jesus initiated His Sacrifice in the upper room but it was consummated on the Cross, everything changes. You line up for Confession.

    My advice is to teach the sacrificial aspect of the Mass to the children; in both forms. Don’t spend too much time on the rubrics; understanding them takes awhile. Stress that at Mass we are witnessing God acting through His priest offering Christ’s Sacrifice for our sins so that we MAY join him in Heaven. At the moment of consecration a miracle occurs, Heaven opens and God enters our presence. At the moment of communion God enters us. If they keep that focus the liturgy will do the rest. Think of the missionaries who converted thousands all over the world, those converts didn’t understand all the rubrics, nuances, etc.

    It would also be a good time to remind the children our souls must be clear of any mortal sins prior to receiving Holy Communion. Perhaps Father can hear Confessions prior to Mass if he doesn’t already.

    Also, mantillas are a laudable tradition, but current canon law does not mandate them. I’ve seen a church lady scare off younger ladies because they weren’t wearing one. What’s more important: introducing the younger generation to the ancient liturgy or insisting they wear a chapel veil?

  22. Ef-lover says:

    A great idea.
    1) a very good video is ” The Traditional Mass for Children” I use it in my own CCD class to explain the mass. Has very good section on hoe the priest vest and sets up for mass.
    2) go over some latin from the ordinary of the mass ( the kids won’t remember it but they have at least been exposed to some Latin and you may get comments from some saying ” Mr. Doe, I remember you saying that prayer in class”)
    3) If at all possible take them to a High Mass ( low mass can be too daunting for those use to the business and bad music of the ordinary form)
    4) Get some chant CD’s or down load some chant and polyphonic chant from youtube and play them at the start of each of you classes leading up to the actual mass, explain to them what sacred music is and that this is the music of the Latin rite
    5) the hardest job you may have is explaining about the reception of Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue ( you may want to bring some crakers to class and practice how it is done)-
    Why , I said that may be your hardest job? is because at least where I am from most if not all these kids have been receiving in the hand for 6 years and they see the majority in the church receive in the hand, to them communion in the hand is normal. When I suggested to my students to at least once to take communion on the tongue it was met with disguest they saw it as gross and unclean,one young lady (age 13) declared she “will never let the priest put his fingers in her mouth”.

  23. son says:

    I would encourage you to take them, but definitely prepare them. For my own children, I used the video “The Traditional Mass for Children” by Pro Multis Media, which was very helpful to prepare them for the few times I have been able to take them to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I think a High Mass would be nice. God bless you.

  24. jasoncpetty says:

    Seconding the others’ suggestions to go yourself several times before, I would also propose that you “get your own Mass.” Find a/the priest whose Mass your class would be attending and ask him to offer the Mass just for your class, maybe even coming to you. Most priests–if they’re “pastoral” enough to be offering the TLM to begin with–would be crazy excited to do something like this. He could introduce himself, chuckle around, do a brief explanation, then process in and begin the Mass, then do more explanation as part of the homily (we just finished part I, now we’re moving on the part II, etc.). Then he could follow up at the end with questions and discussion. I realize many will disagree with “teaching” the Mass while at Mass, but the “mystical” approach these critics propose will simply be lost on kids not even familiar with the Novus Ordo, much less the TLM.

    I also disagree with the harping on confirming the kids of idiot parents. If that’s the way your pastor runs his confirmation program, that’s on him; you do the best you can with the human material that’s entrusted to you. You’re not the one ultimately laying the hands on.

    We should all applaud your efforts to teach confirmation classes in the first place, and give you a standing ovation for exposing the kids to their cultural patrimony. This experience might just be the loop at the end of the string by which God will tug at them, perhaps decades from now.

  25. Titus says:

    I think flyfree432 is correct that there is a bit of overload going on here. If the inquirer’s experience teaching parish catechism classes is anything like mine, there isn’t time and there aren’t resources for more than the bare minimum. With that in mind:

    1. Definitely go yourself as many times as possible before you take your class. It is, frankly, infuriatingly confusing the first couple of times after a lifetime of the NO.

    2. Take them to the highest, most solemn, most sung Mass you can fit into the schedule. A special feast won’t be much different than a regular Sunday Mass. Taking them to even the best Low Mass is like introducing the NO liturgy with a ferial weekday Mass in ordinary time.

