When I made the switch to the Latin Mass, I began attending it daily at a beautiful little parish in Denver called Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Before making this switch, I used to pray the Holy Rosary during the Novus Ordo; However, when Our Lady led me to the Extraordinary Form, I found that I simply could not pray the Rosary during Mass anymore. “Could not” as in it was almost impossible for me to follow along in the Missal and pray the beads at the same time, but also this: one should NOT pray the Holy Rosary during Latin Mass to begin with. Why? I do not say that one should not hold their Rosary, what harm is there in that? None whatsoever. But here is what His Holiness, Pope Pius X has to say about the Mass:
“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the Altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the Altar. When acting in this way you have prayed the Holy Mass.”
1.) The Holy Mass is a prayer itself. The Rosary is SUCH a glorious prayer, but if the Holy Mass is the “highest” we should not be praying two different prayers at once, but giving that one prayer, our full and complete attention. Again, I said there is no harm in holding Our Lady’s Rosary during TLM. But She desires your focus to be on Her Son’s Sacrifice. In this way, you are actually MORE united to Mary!
2.) Further, you must pray with the priest. This line is perhaps my favorite; each member of the flock is called to participate by silently reading their Missal’s and praying the same words as the priest as he lovingly faces Our Lord. What harmony; what unity! Perhaps while you are praying your Rosary, you are failing to participate in the prayers that are said for the dead, the invocation of the saints and prayers for sanctification. Do not omit such precious prayers!
3.) Follow all that happens at the Altar. If one is still having a hard time learning how to follow along in the Missal, then at least give your full attention to everything that happens at the Altar. Even when following along in the pages, how many of us fail to pause and look up at the Altar? Especially during the consecration. When the bells ring and the server approaches the priest in preparation, I always believe this is a good time to set down the Missal and prepare for the elevation of the Precious Body and Blood. Until the priest performs this, I do not pick up my Missal until the Precious Blood is placed back on the Altar followed by the ringing of the bells.
Thus, this great Pope concludes by saying, “When acting in this way you have prayed the Holy Mass“.