about Louis Tofari
See the About Louis Tofari page for more information about his background in liturgical matters.
For more about the services that Louis Tofari offers through Romanitas Press, see the Training & Consulting page.
Consulting and Reference
Louis Tofari's Romanitas Press is an excellent resource for the traditional liturgy. I have benefited many times from Mr. Tofari's knowledge of the rubrics. I do not know many who are as qualified, well read, and knowledgeable as Mr. Tofari, when it comes to understanding the Traditional Rites.
In my last assignment, when working for St. Benedict Center, Richmond, NH; I was there when they were building a new chapel. They sought the advice throughout the country of expert opinions for deciding upon architectural and rubrical issues. Eventually, Mr. Tofari's opinion became the final court of appeal. He was always able to give a balanced approach to the issues after informing us of the various opinions of the liturgical experts.
For priests learning the old Mass or for those who already know the traditional Mass rather well, Mr. Tofari can be a great help. There seems to be always questions that surface and I have never found Mr. Tofari unable to respond to a situation that I might present to him. He has always been friendly and readily available. His work in publishing Romanitas Press is an ever needed resource especially as more and more priests, trained in the New Mass, are discovering the beauty and intricacies of the Traditional Mass. Fr. David Phillipson
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Louis [Tofari] is a liturgical expert who can help in training the Altar Boys, the Master of Ceremonies, and Priests (even Church Architects) in relation to the Old Rite (1962 Missal). His website is loaded with resources that are essential in bringing ideas to reality for the entire Liturgical Year.
Louis Tofari himself (as a personal consultant), his website, his custom resources, and his references---they all serve as bridges from idea to actually getting things done on the ground at the Church for the Old Rite. He is THE go-to person as a consultant to transform any part of the Liturgical year from idea to reality. James, Albert; Columbia South Carolina Traditional Latin Mass Supporters
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Louis is very knowledgeable in the Traditional Roman Liturgy. He has been very generous in giving me consultation on organizing our local chapter of the Saint Stephen's Guild for altar servers. I have learned a great deal from him not only on how to serve at the altar with reverence and joy, but more importantly on how to persevere in the Christian way when I face challenges and trials. Paul Chang
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Louis is an extremely well-rounded individual who excels at completing multiple complex tasks in a time-sensitive manner. Through personal experience, I know that Louis is an outstanding teacher and mentor in addition to all of his other exceptional qualities. I highly recommend him to my friends and acquaintances. Dr. Francis Dailey, MD
I just bought the complete set of Holy Week ceremonial notes. The incredible level of detail demonstrates that the author is a true master of his subject matter. The notes might actually be longer than the liturgical texts themselves (joke). All of the author’s assertions seem to be validated by footnoted references to primary or authoritative secondary sources. Bob Kosch
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As the altar server trainer at my parish, I can attest that Romanitas Press' serving notes are the best I have ever used.
They are exactly precise while at the same time being pithy so as to be practical. There are numerous diagrams in them, which makes them much simpler to understand, particularly while in the middle of practicing a ceremony where time can sometimes be of the essence.
What is particularly nice about these, which differ from most others I have seen, is that Louis Tofari brings his expert knowledge to them with numerous footnotes and citations. These citations help older and more advanced servers to know where to do additional research if necessary or so desired.
For their accuracy, level of detail and information of resources that they pass on, I wholeheartedly recommend Mr. Tofari’s serving notes to any parish that uses the traditional Roman liturgy. Jared Mansfield
Priests, Parents of Servers and Observers
What a terrific resource for our family as we struggle with our life long formation. To have a resource to turn to that complements our formal education in our sacred faith is a real blessing in a time when the world is overwhelming families with destructive content and input.
God is clearly please by the poor struggles of highly motivated and devoted faithful as Mr. Tofari and his apostolate at Romanitas Press. Thank you and we will keep you in our prayers. Kieran & Toni Anne Kayatin
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Louis Tofari is the go-to expert for all things liturgical. He knows the liturgical cycle from baptism through the Requiem Mass. Louis exhibits a calm and reassuring presence among junior clergy and bishops.
Louis' teaching methods are effective, positive, and practical for altar servers and clergy alike. And his "altar-side" manner means that anyone, from novice altar servers to seasoned clergy, feels comfortable having Louis guide them through the various liturgical practices of the Church.
Louis' guidance incorporates a deep historical knowledge with a common-sense, practical approach to his instruction on liturgical functions.
