Most Fridays this Lent, we’ve gone down to the military chapel on post for a soup dinner and stations of the cross. Last night, we had friends over for dinner (corn chowder and fish sticks – high class gourmet) and then the dads did baby duty while the moms took the older children to church for a plenary indulgence triple: confession, stations, and Mass.
The Friday evening Mass at my church is a Novus Ordo Latin Mass. This was my first experience with any Latin Mass, but because it was Novus Ordo, I wasn’t completely lost. The Liturgy of the Word was entirely in English, and the order of the Mass was familiar. I’ve been studying Latin for a few years with my students, so I know some stuff (Pater Noster, Sanctus).
Nonetheless, I spent a good deal of time flipping around the missal trying to keep up. And my stuttering, struggling Latin was no match for the ladies to my right who rattled off prayers with fluent ease. I’m still completely intimidated by the thought of a TLM, but last night wasn’t too bad. I can project that after a handful of times, it would get to be much easier.
And my sympathies go out to any converts or visitors to the Mass who can’t make heads or tails of the English missal. Despite being a visual person, I think it might have been better if I had just closed the missal and prayerfully followed along instead of trying to vocally keep up.