    3. Don’t overload them beforehand: explain that they’ll see Mass the way it was celebrated, more or less, for around 1500 years; that the essential parts will all be the same; but that the mechanics and the flow will be much different, so it is OK if they can’t follow along as closely as they would at the NO.

    4. Save questions and explanations of differences, as much as possible, for afterwards, I think. Prepare for the facile questions (why only two readings? why is it “backwards”? etc.). Remember that the Mass predates electronic amplification, modern hygiene, and other practical considerations that inform the NO’s logistics.

    5. Sit-Kneel-Stand: This is a big one. The “Catholic Calisthenics” routine is different (and from my experience, not nearly as standardized for the TLM as the NO). When you go, sit in the back and note when to do what (perhaps even in your missal/booklet), and make sure everyone knows to follow your lead. Be sure your notes come from the same parish you will be attending with the class.

  26. Titus says:

    2. Take them to the highest, most solemn, most sung Mass you can fit into the schedule. A special feast won’t be much different than a regular Sunday Mass.

    In all fairness, a dissenting opinion:

    I was not at all attracted by the splendor of her great ceremonies–which the Protestants could well counterfeit. Of the extraneous attractions of the Church which most drew me was the spectacle of the priest and his server at low Mass, stumping up to the altar without a glance to discover how many or how few he had in his congregation; a craftsman and his apprentice; a man with a job which he alone was qualified to do. That is the Mass I have grown to know and love.

    – Evelyn Waugh

  27. chantgirl says:

    I went to a TLM for the first time out of curiousity and had no advance preparation. I was lost, but spellbound. I would say that the three things I was really not prepared for were 1) that bells ringing did not necessarily mean that the consecration was happening (my first time I was thought that the consecration had already happened by the time it actually did because the bells had been rung several times) 2) you stick out like a sore thumb if you say “Amen” before receiving the Eucharist and 3) the last Gospel seems to come out of nowhere if you don’t know it’s coming. If you have several choices of where to take the kids, please take them where the chant is done well. It is very easy to be turned off by badly done chant. If you only have one option and the music is a little lacking, still take them but you could play a selection of chant by a competent choir in class just so they know how it is supposed to sound. Maybe it’s just my pet peeve, but I think that many people who have a negative view of chant have just never heard it done well. Amen also to the comments above about church ladies and dress. You may want to give the kids some specifics concerning proper dress for church – most girls think that wearing a dress period is dressing up, and may not know that spaghetti straps or skirts shorter than fingertip length might earn them some frowns. Also, you could maybe alert the Priest ahead of time that you plan to bring the children. He might schedule a time before or after Mass to answer questions.

  28. marytoo says:

    These kids shouldn’t be denied because their parents aren’t taking them to Mass – they need it more, not less. They should be told that even though their parents aren’t taking them to Mass each week that when they are old enough to get there themselves it is something they must do. This is a great opportunity to sow some seeds, seeds which may not come to fruition for years. That is in God’s hands. Let them have this opportunity and make sure they are prepared via confession and understand the preparation, for that is essential. Take them to the Byzantine Rite, too, as someone else suggested.

  29. Bender says:

    Lots of questions

    Which are properly directed toward your pastor, under whom you serve as catechist.

  30. Hidden One says:

    I would like to add to the comments above that asking for prayers from, for example, this blog’s commenters, is also a very good thing to have as part of the preparation. Prayer can overcome every obstacle, but only if praying happens!

  31. Bob B. says:




    These are a few resources that might help, too (the first is for you and might give you some perspective by Michael Voris, the second has EWTN videos and pdf files you can view and link into and the last is a resource for liturgical vessels, vestments, etc). Since you are planning on taking them during the next school year, you’ve got time. I would check out all of the references everyone has suggested because each 8th grade class is different (how well I know). For instance, showing the Fulton Sheen video will undoubtedly bring, “It’s in black and white!” by students – I showed it and added that the archbishop is a candidate for sainthood (which allowed me to also go into an additional direction with the kids), so they stayed with me (I also had the altar servers identify what altar vessels they could). I also told the class how Father was not amused the first time I served the Mass in Latin – and how he let me know it afterwards, too (did he ever!).
    I am fortunate to have a Norbertine abbey nearby and was able to take one of my classes to Sext, which they enjoyed immensely.
    The more Latin responses you give them to learn, the more they will like it, too. I would give a quiz on each topic, too (Latin, Mass vessels, Mass vestments, etc) – this helps prevent them straying, as well.
    Bona Fortuna!

