ASK FATHER: Reader Request – Program for 1st Mass (TLM)

From a reader…


Do you have an example of a program for a priest’s first Mass?
Specifically, one that could catechize non-practicing Catholics or
non-Catholics who might attend by explaining what goes on during the
Liturgy? Thank you and God bless.


I’ll bet we can come up with some great examples and ideas.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    My wedding was a Latin Mass with families on both sides of lukewarm, Novus Ordo Catholics, as well as plenty of non-Catholics. The non-Catholics especially needed very little in the way of introduction. Though they did not understand what was happening, the liturgy they said made them realize something very important and solemn was happening. I guess my point is to say to not stress over the minutia and to allow the Mass itself to catechise. Perhaps fill in gaps later on and after the fact. God Bless you for fighting the good fight

  2. Mike_in_Kenner says:

    There are useful PDF files with the Mass ordinary, propers, musical notation, and explanatory commentary available at the Saint John Fisher Missale website. The files are available through a Creative Commons license, with a request that those who use their files also pray for an intention explained at their website.

  3. WmHesch says:

    One might find material or inspiration for such a thing in 19th century prayer books. Especially for the Canon. While it’s tempting to print a translation, keep in mind translations of the Canon were forbidden until the late 19th century. Prayer books would often have short meditations for people to contemplate during the Canon. It’s important not to overwhelm people with a ton of text… keep things succinct to inspire introspection, and encourage them to be absorbed in the sights, sounds and smells of Mass- rather than keep their noses glued to a book.

  4. Mike_in_Kenner says:

    I’m sorry if I’m a techno-idiot and messed up the link attempt in my previous post. Please try this address: for the Saint John Fisher Missale.

  5. Fr. Kelly says:

    There are a number of good, inexpensive Mass booklets. The Red booklet from the Coalition in support of Ecclesia Dei, for example. Or my preferred one, the blue booklet published by Mike Foley from Tulsa. These can be supplemented by a single sheet insert with the propers of the day. Both have marginal notes that are very helpful

  6. ex seaxe says:

    Taking advantage of the opportunity to catechize is an excellent idea, and in line with the desire of the Council of Trent. Both the points made in the following chapter are relevant.
    The Mass shall not he celebrated everywhere in the Vulgar Tongue. Its Mysteries shall be explained to the People.
    Although the mass contains great instruction for the faithful people, nevertheless, it has not seemed expedient to the fathers, that it should be celebrated everywhere in the vulgar tongue. Wherefore, the ancient rite of each church, and [the rite] approved by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, being in every place retained; and, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer hunger, nor the young children ask bread, and there be none who shall break it unto them,[Lam 4:4] the holy synod charges pastors, and all those who have the cure of souls, that they frequently, during the celebration of mass, expound, either by themselves or others, some portion of those things which are read at the mass, and that, amongst the rest, they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on the Lord’s days and festivals.

  7. skabel says:

    It’s not quite the same thing, but I have programs on For my wedding program, I included about a half-page explanation of why we chose a TLM wedding – perhaps that would be helpful!

  8. Derya Little says:

    We’ve put together A Beginner’s Guide to the Latin Mass for the newcomer. On the left-side pages, the Latin Mass is explained and on the rubrics are shown with simple instructions and pictures. You can take a look here:

    Angelico Press will be releasing a new edition shortly. You can order in bulk, if you contact them:

    I hope this helps!

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