Friday, July 25, 2008

WYD Memoirs: Wednesday 16th July 2008

On Wednesday morning Daniel (the other pilgrim staying) and I got ready and headed off to catch the bus from Drummoyne to Balmain. At my suggestion, rather than change buses to get to the church, we walked - a good 20 minutes, in good sunny tho' cool weather! Balmain looks a nice place, and certainly one wouldn't starve if one could afford the prices at the many eateries we passed!

My old parish priest, now Bishop of Lismore, was our catechist and celebrant this morning: His Lordship Bishop Jarrett.

He spoke well, and after the catechesis we all prepared for Mass of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. It was a great privilege to be chosen as a torchbearer, since it gave me a seat with an excellent view of proceedings (on the Epistle side) without having to do much except kneel and hold a torch from the Sanctus until the Ablutions. His Lordship preached on the many interventions of Our Lady in history, whether to give the Scapular to St Simon Stock, or to otherwise manifest her maternal care for all God's children in more recent times.

(In this photograph I am the server sitting closest to the altar behind the clergy in choir. The sacred ministers are wearing the vestments made for Fr Rowe's first Mass.)

Communion took a long time, and I took the opportunity to say a very quiet Rosary, counting on my fingers. The chant at Mass was very good, and the polyphonic motets also - I recognized Victoria's Ave Maria at the Offertory.

After Pontifical Mass, Fr Rowe wanted to say a Low Mass, so I served his as well.

Then came a BBQ lunch (two sausages and sauce in a bread roll, plus some chips - 'crisps', not 'fries', for any international readers! - and a can of soft drink). That proved insufficient, the drink, I mean, so I joined my old pals John, Tony, &c. at the pub on the corner for two pints of some good beer.

The liquid lunch made me late for the Gregorian Chant workshop with the inestimable and very dapper Scott Turkington, but I got a lot out of it: it's great to be taught by someone who knows so much and is able to impart his knowledge kindly and effortlessly.

After that, more chant! We all had to practice for Vespers.

His Eminence George Cardinal Pell arrived, at 4pm, in choir dress (sans cappa, alas), and was met at the door by the clergy, who then escorted him to his throne, while the choir sang a magnificent Ecce sacerdos magnus. A large part of Pontifical Vespers involves dressing and redressing the celebrant: as the choir sang, H.E. was vested for the service. Vespers ensued: it was a Votive Vespers of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, and sung very well, IMHO. His Eminence preached after Vespers, congratulating us on the occasion, and promising to tell His Holiness, with whom he was to dine, about our love for the Traditional Liturgy and our loyalty to the Pope. After sermon, he gave Pontifical Benediction, which was sublime, and included at its end the roof-liftingly loud singing by one and all of the Laudes Regiæ. As the Cardinal departed the church, we all knelt in waves to receive his blessing as he passed, then we all filed out to genuflect on the left knee and kiss his ring. Magnificent! Two hours had passed sublimely.

After these proceedings, I ventured back into church at the sound of a bell, to find that the French pilgrims were about to have Low Mass. This I attended; and just after the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, a second priest and server came out to the Sacred Heart altar - it transpired that it was the Mass of a newly ordained American priest, celebrating a Novus Ordo 'without congregation', ad orientem (tho' in English, sotto voce so as not to disturb the other priest at the high altar).

Alas, the evening pilgrim meal was only available in the city, so we had to make do, after all the liturgical wonders, with a poor meal of cold leftover sausages and bread rolls.

I could not describe the look on the faces of the French pilgrims as they realized the full horror of what little food awaited them for dinner: it must have confirmed all their fears about cuisine des Anglo-Saxonnes.

One last event - 20 decades of the Rosary, kneeling, in Latin, with Cardinal George of Chicago... Now it was great, but rather tiring I must admit. Attendance was a good deal sparser, and I suspect many were put off by having to say 200 Hail Mary's instead of just the usual 50.

So today I heard 4 Masses and said 5 Rosaries.

I finally got back to my homestay at about half past ten.

No comments: