Welcome to the website of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a pontifical society of apostolic life in union with His Holiness, Pope Francis. This community was established by the generosity of Bishop Mark Seitz, following upon general recommendations of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, in order to minister to the faithful who are attached to more traditional forms of worship and practice.
If this is your first time experiencing the traditional forms of the liturgy, welcome. You should not feel out of place. If you are a member of the Roman rite, this liturgy belongs to you.
Still, there may be some aspects of the Latin Mass which are unfamiliar:
Latin – The mother tongue of the Roman Rite is Latin. For most of the history of the Western Church, Latin was the predominant language for administration, education, theology, prayers, and above all, liturgy. It is the language, sanctified on the Cross of Christ, through which the great saints of the Church prayed. St. Patrick, St. Augustine, St. Gregory the Great, St. Bernard, St. Francis, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. John Marie Vianney, St. (Padre) Pio, and countless Catholic faithful prayed with the Church at Mass in Latin. The very same words prayed by those saints, are prayed by us.
Ad Orientem – This means ‘towards the East’ and describes the priest offering Mass while facing the Cross. Rather than having his back towards the people, as is sometimes claimed, the priest and the people together face Our Lord, and together offer the Holy Sacrifice. This is described as ‘towards the East’ be because ancient churches were required to face East since in theological thought, when Christ comes again he would come from the East. So offering Mass this way demonstrates an attitude of expectation and vigilance in living and praying in expectation of Christ’s coming. This is also symbolized by the rising sun, which is a symbol of Christ the Light of the World by which our minds and souls are illuminated by Christ’s doctrine and supernatural grace.
Some things to know about the Traditional Mass
In the Traditional Latin Rite, Holy Communion is received on the tongue while kneeling at the altar rail. Of course, if for reasons of health one cannot kneel, one may stand to receive Our Lord. But Holy Communion is still received on the tongue. There is no need to say “Amen” because the prayer the priest says includes the “Amen”. A reminder: only baptized Catholics in the state of grace and are properly disposed should present themselves for Holy Communion.
A fast of one hour from food or beverages (excluding water) is required by the Church to receive Holy Communion. Under Pope Bl. Pius XII in the mid-twentieth century, the Eucharistic fast was shortened from the midnight before receiving, to three hours before. The faithful could derive many blessings by adopting either of these two practices instead of the current law, though this is not required.
Participation at Mass
If this is your first time at the Latin Mass, don’t worry about knowing how everything works, just watch and pray. You know this is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Don’t worry if you feel lost. Unite your heart and soul to the prayers of the priest and try to give God devout worship. This is what you are here for anyway.
To have a deeper understanding of the prayers of the Mass, a hand-missal is very helpful. At the church office assist at Mass more fully, use the red Latin/English missals available at the doors, paying particular attention to the margin notes. Simply follow those around you for indications as to when to stand, sit, and kneel.
Please maintain a recollected silence in the church at all times out of reverence for Christ’s presence in the tabernacle. This also respects others in church who are praying. We come to church to speak with God, not each other.
We also kindly ask that you silence, turn off, or leave your cell phones behind. God reward you.
We request that you dress modestly when attending Mass. Clothes that are too revealing (short skirts, shorts, low necklines), too tight or too casual are inappropriate for Church. Remember you are in the presence of the King of Kings.
It is customary at the Traditional Mass for women to wear a head covering. This practice, based in Holy Scripture and Tradition maintained even before the time of Christ. There are many theological reasons why throughout history women wore head covering, to read some of them click here. We provide chapel veils at the back of church with an explanation of this custom and recommend that this custom, based in Holy Scripture and Tradition and never abrogated, be followed.
We’d like to meet you.
If you wish to live a Catholic life through the sacramental and devotional traditions of the Church, we invite you to become a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in El Paso. To learn how, click here