Recommendations for Latin Mass Newcomers
If you are new to the Traditional Latin Mass, welcome! Attending your first TLM can be an occasion of great excitement, but may also seem daunting. Don't worry – there is a path through the unfamiliarity!
We at ALMS highly recommend what we call the Simple Approach: that is, the best way to learn the traditional Mass is to just start going.
Many parishes where the TLM is offered provide missalettes, or booklets containing the text of the Order of Mass, as well as printouts of the proper prayers of the Mass of the day, that you can use to follow along.
However, we would recommend giving it at least 10 Masses before you even attempt to follow the missal or the propers, if you're attending at least weekly. If you can only attend the TLM occasionally, make that 15 or 20. Many newcomers make the mistake of trying to follow along at their first few Latin Masses and end up spending far too much of the time page-flipping in confusion rather than praying or learning – we have firsthand experience! Instead, allow yourself to be lost in and swept up by the liturgy, confident that it is the true sacrifice of Christ and that all that is done, said, and sung is for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, even if you can't understand it all.
We also recommend becoming involved in the parish community wherever you start attending TLM. You can learn a lot just by getting to know those who are more familiar and discussing it with them. We promise that you will find plenty of people more than happy to talk about it!
Links and Online Tools
View the Mass propers for today here on ALMS's website. Web app courtesy of Thomas Knapp, latinmasshelper.com.
Propria.org provides printable PDF booklets of the proper prayers of the Mass for Sundays, feasts, and votive Masses, as well as an Ordo (liturgical calendar) for the year, according to the 1962 Missale Romanum.
For those interested in Gregorian chant, Benjamin Bloomfield's open-source tools are very helpful. He has tools for sung Mass propers, lesson and gospel readings, psalm tones, and freeform GABC typesetting.
GregoBase is an online database of Gregorian scores for hymns, antiphons, sequences, and more. Virtually any chant you can think of can be found here, and all are editable and downloadable.
Benedictus from Sophia Institute Press is a beautifully crafted monthly personal missalette. In addition to the ordinary of the Mass, it contains the propers for Sundays and feasts, as well as devotionals, meditations, and educational material. A personal subscription costs only $5 per month, making it a worthwhile investment for newcomers who may not be ready to purchase a full daily missal.
Desaint, Pierre-Emmanuel, Abbé. Learn How to Celebrate Low Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Clear Creek Abbey. For priests and seminarians.
Bergman, Lisa. Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass. St. Augustine Academy Press, 2014.
Fiedrowicz, Michael. The Traditional Mass: History, Form, and Theology of the Classical Roman Rite. Angelico Press, 2020.
Kwasniewski, Peter A. Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius and Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass. Angelico Press, 2020.
–––. The Once and Future Roman Rite: Returning to the Traditional Latin Liturgy after Seventy Years of Exile. TAN Books, 2022.
Moorman, George J., Monsignor. The Latin Mass Explained. TAN Books, 2007.
Schneider, Athanasius, Bishop. The Catholic Mass: Steps to Restore the Centrality of God in the Liturgy. Sophia Institute Press, 2022.
Therese, M. Joan. My See and Pray Missal. TAN Books, 1997. For children.
Various authors. The Liturgy catalog of books from Angelico Press.
–––. The Latin Mass catalog of books from Sophia Institute Press.
–––. The Latin Mass catalog of books from TAN Books.