Dominus vobiscum my dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
Well, as some of you Catholics out there may know, there is both “The Ordinary Form” and “The Extraordinary Form” of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in The Roman Rite. The Ordinary Form of The Mass is the mass in which is celebrated in all Catholic Parishes worldwide. The priest faces the people, all the prayers and responses are in the vernacular, Holy Communion is distributed either in your hand or occasionally on your tongue, and the servers wear albs. However, not many people nowadays have seen what The Extraordinary Form looks like. Some people don’t even know what it is!
Well, let’s go through what to expect first.
1. The Priest will be “Ad Orientem” or “facing the altar”.
– The priest does this so that we all face east which is the direction of The Holy Land, in which also Christ was risen. So not only do we face “The Risen SUN”, but we also face “The Risen SON”. It also makes the Mass seem more focused on Christ. With everyone facing him, it reminds us that The Mass is for HIM, and not us.
2. Everything but The Homily is in Latin.
– The entire mass, besides the homily is prayed and sung in Latin. This was done because Latin is a dead and unchangeable language. It creates unity, universality, and uniqueness to the mass. Unity and Universality because if every Parish around the world where to have their mass in Latin, no matter where you come from, you’d be able to pray together in Latin in the mass. Uniqueness because the Catholic Church is the only church that holds Latin as their Holy Language! But, one of the most beautiful things about this mass is that it is the same mass that almost all our favorite Saints offered. St. Padre Pio is one of them, and St. John Bosco is another.
3. Holy Communion is distributed on the tongue with The Faithful kneeling.
– For deeper reverence and respect for Christ present in The Eucharist, one kneels before Our Lord and receives him on the tongue where he can be consumed reverently and totally to prevent what could happen if one where to receive him on the hand, which is the mistreatment or desecration of consecrated crumbs by:
a. Wiping your hands on your shirt or pants after receiving communion.
b. Dropping crumbs on the floor and stepping on them.
4. The servers always wear a Cassock and a Surplice.
– The importance of the Cassock and Surplice is not only that it’s beautiful, but very symbolic.
The Cassock- represents humility, poverty and because it’s all black, one being dead to the world.
The Surplice- represents being alive to God, living in the spirit, and purity.
All of these factors combined create one, beautiful, reverent, unique, and Holy, Sacrifice of The Mass. Check out Part 2 for The Beginning of The Mass (Prayers before the altar). God bless you all, and pax tecum.