The Traditional Latin Mass In Malta
In the Archdiocese of Malta, the Church of St. Paul’s in Birkirkara has been entrusted with the celebration and promotion of the liturgy according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass.
For the Apostolate of St. Paul Malta this liturgical celebration is one part, albeit essential, of the full experience of our community. The Traditional Latin Mass strengthens our community, as it helps to put the Eucharist as the source and the summit of our daily life.
We celebrate the Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass) on Sundays at 7pm (and on other feast days) at the Church of St. Paul’s in Birkirkara, Malta.
The Rebirth Of The Traditional Latin Mass In Malta
In 2016, our Community at St. Paul’s Church felt the need to begin celebrating the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite since in Malta this Mass was till then not being celebrated regularly.
The first Traditional Latin Mass to be celebrated in the Church of St. Paul’s since the introduction of the Novus Ordo in 1970, was celebrated on the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, June 24 2016, the Patron Saint of the Order of Malta, and as such is intimately tied to the history of the Local Church. This Mass was celebrated by members of the Priestly Fraternity of the Opera Familia Christi, from the Archdiocese of Ferrara-Comacchio.
Soon later we began celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass every Sunday. The liturgy of all ages helps us to uphold, proclaim, and transmit the faith of the Church. It is our common heritage.
The Experience Of The Apostolate Of St. Paul Malta
Having an experience of more than a year of celebrating the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on Sundays and other feast days, one can observe its fruit, among these is the constant youthful presence, and also the truly Catholic (or universal) dimension of this community.
The attendees include a significantly number of foreigners, some residents in Malta, others who are on holiday. It is therefore even meeting a practical need, since together with the sung Mass which takes place in the Co-Cathedral, it is the only Mass said in Latin. Taking into account the international character of the congregation, the homily is given in English. Therefore the liturgy is being celebrated in light of the principles of the liturgical movement as developed in the twentieth century.
Every Sunday a Latin-English booklet translation accompanied with the Mass Readings in English are distributed so that the faithful can easily follow along and participate fully. This is done in the light of the experience of the Dialogue Mass, in the liturgical movement of the same spirit. Our celebrations are being accompanied by liturgical music, namely the Gregorian, according the proper liturgical texts.
This is part of being complete experience, to drink from the sources of the Church’s living Tradition, lived and experienced by people who are seeking to receive a formative, catechetical and liturgical experience which also includes the apostolic commitment in everyday life.
To highlight the complementarity between the two forms, ASPM is also:
- Celebrating the Ordinary Form (i.e. Novus Ordo) Masses facing East (Ad Orientem).
- Providing Catechesis on this aspect of the Church’s life on special occasions.
- At times accompanying the Liturgy according to Ordinary Form with Gregorian hymns such as the Our Father and Salve Regina, even when the mass is in Maltese.
- Praying the Liturgy of the Hours, namely the Vespers, on special occasions.
We wholeheartedly invite anyone wishing a profound experience of Mass, to join us at the Church of St. Paul Church, Valley Road, Birkirkara, for Latin Mass on Sundays at 7pm. Come and see!
What Is The Mass According To The Extraordinary Form?
The Traditional Latin Mass is the Mass as it was celebrated before the reform of the rite which took place in 1970. It is celebrated according to the Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII in 1962.
This Mass is often also called the Tridentine Mass, because this Missal has a tradition which going back to the reform after the council of Trent in the 16th century.
In reality the major part of the prayers in the rite itself are much older, and are the fruit of a tradition which dates back to the first centuries of the Christian community. This is the form of the rite that the Church of Rome, which we form part of, has always prayed, and not only in the words used, but also in the development of the gestures and rubrics that accompany the rite.
An essential part of the Roman Rite is also the traditional liturgical music, called Gregorian Chant, which according to the Second Vatican Council is to be given pride of place in all liturgical celebrations.
The Roman liturgy as it has been celebrated in the Latin Church throughout the centuries, points us to what is essential in our faith, and therefore helps truly form people of faith, in that experience of the Lord Jesus which has given us so many confessors and martyrs.
The Worldwide Growth Of Traditional Latin Mass Celebrations
Moved by the constant request of a growing number of faithful in different communities around the world to be allowed to continue to celebrate the Mass according to this form of the Roman Rite, Pope St. John Paul II gave the special permission (called an indult) allowing this Mass to be celebrated.
Pope Benedict XVI, aware that the liturgy, particularly the celebration of the Mass, is the source and the summit of the Christian life, as well as the need to overcome the mistaken notion that separates the Church’s life into two time periods – before and after the Second Vatican Council – instead of the true spirit of organic development in continuity, felt the need to extend the permission for the Mass, according to the Extraordinary Form.
Benedict XVI thus opened the door for this Mass to be able to be celebrated by every Catholic priest, without the need for additional permission. He did this by promulgating the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum on the 7th of July 2007. In it we see the desire of Benedict XVI that both the liturgy according to the old form and the new form influence and enrich each other.