  32. wolfeken says:

    Lots of good suggestions above.

    I would recommend talking to the students ahead of time about holy silence. Pope Benedict XVI has spoken on this recently. They will find it difficult to turn off their cell phones and voices for an hour and a half and not take breaks during the liturgy to chat with one another — explain why this is important. Use the saints.

    Also, either learn when to sit, stand and kneel during Mass, or make arrangements to follow someone who knows when to sit, stand and kneel during Mass. Don’t wing it. If ten people are kneeling, ten people are sitting and ten people are standing upside down on the heads, that’s what the kids will talk about after Mass.

    Finally, please don’t toss a pile of paper in the students’ hands and expect them to follow every word. Explain what the mystery of faith is, ahead of time, and prepare them to witness the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven. Emphasize it’s about Thee, Thee, Thee — not about me, me, me.

    P.S. please bring them to a High Mass with a decent schola and a priest who knows the Mass well. This may not be the most convenient option, but it will be well-worth the effort. And, kudos to you for doing all this.

  33. Supertradmum says:

    There are clear guidelines both in America and other parts of the Catholic world which state that those coming forward to Confirmation must be practicing Catholics, that is, Sunday Mass goers. I just checked this out last week to help a priest who is facing problems in his parish regarding this ruling. If priests are allowing anyone, either in RCIA or in Confirmation classes to receive the sacrament in mortal sin, of course, that person receives no sanctifying grace. I have just been reviewing this truth as well, which is found in many sources. The CCC is clear on this as well, in the section on sanctifying grace and sin. As to how to prepare children or even adolescents for a TLM, I would recommend Maria Montessori’s old book found at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Mass-Explained-Children-Maria-Montessori/dp/0912141611

  34. All good suggestions here. My standard response to this recurring question is that the the Mass is the Mass is the Mass:


    Which works ok for adults who understand the structure of the OF? But how many do? And an adult who–after attending the OF for year after year–has still not grasped its structure, will inevitably be confused by the first TLM attended.

    Maybe confirmands are too close to adults in this regard. But we frequently have first-time families with young children (elementary and pre-school) and their parents almost always remark on the way out that their kids were simply entranced by the EF, like never at the OF. We often ask kids what they thought, and they typically say something like, ” It seem sooooooo Holy!” Kids with no preparation at all, whom one might not have anticipated thinking in terms of how holy the Mass is. Like a new family last Sunday with 8 children attending their first TLM, and afterwards a young boy brimming with enthusiasm asked anxiously if he could start training to be an altar boy. Told that our MC would give him some instructions, his only concern was whether the instructions would be in Latin like the Mass itself.

  35. Gail F says:

    I would talk to the priest where you plan to go and ask his advice about which mass to attend. A lot of good advice here, so I’ll leave it at that.

  36. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Most kids don’t have any say in whether they go to Mass regularly. My old parish church was less than 4 miles away, but it took about an hour by bike on roads safe enough for biking, because the safe roads were hilly, winding, and didn’t have much in the way of shoulders. (Biking on the main roads was pretty suicidal, and we didn’t have sidewalks or shoulders on them, either.) Crossing the road to get to church was a nightmare, and doing it with parish traffic on Sunday morning would pretty much be guaranteed death or traffic jam. Most newish suburbs don’t have public transit; and if they do have it, they might not have it Sunday mornings or on weekends.

    So yeah, I hate to say it, but maybe Catholic parishes need to start picking up kids in the little vans on Sunday morning, just like Protestant churches. It’s godless not to have the whole family together at church, but it’s more godless to let kids rot at home because their parents are too lazy to get up and get dressed.

  37. Praise God that your 8th graders are being prepared for and invited to confirmation!
    Our kids (Western Washington State) have to wait until they are at least 16 (exceptions are made) and by that time, many are pretty far gone.

    How blessed are your children to be entering into this formation at this time in their lives.
    Thank you for taking the role of catechist so seriously and for seeking extraordinary ways to enhance their love and desire for Jesus!

  38. John Nolan says:

    Twenty or so years ago I was in the London Oratory on the occasion of the annual Solemn Requiem Mass for the deceased Fathers and Brothers. The pew in front of me was occupied by a group of primary school children in the care of a young woman teacher; they were no doubt on a day-trip to the museums and their teacher (kudos to her) was taking them to what she assumed would be an ordinary English Mass. They did not talk or fidget throughout an hour of wall-to-wall Latin, chant, polyphony and ad orientem ceremonial. They went reverently to Communion, kneeling at the rail. Only the teacher was non-plussed, saying afterwards “I didn’t know it was going to be in Latin! The children don’t understand it and I don’t understand it either!”