The altar servers at St. Vincent de Paul Church, where Louis has mentored altar servers for 20 years, continue to serve at the altar many years after reaching adulthood. This rare accomplishment is due to the effort of Louis Tofari. Scott Quinn
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I have known Louis Tofari for some 20 years and, over this time, I can personally attest to his unwavering commitment to all things that pertains to the proper celebration of the Church’s Liturgy including the presentation of the altar, sanctuary and sacristy. His knowledge of history and development of the Liturgy has been shared at conferences that he has given on several occasions to afford Catholics the opportunity to have a greater appreciation of the Traditional Mass in its present form including the rubrics that complement the Liturgy from beginning to end.
Undoubtedly, Mr. Tofari’s greatest work has been the training, development and education of altar servers for the many ranks that are required from simple Low Masses to the most elaborate and festive Pontifical High Masses. He has positively touched the lives of altar servers from young boys to adult men including my six sons over the years. I think I speak for all fathers that there is much joy in our hearts when we witness our sons serving Mass. As a father of six sons, I can honestly say that there is nothing I have experienced more gratifying than to have attended a High Mass when all of my sons (one of which later was ordained to the priesthood) were serving a parish High Mass.
I can also say that Mr. Tofari has played no small role in my sons’ love, appreciation and continued service at the altar. I think this is in large part by his most edifying example in serving himself—by his appearance, dignity and mastery of liturgical Latin.
Thank you, Mr. Tofari for all you have done for the servers in our parish. May your work continue to bear much fruit not only for our parish but also for your apostolate at Romanitas Press. Steve Dailey
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[S]everal years ago, I was privileged to have Mr. Tofari as my main instructor in the aforementioned St. Stephen’s Guild. His enthusiasm, dedication, and competence in this field proved beneficial for myself and many others, leading to our chapter in this Guild recognized as the most excellent in the U.S. District.
As a priest at present and wanting the servers’ Guild in my parish just south of Indianapolis to have the same experience I did, I summoned Mr. Tofari to come and give a seminar. Not only was he once again thorough with his explanations, but he was also someone with whom the young men of my parish were able to relate. The work he began continues to this day, thanks in great part to the initial effort of Mr. Tofari. Fr. Daniel Dailey
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One of the most memorable and successful partnerships in my 23 years of Catholic priesthood is that with Louis Tofari. No one I know among clerics or layfolk does what he does in presenting the mindset, history, practice, and education of the Catholic Church’s Tridentine Liturgy.
Over the last 15 years, it has been an investment of mine to invite Louis to visit chapels and offer serving camps and specific seminars to train for ceremonies of Holy Week and Confirmation, introduce the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen, identify and educate boys and young men to become expert Masters of Ceremonies, and imbue them with the prayerful and noble spirit necessary for the adoration of God by the Catholic Tridentine Mass.
The initiation Louis has worked into the boys remains with them and is sustained by return visits. Those learning under him respect his unchallenged breath of knowledge and explanation. They learn not just WHAT to do but WHY it is done. Where I’ve seen Louis work, he has fashioned teams of Catholic brothers eager to serve and edify.
He is a relief as a celebrant to celebrate Mass peacefully and without nervousness because acolytes know their positions and purpose …and even know those of the priest well enough in order to help him if necessary.
The presentation of Louis Tofari combines history, humor, anecdotes, experience, and an attractive and absorbing manner that young men have always liked and even made legendary! They’ll tell you it seems he knows something about everything! —He makes everyone, including the priest, better at the Altar …bishops, too. Fr. Kenneth Novak
Masters of Ceremonies
We are forever grateful to you for making the trip to Hyannis to bring your wealth of knowledge of the Traditional Roman Rite to our small Latin Mass community.
Although myself and others have been serving at the altar for many years, what we learned during the “MC Bootcamp” has opened our eyes to how much more there is to study and learn about the Traditional Liturgy.
We had been languishing for many years only having Low Masses every Sunday because of a lack of good music and properly trained servers, especially Master of Ceremonies. Once a solid music program was started by our current music director/cantor we started doing Sung Masses and quickly realized that it was time to offer High Mass every Sunday.
Having you onsite at our parish made the learning process that much easier. It made for a seamless transition from classroom to sanctuary for hands-on training in our own sanctuary space. The reference books you supplied are easy to read, clear and concise in addition to being well produced ...fine additions to our sacristy. The expense of providing for your travel and lodging was worth every penny.
Your presentation was just the right mixture of serious study, humor and spirituality. Thanks to your expertise, and thorough knowledge of the history and layout of the Roman Missal, the ceremonies and principles of the Roman Rite, we have confidently embarked on a program of weekly High Mass.
