A first TLM experience recounted

From a reader:

At home for Christmas break from the seminary where I teach, I had occasion to meet with a single mother and daughter whom I befriended when working in a parish internship long ago. The daughter is now 20 and attending___, and she normally goes to the “Newman Mass”…. While home, she and her mom attended the Extraordinary Form liturgy [read: Mass] offered at a local parish (it was her first time). Since she had just gone the day before we met, I asked her about her observations. Since I thought you and your readers might be interested in her response, I had her write it up. Here is what she said:

“As for the Latin Mass, I found it to be very conducive to praying and really feeling the presence of God. Contrary to what I thought before going, it felt very personal. Compared to a ‘regular’ mass we have today, it just seemed more religious in nature. I don’t even remember how long it was because the one hour time limit that we generally place on mass today just didn’t seem applicable. Even though I was only able to understand a few parts or pick up on a few of the written words, I still knew the basics of what was going on, and that made it more enjoyable (other than not knowing when to sit/stand/kneel). My favorite part of it was Communion because it certainly didn’t have the assembly line feel that a regular mass has. It felt like it was about connecting with God in that moment and making a conscious choice to receive Him when ready, not simply when it was your turn in line. I know we talked a bit about the prayers before the Mass, and I really liked the idea of that as well. It presented a time to prepare both individually and as a church.

Sounds about right.

The New Evangelization continues.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    I just realized that many young people today must have that “assembly line feel” at their First Communion. I am encouraged that someone twenty years old could recognize immediately the advantages of something not experienced before. That is truly impressive.

  2. Jeannie_C says:

    My husband and I have never attended a TLM, but there is one church in our city offering it. This young woman’s description of her experience is encouraging.

  3. NickD says:

    While I think of the typical Novus Ordo Communion rite as more of a fast-food line mentality, I would like to share an anecdote.

    Firstly, the chaplain at my school is, liturgically, rather heterodox. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are used daily, even though not even 50 people attend the morning Mass. There is a school-wide Mass on Wednesday. At that Mass, I was in the fast-food line for my order…er…to receive my Savior in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. As I held out my hands (this being before the time I received Holy Communion kneeling on the tongue) the (not so) Extraordinary Ministrix practically shoved the host into my hands before I could even say Amen.

    So I think fast-food line is an apt analogy.

    While the Extraordinary Form Mass is not a viable option, I do attend Our Lady of the Atonement here in San Antonio; they are a parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio, so while they primarily use the Anglican Use, I can attend regularly there without thought to my “Roman” Catholicism :-) they also have a Latin Novus Ordo Mass which is quite beautiful. Holy Communion is always administered kneeling, usually by intinction. OLA is a beauteous light in the land of the hermeneutic of rupture.

  4. Hidden One says:

    Jeannie_C, do make the effort to go. I say this as a young man who loves the Extraordinary Form (and was raised a non-liturgical Protestant).

  5. CatherineTherese says:

    I have recently made the more full-time switch to the TLM. The reception of Holy Communion alone – irrespective of all the other beautiful, vertical aspects – is enough to keep me coming back. Jeannie_C, I urge you to visit your city’s TLM, and go back a few times… One picks up its sequence and rhythm, though perhaps not the first time around. Save the liturgy, save the world!

  6. Jeannie_C says:

    Thank you for your encouragement!

  7. Jeannie C, you are so lucky! Go, by all means! I would go to the TLM exclusively if I could. Go, and pray for those of us who are devoted to the TLM but cannot get it.

  8. Long-Skirts says:


    We are St. Joan,
    Philomena, Campion.
    The Faith in its whole
    Is what we do champion.

    We are St. Margaret,
    Pearl of York,
    Where the bowels of the Faith
    They tried to torque.

    We are Sir More,
    That’s Thomas, the Saint,
    Whose reputation
    They could not taint.

    We are vocations,
    In Catholic Church kneeling,
    Adoring His presence,
    It’s not just a feeling.

    We are descendents
    Of Martyrs and beggin’
    To stop all the men
    Who are turning us pagan!

    We are the poor,
    Uneducated ones,
    But in faith, well-informed,
    The heretic shuns.

    And when we are told,
    “Don’t kneel anymore.”
    Since we don’t hold doctorates…
    We kneel and IGNORE!!

  9. Julian Barkin says:

    Coming from a young buck in his late twenties and who serves the TLM (& blogs), I must say that this is incredible for the poster’s daughter to have come to all that just from one visit! They say one EF and you are hooked! She is certainly intelligent and faithful to have been able to come to all those conclusions without scant knowledge of the EF prior to going to one.

  10. Long-Skirts says:

    Julian Barkin says:

    “Coming from a young buck in his late twenties and who serves the TLM (& blogs), I must say that this is incredible for the poster’s daughter to have come to all that just from one visit!”

    Our Lord must have great plans for her. Viva Christo Rey!!

  11. Therese says:

    I love these posts and their responses–a bit like those wonderful “how we met” tales. ;-)

  12. StWinefride says:

    LongSkirts says: Our Lord must have great plans for her. Viva Christo Rey!!

