I will soon be learning how to serve the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) myself — something I never learned to do; I only learned how to celebrate it. And I will also be training some boys how to serve.
In preparation for this, it seemed opportune to devise a sort of home study program. There is a great initial investment needed to learn how to serve the Latin Mass. Part of this investment is learning the differences between the two forms of the Mass, Extraordinary and Ordinary (older and newer). And another major part is figuring out the Latin prayers.
Since many people have not studied Latin, there is first of all the need to figure out how the pronunciation works. With this home study, I take the approach of not getting into too much theory, but simply pronouncing the words as the listener reads along. You just have to sort of get it in your ear. Then you can get it on your tongue. The theory can come later. So Unit 1 is a practice in pronunciation.
From there, after we’ve practiced saying the words and started to get proficient at it, we should learn what those words mean. So then we’ll have a side-by-side Latin and English version of the text and continue practicing our pronunciation, while being able to cross-reference the English, know what we are saying, and start to reflect on it. Contemplation is important; celebrating or serving the Mass is not just an act of declamation — it is prayer. So Unit 2 is more practice but with the translation provided for reflection.
From there, well… I’m still developing this system. There will probably be a third unit, covering the other principal responses of the Mass. Then the home study will end and we will have to start putting it all in motion, with in-person practices.
I’ve tried to speak simply in the introductory recording, on a level a middle or high school student could understand. It is not deep liturgical theology; there is obviously much more that could be said.
Stay tuned as I publish these units. And please share them with anyone who could possibly benefit from them.
> Unit 1 Study Sheet (PDF file – download and print)
> Introductory Audio File (mp3 – about 9 minutes)
> Prayers Audio File 1 (mp3 – about 1.5 minutes)
> Prayers Audio File 2 (mp3 – about 2 minutes)
> Prayers Audio File 3 (mp3 – about 1.5 minutes)
When you click the links, the files will open up in a new tab. So you can come back to the original tab to click on the next, then alternate between tabs. Alternatively, you could download them all to your computer or phone, then play them from your audio app.