How to make a mantilla

+JMJ

If you feel drawn to wearing a mantilla for Mass, there are some online stores that offer great mantillas. I love the veils there but sometimes it can be expensive to buy one. A while ago, I found out that it’s not too difficult to make a mantilla, if you are feeling adventurous – and it only takes a bit of sewing practice ūüôā

Where to get lace

I went to my local fabric store and found some lace there. Try to look for the flowy soft lace¬†rather than the more stiff type that is used for curtains. Though much of this lace can be so expensive that it’s honestly cheaper to just buy a veil, – sometimes you can find some lace on sale for very cheap. I’ve found lace for as little as 5 to 12 dollars per meter. If you are making a smaller mantilla, you can buy around a meter just to be safe, but if you would like a really large one, I would recommend getting a meter and a half to two meters.

The lace that I found works the best is floral lace. There seem to be two methods to make the mantilla: cutting out the flowers, or adding trim to the edges. The advantage of cutting out the flower shapes is that you don’t need to buy trim – but not all lace works for this. I’ve found that designs with medium to large roses work the best for cutting out the flowers, and everything else is safer with a trim. Some lace also has a nice texture, while other types are very light and airy – it all depends on what type of mantilla you want. The great thing about this is that your mantilla would be completely custom made!

The colours I found range from white, cream, black, blue, beige, and grey.

How to make the mantilla

First, decide on the length and style. Mantillas come in several types of shapes: triangular, semi-circular, or rectangular. Triangular is the easiest to make.

How I did it is I just draped the fabric over my head and measured how long I’d like the veil to be. Then, I laid out the fabric on a flat surface and planned out the triangle that I would be cutting out. If you are adding trim, this part is not too difficult: add an extra centimeter, get some good scissors, and cut out the shape. If you are cutting out the flowers, you would need to actually follow the design to make sure that it would make a triangular shape once cut out. This doesn’t always work and I wasted some nice blue lace this way because I didn’t plan well enough. ūüôā Then, you can cut around the flowers to make it easier, and then use tiny sharp scissors to carefully cut out the flower shapes.

Whether you are making a triangular or semi-circular D-shaped veil, it helps to fold the fabric in half when cutting it, so that it’s perfectly symmetrical. You can also use pins to pin it together so that it’s easier to cut.

Once you’ve cut out the veil, if you are adding trim, you can do it by hand or use a sewing machine. I would recommend a sewing machine, but first attaching the trim by hand so that it stays in place as you sew on the machine. If you are adding the trim by hand, use very little stitches on the very edge of the trim to make it less noticeable. I used¬†a type of stitch called the¬†overcast stitch.

Here are some pictures of veils that I’ve made for myself. I just realized that the first one I¬†put on backwards for the picture! The last one is a beige veil with cut-out roses. It has a nice textured lace that stays easily on the head.

Happy sewing ūüôā

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What to expect at your first Traditional Latin Mass

The Lord perpetuates the memory of his wonders He gives food to those who fear him_ Bonamy

+JMJ

As someone who loves the Tridentine Mass, sometimes I wonder what it might be like for people who have never experienced it before. Obviously at some point, this was me. I wrote about my first experience of it in the post “Why the Latin Mass”. However, this time I just wanted to give some advice to a person who is considering going to the Latin Mass for the first time!

1. It’s similar, yet different.¬†The Mass is the Mass. You’ll see the same general structure: Confiteor, reading from the Epistles, Gospel, then the Eucharist. If you don’t have a missal and don’t know yet how to follow the Mass, you’ll still recognize these basic parts. However, of course it will all be in….

2. LATIN!¬†Don’t know Latin? That’s okay! Many people when they’re first invited to a Tridentine Mass, wonder how they will understand anything because they don’t know Latin. Perhaps it’s encouraging to remember that most people there don’t know Latin either. (you do pick up little bits here and there and end up memorizing the prayers eventually). This is why we have missals, where you can read the English (or any language) translation.

3. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated if you get lost. That will probably happen. In fact I almost guarantee it will. And that’s OKAY and if that happens, don’t worry, and just enjoy the chant, and the beauty of the Mass. We participate in the Mass not only by saying the responses but by praying in our hearts – and you can pray along with the Mass and just spend that time with Our Lord in the Eucharist, if you get lost. If you decide to come back, eventually you’ll familiarize yourself with the missal and you’ll be able to follow it relatively easily.For more thoughts on participation, please take a look at this document by Pope Benedict.