    And Blessed Cardinal Newman had plans for all the laity! Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful…
    Excerpt below, full article here:


    …“From first to last education, in the large sense of the word, has been my line.” After 1845, when Newman became a Catholic, this call to educate the laity inspired a whole host of his undertakings; more than ever he felt called to take up arms in order to awaken in the Catholic Church the slumbering significance of the laity. An educated laity could capture and transform the public mind and in so doing make it that much more receptive to Catholic truth.

    As Newman said in 1851: (my humble emphases)

    What I desiderate in Catholics is the gift of bringing out what their religion is — I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity — I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism and where lies the main inconsistencies and absurdities of the Protestant theory. I have no apprehension you will be the worse Catholics for familiarity with these subjects, provided you cherish a vivid sense of God above and keep in mind that you have souls to be judged and saved. In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit; they saved the Irish Church three centuries ago and they betrayed the Church in England. You ought to be able to bring out what you feel and what you mean, as well as to feel and mean it; to expose to the comprehension of others the fictions and fallacies of your opponents; to explain the charges brought against the Church, to the satisfaction, not, indeed, of bigots, but of men of sense, of whatever cast of opinion.

    This most justifiably famous address to the Brothers of the Little Oratory in Birmingham is important as a focus for many of the ideas, hopes, and aspirations that Newman held on the laity, their education, and their irreplaceable contribution to the Church’s apostolic activity. …
    Newman was always deeply conscious, as the above address shows, of the importance of history in the Church and of how it was ever a determining factor for both its present and its future. Looking back over the centuries, Newman noted the importance the laity had had in either furthering or halting the work of the Reformation, and his earlier studies of the Arian crisis and St. Athanasius had already planted firmly in his mind the indisputable fact that the laity not only might be but actually had been the champions and preservers of the orthodox Faith in the dark days of the fourth century when Arianism was apparently set to triumph. As he wrote:

    In the earliest age it was simply the living spirit of the myriads of the faithful, none of them known to fame, who received from the disciples of the Lord, and husbanded so well and circulated so widely and transmitted so faithfully, generation after generation, the once-delivered apostolic faith; who held it with such sharpness of outline and explicitness of detail, as enabled even the unlearned instinctively to discriminate between truth and error, spontaneously to reject the very shadow of heresy and to be proof against the fascination of the most brilliant intellects, when they would lead them out of the narrow way…

  13. NoraLee9 says:


    I don’t know your situation down there in San Antonio, but there are at least two EF Mass sites in that fair city. One is at the St. Pius X Church (not the SSPX). Their EF Mass, according to their website is at 12:10 on Sunday. There is also an SSPX Chapel, St. Joseph’s. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you are aware of the issues there….
    I don’t know San Antonio at all, and have no conception of how long a drive it might be for you, but if I were you, I would try it out.

  14. JonPatrick says:

    Jeannie_c, definitely try to go to the EF. Know that the Devil hates the EF so obstacles will suddenly be thrown in your path, but persevere.

  15. Liz says:

    Young people today! They are SO great! Thanks for posting this, Fr. Z. It is very encouraging!

  16. NickD says:

    Thanks NoraLee, but just in terms of family and other (read: gas cost) restraints, it is a wonder that I even get to OLA! Maybe attending St Pius X Catholic Church will come in the future…but not as circumstances are now

  17. The Masked Chicken says:

    The New Evangelization is the Old Evangelization. [When, I have been asking a lot lately, did the Old Evangelization end, exactly?]

    As T. S. Elliot wrote in, The Wasteland:

    “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.”


    Cue, Cole Porter (from Anything Goes, Musical, 1934):

    “The world has gone mad today
    And good’s bad today,
    And black’s white today,
    And day’s night today,
    And that gent today
    You gave a cent today
    Once had several chateaux.”

    The Chicken

    P. S.

    As I keep mentioning, the problems of today are mirrored in the 1920’s era. The lyrics to this song, which I have quoted, in part, could have been written in the 1960’s.

  18. Lynne says:

    I attended a TLM north of Boston, on and off when they began offering it a few years ago. I left the Boston area for about 18 months because I took a job in another state. I’m back in Boston now and the attendence is up at this TLM! There’s easily over 100 people attending, including several families with several children each. This is at 1 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. :-)

  19. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Jeannie_C: I’ll add to the encouragement to attend the EF Mass. Go without any expectations. Just be open to the experience.

  20. Mamma B says:

    Also, if you’ve never been to an Eastern Rite Catholic Divine Liturgy, you should attend one as well. Very beautiful! I had been attending Novus Ordo Mass for 3 years but had not yet converted to Catholicism, then I went to one Divine Liturgy and said, “This is where Our Lord wants me to be,” and was able to be baptized there on the following Christmas.

  21. Mariana says:

    “I would go to the TLM exclusively if I could.”

    So would I! But, this being a Lutheran country, I have to be very grateful for living in a town with a Catholic parish!

  22. Charivari Rob says:

    “…Communion because it certainly didn’t have the assembly line feel that a regular mass has. It felt like it was about connecting with God in that moment and making a conscious choice to receive Him when ready, not simply when it was your turn in line.”


    In my experience of the same two things, how it’s done in the “regular Mass” (the “assembly line” she referred to) is orderly – some dignity and reserve to it. When I’ve seen the other, the experience is usually “cattle call”

Comments are closed.