Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fun & Games at the Pro. - & St Anne's

A busy few days!

I had planned to attend evening Mass on Friday, and then knock on to attend the Holy Two Hours our group was to oversee at St Brigid's, as part of the prayers for the visit of the WYD Cross and Icon: I hadn't been planning to go to the latter, but Fr had asked me to come and help serve... Anyway, I was so dog tired after work, I went to bed at 5pm (!) and only got up later in the night to have some English muffins with jam, etc., and finish off Vespers, Matins, and Compline. I was too exhausted to go out - the Cross and Icon thingy (to be enlivened with Exposition and Benediction, plus sermon) was scheduled for 8.30 to 10.30 pm or later - and decided it was best to rest and be more energized on the morrow.

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This proved correct: I was up and racing on Saturday - racing to get to Mass that is, but as I pulled in I espied a becassocked figure also dashing across the road to the Pro., no doubt tired after having run the late night devotions. However, the joke proved to be on me: as I entered church, the sacristan presented me with my cassock and surplice, and (since Fr was hearing last-minute confessions, and the confessional blocks entrance to the sacristy) I had perforce to get suited up behind the organ! And while serving Mass is a great privilege, I must admit to having my sore knee play up, and getting that sinking feeling when I saw the monstrance out on the credence, because that meant it was First Saturday Devotions after Low Mass. Mass itself was of Our Lady on Saturday, and since I know the texts I left my missal aside. We concluded with "Help of Christians, guard this land" after the Leonine Prayers, and after returning to the sacristy George and I then reset the altar for Benediction, while Fr dechasubled and encoped himself. Being a first Saturday, after Exposition we had the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart, followed by Litany of Loreto - in English! - and the Benediction itself. Reposition of the Exposition Host was followed by the rather mawkish "O come to the throne of grace" (a.k.a. "Our Lady of Fatima, hail"): only the first two verses with chorus.

But wait, there's more! It transpired that the kindly Dean of the Cathedral was donating the old cathedral pulpit, plus a set of Stations of the Cross, a vestment press, and two great heavy boxes of hymnals, to Fr Rowe that very morning: so (after a quick cup of coffee nearby) we were all dragooned into loading cars and trailers and driving over to our church-to-be, St Anne's, to unload and do yet more work. Amazing - the pulpit will lift the preacher almost head-high above the congregation: it's the sort of platform from which to hurl down thunder and lightning!

Luckily, I escaped, pleading the necessity to go buy a birthday present for a dear relative of mine. However, in the late afternoon I came back, having cooked up some hearty stew, so that one of my housemates could take a squiz at the restoration afoot. So, unsurprisingly, Fr Rowe, and Rosemary, a fellow parishioner, ended up joining James and I for dinner. There was red wine and Belgian beer (Saison Regal), and, for dessert when I suddenly realized I needed to offer our guests some, a quick bit of tinned peaches and custard. All had second helpings of the stew, so I'm glad that went down alright.

As an aside, it was nice to have Our Lady on Saturday at Mass and Office: and I was very pleased to have read and prayed all one hundred and fifty psalms this week, since there were no first- nor second-class feasts to interrupt the cursus psalmorum so beloved of the Fathers.

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This Sunday morning: off to Mass, the 4th after Pentecost, with the delicious chance to sit in the pews! Our St Cecilia's mixed choir was singing one of Dom Moreno's Masses (SATB with organ), and psalm-toning the propers; very nicely, the ladies sang Jesu dulcis memoria at Offertory, and Ave verum at Communion. We received a topical sermon on industry, avoidance of slackness, eye-service and laziness, and our need to solicit the divine blessing for our work by living pious and virtuous lives, rather than being "curious meddlers". Fr referred to the tale of St Silvanus, Abbot, who suffered a monk who would not work, but liked only to read and pray: he let him do so, but neglected to feed him, apologizing to the hungry hermit for the fleshliness of himself, so unworthy an Abbot, and for the other monks, who still needed to eat, not being entirely raised up to contemplation and a wholly spiritual life - whereupon the lazy one agreed to work that he too might eat bread. The sermon concluded by quoting St Frances de Chantal: "Hell is full of the talented - Heaven, of the industrious."

After Mass and our post-liturgy coffee, I again went back to St Anne's - and ended up spending all afternoon there, clearing out rubbish in the sacristy (how messy some people are!), picking lemons off the tree, and chatting with Justin, who's doing the major part of the rebuild of the sanctuary, his mum, who was also there busily at work, and Fay, who was gardening: Fr assures us all we are doing this for God, and so aren't breaking Sunday rest.

To conclude, I've had dinner with a relation of mine, and look forward to the week ahead.

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BTW, I ascertained today, while resetting the altar for Benediction and packing up afterward, that these are the saints whose relics are on the altar at St John's Pro-Cathedral: St Pius V, St Francis de Sales, St Bruno, and St Margaret Mary Alacoque.

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Tomorrow, in Australia, traditionalists feast St Columba: I have only an old copy of the Supplement, prior to the simplification of the rubrics, so I assume the best I can do is to merge together the biographical lessons of his former second Nocturn, so as to constitute a third Lesson for the saint. His collect is taken from the Common of Abbots; nothing else is proper.

3 comments:

Perpétua said...

It is very exciting to hear about the restorations at St Anne's. God bless your community. I like that quote from St Frances de Chantal very much.

Joshua said...

Thanks!

That quotation is a bit scary though!

Pete said...

I love the bit where Fr. says we are all doing it for God!

I want pictures when St. Annes is finished.

Pete