Traditional Latin Mass Newcomers Guide
The Mass of the Roman Rite
With his 2007 apostolic letter entitled Pontificum Summorum, Pope Benedict restored to the regular liturgy of the Church the traditional Latin Mass that dates back in its principal features to the early Christian centuries before Pope Gregory the Great fifteen centuries ago. He decreed that any Roman Catholic priest can celebrate Holy Mass in either of its two legitimate forms:
o The “ordinary form”, the newer post-Vatican II Mass of the 1970 Roman Missal
of Pope Paul VI—this is the typical vernacular parish Mass; or
o The “extraordinary form”, the older pre-Vatican II Mass of the 1962 Roman Missal
of Pope John XXIII—this the “traditional Latin Mass” (TLM).
The first traditional Latin Mass you attend likely will seem “different”, even a bit strange. It may take several Latin Masses to become acclimated to the new more interior and prayerful mode of worship of the TLM. It's probably best at first to mainly look and listen to get the look and feel of the ancient Mass—its sights and sounds, the bells and smells (the incense)--rather than trying to follow and understand everything fully.
But you should fairly quickly learn to spot the "big" parts of the older Mass that you already know (albeit in English) from your familiarity with the newer Mass in the vernacular—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”) and the the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) before Holy Communion.
A new Mass–old Mass table included below details the close correspondence between 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 (OF) and the extraordinary form (EF) are two valid forms of the one Roman Rite of Holy Mass.
THE OLD MASS AND THE NEW MASS
The parts of the traditional Latin Mass that are printed in green below are contained in the 4-page inserts that are typically available at each Sunday Mass along with the ubiquitous red missalettes. All the other parts are contained in missalettes. 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. Note the pairing of EF parts on the left and the corresponding OF parts on the right.
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 … ”
Profession of faith (“We believe ... “)
Offertory antiphon (omitted in OF)
Preparation of the Offerings
Prayer over the Offerings
“Holy, Holy, Holy, ...”
Eucharistic Prayer (I, II, III, or IV)
“Our Father, ... “
“Lamb of God, ... “
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.