We look forward to a lasting relationship and we hope that when the time comes we can have you back again to further enhance our knowledge and understanding of the Traditional Roman Rite which can only strengthen and deepen our faith. Joseph Gallante (St. Francis Xavier Church—the Kennedy Family Church—Hyannis, MA)
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A most grateful thank you for your time and imparting your knowledge to Joe [Gallante] and myself. This will serve us and the parishioners of St. Francis [Xavier Church at Hyannis, MA] for years to come in our attempt to bring the Holy Sacrifice its proper majesty. I must tell you that Joe served Mass as the MC this past Sunday and did an impeccable job! Again, many thanks for taking the time to teach us but also, and no less important, immersing yourself in this knowledge in order to further ours. Chuck Coleman
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Thank you for your very interesting and informative MC seminar. It has been quite a few years since I learned that much in three days. The knowledge you have for the Liturgy and the Rubrics is truly amazing; it helps greatly to have an accomplished MC like you as an example.
I found the history behind the Missale Romanum especially interesting. In addition, the session you gave on the content of the Missal increased my knowledge as well as my confidence in the use of it.
The entire seminar possessed two themes: an increase of knowledge regarding the Church and her Sacred Liturgy and the restoration of the Church. In addition, the “Pontifical Movie Night” was a fine example of how Pontifical [Papal] ceremonies and Episcopal ceremonies are conducted. Your session on the Master of Ceremonies Guidebook (AKA “The Floppy” [this will soon be available for sale]) has produced many good days on the altar.
Overall, I learned a great deal about serving and the sacred duty is ours as altar boys. The atmosphere that comes with these seminars is not just a material one, but a spiritual one as well. Every day we began with the Divine Office and we began every session with a prayer.
I thank you as well for the immense amount of self-sacrifice that you put into this seminar, it has helped me to respect the duties that I perform on a weekly basis. Also for the books and reading material you gave, each of us has been enabled to be on the same page with the Rubrics and the Liturgical Year.
Thank you again for the ability to leap ahead in my knowledge and your excellent example of a true Catholic server. Ambrose Wilson
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I wanted to thank you for the time and effort you put into the MC Seminar in our chapels. It was very interesting to learn more about the Roman Rite and rubrics and to learn the Missal in and out and the MC Guidebook nicknamed “Floppy” is very helpful to a MC who is confused about something and it’s great for last minute checks.
Moreover, for your words of wisdom such as saying the Confiteor at the bottom of the steps instead of on the top step and to face forward instead of toward the altar. To sum it up the seminar overall has made me a better and more confident MC on and off the altar. Thanks again. Augustin Wilson
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Once again you delivered, instructed, and mentored a Seminar full of rubrically correct knowledge, sound and noteworthy instruction for servers, and truly inspiring lectures teaching us not only how to fit the role of MC, but also how to fit the vocation of a father.
We were honored to have you down, back in March of this year and even more honored that you found time to come down to Texas twice in the same year, and definitely looked forward to your arrival the second time around. All of us here are indebted to your efforts.
At the beginning of this Seminar [the previous one covering just the rites of Holy Week], however, you discussed the question: what is an MC? A question many of us had forgotten and the answer made even the younger men attending understand what they will be facing in the future.
You then covered Sanctuary layouts, liturgical books, and Sacred Vessels. I can safely say that I had never understood all of this in depth and needed help from a source other than books, all that you taught was extremely helpful.
Next you tackled the highly anticipated mysteries regarding the Roman Missal, covering its origin, layout, rubrics, and how to use the Ordo. Before, all of us were merely hoping it was [set] right for each Mass. This information was badly needed and it was covered to ensure that we would know what was proper at anytime, anywhere, or at any Mass.
Next you covered the behind-the-scenes of the Liber Usualis, chants and familiarity with the Missal’s Canon layout, engaging the server in these sacred chants that bring about order during Mass.
You then covered the General Principles book, written for the correct posture, gestures, genuflections and movements. Seeing the layout of these movements is something that will continue to help our servers in the future, we will be able to refer to it anytime, and it is loaded with information that is a “must have” for all Servers.
You also covered preparations for the server before they serve and sacristy management, which I can tell you only a few really knew: Now the servers will be expected to be on time, prepared and dutifully applying themselves to these rules, which are important. The gentlemen down here, as well as myself, were excited to have a Pontifical Movie Night! The highest form of all movies and very educational, watching a bishop vest completely for a Pontifical ceremony.
Also seeing the Pope then saying the Mass in action and the example set by the priest and MC Enrico Dante, were very interesting. As was of course the surprising Archconfraternitess Altar Boy/Girl Meeting in Rome. All of these “motion pictures” were enhanced by your live narration and presented in classical liturgical and theatrical style. Learning by watching things pertaining to the Church, something that is much too often overlooked.
Next you talked about proper formation, and an overview of MC’s positions during High Mass, setting the rules down once and for all, and settling many old habits and controversies in both chapels.