    BTW, I find the notion expressed by some commentators that there is a special dress code for the EF to be a complete nonsense. Dress modestly as I hope you would do for Mass anyway. People dress more casually nowadays and the EF is a current form of the Roman Rite, not a museum piece. Mantillas are something of an affectation (my late mother had one in her handbag and would put it on only if she went up for Communion). Hats were more common in 1962 than they are today, but no woman was admonished for not covering her head in church. Too many traddies have a “back to the 50s” mentality despite the fact that they belong to a generation to whom the 1950s are as remote as the 1920s are to me.

  39. Bea says:

    I agree with you Elizabeth.
    I was just trying to show the 8th grade catechist that the basic steps are there, so that the 8th graders could recognize at what part of the Mass they are at, so they won’t be too lost.
    I often don’t explain myself too well. One really can’t compare what we get out of one Mass or the other.

    Also the books I recommended are more for herself/himself, rather than the students as the catechist asked for preparation for the students AND her/himself. The catechist still has until fall or winter to prepare so it would be good reading between now and then and then to pass on in her/his own words what she/he has picked up from these books.

  40. Sword40 says:

    Here is a link via EWTN to the FSSP video. Its great! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eb0R-edS3Y&feature=related

    Its a low Mass but every detail is explained.
    God Bless

  41. Karen Russell says:

    Speaking as a confirmation year catechist myself, this is a wonderful idea, and there have been many excellent suggestions.

    As to the “elephant”, yes, we have to deal with this every year too, and I do not always agree with the decisions, but it is ultimately not my call. However, that issue is outside the scope of this query, which is how to prepare them for the experience of the EF. And who knows, this could be the “hook” that one day brings them home.

    I live in one of the liturgical deserts. Not only is this exercise not an option here, but I have been able to participate in only one EF in the last 35+ years, so I am unsure of current practices. But two small points of difference come to mind that the students should be prepared for (and which haven’t yet been mentioned). For any of a number of reasons, not everyone will go up for communion. This could be the solution for any who are not willing to receive on the tongue; assure them that staying in the pew will not be as conspicuous as it would be in the OF. And, depending on local practice, people may go up at random rather than aisle by aisle.

  42. MissOH says:

    “Amen also to the comments above about church ladies and dress. You may want to give the kids some specifics concerning proper dress for church – most girls think that wearing a dress period is dressing up, and may not know that spaghetti straps or skirts shorter than fingertip length might earn them some frowns. Also, you could maybe alert the Priest ahead of time that you plan to bring the children. He might schedule a time before or after Mass to answer questions.”

    I add a third Amen, to reviewing appropriate dress before the day you take them to mass. Going yourself a few times first to familiarize yourself with the TLM will also help you get a feel for what women at that particular parish wear. I know of Diocesan TLM’s where I don’t think I have seen a woman in pants and I know of ones where you may see women in pants suits. Also, your student’s perception of what is appropriate may be… different. I attended the Easter Vigil at a university this year, and of the young women being confirmed only one had a dress that was to her knees. The rest had mini-skirts/dresses and one had a strapless mini dress.

    Speaking with the priest is also an excellent idea especially if he can arrange to speak with your students before or after mass. The TLM is part of our heritage and patrimony as Catholics and for it to move out of the TLM ghetto, more people need to be able to experience it even if they normally or only attend the Novus Ordo.

    If you get any comments from others regarding why you are doing this, it is the old mass etc, aside from the words of our Holy Father, you can remind them this is the mass that would have been known by St. Dominic Savio, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Edith Stein, the children of Fatima. It was the mass Bl. John Paul II celebrated as a priest and as a bishop and it was the mass Bl. Teresa of Calcutta knew when she received her call within a call.

  43. Katylamb says:

    Supertradmom: Could you clarify what you mean about a child being confirmed with mortal sin on his soul not receiving sanctifying grace? If that should happen does it mean that the child hasn’t really received the sacrament of confirmation? Would the child have to be reconfirmed in that case, after going to confession?

