Sunday, 2 September 2012
Traditional Latin Mass: When to stand, sit, kneel ...
This is a repeat of some of the guidance other bloggers have published from time to time.
If you haven't attended a Traditional Latin Mass before, or it's a long time since you have, you will notice how different the rubrics are regarding standing, sitting and kneeling. Not long after the Novus Ordo Mass was introduced, I remember an exhausted parishioner exclaiming that the congregation were "up and down like yo-yos". There's much less of this in the old Mass.
In days gone by - and probably still in some areas - it was often noticed in Catholic churches that people would cling to the back of the church and only sit further forward if they had to. As a newcomer to the TLM, or comparatively so, you may feel a little more comfortable if there are people sitting in front of you. By and large, if you follow what they do, everything will be fine. Except of course if they do different things; then it's a case of a surreptitious glance behind and a quick assessment of what the majority is doing. Such fun! But not important in the end, because we're all doing our best, and everyone understands. We're all a bit unsure at times, or have been so.
You may find a pile of Traditional Mass books (such as the red ones published by the Latin Mass Society) when you enter the church. These are a great help; but still, a bit of follow-my-leader is also a good idea.
I should just mention that Holy Communion is always given on the tongue, with the congregation kneeling at the altar rail or step. But I'm sure you know that.
Update: Canon Law does not require women to cover their heads, and this is the case with the Traditional Mass too. In my experience some cover their heads, while some - just as devout - do not do so. But speaking purely personally, I find there is something very special about it. It really helps me.