Q: If I go to St. Francis Oratory for Mass, do they have directions for someone who’s never attended a Mass in Latin? Do they have a lot of visitors? Do visitors (women) need to have head coverings?
Editor’s Note: The Register posed this question to Father McCambridge, rector of St. Francis Church in Lincoln.
A: St. Francis Church frequently has visitors for Mass. Often, these are people new to the traditional Latin Mass (or the “extraordinary form” of the Mass, as Pope Benedict XVI called it in his 2007 letter Summorum Pontificum).
Like many churches at which the traditional Latin Mass is celebrated, St. Francis has Latin-English booklet missals for the faithful. These include not only the prayers of the Mass, but also explanations of the actions of the Mass, and instructions for the participation of the faithful. In addition to the booklets, there are leaflets provided which contain the parts of the Mass particular to a given day. It would be helpful for someone new to the traditional Latin Mass to arrive about 10 minutes early, look for a friendly face, and ask for help in following the Mass.
Concerning the use of head coverings for women, because the Church’s law no longer requires this, it is not mandatory at St. Francis. However, it is encouraged as being in keeping with the Church’s traditional practice (1 Cor 11:2-16). There are veils provided for visitors who desire to use them, and a woman might even feel more comfortable with a veil, as many of the other women would be wearing them.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that there is no need to be nervous about attending a traditional Latin Mass for the first time – everyone there was new to it at one time!
In the love of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
Fr. Paul Jared McCambridge, F.S.S.P.
Rector, St. Francis Church, Lincoln
Editor’s Note: The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, which was invited to the Diocese of Lincoln in 1994, purchased the St. Francis Chapel of the old St. Elizabeth Hospital (which was built in 1921 and moved to its current location in 1970) from Lancaster County in 1998. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz blessed and rededicated the building as St. Francis of Assisi Church in 1999.
Masses are celebrated in St. Francis Church, 1145 South St., Lincoln, at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, at 8 a.m. Saturday and at 8:30 (Low Mass) and 10 a.m. (High Mass) on Sundays.