Basic Q and A for the Latin Mass Part III: How to Use the Basic Latin-English Missal With/Without PropersHello Everyone.
Something I have been told by a friend or two visiting the Latin Mass, is that while they loved it, they wished they had known HOW to use the Latin-English Missal and propers provided at the Mass. Without instruction, they experienced confusion. I do realize that you do need a few Latin Masses to get the basic total experience, but knowing HOW to follow along with the prayers would likely improve one's desire to pursue the Mass on their own time.
Therefore, for the sake of my friends, and in the instances where a full booklet for that day's Masses (with propers) are not made, but rather the common little missalette with an additional page of proper is made, this Q and A will show you how to use the two aids to participate more fully in the Mass. This Q and A will not focus on how to use a full size hand Missal (e.g. Baronius Press 1962 Missal), as I am only focusing on basic inquiry for those who do not frequent the Latin Mass, or are just starting out.
So, you have decided to come to a Low/High/Solemn Latin Mass. Great! Welcome! This may be your first or second or third time, and you have decided to pick up some visual/text aids that are provided by the Latin Mass parish/group providing the Mass. But, you don't know what exactly to do with these aids and you do not know a soul, or are a little shy to ask, or stay with your friend during this time. Well allow me to explain how to use these aids.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF AIDS
There are two types of aids/combinations that you will usually have at these Masses to assist you in understanding and praying with the Mass. They are:
1) A combination of the Red Latin-English Booklet Missal and a separate handout of the daily changing prayers called the "Propers", and the readings of Scripture for that Mass
This combination is likely the most frequent aids you will encounter at Latin Mass parishes, and if you are an occasional attendee of the Latin Mass, you will likely want/have purchased a red missalette of your own.
2) A full booklet which will have the Order of the Mass, the readings of Scripture, and the Propers all in one.
USING AID SET 1) THE MISSALETTE AND THE PROPERS
For the following, please refer to the figure below:
First, when the Mass begins, ensure that you are at the start of the Ordo of the Mass.
If it is a Sunday, and it is a High level Mass or higher (Solemn), then start at "The Asperges." If it is any other Mass (e.g. Low), and/or not a Sunday, then start at the "Mass of the Catechumens." (As seen in (1) )
Once you have gotten to the appropriate start of the Mass, ensure that you are in the correct posture. This could be standing, sitting, or kneeling. These missalettes have "cues" on the right hand Margin on the side with the English. This is indicated here, in (2). For a Low Mass, you would be kneeling.
In addition, as you follow along with the Latin/English text, you might do other actions, such as making the Sign of the Cross with the priest, as indicated by the Cross OR cross-dagger in books. This is seen in (3), after "In the name of the Father".
You then follow along with the Missal until you get to the appropriate point, requiring you to look at the handout with the propers and Scripture for the Mass. The first point in the Mass you will need it, is the Introit, after the prayers at the Foot of the Altar:
Once you get to this point, go to your Propers/Scripture handout. Now pray/read the Introit as highlighted here:
Once you've read the introit, then you will go back to the Missalette, and continue from the Kyrie onward, until the next part where you will need to refer back to the Propers/Scripture Handout. You will need to repeat this cycle of events for the Following:
- Any special prayers said before the duration of the Mass (e.g. the Candlemas Blessing on February 2 annually)
- The Collect
- The Epistle (Scripture Reading)
- The Gradual/Alleluia
- The Gospel (Main Scripture Reading)
- The Offertory Prayer
- The "Secret" Prayer
- The Preface (after "dignum et justum est.")
- The Communion antiphon
- The Post-Communion prayer
Two more notes to mention:
1. Usually at most Latin Masses, the Priest will read at minimum the Gospel in English after the Latin and before the homily or sermon. He may also read the Epistle in English as well.
2. Certain responses are for the Laity at certain times, all other responses are for the servers/other clergy, unless your parish or organization putting on the Mass allows you to make them. It would be wise to follow along with the rest of the laity (most of whom know when to do so), as to when you respond in the pews.
USING AID SET 2) A FULL MISSALETTE WITH PROPERS AND SCRIPTURE INCLUDED
This does not need much explaining, as everything is in order and included. This will usually be provided by the organization or the Parish, and might look like this, for example, the Sacred Heart Mass of 2012 for the St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir, Toronto, ON:
When the book is opened, you follow it page to page, left to right, and the Latin is on the left pages or columns, while the English is on the right pages or columns, as seen below. The cues are also provided in the margins:
In addition, the propers (e.g. as above, the Introit ...), are included in the missalette, therefore there is no need to refer to a separate Propers and Scripture sheet. You simply follow along with the book.
I hope that this will help you navigate the missalettes, whether you are the occasional visitor to my site, your first time ever on Servimus, and/or an occasional or first time visitor to the Latin Mass, not be as lost when these aids are presented to you. I hope to also abridge this guide in future for my upcoming Masses I serve with, regardless of what the set-up of aids are.
Pax Tibi Christi, Julian