Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Many Ave's for Australia?

I've heard one and a half Masses to-day...

I had thought the ladies' choir was to sing, but as usual their choirmistress hadn't turned up (she's always ill, poor thing; Fr needs to get new people for these posts, as those supposedly in command never seem to make it to Mass), and it looked as if there was to be no 9.15 am Missa cantata - but yours truly came to the rescue, albeit doing a rather botched job of it as usual.  By this time I sing awry without shame.  

After starting our processional hymn too low, wavering through the Introit on my own, and then giving a completely incorrect intonation for the Kyrie, luckily one of the ladies was good enough to take over - why she and the others don't lead and direct themselves, I don't know, they certainly have the voices for it; I must encourage them before I leave these shores - and the rest of Mass went off smoothly, and I even executed the rest of the Proper (still alone) without trouble, using Rossini's psalm-tone settings since the real Gregorian is too hard for me by myself as a rank amateur without any musical training.  

For the record, we sang "O come, O come, Emmanuel" for processional (first three verses) and recessional (last four), Missa de Angelis (sine Gloria of course), and our old standbys, Ave maris stella for Offertory and Adoro te devote at Communion.  As is our custom at the Pro., Benedicamus Domino was sung at the finish of the liturgy, not Ite missa est as the '62 prescribes even during Advent.  If I'd had time to get organized before Mass, I would have had us all sing something more appropriate for Advent, such as Alma Redemptoris Mater and Cónditor alme siderum, I mean Creator alme siderum, as "motets"; and (with a bit of practice) Rorate cæli desuper.

(BTW, remember what Fr Z taught on-blog: never pronounce Conditor (Creator) as Condítor, but always as Cónditor - because Condítor means "Pickler", being derived from condire, whereas Cónditor comes from cóndĕre.  To sing "O loving Pickler of the stars" would be insane.)

Before the last-minute pre-Mass rush (as we had perforce to wait to consult Fr as he was hearing confessions), I'd already done Lauds and part of Prime, which I finished during the parish notices after the Gospel, before the sermon.  My thanksgiving had to consist of the Adoro te, plus Terce after Mass.  We all then milled about outside the church before going for a coffee; it was good to meet a new parishioner, Ambrose, who's from Melbourne and has been lucky enough to have Fr Paul Newton, a sterling priest and a friend of mine, for his parish priest and spiritual director.

After coffee and a sandwich, I decided to pop back into the Pro. during the 11.15 am Low Mass for to say my prayers, and took the vacant spot, the same one I'd had at the 9:15 Mass actually while "directing" the choir pro tempore - the organ console seat, and the tiny kneeler wedged into the back lefthand corner between the console, pipes and wall!  Having arrived during the sermon (which was good, but which I'd already heard) I simply opened up to Matins, and read this followed by Sext, which took until the Last Gospel - of course, I looked up and adored at the Elevation and the Ecce Agnus Dei.  Having joined in singing the first three verses of "O come, O come, Emmanuel" again (this time on-note), I said a few prayers (those of St Thomas Aquinas and St Bonaventure, etc.), and caught up with some other friends before heading home.

During Fr's comments at sermon time, he told of his attendance at the recent FSSP ordinations in Canberra, and reminded us that Fr Sumich FSSP was ordained yesterday in New Zealand, and by our morning Mass here would have already have offered his first Mass.  Apparently Fr Sumich is a missionary in Nigeria, about to return as priest to a very poor but very populous and fervent parish.  Ad multos annos!

Nigerian Catholics put us all to shame: to atone for "the sins of Nigeria" they have the devotion of gathering in good numbers in church, at 6 am, to pray 2000 Hail Mary's in reparation, which takes them 9 hours straight, without pause, until 3 pm, when the Holy Sacrifice is offered up.  

How many Ave's should we be saying to atone for Australia's sins?

No comments: