TRUE CONFESSIONS: How I Found the Traditional Latin Mass

TRUE CONFESSIONS: How I Found the Traditional Latin Mass

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They are young and old, converts and cradle Catholics. The ways in which people discover the Traditional Latin Mass vary widely, but their stories are all fascinating. In this first in a series of  roundtable discussions, Catholics from all over America and the world reveal their voyage of discovery of the ancient beauty of the Mass.

Robert in Chicago: Back in 1994, a Russian Orthodox friend of mine mentioned to me that the “pre-Vatican II Mass” was being celebrated at St. John Cantius in Chicago.  He was aware of it because a friend of his was involved there and served as an Acolyte.  At that time, I wasn’t even aware that the Tridentine Mass was celebrated anywhere.

I never left the Traditional Mass; it left me during Holy Week of 1970. When it returned, I was already attending the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite.

David in Virginia: As I am now 59 years old, born into a devout Catholic family, I first learned about “the Old Mass” when it was just “the Mass.” I never left the Traditional Mass; it left me during Holy Week of 1970. When it returned, I was already attending the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite. There were no polemics over traditional versus vernacular language, or inward versus outward participation. All coexisted, and I was in heaven on earth.

As to the Roman Mass, when the indult was enacted, I found a lot of bad attitudes, bitterness over what had been lost, lingering for years after it was found. Ironically, it was the Episcopal Church that brought me back to the Old Mass; more precisely, an Anglo-Catholic convent outside of Baltimore that I used to frequent for retreats. The “Missale Anglicanum” was essentially the TLM in English. The sisters in choir were fully engaged with the Anglican chant. There was no bitterness, only love.

I was born into a devout Roman Catholic family. Ironically, it was an Anglo-Catholic convent, where the sisters in choir were fully engaged with the Anglican chant. There was no bitterness, only love.

Steve in Washington:  I had been a Catholic about a decade, having heard nothing other than to stay away from “traditionalists.”  This was with groups such as Regnum Christi and Opus Dei — but they were as traditional as they thought that they could be consistent with the current approaches, which is why I seldom use the term “neo-Catholic.”  When Blessed John Paul II issued the second document encouraging availability of the TLM, the ice was starting to break…and there was finally a Mass not far from us.

I had been a Catholic about a decade, having heard nothing other than to stay away from “traditionalists.”  This was with groups such as Regnum Christi and Opus Dei.

Rosa in New Jersey: I had been attending a small Anglican breakaway chapel in Mary Mother of the Church Benedictine Abbey near Richmond, Virginia, and I had arranged my work schedule to enable me to come to Benediction and Vespers with the good monks of the abbey. I'd long known that only Rome possessed the fullness of the faith, but after attending several Novus Ordo masses and leaving in tears because they appeared so irreverent, had nearly given up on becoming Catholic. The beauty and holiness of the Benedictine liturgy of the hours gave me hope once again.

I'd long known that only Rome possessed the fullness of the faith, but after attending several Novus Ordo masses and leaving in tears because they appeared so irreverent, had nearly given up on becoming Catholic. The beauty and holiness of the Benedictine liturgy of the hours gave me hope once again.

Linda in Wisconsin: The TLM has always been in the background of my life. My late father stopped going to Mass after all the changes in the liturgy in the 1960s and 1970s. But he always talked about it. So there was always a TLM “presence” in the house growing up, though I did not attend one, when and if I went to Mass at all.

My late father stopped going to Mass after all the changes in the liturgy in the 1960s and 1970s. But he always talked about it.

Neal in West Virginia: When I converted, I became a student of Catholicism very naturally to learn more about the faith that I had just joined.  Not long after (maybe a year), I was hired as a Theology teacher at the parish high school, partly because I am an avid reader and had read everything on Catholicism that I could get my hands on coupled with my knowledge of the Bible from my Baptist upbringing (my father is a Baptist minister), and partly due to the fact that they were very desperate and couldn't find anyone else to fill the spot.  Due to my new position, I continued educating myself on the Faith and its past, which led me to the Traditional Latin Mass.

I was hired as a Theology teacher at the parish high school, partly because I  had read everything on Catholicism that I could get my hands on coupled with my knowledge of the Bible from my Baptist upbringing, and partly because they were desperate. This led me to the Traditional Latin Mass.

Neil in North Carolina:  I was born in 1963, right in the middle of the Second Vatican Council. My parents and older brothers and sisters were part of the generation that experienced the transition. By the time I was old enough, the liturgy it was entirely in English with the Mass structured as a dialogue and the priest facing the people. I have no memory of the TLM, but I knew from talking to my parents that there was an older Latin form of the Mass.

Ken in the Philippines: In October 2012, I saw a poster about the return of the TLM at the National Shrine of the Most Holy Rosary (St. Dominick Church) here in Metro Manila, which made me curious. I researched about the TLM on the internet and saw a photo on Wikipedia.

I saw a poster here in Manila, researched about the TLM on the internet and saw a photo on Wikipedia.

Larenne in New Jersey: I was coming back to the Faith when dating my husband, who was a secular Jew. He came to Mass once to hear me cantor (I'm an opera singer & conductor) and he was really disappointed in the liturgy and the “cheesiness” of the music — his words, not mine!  So we started church shopping and it was always the same, just varying degrees of bad, seemingly without purpose, and impossible to relate to. I had been away from the church for a while, though I did not want to leave Catholicism.

What piqued my then-boyfriend's interest was I had told him that I was on my “journey home” and I wouldn't consider dating someone seriously unless he was also Catholic. This prompted him to go see the Passion of the Christ. He bought a Bible and read the entire Gospel section. I had heard Mel Gibson was a ‘traditionalist Catholic;’ I  Googled the phrase and stumbled upon Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ – a TLM parish given special permission to practice this rite on October 13, 2000 by Bl. Pope John Paul II.  

I was coming back to the Faith when dating my husband, who was a secular Jew. He came to Mass once to hear me cantor (I'm an opera singer & conductor) and he was really disappointed in the liturgy and the “cheesiness” of the music.

Rebecca in Montreal: I'm a university student and had never heard of the TLM before. The Masses I grew up with were either Maronite or Roman rite, but in the liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. Two years ago I asked a question about Catholic teaching on a Facebook group, and a Catholic couple reached out to me to help me with it. Being very faithful Catholics themselves, they started telling me about the Latin Mass, and encouraged me to find one near where I lived. I managed to find an SSPX parish. A year later, someone posted a picture of a TLM on an FSSP Facebook group, and that is how I ended up being part of my current FSSP parish.

Someone posted a picture of a TLM on an FSSP Facebook group, and that is how I ended up being part of my current FSSP parish.

PHOTO CREDIT: Phil Roussin

 

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