Why are the youth drawn to the Traditional Latin Mass?

“Ave Maria” is how Carmel Grace Alde Fulache would greet me in chat messages. That is also how she greets people in person. She is shown in this photo inside the Chapel of Holy Relics in Tabor Hill in Barangay San Jose holding the Latin Mass missal her grandmother gave her. The 21-year-old religiously attends the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) at the OAD Tabor Hill on Sundays.

Carmel Grace Alde Fulache
Carmel Grace Alde Fulache

Soft-spoken and respectful, Carmel says the Tridentine Mass is central to her Catholic faith and the old rite’s use of Latin and its ceremony make it very solemn and meaningful to her. “It has deepened my faith,” she said.

She said it is in the Extraordinary Form of the mass that she sees, quoting St. Francis of Assisi, the “greatest reverence possible that we owe to God.”

But like a regular youngster, Carmel uses youthspeak, particularly TBH for “to be honest.” TBH, until my interview with her, I never knew TBH was used in actual conversations and not just chat messages.

Carmel is in 12th grade and wants to be a psychologist because she wants to “understand behaviors” and be involved in child development. She said she used to love the idea of being a teacher but, self-deprecatingly, “I don’t know how to teach.”

Carmel first attended a TLM on April 21, 2019, an Easter Sunday. At that time she wasn’t a practicing Catholic and was not living up to church teachings. She would attend masses “depending on my mood.” She was 16 and lived what she said was “a very sinful life.” The mass was “beautiful and amazing,” Carmel wrote in her diary.

Carmel said she started regularly attending Traditional Latin Masses on October 25, 2020. She also started wearing a veil during masses as part of dressing modestly. She said her modest dressing has even influenced her friends. Carmel says she still attends Novus Ordo masses – the regular masses held today. She still wears a veil during these masses.

I’m writing a story on the TLM and Carmel helped me understand why young people are drawn to it. More than half of those who attend the TLM at Tabor Hill are young people. It caught me by surprise the first time I attended last March 10.

I know the TLM can be a lightning rod for intense disagreements. Please be respectful if you do comment. If you feel strongly for or against it, do send me a private message instead. This is as much a journey of discovery for me as it is field work.

If you are interested in attending a Traditional Latin Mass, here’s a convenient list of where you can join in the different dioceses in the country.

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