Latin is no longer a well-known language, even in the Church, few people know it. It’s not quite dead, but it’s far from common. After Vatican II, even many of the priest never went through any formation in Latin. In the US, it has become more important to learn other heavily used languages like Spanish to be able to do everyday ministry.
The Language of the Church
The Church still uses Latin as its official language, and Vatican II actually intended to keep parts of it as an integral to our worship. Sadly, it has become a rarity.
“. . .the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”
-Sacrosanctum Concilium, #36
There are some Latin words and phrases every Catholic should know. One of my favorites is Lex orandi, lex credendi roughly translated to the “the way we worship”), and the law of belief (“what we believe”). It speaks a beautiful truth, our prayer can only come as an expression of what we believe. If we truly believe in the heavenly realities of our prayer in the Mass, then we have to understand that the celebration of the sacrifice goes beyond us.
New and Old Mass Forms
Sometimes, the Traditional Latin Mass can be a little intimidating or seem too secluded from the rest of the Church. We are creatures of habit, and this celebration is very different.
Even if it’s uncomfortable in the beginning, it is good for all Catholics to experience the extraordinary form at some point. Even a daily mass Catholic can feel confused, so there are useful tips to consider before attending. Like the majority of Catholics today, I feel most comfortable in the Ordinary Form, the Holy Mass that we are familiar with today and don’t think it’s going away.
The ordinary form, that uses more of the vernacular, was also reformed in order to engage the laity more, and that is personally one of my favorite parts. What is often so attractive about the Tridentine (Traditional Latin) Mass, is that there is an instant awareness that the events occurring are sacred. It does not belong to the everyday world.
Some people claim that this is why the Extraordinary Form (Tridentine) is more reverent, but I believe that the Ordinary Form can have equal dignity and reverence if celebrated well. Using so much Latin isn’t necessary, but adding it in the parts that are more familiar is a great way to reintroduce it.
Using can seem intimidating, but it’s not scary. I encourage you to give it a try.
Ordinary and Extraordinary Latin Masses June 2015
Sunday June 21, 2015 – St Mary’s Cathedral
Father Michael Malain of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter will celebrate a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form June 21 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin. The Mass is celebrated in thanksgiving for Father Malain’s recent ordination. A reception will immediately follow in the Bishop’s Hall. For more information, visit www.austinlatinmass.org.
There is a regular 3:30 Sunday Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary form at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Wednesday June 24, 2015 – St William Catholic Church
Celebrating the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on June 24 with a Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form at 7PM. The Mass will have an English Liturgy of the Word and the familiar parts of Mass in Latin. Fr. Uche Ande will be the celebrant. All are invited.