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 Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

(LifeSiteNews) —In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. (In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.)

Introibo ad altare Dei. (I will go unto the altar of God.)

Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. (To God, Who gives joy to my youth.)

These are the words that open a Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), the form of the Roman liturgy that has been called “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven,” surviving centuries and forming saints.

As the traditional Mass encounters an era of lost papal support, Catholics are sharing how the TLM has inspired them, transformed their lives, rekindled their relationship with the Lord, and brought them deep and restorative joy.

Coming home to the Latin Mass

Lindsay Murray, cohost of The Modern Lady Podcast, was raised in the Waterloo region of Ontario, Canada. She received her sacraments and attended Catholic school but did not start attending Mass regularly until her husband’s conversion from Anglicanism. This sparked her own personal conversion within the faith.

In 2012 Murray’s husband attended the diocesan Traditional Latin Mass near their new home in Kitchener and soon returned there with his wife and family.

From the first seconds of the liturgy, Murray said she felt something ‘extraordinary’ wash over her.

“I felt, for the first time in my life, that I was home, and from that minute on, I never wanted to go anywhere else again,” she added.

As a family, “we were on fire with faith and exploding with questions,” Murray recalls.

The family was struck by the vast difference in language between the Novus Ordo and Traditional Latin Mass, the reverence and devotion.

“Every Sunday … instead of feeling like we were just attending Mass out of duty, making the responses out of habit, and going through the motions, we were enraptured by this expression of Catholicism. We were dialed into the liturgy in a way that we had never experienced before,” Murray said.

She quickly recognized that every movement, posture, word, bow, and vestment of the Traditional Latin Mass witnesses to the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ in a unique way. It is a calling to reverence she had never before witnessed at Mass, she said.

The Church’s history, ancient beauty, and long forgotten devotions transformed not only the family’s Mass experience but their lives.

“There was almost immediately a change within our family, our marriage, how we conducted ourselves, and how we wanted to raise our children,” Murray said.

“We started praying a daily family rosary and have continued with that devotion for nearly ten years now,” she added.

“We also started learning about other devotions that had fallen by the wayside … and weaving these ancient devotions into our regular family life created a rich tapestry which brought the treasures of Catholicism right into our ordinary lives. Our home truly became a domestic church. Our living faith became the foundation of our daily lives instead of  just something we did on Sundays.”

“[It is] a liturgy that is totally unlike anything else the world is offering us right now,” Murray continued.

“Everything that I was looking for in this world, I found all of that at the Traditional Latin Mass. I don’t want a church that is trying to look like the world, I want a church that has the power to transform the world, and for centuries great Saints were formed by this liturgy and families stayed Catholic generation after generation. And in just one generation, we dismantled almost all of it.”

Breathing new life into New England

Rebecca Norris belongs to a Traditional Latin Mass parish in Front Royal, Virginia, and was raised attending the Old Rite in New England.

“My mom was a Protestant who had taken her oath to raise us Catholic seriously, even though she didn’t know much about it at that time,” Norris said.

“She found the one Traditional Latin Mass in the area, maybe the state, and we started going regularly,” she added.

“Without finding the Traditional Latin Mass, we would not be Catholic today.”

In New England, Norris witnessed Catholic parishes dying, but not those preserving the ancient traditions.

“Parishes are being consolidated, as many as five into one, and churches are closing,” she said.

“However, wherever the Traditional Latin Mass is being added, growth is happening. It unites us.”

The rich scripture and traditions just lead to greater study and greater depth, Norris said.

It is a depth that dates back generations.

“The saints who attended this Mass ages ago helped me form my conscience, and they continue to help me in my life today,” Norris said.

“It connects us as brothers and sisters in Christ and creates a sense of familiarity, knowing that they have chanted and prayed the same way as I am today … and the deeper into the Mass one goes, the deeper into Scripture, Tradition, history, culture, theology, philosophy, and simplicity, one must go.”

Erinn Folts is a Traditional Latin Mass Catholic from Eden, New York. Raised by strong Catholic parents, Folts did not grow up going to the Old Rite. Folts’ parents encouraged her to attend a local TLM after their own recent encounter. She did so and was blown away.

“The reverence of the clergy, altar servers, and faithful… I have not seen reverence like that in our NO Masses here,” Folts said.

“I felt like I wasn’t in this world.”

“Because of the reverence and the way Traditional Latin Mass is done, I feel like it has impacted my spirituality in a contemplative sense, which isn’t something that comes to me naturally,” Folts said.

“Traditional Latin Mass is appealing to the quiet part of my interior spiritual life because when I’m there, I’m not trying to remember what part of Mass we are at, what I need to say or sing, I’m just focused on what the priest is doing and marveling in the sacred part of the Mass.”

Spiritual awakening at Lourdes

Sarah Hope lives in Robards, Kentucky and attends a chapel in Evansville, Indiana. Hope was raised with the Traditional Latin Mass after her grandmother recognized a loss of reverence at the local church and sought out the TLM nearby.

But access to traditional Masses was limited in the 1970s and 80s.

“Many of the people in our chapel would drive for hours to attend Mass, have confessions heard,” Hope said.

“The priests worked very hard to serve many people. It was difficult even to find missals and Latin resources.”

Hope fell away from the Church in her college years but an experience at Lourdes led her back.

“In graduate school, I lived abroad,” Hope said.

“I was not a practicing Catholic. However, in the traditional communities … a lot of Catholic culture … is instilled,” she continued.

“So, my husband, a non-Catholic, knew my confirmation saint was St. Bernadette and [that] I had always wanted to go to Lourdes. He took me there on vacation. I didn’t go as a religious observant, but rather to see a place I had been enamored with since I was seven. We bathed in the waters, and I had a spiritual awakening.”

Returning to Mass was difficult, but the rubrics, reverence and quiet of the traditional rite held her.

“I understand the push for inclusiveness, but I think I found the Old Mass to form more of a one-on-one experience with God during Mass,” Hope said.

“The traditional Mass helps direct me to focusing on how majestic God is and how life is about sacrifice. The Mass is of course the greatest sacrifice we can offer. The beauty I experience there reminds me that God’s ways are perfect and how all we do should be directed towards God.”

Bryan O’Neil is a devout Catholic and father of three residing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He does not attend Traditional Latin Mass regularly but enjoys the experience this Mass, called the Extraordinary Form of the Mass by Pope Benedict XVI, offers.

“People set up the debate between the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form of the liturgy as an acceptance or rejection [of] Vatican II, and I think that misses the mark on several levels,” O’Neil said.

“I don’t think it’s about an acceptance or rejection of Vatican II that most faithful Catholics have at the forefront of their minds,” he continued.

“What they have at the forefront of their minds is whether or not the Catholic Church itself defends or rejects its own teaching and doctrines. That is what is driving the growth in the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy: a commitment to teach and defend Catholic doctrine.”

As the number of American Catholics leaving the Church increases, Traditional Latin Mass goers are committed to encountering Christ in the Old Rite, wherever it is accessible.

“My family, along with the other veiled women and suit-wearing men, aren’t … attending this Mass out of misplaced nostalgia,” Lindsay Murray said.

“We are attaching ourselves to the greatest treasure this side of heaven, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, because we know that beauty informs and that it has the power to transform your entire life.”