Traditional Latin Mass Newcomers Guide


The Mass of the Roman Rite


The table below shows the close correspondence betweens the various parts and prayers of the old and new Masses. The fact that the principal parts of one form of the Mass are virtually the same as in the other — and that they occur in the same order, with many of the prayers worded almost identically — corroborates the declaration of Pope Benedict XVI that the ordinary form (1970 Missal of Paul VI) and the extraordinary form (1962 Missal of John XXIII) are indeed two equally valid forms of one and the same Roman Rite of Holy Mass.


At you're first traditional Latin Mass, it's probably best to mainly look and listen to get the feel and bigger picture of the ancient Mass, rather than trying to understand everything fully. You should be able to spot the "big" parts of the older Mass that you know (albeit usually in the vernacular) from your attendance at the normal parish Mass -- the Kyrie (Lord, have mercy), Gloria (Glory to God), Credo (I believe), the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) followed by the Eucharistic prayer, the Pater Noster (Our Father) followed by the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and Holy Communion, etc.


After participating in this way at several traditional Masses, you may be ready to use a missalette to begin to familiarize yourself with smaller details so as to follow more closely the actions of the priest at the altar.


The parts of the traditional Latin Mass that are printed in green below are contained in the 4-page inserts that are available at each Sunday Mass at Holy Ghost Church in Knoxville. All the other parts are contained in the red- or purple-back missalettes that are also provided. Most people move the insert through the missalette as the Mass proceeds, so they can follow and pray the variable "proper parts" (insert) and fixed "ordinary" parts (missalette) in turn.


Recommended for everyone but especially newcomers to the Mass in Latin (whether OF or EF): The beautiful and informative 52-page booklet Commentary on the Latin Mass, which offers parallel commentary on the OF and EF Masses illustrated by pairs of strikingly similar color photos of both at corresponding points in the two forms--taken at a church where the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass are both are regularly sung in Latin and celebrated ad orientem with Gregorian chant and ample smells and bells. So that (as Cardinal Ratzinger once remarked) the typical Catholic might not perceive the difference between the two forms--when both are celebrated properly with appropriate beauty, reverence, and solemnity.


Extraordinary Form (old Mass)

Prayers at the foot of the altar  (pp 10–13)

The Introit (proper)

Kyrie Eleison ...  (pp 14–15)

Gloria  (pp 16–17)

The Collect (proper)

The Epistle (proper)

The Gradual (proper)

The Gospel (proper)

The Credo  (pp 20-21)

Offertory verse (proper)

Offering of the Bread and Wine (pp 23–27)

The Secret (proper)

The Preface (proper)

The Sanctus  (pp 28–29)

The (Roman) Canon  (pp 30–39)

The Pater Noster  (pp 38–39)         

The Agnus Dei  (pp 40–41)

Holy Communion  (pp 40–45)        

The Communion Verse (proper)

The Postcommunion (proper)

Dismissal and Final Blessing  (pp 46–47)

The Last Gospel  (pp 48–49)

Ordinary Form (new Mass)

Penitential rite (“I confess ... “, etc.)

Entrance antiphon (or opening hymn)

“Lord, have mercy ... ”

“Glory to God in the highest … ”

Opening Prayer

First Reading

Responsorial Psalm

The Gospel

Profession of faith (“We believe ... “)

Offertory antiphon (omitted in OF)

Preparation of the Offerings

Prayer over the Offerings

The Preface

“Holy, Holy, Holy, ...”

Eucharistic Prayer (I, II, III, or IV)

“Our Father,  ... “

“Lamb of God, ... “

Holy Communion

Communion Antiphon

Prayer after Communion

Final Blessing and Dismissal

(deleted in Ordinary Form)


Page numbers refer to the red missalettes for the fixed parts of the Mass that do not change from day to day.


Proper prayers are found in the weekly inserts that provide variable parts of the Mass— the readings and prayers that do change from day to day.


The Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Angus Dei are sung by people and choir in a sung Mass.