Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Basic Q and A for the Latin Mass Part IV: How to Stand, Sit, etc. During the Latin Mass

Hello Everyone.

You might be wondering, being the Latin Mass, just how, as a layperson in the pews, when to properly sit, stand, etc. when the Latin Mass is going on. You might know of, or noticed some differences between the Mass you go to (the "Novus Ordo" or the everyday Mass in your language,) and the Latin Mass.

This post is to tell you when and what you do at the points in the Latin Mass, so that you do not feel as awkward in attending a Latin Mass, or being entirely dependent on your veteran friend for cues, so you can experience the Mass more, with less stress and confusion.

Basically, there are two versions of the postures and stances of the Latin Mass: 1) Low Mass, and 2) High Masses, Solemn Masses, and Pontifical Masses.

I will describe to you, what you do, which is based on a guide given with my Baronius Press 2010 reprint of the 1962 "The Roman [Hand] Missal" for laity. If the community or priest allows for it (encouraged by Summorum Pontificum, and efforts such as the St. Edmund Campion Missal for more dialogue/singing in the EF) Responses will be in Navy Blue, P for priest, and V for voices of the Laity. Everything else is in black text.

These responses are only for the NORMAL variant of the Latin Mass, and not those with processions, requiems, or other variants.

The Beginning of Mass to Before the Scriptures

ENTRANCE (Procession) and the Asperges (blessing with Holy Water)
  • Low Mass: You stand or kneel according to the local custom. There is no Asperges for the Low Mass on Sundays.
  • Higher Level Masses: You stand for both the entrance procession and during the Asperges ritual.
  • Vesting of the Priest: You sit until the priest rises from the sedilia (chair), fully vested
  • When priest returns from Vesting: You then stand at attention until the priest goes to the foot of the altar for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. 
- The priest will go to the center of the sanctuary, below the steps leading up to the altar (the predellae) and say prayers of repentance/contrition. 
  • All Types of Masses: When the priest reaches the altar, regardless of the Mass level, you will kneel. If in a Low Mass you are not kneeling, you start to kneel here. Otherwise you remain kneeling. In the Higher Masses, you kneel at this point. 
  • Responses ??? Usually, the Confiteor (Penitential Rite) is NOT said aloud by the laity during Masses but rather the altar server(s) in the Low Mass, or is sung by the Choir in Higher Masses. In communities/parishes where such strictness is not the norm, you may say/sing the response as follows, at the 2nd confiteor (that of the server, usually):
    • V: Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus Sanctis, et tibi Pater. Quia peccavi nimis cogitatione verbo, et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. (beat breast with right hand at each Mea ... culpa) Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes Sanctos, et te Pater, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum Nostrum.
  • Low Mass: Remain Kneeling
  • Higher Level Masses: Remain kneeling.
  • Responses ??? If permitted to do so, you respond each time after the priest. Watch out for the middle part though, as you will start and end the second triplet, the "Christe elesion:"
    • P. Kyrie eleison. V. Kyrie eleison. P. Kyrie eleison.
    • V. Christe eleison. P. Christe eleison. V. Christe eleison.
    • P. Kyrie eleison. V. Kyrie eleison. P. Kyrie eleison.

GLORIA ("... In Excelsis Deo")
  • Low Mass: You continue to kneel.
  • Higher Level Masses: You take your cues from the priest(s), mainly the celebrant. If he stands, you will stand as well. If the priest sits, so will you. There will also be points in the Gloria as sung by the choir, where the priests will take off their birettas or bow their heads. These are say, for example, at the name of Jesus ("Iesus" pronounced e-yea-zeus), and some other points in the prayer. 
  • Responses ???: Should you be permitted to say/sing the Gloria along with the Priest/choir, the prayer in Latin is as follows. Regardless if your community/priest allows or does not allow for responses from the laity, you may do the actions in the navy blue:
    • Gloria in excelsis Deo (slight bow). Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Laudamus te. Benedicimus te. Adoramus (slight bow) te. Glorificamus te. Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. Domine Deus, Rex coelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens. Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe (slight bow). Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram (slight bow). Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. Quoniam tu solus Sanctus. Tu solus Dominus. To solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe (slight bow). Cum Sancto Spiritu (+ sign of the cross with priests) in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.
COLLECT - Whatever position you were in at the Gloria's end, you remain as such.

