NEW TO THE PARISH
All over the globe people are discovering the treasure that has been at the heart of the Catholic Liturgy since the first century. Do not feel out of place if you are not familiar with Latin (you will see most people reading a translation) or if the actions at the altar look different.
St. Benedict is a friendly and welcoming parish, so feel free to ask questions about the Catholic faith as well as elements of the Latin Mass that may be confusing or different from your experience.
Some helpful tips for those visiting for the first
When you enter the church at the parish of St. Benedict, you will notice a respectful “Sacred Silence”. This is certainly not “unfriendliness” but rather a desire to show the greatest respect to Christ’s presence in the Tabernacle and is the most obvious external quality of the Latin Mass.
For our visitors, missalettes which contain the Ordinary texts side-by-side in Latin and English are available in the pews and will help you follow the Mass.
Pray the Mass
Each pew contains multiple copies of missalette booklets. These booklets contain the common texts of the Mass called the Ordinary in both English and Latin. Spanish translations are also available. The Ordinary is always said at every Mass. The prayers and readings for each individual Mass (not included in the missalette), which are known as the Proper, change according to the occasion.
As the priest offers the prayers of the Mass, do not be worried if you have problems following the Latin or keeping up with the priest in the missal. St. Pio recommends during the Mass to “keep your mind focused on the mystery that is unfolding before your eyes. In your mind’s eye transport yourself to Calvary and meditate on the Victim who offers Himself to Divine Justice, paying the price of your redemption.”
In the celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, the priest uses three types of voice (secret, medium, and clear). The secret voice is used during the Canon and the Consecration itself. The medium voice is used by the priest at the altar to be heard by the servers. The clear voice is employed to proclaim the Ordinary parts of the Mass and is heard by all.
Receiving Holy Communion
Holy Communion at St. Benedict is received on the tongue and not in the hand. Knelling is the appropriate posture, but if you have difficulty knelling, please remain standing.
As the priest administers Holy Communion, he will say “Corpus Domini Nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam, Amen,” which in English means “May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.” Because the priest says “Amen,” there is no need to respond to him as you await reception of the Sacrament.
As some people may be unfamiliar with reception of communion on the tongue, here are some helpful tips:
Make sure to open your mouth wide and put your tongue out, as it enables the priest to place the Sacred Host firmly on your tongue.
Do not bite or snap at the priest's fingers.
Close your eyes – looking at the priest and the paten can be distracting and can cause unexpected movement.
Postures during Mass
Do not worry if you do know when to sit, stand or kneel. Historically there were no postures, gestures or responses made by the people when attending Mass. Uniting your heart and mind with the eternal sacrifice of Christ on the Cross was considered the most active and efficacious means of participation and requires no movement or response. However, to preserve decorum and unity at St. Benedict we suggest:
Stand as the priest enters and departs.
Kneel throughout the prayers at the foot of the Altar until after the Collect.
Sit for the Epistle and Gradual
Stand for the Gospel
Sit through the Offertory
Kneel at the Sanctus until the distribution of Holy Communion.
Stand for the last Gospel.
Kneel for the prayers after Mass.
Arriving early is also always a good idea as seating is limited. On Sunday and Holydays Mass is streamed to the Parish Hall which provides additional seating.
Restrooms are in the Hall across the courtyard from the Church and if needed, the women’s restroom is equipped with a changing table.