The Confiteor: before the Mass begins, we ask for forgiveness. As the sun shines brightly on the pure gold of the altar, we pray the Confiteor, the Penitential Act, acknowledging that we are sinners in need of a Savior.
First the priest, then the congregation through the server asks God for forgiveness, and for the Saints and angels to pray for us that we may be made pure in order to celebrate Mass and be strengthened against future temptation.
Hope bursts forth, alighting on the altar and tabernacle, drawing our gaze to the Cross as the ultimate act of sacrificial love.
The prayer of the Confiteor shocked me a bit the first time I went to Latin Mass. It’s so much longer and asks for the intercession of specific Saints, not just once, but twice. In English it is:
I Confess to almighty God,
to Blessed Mary ever Virgin,
to blessed Michael the archangel,
to blessed John the Baptist,
to the holy apostles Peter and Paul,
to all the saints,
and to you, Father,
that I have sinned exceedingly
in thought, word, and deed,
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous fault.
Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin,
blessed Michael the archangel,
blessed John the Baptist,
the holy apostles Peter and Paul,
all the saints,
and you, Father,
to pray to the Lord our God for me.
Then the priest asks God to accept our confession, and petitions pardon, absolution, and the remission of our sins as we make the Sign of the Cross.
This is a real confession. One that wipes away our venial sins.
The same happens in every Mass, even the Novus Ordo, but in Latin it is so much more obvious.
The church in this painting is a side altar in St. Florian in Krakow, Poland. Painted as an illustration for Kimberly Fries’ book: Traditional Latin Mass: A Missal for Children found here: https://amzn.to/3FnasK0
(For the Latin Mass loving Catholics checking for Churches to go to, I have no idea on this one. It’s a side altar and the church is a diocesan church, so probably not. Worth the visit 100% otherwise.)