  44. As someone who recently helped chaperone a group of about 100 middle schoolers from the local parish’s youth group to a nearby TLM, all I can say is…JUST GO! And make sure it’s a Sung Mass!

    One of the (many) beauties of the TLM is its ability to wordlessly emphasize (in a way the OF usually doesn’t) that what’s going on is something important, something profound, and something sacred. The kids will immediately recognize this, and that’s about all you can hope for on the first try. Don’t worry about having them follow in missals. Even most adults get lost on their first few tries. Sure, you can hand out missals, but tell the kids to pay more attention to what’s up at the altar than what’s down in the pages.

    In our case, we took two buses–one for boys and one for girls–to a church which offers the TLM about 45 minutes away. I was on the former bus, and after the first half hour of watching middle school boys do what middles school boys do when they’re together (i.e. beat each other up, scream at the top of their lungs, you get the idea…) I got pretty worried about how they were going to act in church. Absolutely out of the question, I immediately realized, was the “Introduction to the TLM” talk I had planned to give on the way.

    Given the maturity level on the bus, I decided to first get their attention by teaching them how to chant “Et cum spiritu tuo” and to then take (for better or for worse!) a more disciplinarian role. I stated firmly that soon the fun and games would have to stop and we would have to become serious to prepare for Mass. I also mentioned how Holy Communion is distributed in the EF and the conditions for Its reception. Thinking that perhaps the kids had never heard this before (and, sadly, perhaps never would), I tried to make the most of the situation by specifically mentioning mortal sin, missing Mass, the one hour fast, and how the posture of receiving in the “Latin Mass” was actually the preferred method even in the “English Mass.” We then prayed St. Thomas Aquinas’ Prayer Before Mass and a Hail Mary in the parking lot.

    Although the some of the kids probably though I was just a collage-aged jerk (and I probably could have been a little gentler), they behaved beautifully during Mass. Score one for discipline! I cannot tell you how moving it was to watch them kneel to receive communion and return reverently to their seats. After the Mass, all 100 or so of us stayed in the pews while the choir director, who was fantastic with kids, came over and answered questions for another 30 minutes. They seemed to get a lot out of it. For something that initially looked like it could go very wrong, the whole trip turned out to be an extraordinary (no pun intended) experience.

    And so, original QUAERITUR, assuming you’ve made it this far, I would repeat my initial suggestion—don’t get overly concerned about preparing and/or planning. Just:

    1) Find a High Mass
    2) Pray
    3) GO!

    God bless you in your endeavor to expose the Benedict Generation to the rich liturgical tradition of the Church!

  45. Mike Morrow says:

    I was raised in the pre-Vatican II era. In spite of that, the most beautiful Mass I’ve ever seen by great margin is the one that took place *after* Vatican II, at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament near Hanceville, Alabama on 14 September 2007. That was the effective date of Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum which returned the Mass to full legal status since it was smothered by the post-Vatican II revolution o’clowns. This Mass also contains the homily by Fr. Calvin Goodwin, FSSP, which has been generally acknowledged as one of the finest and most elegant statements for the cause of the traditional Mass that has ever been made.

    That two-hour Mass is now available from EWTN on DVD for an amazingly low $5.99! This is a Mass that can be viewed many times without any of the presentation being diminished by familiarity. There is no better example from which one may learn what takes place at a “perfect” Solemn High Mass. I’ve given away many as gifts when they were $25. A link is here:


    In general, one also needs a Latin-English Missal with ribbons set for the appropriate Mass that will be celebrated. It can actually be a little complicated to piece together the several sections of a hand Missal that must be referenced during Mass.

    But for the Mass recommended above, a custom print-out of the Mass for that (or any other) feast may be found at http://divinumofficium.com/cgi-bin/missa/missa.pl . Enter “9-14-2007” to get the Latin with English for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, indicated as “In Exaltatione Sanctae crucis ~ II. classis” at the top of the web page.

    Finally, gain some familiarity with the more typical Sunday High Mass by watching one at 10:30 edt each Sunday at the website for the small FSSP chapel in Sarasota, FL: http://www.christthekingsarasota.org/ . (Select “LiveMass Video Stream”. Near the bottom of the resulting webpage, select “Missal” before Mass begins to see (and print out) the Latin-English for the Mass that is about to be celebrated so you can follow along when Mass starts.)

    If it was easy, anyone could do it. :-) But every one DID do it before 1965, even some particularly stupid children, for 1500 years!

