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What to Expect from the Traditional Mass


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 rail.

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. 



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