Archive for the ‘Liturgy’ Category

I have been pleasantly surprised by the Carmelites recently. Coming in to their priory on Kensington Church Street one day a bit late for Mass, what do I see but people receiving communion, kneeling at an altar rail. Further study showed quite a lot of them receiving on the tongue. This of course doesn’t make the place a perfect parish in itself, there were still so many of the NO goings on that a you’d need a bit more than a stick if you’d want to shake something at them. That, obviously because we are still talking about a NO Mass..


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Getting to a daily Mass is harder than what one might think. Especially so if you want to go only to the classical form of the Mass. There simply doesn’t seem to be any around that fit into my commuting times, they are either a bit too late in the morning or then too early in the afternoon for me to be able to get to them.

What then of the NO options? There too the Mass times mostly keep outside the hours that would be suitable. Of the churches around where I live and work only two seem to have Mass times that are suitable for daily attendance, both unfortunately NO. (Curiously both happen to be priories, one Carmelite on my way to work and one Dominican a short buss ride from the office.) Every now and then the LMS throws a Mass far away in the city which one might be able to get to every now and then.

So are NO Masses the answer if one wants to go to a daily Mass? I’m not happy about the idea but I don’t see very much else around.

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Unlike the UK, the Holy See continues to celebrate Corpus Christi on the proper day. EWTN had a wonderful coverage of the Mass at St Peter’s Square and the procession to st Maria Maggiore. The most interesting development is how communion was given. Reception kneeling and on the tongue was the norm at least where the holy father gave out communion, one can even see the communion plate in use.

Here is Benedict XVI giving communion to one of the religious that assisted at the Mass:

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The Dominicans baffle me. I have heard some very good things about them during the last year or so, one of their number was highly praised by a friend in Leicestershire for his devout celebration of Mass – in the old form of course. Another one is the chaplain to the Society of Saint Gregory the Great, the Finnish Latin Mass Society. Yet a third skillfully refuted the atheist ramblings in Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”, the billboard makers that sold Dawkins and told you to “join the debate” chose to make it a monologue and never advertised the refutations, as one could expect. Beginning on the real Corpus Christi and ending on Sunday they have the Quarant’ Ore (40 hours devotion)- at least at the priory in London.

Now, some of the readers here know that I’m discerning a vocation to the priesthood, at the least my post about visiting the seminary should have made that clear. Following a recommendation from someone who encouraged me to get in touch with the Order of Preachers I went up to St Dominic’s Priory at Southampton road here in London the other day. Mass was pretty mainstream; altargirls(poorly trained), something that definitely wasn’t the Roman Canon, an Altar facing the wrong way, communion in the hand, Eucharistic monsters handling the chalice .. However, the music was fairly good -gregorian- despite several choir members being on pilgrimage to Walsingham. The priests seemed sound enough in a conservative, NO sort of way, until full of enthusiasm one of them told me about the upcoming visit to Blackfriars Hall in Oxford (their house of study) by none other than the Dalai Lama. The mixed messages leave me scratching my head in some confusion as to what to think about them.

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I just got back from the Paris to Chartres pilgrimage on Tuesday evening, complete with French Royalist propaganda and sore feet.

The sun shone down on us mercilessly throughout the pilgrimage, I got away with some minor sunburns on my arms. The whole event was very impressive and for three days or so one could almoust forget about all the problems in the Church today, there was nothing but full, traditional Catholicism as far as anyone could see. Granted, proper posture and dress sense is lacking among some of the younger pilgrims but perhaps one can be charitable and assume that the kid who was sleeping his way through the final Mass was suffering from heat exhaustion. I must admit that I too dozed off during the homily outside the cathedral in Chartres, not knowing french it simply wasn’t engaging at all.

All in all it was a hot, grueling, exhausting and lovely little stroll.

Pictures and more when available.

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There was once the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence by visiting a seminary. No more. Regardless of that the vocations weekend at Allen Hall, the seminary for the diocese of Westminster, was a grace filled time. That it was placed at the beginning of the Novena to the Holy Ghost might have helped. We had a lovely time of sharing our stories with each others and his lordship bishop Longley, one of the auxillary bishops of the archdiocese. There was also a time set apart for speaking with some of the seminarians. To end the first day there was a get-together in the seminary pub. This gathering gave us, well me and one of the others, a happy surprise as three mutual friend turned up – one of which is beginning his studies at the seminary in September.

I spoke a bit with the philosophy professor, trying to find out about the level of the studies and was told that all the academics they teach in the seminary itself is the first two years of philosophy. The theology is all handled by Heythrop College – the philosophy and theology college attached to the University of London. I can say nothing of Heythrop save that the staff seem to have a generous sprinkling of Jesuits.

The lifestyle of the seminary seems rather relaxed and unlike the last seminary I visited there is no specific dress code. This is reflected at Mass as well; jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. The Saturday evening Mass was the main disappointment at the place There was a coffee-table-altar, a JPII size Host for the main celebrant and the rest of what you might expect, up to and including questionable music.

All in all the hospitality was great and the atmosphere Grace filled. It leaved me inspired to pursue a vocation to the priesthood but unconvinced as to where Allen Hall fits in.

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The CNS recently released this story

Archbishop to ordain priests using Tridentine Mass in Rome cathedral

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A former Vatican official will ordain four traditionalist priests in a Tridentine Mass celebrated in the cathedral of Rome, church officials said.

The Feb. 23 ordination Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran will be the most prominent celebration of the old rite in Rome since Pope Benedict XVI relaxed restrictions on its use last year.

The Mass, to be celebrated by Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, will follow the 1962 Roman Missal, known commonly as the Tridentine rite. In July 2007 the pope issued new rules, saying the old rite could be used much more freely than before.

Those to be ordained are members of the Good Shepherd Institute, a society of apostolic life that uses only the Tridentine rite. The institute, based in France, is made up primarily of priests and seminarians who left the schismatic Society of St. Pius X and reconciled with the Vatican in 2006.

The Society of St. Pius X, founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, split with the Vatican years ago over liturgical and other issues.

In a statement, the Good Shepherd Institute expressed thanks to the pope and the Diocese of Rome.

“We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the ecclesiastical authorities who have graciously allowed the celebration of this Mass to take place in the extraordinary form and in the cathedral of the Holy Father,” the statement said. [Want to bet that ‘the Ecclesiastical authorities’ is anyone but the Holy Father? Yes the Cardinal-Vicar would have had to be involved as well, but at the end of the day it’s the pope’s cathedral and diocese.]

“The Institute of the Good Shepherd wishes to take this opportunity to demonstrate its devotion to and communion with the Holy Father and, though him, its communion with the whole church,” it said.

Archbishop De Magistris is the retired head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, an office that deals with indulgences and matters of conscience. Last September, he celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving in Rome for the papal document that allowed wider use of the 1962 missal.


I can’t wait for the pictures..

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