The Scriptures until the Offertory

THE EPISTLE (Non-Gospel Scripture Reading), THE GRADUAL/TRACT (Chanting after the Epistle)
  • Low Mass: You remain kneeling. 
  • Higher Level Masses: You will sit in the pews. 

  • ALL Masses: You will stand for this portion until the Gospel is finished, the same as the Novus Ordo Mass. You will know this part has been reached in higher Masses when the servers start gathering in various places, and the thurifer (and boat bearer if present) are helping to get the thurible prepared with the priest on the altar. You will be seated after the Gospel has been read for the Homily/Sermon. 
CREDO/The Creed
  • Low Mass: Stand at the Low Mass. However, when the passage, "Et Incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine: Et homo factus est" is said, you kneel until it is completed. 
  • Higher Level Masses: Like the Gloria, the priest dictates your posture. When he stands, you stand. When he sits, you sit. Like the Low Mass, when the passage, "Et Incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine: Et homo factus est" is said, you kneel until it is completed. If the priests are sitting when the Incarnatus is said, they will take off their birettas and bow their heads. 
  • All Masses, Responses ???: The priest will kiss the altar, and turn to the people to say: 
    • P: `Dominus Vobiscum.``
    • If permitted, you can say with the servers/choir: V: Et cum spiritu tuo.
    • There may be a bell after the priest says "Oremus" in the Mass. You will then get up and sit in your pews
  • During the actual part of the offertory, the same as the Novus Ordo until you process further into the second part of the Mass (Mass of the Faithful/Liturgy of the Eucharist,) you remain seated.

The Offertory Until Communion

  • Higher Masses Only: At a Missa Cantata/Sung Mass and higher, the thurifer will come down from the sanctuary, and approach the body of the Church in the center of the main aisle. 
    • You will stand up. 
    • You will bow your head when he does. He will then incense the laity with three single swings. 
    • After, you bow again with the thurifer before he returns to the sanctuary. Once  he begins to return, you will sit again. 
  • All Masses: You will remain seated. Should you be allowed to say the Our Father, you will say with the servers:
    • V: Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae.
    • The Servers respond, or you may sing with the choir if permitted: V: "Sed libera nos a malo."
    • The priest will say after, P: "Amen"
- There are no changes in posture at this point. 
- After the priest has said the "secret" prayer, he will say or sing, "Per omnia saecula saeculorum"
- If permitted to respond with the server, you will say, V: Amen.

- The priest, after doing the Secret prayer and responses, will hold both hands over the altar. 
  • Responses: 
    • The Priest says, or sings in higher Masses, P: "Per omnia saecula saeculorum." 
    • The servers say, or everyone says, or sings in higher Masses, V: "Amen"
- The priest will hold both hands over the altar. 
  • Posture:
    • Low Masses: The laity will remain sitting.
    • Higher Level Masses: The laity will stand. 
  • Responses:
    • P says/sings in higher Masses: "Dominus Vobiscum." The servers respond, or all responds/sing in higher Masses, V: "Et cum spiritu tuo.
    • P says/sings in higher Masses: "Sursum Corda." The servers respond, or all responds/sing in higher Masses, V: "Habemus ad Dominum."
    • P says/sings in higher Masses: "Gratias agamus Domino Deo Nostro." The servers respond, or all responds/sing in higher Masses, V: "Dignum et justum est."
THE SANCTUS (Holy, Holy, Holy ...)
- Here servers will kneel around the altar. One server will ring a bell three times, one for each Sanctus. The priest in the Low Mass normally says the Sanctus, while in higher Masses, the choir normally sings the Sanctus.

  • Posture:
    • All Masses: The laity kneels with the clergy and servers.  
  • Responses ???
    • If you are allowed to sing with the choir, or do to dialogue with the priest, you may say the Sanctus: "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli, et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis."
- This is said/sung by the priest or main celebrant normally. 
  • Posture: 
    • All Masses: The laity stays kneeling.
  • Responses
    • When the priest says, "... Et ne nos inducas in tentationem," The servers in Low Mass (all if allowed to "dialogue,") or everyone in higher level masses replies: V: "Sed libera nos a malo." 
FRACTION OF THE HOST (after Libera Nos)
- The priest will hold a particle of the Host in his right hand over the Chalice, held in his left hand. 

  • Posture: 
    • All Masses: The laity stays kneeling.

  • Responses
    • When the priest says or sings, ``Per omnia saecula saeculorum,`` you reply V: ``Amen``
- After your last reply, the priest will make the Sign of the Cross 3x with the Particle over the chalice. 

  • Posture: 
    • All Masses: The laity stays kneeling.

  • Responses
    • When the priest says or sings, ``Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum``, the servers reply (all if allowed to ``dialogue,``) or all reply by saying, singing V: ``Et cum spiritu tuo.``
- This is usually sang or said by the choir. While some people would strike their breasts at this point with the priest, this is actually not done by the laity. It is only done by the priest. 
  • Posture: 
    • All Masses: The laity stays kneeling.
  • Responses ???
    • If you are allowed to sing with the choir, or do to dialogue with the priest, you may say the Agnus Dei:
      • ``Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis.`` Repeat this a second time. . Then ``Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem.``

  • Posture:
    • All Masses: The laity stays kneeling.
  • Responses ???
    • If you are allowed to do dialogue with the priest or in the Mass, you may say the prayer along with the servers, three times, where you pat your chest once each time:
      • ``Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.``


In receiving communion at the Latin Mass, you are to approach the designated ``altar rail`` on your knees and you receive on the tongue. 

The priest will say a longer prayer than ``The Body of Christ`` one is used to at the Novus Ordo. You do not reply, ``Amen`` after he is finished, and you receive the Blessed Sacrament on your tongue. 

Once finished, return to your seat in the pew, kneel, and say prayer in this time of deep reflection, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament within you. 


Low Mass
- The people remain kneeling. If allowed to dialogue, alongside the altar servers, the words of the priest and the replies are as follows:
  • P. Dominus vobiscum. S. Et cum spiritu tuo. P. Ite, Missa est. S. Deo gratias.
High Mass
- The people will stand at this part of the Mass. The responses are the same as with the low Mass.

Solemn Mass
- Because there is a deacon present among the three clergy, there is some variance to how the ending is pronounced. The deacon will sing the ``Ite, Missa Est,`` and the reply ``Deo Gratias`` is sung back by all in attendance. As for posture, the laity stand for the dismissal.

In the High/Solemn Masses, after the dismissal blessing, you kneel once again. The priest/celebrant will then bow down before the altar once more for prayer, then turns to the people and says/sings: "Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus" while making the sign of the cross with his hands. you reply, V: "Amen"

- During this part, the priest/celebrant will return to the Gospel side of the altar (the left if you are looking at it,) and read from the "Last Gospel" altar card. 
  • Posture:
    • ALL MASSES: The laity stands when the Priest reads the Last Gospel. Upon reaching the part, "Et verbum caro factum est," all will kneel with the Priest. When the priest gets up, everyone stands.
- When the priest is about to exit with the entourage of servers and other clergy if present, 
  • Posture:
    • Low Masses: The laity will either stand or kneel according to local custom.
    • Higher Level Masses: The laity will remain standing.


I hope that you have found this postures and responses guide useful, so that you at least have the basic idea about what to do and say at the Latin Mass. 

May you begin to take part in this spiritual treasure of the New Evangelization. 

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Julian.
    As always, you come through with true charity for others and love for or Lord Jesus Christ.

    Thanks again