Sunday, February 3, 2008

Missae Cantatae

Something of a record - I sang at two Missae Cantatae today!

At the Pro.

Firstly, the 9.15am Missa Cantata at St John's Pro-Cathedral, Perth: Justin played the organ and led the singing of many of the ladies of the mixed choir - attempting the Gregorian Propers for the first time - plus myself (on and off I've been singing the chant since the mid-nineties, so tho' my voice is rather rough and note-imperfect, some knowledge and practice have helped me to improve a bit). We had little time for practice beforehand, unfortunately, as the ladies and I had each gone to confession first.

The programme:

Processional Hymn "On this day the first of days"
Gregorian Propers of Quinquagesima Sunday - incl. psalm verses with the repetition of the Communion antiphon
Credo I
Hymn for a Martyr "Deus tuorum militum" - at the Offertory, in honour of St Blaise, Bp & M, whose day this is*
Recessional Hymn "Faith of our fathers"

Father preached on spiritual blindness, and how we ought see the good in others and praise it, not criticize, criticize, criticize! We ought imitate one of the early bishop-martyrs, whose hands were amputated for smashing an idol of Jupiter the Romans wished him to worship, but by blessing with his bloodied limbs gave sight to a blind child, and, summoned by the very cruel persecutor to work a like miracle of healing, freely gave his blessing, made efficacious by Christ, and thus, repaying his enemy good for evil, obtained the sweetest triumph: his tormentor and family were converted, baptized, and themselves gladly died for Christ, so that persecuted and persecutor now reign together in heaven, Amen.

*Fr gave the customary blessing of throats after Mass: holding crossed candles (blessed previously) to the throat of each person, the priest prays, "Per intercessionem Sancti Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo" (May God at the intercession of Saint Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil) and then blesses the recipient with the sign of the Cross.

At Kelmscott

Today was the first Sunday TLM at Good Shepherd Church, Kelmscott - from now and henceforth to be at 2pm (mainly Low Mass, with a sung Mass once a month or so). To celebrate, Fr began with a Missa Cantata - his second today, and ours too - Justin and I sang the Mass, with Rosemary assisting when she could (she was taking photos as well), and good congregational participation. Indeed, there was a good attendance - 90 people on a hot Western Australian afternoon - and more people than had been at the parish's regular early Mass. There really is a demand for the Extraordinary Form: Kelmscott exemplifies this, as the parishioners themselves had petitioned for it. How good, too, to remember their late Parish Priest, Fr Brunetti, who had always longed to restore the old Mass in his parish, but died in 2006: it is his old missal that now is and will be used at the altar each Sunday.

The Programme

Processional Hymn "Holy God we praise Thy Name"
Gregorian Propers of the Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday
Missa de Angelis (no Gloria, of course!)
Credo III
Solemn "Alma Redemptoris Mater" at the Offertory (yes, by now it should have been the "Ave Regina caelorum"!)
Hymn in honour of St Blaise* "Deus tuorum militum", and "Ave verum" at Communion
Recessional Hymn "Faith of our fathers"
Solemn "Te Deum" in thanksgiving for the return of the TLM

Fr preached a different sermon, on how we must ask for the grace to open our spiritual sight to behold the mysteries of the Mass that now we celebrate.

*Again, throats were blessed.

Afterward, two men fell into conversation with me, and it transpired they'd both tried their vocation at St Charles' Seminary in the early '60's, and were amazed to recognize each other after a long separation. One had travelled a long way to come to the Mass, and was much moved to finally come home to the Mass of his youth, candidly admitting that he had never liked the new Order of Mass in its abysmal English translation. Both had brought their old St Andrew's Daily Missals, and I shewed them mine, inherited from the mother of a friend. Both had sung the Ordinary, and one was pleased to test his memory of the opening lines of Low Mass with Fr Rowe. How many other Catholics have been in the desert these forty years and more, finding the new worse and the old better, deprived of and longing for the inheritance of their forefathers? Quoting the Pope, Fr Rowe had reminded us that what was holy and good can never cease to be holy and good, and hence the Mass was not somehow repermitted, but recognized as never forbidden - for how could it be?

Anyhow, I for one have had a busy weekend: three Missae Cantatae in two days. Phew!

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