4. The liturgy is not so ‘linear’. Be prepared for several things to be happening at once: the priest is praying one thing, the choir is singing another. While this can be a bit confusing with the missal, keep in mind that as you’re praying the “Kyrie” with the choir, the priest is going on with the prayers – so let the choir and basic Mass parts guide you in the missal!

5. It’s not so complicated! Even if it seems so from the above suggestions. Just expect a more ‘internal’ participation in the Mass and maybe like me, you’ll find that all the chants/prayers/liturgical actions draw ¬†your mind and heart above to God, and it won’t matter too much if the missal is confusing. One great thing about the Latin Mass is that everything is so detailed and beautiful that it does end up raising our souls to Heavenly things – just spend the time in prayer with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

6. Some practical things to expect… There is no sign of peace between people in the congregation. You bow when the altar servers bow to you to give you the sign of peace after the priest gives it. Expect a certain level of formality in the gestures/clothing (we bow our heads at the name of Jesus, many women wear skirts and/or veils, – just something to consider as you plan your outfit for that Sunday).

7. When it’s time for Holy Communion, people don’t go up “row by row”. There is always Confession before every Mass and often during the Mass as well.¬†If you’re ready to receive the Eucharist, you can come up to the altar rail and kneel. We only receive Communion on the tongue, and you don’t have to say “Amen” after receiving, just make the sign of the Cross afterwards. As the priest gives you the Host, he will say a prayer asking for Jesus in the Eucharist to lead you to life everlasting. The altar server will hold a paten to prevent the Host from dropping on the ground. (the paten is the gold circular thing, you’ll definitely see it).

8. This is something that confuses many visitors so it would be good to mention here: we genuflect during the Creed at the part about the Incarnation, and at the Last Gospel (John 1 is read at the end) at the words ‘the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us’.

9. We also kneel for the priest’s blessing.

10. You’ll notice some obvious differences from the Mass in the Ordinary Form in most parishes: for example,¬†the priest faces the High Altar.

One thing I really appreciate about the EF is that there’s a great sense of the Mass being a Sacrifice. There’s a lot of detail in terms of what the priest does and what the altar servers do. If more than one priest is present, they don’t concelebrate, rather the others act as the Deacon or Sub-Deacon in the Mass. In the beginning, there’s the ‘Asperges Me’ where the priest sprinkles the whole church with holy water.

I suggest coming early to Mass and spending a bit of time getting to know the missal (there are often used missals at the back for people to borrow, or like in my church, red booklets with the Ordinary of the Mass and print-outs with the day’s readings). Many people tend to also stay afterwards to pray and make a thanksgiving, and to spend time with Jesus as they’ve just received Him.

If anyone is looking for more information, here is a beautiful website about the Latin Mass with videos! http://www.sanctamissa.org/en/

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Why the Latin Mass?

The Lord wants today to fill you with His Benefits - Abandon your heart to the sweet influences of His gracious Presence -  Fr_ Fenelon

+JMJ

There are many debates about the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form. There are sometimes many arguments, accusations, yet also Рdetailed examinations of the theology and history of the Mass. (For anyone interested in the last point, I have always liked the analysis of Bishop Athanasius Schneider). However, this is not the focus of this post. It will not be a comparison or analysis of the two liturgies but just a personal reflection. I have found my own spirituality with the Traditional Latin Mass, and I just wanted to share what my experience of it has been like.

I first attended a Latin Mass shortly before becoming Catholic. I had already decided to join the Church and much of my spirituality was formed by devotions or writings of the Saints like St Faustina or St Alphonsus Liguori or St Therese of Lisieux. I loved the Sacred Heart and the Divine¬†Mercy¬†devotions, the beautiful words of Jesus in revelations to the Saints, and prayers filled with loving and devout expressions (like the ones found in “Visits to the Blessed Sacrament” by St Alphonsus Liguori). I had never read such things before, though it seems that as a Protestant, I was always looking for them. I also loved Adoration and Jesus’ Real Presence in the Mass. Everything was new and so beautiful. I found out about other aspects of the faith like the brown scapular, Miraculous Medal, and other Marian devotions.