  46. DIgoe says:

    This is a DVD from santamissa.org, run by the Canons Regular of St John Cantius in Chicago. It seems to provide a priest’s and an acolyte’s perspective:

  47. Precentrix says:


    My understanding is that the grace of the Sacrament would remain dormant until the person returned to the state of grace; I assume that s/he would not be *guilty* of the additional sin of sacrilege, because s/he presumably didn’t know that this was on the cards otherwise s/he would have gone to confession beforehand.

  48. Elizabeth says:

    Bea: I’m sorry ~ I jumped the gun at your post. You’re right, those sound like excellent preparations for him/her before going to their first Mass. And the DVD you mention is a good idea too. Sorry again for jumping to throw my “opinion” in where it’s unwarranted!

  49. Bea says:

    Oh Elizabeth that’s OK
    The prep for the catechist is a little deep with those books but hopefully he/she will get insightful information. I didn’t recommend children’s books because jeffmcl suggested some excellent ones before me.
    I wish those DVDs were still around, especially now. That one made in the 1940’s was supposed to teach adults and children how to follow the Mass and it showed and narrated step by step what the priest was doing at the altar and why.

    As for “jumping the gun” I do that too.
    I always remember a simple incident and how easily things get misconstrued.
    I was at Hallmark chatting with the manager when a city worker walked in.
    He said: “Do you have ‘no smoking’ signs?”
    I thought: “Gee he just walked in and he has to smoke already?”
    The manager got a little defensive and asked “No, why?”
    He said: “I wanted to buy some for the office”
    She directed him to where he could buy some and then confided to me that she thought he was coming to inspect the store to see if they had some posted.
    We got a big laugh at what my first thought had been, too.
    3 minds going in 3 different directions from a simple question.

  50. cpaulitz2 says:

    We have the following DVD-great instruction and done nicely. 1. Live
    footage of TLM. 2. Section with fulling vesting of priest and prayers, and 3. has 2 classic Catholic songs. Adoremus books:

    > http://www.adoremusbooks.com/thetraditionalmassforchildrentmc-dvd-dvd.aspx

  51. The Cobbler says:

    More suggestions here for how to learn ahead of time than I can count… here’s the one I want to point out for when you (and your students) are at the EF: don’t try to learn it on the fly.

    I mean that “the little red book” (the mini-missal they typically have at the EF that only has a sample for the propers and readings but goes over the standard options for all the rest thoroughly and with lots of margin notes explaining things) is in itself a great guide, but a lot of folks (myself included) have found it’s terribly difficult to follow where in the book the priest is at in nine out of ten Masses. You can learn from it, certainly, but if you find yourself lost trying to keep up with the book and the priest together — put the book down and watch the priest. You may understand a little less at the time, but if my own experience is any indication you’ll feel far less lost. (In particular if you have ever been to the Novus Ordo in Latin you may by simply paying attention recognise more parts of the Mass than you would expect, say what others will about the finer points of theology exemplified by the prayers, options, structural differences, etc.)

    Down the road it’s great to get a full breviary and study the readings and pray the propers for each week, but it’s worth remembering that at Mass simply joining your intentions with the liturgical action and watching in awe is easily more active participation than flipping back and forth wondering which page you should be on!

  52. Phil_NL says:

    Probably superfluous, but there will be so much going on that it’s impossible to catch all of it. Even an NO Mass would have that issue, especially for the infrequent Mass-goers, but the silent parts and the latin – assuming they have none – would make it daunting to the extreme.

    My 2c would be to take a few elements – for example the confiteor(s), and the consacration – and explore those in more depth in advance, ask if the students can pick them up during the Mass, and then discuss afterwards, with lots of room for questions.

    As your audience appears to be a mixed bag as far as Mass attendance goes, I’d avoid the comparisons between the rites altogether, except in response to questions.

    Also, make sure they have a way of following what’s going on on paper – preferabbly annotated with the actions of the priest and deacon(s), in clear language. (this is not the time for them to have to work out where the epistle side should be)

  53. AnnAsher says:

    While all of the resources mentioned are great, I would get copies of the booklette missal from Ecclesia Dei. Familiarize yourself and the class with them. They have little charactetizations in the margins to help you find your place. However, when I bring people to their first TLM I suggest they just allow themselves to experience it. Listen to the chants, smell the incense, unite their hearts in prayer to the priests. That is enough.

