My Memories of the Latin Mass

So while I was on vacation, the Pope issued his “long awaited” document allowing for the return of the Latin Mass.

Some people have fond memories of the Latin Mass. I’m not one of them. Of course I was only 7 years old when the Mass changed to English but I have definite memories of the Latin Mass at the parish where I grew up. My most vivid memory is how, when we’d get home from Mass, we (my siblings and I) would imitate the priests who mumbled and babbled the Latin so rapidly that it sounded comical to us. The Mass was often done in 30 minutes or less. I recognize that in some places, the Latin Mass was done beautifully with great reverence, however, it was not the Latin that created the reverence, it was the style in which the liturgy was celebrated. 

The Vatican II Mass, when celebrated with the proper reverence is a beautiful experience. I have also been to far-too-many English Masses that have been done in a perfunctory manner with no sense of the sacred (or with a priest who wants to entertain). However, saying the Mass in a different language will not magically restore the sense of the sacred. It call comes down to the reverence with which the priest, the liturgical ministers, and the assembly approach the Eucharistic liturgy.

Reverence, after all, is a Gift of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was the fact that people of ALL languages heard and understood the proclamation of the Gospel!

As catechists, we have the opportunity to instill a sense of reverence in those we teach. Each time we pray, we should create a sense of the sacred and encourage an attitude of reverence in those we teach. Most especially, when we take our participants to the Church for a Mass or other liturgical celebration, we should be sure to talk about what reverence “looks like” in concrete terms. Our hope is that, by practicing reverence in Church, we will recognize God’s presence there and come to recognize his presence everywhere, practicing reverence in our daily lives as well.

About Joe Paprocki 2750 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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