Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Learning the Extraordinary Form of the Mass

I'm taking a course currently at our seminary, Mount Saint Mary's Seminary of the West, in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (i.e., the older form). It's not all that easy for me to pick it up, but I'm working on it.

While most of the prayers can be recited from the book, or from altar cards--or, for the prayers at the foot of the altar, from a prayer card--there are prayers you really have to memorize.  So, I did what we used to do way back in high school; I created flash cards, and I carry them around so I can work on them throughout the day.

One of the things I did when I was in the seminary--when I had other prayers to memorize--was to make up some tune to accompany the prayers. 

I'm sure some people would be horrified if they heard the ditties I've composed for several of these prayers; perhaps others would be amused. But I would bet I'm not the first one to do it.

Please pray for this old dog learning "new" tricks!


Anonymous said...

That's great news! I've been going to the local EF for about 3 months and it's me and the organist providing the music. We are both still learning the EF and we're sweatin' bullets the whole time, so I can imagine what it is like for the priest. I love it though because it encourages me to study the Scripture (the propers, Gospel, etc.) ahead of time and I'm always amazed at how well it all fits.

fxr2 said...

Fr Fox,
You are in my prayers. We will say our family rosary on Thursday for your learning the TLM. I am a 46 year old father of 6 who taught his 8 year old son to serve the TLM and I can understand. You are the future.Weather it be a reverent NO Mass, a TLM, or an organically derived new liturgy approved in the future. Holy priests like you will lead the way to salvation.
Be assured of my prayers Father,


CatholicMom said...

God Bless you for learning the Latin Mass. Our family will remember you in our prayers.

Deo volente said...


I've known priests who began to say the TLM on their day off, and they maintain that it has greatly affected their view of the Ordinary Form of Mass. From what I can gather, they refocus their views of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a very positive way. Bravo!

Tu es sacérdos in ætérnum, secúndum órdinem Melchísedech.


Anonymous said...

P.S. If you start regularly offering an EF Mass, you might consider this new Missal/Hymnal for the pews:

It's gorgeousness a reasonably priced.

TerryC said...

I will keep you in my prayers. Wonderful to here about Mount Saint Mary offering course. I hope they are also offering it to Seminarians as well as priests.

Joe K said...

Fr Fox,
I'll include you in my prayers.
Joe K

Fr Martin Fox said...


Yes, the course is open to seminarians. Two deacons, soon to be ordained, are in the class.

DrAndroSF said...

Totally do-able. I learned the Latin responses and prayers of the Mass when I was 10, back in the days of Pius XII. All us altar boys did. With cards that had phonetic pronunciations underneath the Latin, which we did not, of course, understand. The Confiteor, with its cascade of varying case endings, and the Suscipiat, etc. Everything from memory. I still know them all. Piece of cake.

truthfinder2 said...

Thank you for learning the EF, Father. My Catholic conversion was after Vatican II, but my experience of the Mass predates it. I remember how the beauty of the chant and the reverence affected me, even as a Protestant. You are in my prayers. --- Rosemary

Jon Haines said...

Thank you for helping preserve our patrimony! You are in my prayers this Holy Week.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to have read your post, Father. As it happens, I too am just setting out to learn the classical rite and am a little daunted by how much one has to remember! Your flash cards approach may be the way to go for me too.

Pax et bonum.