The Traditional Latin Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church in Latrobe, PA is celebrated every Sunday at 1 PM (High Masses 2nd and 4th Sundays). It is celebrated in complete accordance with the directives issued by Pope Benedict XVI on July 7, 2007 in the document Summorum Pontificum. Mass in the extraordinary form was first celebrated at Holy Family Catholic Church on the first Sunday of Lent, 2013.
The best way for you to follow along with the Mass is to use the Red Missalettes provided at each entrance of the church. All the prayers are given in Latin and English. As you are becoming familiar with the Mass, instead of reading every prayer, you may find it easier to simply watch, listen, and unite yourself interiorly to the actions of the priest at the altar.
“The ancient liturgy, with its poignant symbols and innumerable subtleties, is a prolonged courtship of the soul, enticing and drawing it onwards, leading it along a path to the mystical marriage, the wedding feast of heaven.”
Ven. Pope John Paul the Great says that the Church has chosen to maintain the use of Latin in the liturgy even though it has long ceased to be a living language. He said that the use of Latin “in all the world was an expression of the unity of the Church and through it’s dignified character elicited a profound sense of the Eucharistic Mystery” (Dominicae Cenae, Art. 10). The use of Latin gives us a sense of the Church throughout the world as a single family, undivided by language and culture; that we are not so much members of a parish community or a diocesan family, but members of the one Church of Christ which is united in the one celebration of the Eucharist. The Catechism, itself points out that while it is important for the liturgy to allow for the expression of different cultures throughout the world (in the venacular language), it is always crucial to remember that the liturgy of the Church is not submissive to culture, but rather it generates and shapes it (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Art. 1207).
Why the silence?
The Mass is a profound encounter with Mystery—God becoming man, sacrificing Himself for our sins, and nourishing us with Himself in the Blessed Eucharist. So great a Mystery cannot be fully related by words or grasped by the human mind. The Traditional Latin Mass does not attempt to explain it. Rather, it leads our souls into the depths of this Mystery with rich layers of prayer and ritual, music and art, symbolism and silence. Silence is intended to foster prayer. Quietness and tranquility are meant to prepare our souls for the Holy Ghost. Silence itself communicates, sometimes more so and better than words. Your participation in this Mass will be more interior, but no less real—a turning of your mind and heart to the Eucharistic Lord.
Why doesn’t the priest
In the Mass, the priest serves as Mediator between God and man, leading the congregation in prayer as he offers the Holy Sacrifice to God the Father. We all face “liturgical east,” where the sun rises and from whence Christ will return at His Second Coming, according to tradition. Over the centuries, the east has come to symbolize Christ Himself—the center of our existence, just as the sun is the source of life in the natural order. Praying toward the east was a custom of the Church for at least a thousand years. You will notice that the priest does turn to face us whenever he is speaking to us—for instance, during the sermon when he preaches to us, before several prayers of the Mass when he says, “Dominus vobiscum” (“The Lord be with you”), and at the end of Mass when he blesses us. At other times, he faces east and addresses God.
How should I receive Communion?
The Catholic Church requires that Holy Communion at this Mass be received kneeling and on the tongue. “Amen” is not said before receiving. [ For those unable to kneel, standing is permitted, and for those unable to approach The altar rail, the priest will bring Communion to you in the front pews. Receiving Communion kneeling and on the tongue is an ancient practice of devotion and an additional sign of reverence to the Most Blessed Sacrament—Christ’s True Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. All are reminded that Holy Communion may be received only by Catholics in the State of Grace (not knowingly in a state of mortal sin) who have fasted for one hour.
Gregorian Chant Schola
High Masses are sung by the Schola and directed by Father Stephen Concordia, O.S.B. director of Programs in Sacred Music at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.