Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SS Soter and Caius, Popes - Pray for us

After some uneasy dreams, I resolved to get up early and go off to Mass; the 7.45am Low Mass was attended by some half-dozen early risers. It was good to have the Sacrifice offered in honour of two early Popes and Martyrs: may their prayers avail with the Lord, Who is always pleased to act through secondary causes - for their sainthood is itself the fruit of His One Sacrifice, the selfsame clean Oblation that He gave to His Church to perpetuate at the altars until the end of time, that the merits of Calvary be applied to all.

Mass was followed by second breakfast, with Fr et al., at the usual local coffee shop. Then, over to St Anne's, Belmont, to measure up the sanctuary for its impending restoration!

I think we need invoke these Holy Popes feted today for the overcoming some divisions, as I will now explain...

Discussions later on with one of my housemates reveals that the folk who currently have Mass at St Anne's are rather displeased - angry, in fact - at the changes to take place: for, despite the fact that otherwise their little church would have been soon closed and sold off (this is true), they understandably want to hold onto what they have been used to.

Of course, Fr Rowe must accept the situation as presented to him, given that the Archbishop has decreed this change, and the Parish Priest has his own manner of explaining and dealing with this handing-over of one of his four churches, as is his perfect right.

The trouble arises because the people going to St Anne's have justifiably fond memories of their church when it was a parish all its own, with two fine priests in succession, whereas since it was almalgamated with the nearby other churches they have gradually lost all that they had had established, since they no longer have their own priest, nor daily Mass, etc., but must share with the other three churches in the new, larger parish.

Moreover, since Fr Rowe will be taking over the role of P.P. at St Anne's (in a sort of personal parish, tho' I dn't know if that is the right technical term), all current activities of the wider parish that are presently based at St Anne's must end, or rather be relocated elsewhere (and apparently they are being ended rather than relocated, tho' that's not Fr's fault).

Above all, since the church will have to be renovated, a new sanctuary fit for divine worship installed, etc., St Anne's will close temporarily, and the Bl Sacrament not be reserved there for a month or more - and that means no more Perpetual Adoration for the present, despite it having gone on for six years without a break till now.

This is of course a sore point, but Fr Rowe cannot bear the responsibility: he has indicated that once St Anne's reopens, the Adoration could be restarted, but really, since it is one devotion of the current wider parish, it surely should be transferred to one of the other three churches: the problem is that the P.P. has indicated that he doesn't want this.

So the Adorers are upset, and apparently they or others concerned have said and spread some most unkind things about Fr Rowe - when perhaps they should respectfully criticise their own P.P. or His Grace, who after all was the one who made this decision to detach St Anne's from the parish and give it over to the Latin Mass Chaplaincy, rather than close and sell it as otherwise was to happen.

They are quite properly petitioning the Archbishop to work out some way that the Adoration may continue somewhere else for the time being, and hopefully a solution will be found to their concern.

I don't believe I've written anything secret here, so I mention all this to the end that anyone concerned may see that of course the locals aren't delighted with change - who ever is? - but that their understandable upset should not be directed at Fr Rowe or the Latin Mass community, who of course love Our Lord in the Bl Sacrament (think of his frequent Holy Hours with Benediction), and don't deserve to be maligned.

We are not coming to take over and cast out the faithful parishioners, but rather are coming, at the desire of the Ordinary himself, to revitalize a church that would otherwise have been closed and sold off. I am sure Fr will exert himself to conciliate and explain the unavoidable problems all this entails, and he and we would like nothing better than to welcome all the affected persons to worship Our Lord together with us newcomers at St Anne's as soon as possible.

SS Soter and Caius, pray for us.

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