At first, the formality and elaborate
ritual of the Traditional Mass may seem unfamiliar to you. There is an
atmosphere of prayer and quiet reverence among the people in the pews.
Before Mass, silence is kept in church to show respect for the Real
Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, which is reserved in the
tabernacle at the center of the high altar. In order to create a sacred
space, the altar is set apart from the main body of the church by an altar
The crucifix above the altar reminds the
faithful that the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass are
one and the same. The many lighted candles on the altar symbolize Christ
as the light of the world. The priest and congregation together face the
tabernacle and high altar where the Holy Sacrifice is offered. The high
altar is normally placed in the eastern end of the church, where the
rising sun symbolize the Risen Christ.
The faithful receive Holy Communion on
the tongue while kneeling at the altar rail. Communion is only given under
one kind, with the words, "May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ
preserve your soul unto life everlasting. Amen."
A Mass that is simply recited by the priest and the alter servers is called
a Low Mass. A Low Mass is less ceremonial than a High Mass.
A High Mass is sung by the priest and the choir using various forms
of polyphony or Gregorian Chant. Incense is used at a High Mass, but not
at a Low Mass.
Some Guidelines for Proper Dress for Holy Mass:
Out of respect for the Blessed Sacrament shorts should not be worn by
men, women or anyone except for small children. In imitation of the
Blessed Virgin Mary, women should dress with modesty and good taste in
mind; therefore, it is best to avoid wearing slacks, skirts above the knee
and low-cut tops. Women and girls should also cover their
heads with either hats or veils out of reverence. Sleeveless attire
should not be worn by either men or women.
The Latin Mass