  54. Supertradmum says:

    Katylamb, most dioceses have guidelines on this and check out your diocese; and indeed, all the writings of the Church regarding sanctifying grace, from Thomas Aquinas through the Council of Trent up to modern times, state over and over that one must be in sanctifying grace to receive sanctifying grace. For example, if one is in an unapproved or canonically illegal marriage, one cannot receive Communion and to do so would compound sin on sin. We are familiar with this example. When I did RCIA prep, and helped out with Confirmation in parishes, one of the things to be determined was whether the person could receive Confirmation in his or her present state. For example again, if an adult was not going to Sunday Mass, or a child over the age of reason, who could get to Mass and was not going– these people had to go to Confession and start attending Sunday Mass. This is, of course, assuming they were baptized Catholics in the first place. Some parishes provided rides for children to get to Sunday Mass if their parents were not going. In some parishes, at least one of the parents has to be involved in Confirmation prep, which is a great idea.

    This is the huge problem with teens going through to Confirmation, when the priests are not following either the teachings of the Church, or the guidelines of their own dioceses. The worse situation is in Catholic schools, were a million years ago I taught all the religion classes in several, before I gave up because of recalcitrant priests, mostly, students were going forward as teens to Confirmation without Confession. Some were in mortal sin, fornicating, watching porn, skipping Sunday Mass, etc. It is very important as part of the catechesis to make sure the youth and even children follow the laws of the Church and the Ten Commandments before sending them forth to Confirmation.

    I did marriage counseling in parishes for RCIA couples who had to sort out such things, including contraception, and for young people requesting marriage who were living together. Confession and repentance first. No state of grace, to efficacious sacrament, period.

    Also, of course, the baptismal records must be checked, as at least in the Midwest, and even now in places in England, young people have not been baptized in the Trinitarian formula, but “in the Name of Jesus”, which, of course, is not a valid baptism. Hard work, all of this preparation….and not to be taken lightly.

  55. Supertradmum says:

    Katylamb, PS I hate to mention this, but the priest must be involved in such, as he would, obviously, deal with the state of the souls in a class. I did teach, however, on such things as masturbation, and sexual sins, as even younger ones, who have gone through puberty, need much teaching on these subjects, and one class in Confirmation prep in the early stages, can help. Some priests are embarrassed or unwilling to bring up such topics.

  56. MF says:

    First of all, I would like to know if you have the permission of your pastor as well as all the parents involved before taking the kids on an activity that is outside the normal curriculum? Students should NOT be taken on any kind of outside activity without parental permission, especially when it comes to taking their children to a different rite. Parents have the right to raise their children in the liturgical rite of their choosing and should NOT be circmvented in this by an overzealous catechist with leanings towards the Extraordinary rite. I have nothing against the TLM, but I also do not particulary want my children to go there and do not want them “proseletized” by TLM attendees who, in my experience, can put down the NO in such a way as to make it appear less than acceptable. Also, if you really do intend to have all the girls wear chapel veils, this is something else that should be known by the parents. Some, will not like this, and it should not be done without permission of the parents. I would like to ask some of you who attend the TLM, if you would appreciate your catechists, posibly unbeknownst to you, to take your kids to the NO and tell them how wonderful it is and to just let them “experience it.” I seriously doubt any of you would find that acceptable. I think it highly inappropriate to try and take children away from their parent’s choice of liturgical rite. This is a very personal issue and one that should be left to the parents’ discretion, not that of a catechist, TLM priest, or any other zealous TLM attendees.

  57. Supertradmum says:

    Precentrix, CCC 1310 To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act.128

  58. Mike Morrow says:

    MF demands: “Students should NOT be taken on any kind of outside activity without parental permission, especially when it comes to taking their children to a different rite. Parents have the right to raise their children in the liturgical rite of their choosing…”

    The only objection that could be raised is that the children might become attracted to something much more intelligent than the banal liturgical pablum that their CINO parents embrace. Not you, of course. :-)

  59. AnAmericanMother says:

    Good grief! the REd teacher isn’t taking them to Hooters or a redneck muddin’ fest!
    Just a couple of weeks ago we had 30 little Methodist children sitting right up front on a ‘field trip’.
    When I was a little shaver of an Episcopalian, we went to a (Reform) synagogue. I don’t think anybody decided to convert to Judaism on the strength of that visit.
    Besides, it’s so ‘ecumenical’ and everything, I wouldn’t think NO parents would object.

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