You also covered Vespers of the Divine Office which was also very helpful to many of intimidated or unfamiliar with reading the Latin in the Divine Office, enabling us to recite it daily on our own or following it early on Sundays.
After all the knowledge that we had been taught throughout the Seminar, finally came the moment we were all regretting—the closing conference and the end of the Seminar. Even through our farewells, we remembered the past days of training as very engaged learning with ideas for us to emulate, helping us to form a brotherhood, a militaristic attitude that had been electrified and bonded during the entire three days.
Your expertise for each ceremony, position, Rites, rubrics, was demonstrated to its peak, many of us desperately trying to catch up. You took the time to walk us through everything, not just reading it from a book, but also taking the time to present it thoroughly.
More than just the role of the MC was covered; the in-between talks during the three days, reciting the Divine Office morning and night, hints and jokes, tips for Mass in general all delivered with encouragement: ALL of us now admire the MC as a role envied by the Old Testament figures and remember the great privilege the MC witnesses during the Consecration, as you pointed out.
This MC Seminar was in a sense finishing where we left off earlier this year and in many ways focused on the role of a man and a father, which is a fast dying role today and needs attention.
Thank you for laboring long hours back in Missouri in preparation and also for the books you gave us at the Seminar for us to keep and use, it is always much appreciated and the gentlemen down here are always referring to your notes and advice.
Thank you for an excellent, extraordinary, and very edifying MC Seminar this past month. They are always refreshing, enlightening, and they reflect the entire duty of what it means to serve. Sebastian Wilson
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I would like to thank you for the phenomenal seminar you gave for the MC’s and “wannabes”.
I am sure I speak for all when I say that we appreciate the time you willing gave to us in training the young men who attended in the second highest service to God behind the priesthood. I thank you for the commitment you have given us, the next generation. Jordan Butler
Collaborators of the Traditional Roman Liturgy
In 2007 the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Chicago, began offering formal liturgical training workshops for priests and seminarians in the celebration of the Classic Roman Rite according to the 1962 liturgical books. The workshops are often held on the campus of Mundelein Seminary, but workshops have been offered across the USA and overseas. We reach many others through our Traditional Latin Mass training website www.SanctaMissa.org, which also provides important resources through our webstore (www.birettabooks.com). We also now offer training and retreats for laity who serve, for example, as sacristans, Masters of Ceremony, altar boys or members of the schola cantorum.
Romanitas Press is an important collaborator in our work of trying to help restore the sacred dignity and beauty of the Traditional Roman Rite. Romanitas Press provides important resources for our SanctaMissa Workshops®, including its Server’s Mass Response Card and General Principles of the Roman Rite book, which are invaluable in training altar boys, seminarians, and priests in our workshops. The materials offered by Romanitas Press, prepared by Mr. Louis J. Tofari, reveal Mr. Tofari’s talent, care and expertise for teaching men and boys how to serve at the Altar of God with precision, decorum, and understanding.
The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and the SanctaMissa Workshops® look to Romanitas Press to continue to provide important resources for training men and boys to serve all the functions of the liturgical rites of the Classic Roman Rite which, God willing, will be restored fully for future generations to come.
Rev. Scott A. Haynes, S.J.C. (Canons Regular of St. John Cantius)
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It is with great joy that I write this letter of recommendation for the publications of ROMANITAS PRESS. I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Louis Tofari for about two years [as of 2009] via email and phone conversations. I was immediately impressed with the intelligence and professionalism of this man. These traits shine through in his published works. Not only timely (since the implementation of Summorum Pontificum), but very necessary are the resources he offers. The education and training of inferior ministers has its own challenges, let alone the absence of the proper resources for doing so.
The General Principles of Ceremonies for the Roman Rite (for Inferior Ministers) serves as an excellent handbook for priests or anyone involved in the instruction of inferior ministers. The book is detailed and precise yet very practical and easy to understand. The illustrations (pictures and line drawings) are an added bonus. Another plus are the copious footnotes.
The Server's Mass Response Card is another simple and practical yet necessary tool for the instruction of those who serve the Holy Altar. The format of the card was well thought out and even more so, the content. One side of the card, consisting of 4 columns, provides all of the prayers recited by the servers (with the rubrics in red and the pronunciation of the Latin given below every word). The flip side of the card serves as a mini-instruction on the proper pronunciation of Liturgical Latin.
It is a privilege that I am able to offer the publications of ROMANITAS PRESS on my website. Since it is the mission of churchlatin.com to provide materials for anyone who wishes to learn the living language of the Church, the publications of ROMANITAS PRESS provide one more way to fully appreciate the both the Latin language and the Holy Sacrifice in which this sacred language is used. I look forward to offering more ROMANITAS PRESS titles in the future, if any should become available. Derek Bonnell, Maximus Scriptorius Publications