The Extraordinary Form at Holy Rosary Holy Rosary Parish is fortunate to celebrate Mass according to both the 1962 and the 2002 editions of the Roman Missal. The 1962 edition is what is properly called the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman Rite and popularly known as the “Tridentine Mass” or “Traditional Latin Mass.” The 2002 edition is known as the “Ordinary Form” of the Roman Rite or the “Novus Ordo Missæ” (“New Order of Mass”), and is the form of Mass celebrated in most Roman Catholic parishes today. The Tridentine Mass, which was promulgated in 1570 by Pope St. Pius V after the Council of Trent (“Tridentine” means “pertaining to Trent”), underwent a number of minor revisions through the years. As celebrated today, the Tridentine Mass follows the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962. After the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), a much more thorough revision of the Roman Missal was completed in 1970. This revision implemented many changes in the way Mass was celebrated. ﷯While many Catholics embraced these changes enthusiastically, not all did, and those who were uncomfortable at the new rite of Mass longed for what they saw as the beauty, reverence, formality and profound expressions of holy truths of the old. Out of pastoral concern for the faithful who preferred the older form of the liturgy, Blessed Pope John Paul II gave permission in 1984 — and widened this permission in 1988 — for it to be celebrated in those dioceses whose bishop permitted it. The Most Reverend Edward O'Meara, archbishop of Indianapolis, was among the bishops in 1988 who graciously gave permission for the 1962 Latin Mass to be celebrated in their diocese. At first, the Mass was said every other month and then monthly by retired diocesan priests or visiting priests at St. John the Evangelist Church downtown and, later, at St. Patrick Church in Fountain Square. Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B., established the Tridentine Mass Apostolate in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1997, and a priest from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (F.S.S.P.) was invited to minister daily to the faithful desiring to worship and receive the Sacraments according to the 1962 Latin liturgy at St. Patrick Church. About a year later, the Mass was moved to nearby Holy Rosary Parish and the “Latin Mass community” was integrated into the entire parish community. Today, active priests from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis are responsible for saying the Mass in the Extraordinary Form as well as the Ordinary Form and the Anglican Use, a third form of the liturgy which has found a home at Holy Rosary. More than 200 people attend the Traditional Latin High Mass every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. A Low Mass is offered the other six days of the week. Why is Latin the Church’s official language? When the apostles first carried Christ’s Good News to the world, they traveled throughout the Roman Empire, which governed most of the lands around the Mediterranean Sea and in western Europe. Since the Romans spoke Latin, this language was one used by many people at that time, much as today many people in the world know English because it is economically and socially advantageous to do so. As the Roman Empire disintegrated in the 4th and 5th centuries, the emerging Church, led by the Bishop of Rome, stepped in to provide a stabilizing cultural force, and through the centuries has retained the use of Latin in official communications as a means to unity. The Latin language is the national property of no one people, yet, through learning, can be common to all. This feature makes it especially appropriate for a universal Church. The use of Latin by the Church started as a happenstance of history and geography, but has enabled the Church to maintain unity amidst the disciples she has made of all nations. Why attend Mass in a foreign language? ﷯ Over twenty approved rites of Catholic liturgy are in use worldwide. Many of these have never used Latin but have always been in the native language of the local people. The retention of Latin for the liturgy was a particular feature of west European liturgical development, and extended likewise to areas of the world evangelized by west European missionaries. Most of the faithful who attend the Latin Mass do not know Latin. So why do some still prefer the Latin Mass? They choose the Latin Mass not because of an attachment to the language, but because they believe it enhances their spiritual lives: They find the Latin Mass beautiful. The magnificence and solemnity of the Latin Mass are the Church’s way of giving back to God grateful worship for all that He has given us. Those devoted to it believe beautiful liturgy reverently offered illuminates the mystery of God’s very Presence among us. The rich sensory experience of a Traditional Latin Mass reminds them that the Mass is a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy we will celebrate in the New Jerusalem at the end of time. They are uplifted by a quiet reverence that is displayed before, during and after Mass. They pray quietly before Mass begins (or remain quiet so as not to disturb others at prayer), and offer prayers of thanksgiving once Mass is over. They find the dignity and formality of the Latin Mass conducive to an encounter with the Divine. They appreciate that Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is central in the sanctuary. They show Him reverence in traditional ways of posture and quiet demeanor. The Gregorian Chant sung in the Latin Mass enriches them. The Church has used this manner of singing her public prayers for many centuries. They find chant to be “poetry which sings on earth the mysteries of heaven and prepares us for the canticles of eternity.” I am not familiar with the Latin Mass. What should I expect if I attend? You can feel confused at a Latin Mass if you do not know what to expect and why some things are done as they are. Here are some guidelines to help you better appreciate this treasure of your Catholic heritage. ﷯ † In the Holy Rosary pews you will find red missalettes containing the Ordinary of the Mass (the part that stays the same each Mass). In the vestibule you will also find a sheet with the Propers (the part with the prayers and readings for a particular day of the liturgical year). † Knowing when to stand, sit, or kneel can be hard for a newcomer. Just follow what others around you are doing. † Some parts of the Mass are for the priest only and some for the people and the priest together. At a Mass where the choir sings, the choir sings all the parts of the people. You may sing all of these, but if you are not comfortable doing so, you may follow along by reading silently the English translation in the missalette. † Sometimes the choir sings its part while the priest says his part quietly at the altar. Because it takes longer for the choir to sing their prayers than it does for the priest to say his, the two will overlap and they will not be doing the same thing at the same time. You may either follow the choir, or read what the priest is saying. † The priest offers Mass facing the altar because he and the people together are offering worship and sacrifice to God. He is not turning his back on the people to exclude us. Rather, we are all facing God. † During the prayers surrounding the Consecration and the Consecration itself, there is silence as the priest quietly prays the words that change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. You may read what he says in the missalette. Appreciate this silence as a time of hushed awe in which we give thanks for the mystery of Christ’s saving sacrifice and for His coming to each of us in the Eucharist. † Holy Communion is received on the tongue while kneeling at the altar rail. Do not say “Amen” when you receive. † Those new to the Latin Mass often find they have to attend several times to feel confident in their understanding of all that is taking place. Be patient if you feel unsure on your first few visits. In time you will become familiar with the order of the Mass.

On July 7, 2007, in the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, His Holiness Benedict XVI widened permission for the Latin Mass to be offered by parish priests for any stable group within the Church requesting worship according to the 1962 Missal. This letter replaces the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei of 1988, and its issuance is a most encouraging development in the liturgical life of the Church.


If you would like to learn more about the 1962 Latin Mass, you may find the following websites helpful:

Interested in learning Latin?


Holy Rosary offers Latin instruction to teens and adults. However, due to the cumulative nature of language acquisition, it has a progression and is not a class anyone can jump into at any time. A new course opens up about every three years. The course is not open to join at this time, but please contact the instructor, Rebecca Reneau ( for more information and to place your name on a interest list to be contacted when the next course is open for enrollment.

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