Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kelmscott Missa Cantata

The good people of Good Shepherd parish, Kelmscott, have petitioned for a Traditional Latin Mass (in accordance with the recent Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum cura), and, in the lead-up to having a weekly Extraordinary Form Sunday Mass (probably at 2pm, from February onward), a Wednesday evening Mass has been held at 6pm. It's been well attended, and the local altar servers and people have taken the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the classical form of the Roman Rite.

Last night, with the attendance of two FSSP seminarians on holiday (and yours truly) as the liturgical choir, a Missa Cantata was sung, celebrating the feast of St Marcellus I, Pope and Martyr. In his sermon, the celebrant, Fr Rowe, first detailed the deeds and death of St Marcellus, as the Breviary narrates them, and then - alluding to the upcoming feast of St Peter's Chair - described the various ways and modes of shewing our loyalty to the Holy Father, including: praying for him; defending his person and teaching against attacks and errors; and supporting his works and charities through Peter's Pence.

The choir and people together sang loud and strong, una voce dicentes, the well-known Missa de Angelis; given the small size of the choir and the little time spare for practice, only the Introit Si diligis me was attempted in Gregorian chant, with the rest of the Proper psalm-toned, and the hymns Jesu dulcis memoria and Adoro te devote sung as Offertory and Communion motets. The processional hymn before Mass was "Holy God we praise Thy Name", while perhaps sung with most gusto was the recessional hymn for the Church militant, "We stand for God". If the singing - and the reverent attentiveness of priest, ministers and people - was any measure of interior devotion, then here was a true example of the participatio actuosa desiderated by the Vatican Council.

As a friend of mine remarked later, the only pity was that the small choir precluded the use of the obvious choice of music: Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli!

Servers both from the parish and the Pro-Cathedral attended as cerifers, crucifer, thurifer and M.C., in addition to those in choir.

(Photos may be available later...)

Afterward, we were treated to dinner! The priests and people who attend the TLM instinctively pattern their acts after the mode of the Primitive Church: first Eucharistia, then Agape.

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