I also loved watching videos about Catholic topics. Some of my favourites were those featuring beautiful traditional art and architecture, and some had Gregorian chant with pictures of old holy cards and images of priests and altar boys saying the Latin Mass. This affected my imagination powerfully and seemed to fit so perfectly with all the things I was reading – the emphasis on Christ, the reverence, love, beauty – and I felt a deep and keen longing for these things but I couldn’t find them anywhere to the extent I wanted. I loved going to Mass at my parish… and I loved the Eucharist there… but sometimes, when I would watch the videos of the Latin Mass, I could sense there was something in it that appealed directly to me. For some reason,¬†there was a sense of something – contemplative, ancient, peaceful, almost monastic¬†– it gave me a lot of peace but I couldn’t figure out where I could find it. I¬†knew¬†Jesus’ presence in the Mass, but the externals of it seemed different.

Then, I went to my first Latin Mass. It was organized by a local university and they invited a priest to come and say the Mass.¬† I came in late, had no idea what was going on, didn’t have a missal… and minutes into the Mass, I was completely amazed and almost crying (in fact by the end, I was trying to hide my tears) because of the amazing peace and presence of Jesus that I felt there. It was a moment of grace. I knew I had found exactly what I felt this longing in my heart for all that time. I do not believe it was a search for aesthetics, but for the beautiful reverence that filled every moment of the Mass. I am not saying that the OF Mass cannot be done reverently, but the amount of detail in the Latin Mass made it very noticeable to me.

Currently, I’m very blessed to be able to attend a Latin Mass parish with the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. This has been such a gift from God. Not only are there great sermons, there are also all the beautiful traditions that I never knew existed. A few weeks ago, I came to Mass not expecting it to finish after 1 (it started at 10:30) because we had a procession with candles, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Benediction afterwards. Father got real beeswax candles for the procession that each person received. In the spring, I attended something I dreamed of for several years – my first Corpus Christi procession, complete with rose petals (just like in Story of a Soul!) and¬†a canopy for the Blessed Sacrament. Everything is done with detail and reverence. Especially, I love the reverence. Something simple like receiving¬†Blessed Palm Leaves on Palm Sunday, becomes a mini ritual in how it is done. Just these little things, emphasize the point that these are not just any old leaves, candles, water, etc – these are blessed objects that received a special blessing from God through the priest. The priests’ vestments, altar, etc, – are all decorated with detail and beauty. My parish also has Confession before every Mass (even before the 7 am Masses on all weekdays), and two Masses a day on Monday – Saturday, and three on Sunday.

I know how sometimes it’s said, that we could still have a Mass without these things. But I have just found that all these things help me to lift my mind to the eternal. For this reason, I believe it is my particular spirituality in the Church. When you’re at this Mass, you might struggle with the missal at first, and not know what’s going on during the long periods of silence¬†– but it makes sense as you learn, and you begin to love the silences because then you can just contemplate and come closer to Our Lord in prayer. There are times to pray¬†silently and times to pray together with others. By being connected through the Eucharist and participation in Heavenly worship and spiritual participation in Calvary, we are all united in a mystical way and this is expressed through following the order of the Mass and prayers. I’m not saying that external expressions of unity (such as saying the Creed) are unimportant and that it doesn’t matter if we join in them or not. But the Mass also gives us opportunities to just connect with Jesus and make the experience very fruitful. There’s no rush, especially after Communion.

Speaking of Communion, I know there are many debates about receiving Communion on the tongue vs the hand, and kneeling or standing… I have found that it has just brought me closer to Christ to receive Him kneeling, and on the tongue.

I’ve found the Latin Mass gives many instances to find and experience intimacy with Our Lord, where we can forget everything and just be close to Him, immersed in all the beauty, the chant, incense, art.. it’s very contemplative and distances you from worldly things. Even the fact that it’s in Latin – a language we don’t really hear anywhere else, especially chanted. Everything feels special because it’s different from what’s in the world – we see that this is special and Holy and not like everything else that we experience. I sometimes wonder what would a person think if they came to the Latin Mass without knowing anything about the faith – but I think they would see that this is something different and mysterious. There’s a real sense of mystery and a clear perception that we’re present at a Sacrifice, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The reality of the Mass becomes evident, so that we don’t forget it.

I’ll leave with this beautiful rendition of a traditional hymn by Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYhfQwxnYw0

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