Monday, December 22, 2008

Torrens in Austro

The Wills are currently entertaining some guests, including myself, and kindly gave me a chance to update my blog, now that I've been fortified with a vol-au-vent and some cups of tea!

In reverse order:
  • This morning I had the privilege of serving two private Masses: Fr Rowe's, and Fr Mannes' - the latter being assisted at this his first Roman Rite Low Mass by Fr Rowe as chaplain. A select group ('stable' group?) attended. I was doubly privileged in that Fr Mannes offered Mass for my intentions, as I'd handed him a stipend for his first Latin Mass, a repetition on this feria of the Mass of the 4th Sunday of Advent. The Epistle (I Cor. iv, 1-5), proclaiming that "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers that a man be found faithful...", was most appropriate for the first Low Mass of a priest; and the Gospel (St Luke iii, 1-6), read to-day as yesterday and as the day before, detailing as it does the preaching ministry of St John Baptist, very apposite for a Friar Preacher! And it struck me that the Postcommunion Sumptis muneribus - about the greater and greater increase of the effect of our salvation being accomplished by frequentation of the sacred mysteries - was certainly being fulfilled.
  • Yesterday was marked (after I first served Fr Rowe's private Mass, and received a post-Mass blessing with a relic of St Monica) by Fr Mannes' first Ordinary Form Mass, which was quite a splendid affair, held at Holy Rosary Church before a large congregation. While an altar crucifix was overruled, in most ways otherwise it was a reform of the reform affair, with a choir of friends chanting the Introit Rorate cæli, the Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Communion, together with many other pleasant items - such as "O come, O come, Emmanuel" at Offertory, and at Communion, Pange lingua in alternating chant and polyphony, followed by polyphonic Alma Redemptoris Mater and the ineffable Sicut cervus of Palestrina: having made my communion, I was almost in ecstasy hearing this! Curiously, there were an awful lot of kneeling communions, including those of several priests and deacons in choir - let bishops and friars take note. (The auxiliary of Adelaide was at a prie-dieu in the sanctuary, and Dominicans, Franciscans and secular priests concelebrated.) Before I forget, Rev Br Vincent preached a very fine and intellectual homily, which I cannot now recall in extenso, and the other deacon assisting Fr Mannes sang the Gospel. I noticed Fr Mannes kept his fingers conjoined from Consecration to the ablutions, and observed a number of traditional and Dominican usages... About the only drawback was the lack of ad orientem celebration (which is still too brave a statement for Australia), together with the embarrassment of lady readers - one of whom suddenly appeared at the lectern to ask us all to "read the communion antiphon", a gauche intervention that she noticeably regretted when the choir struck up soon after.
  • In preparation for the ordination to come, I served Fr Rowe's Ember Saturday Low Mass earlier in the afternoon on Saturday, he agreeing in consideration of the occasion to read all six lessons. The actual grand joint ordination took place at the Cathedral here in Adelaide, His Grace Philip Wilson officiating. Again, the liturgy was very high church by general Australian standards (though His Grace unfortunately - unlike Fr Mannes - doesn't sing at all), but reminded me of how much the Novus Ordo can resemble learning to drive in a manual car: too much bumping and grinding of the gears! For instance, a fine hymn to a very Anglican tune opened the liturgy (and a versified Magnificat to the tune of "Jerusalem" closed it), and Missa Orbis factor provided the Kyrie - but alas la(d)y readers, none too skilled in reading, irrupted into the sanctuary, providing a strange contrast to the Gospel chanted by a deacon; and a friend of mine sang the Responsorial Psalm very well, a piece which is usually annoying after all, but then very wierdly sang the Alleluia verse to a modern tune but in Latin - why? Wilson more or less got the ordination alright, though he misnamed Br Vincent as "James" shortly after diaconizing him, and almost stuffed up the laying on of hands for Rev Br Mannes prior to the prayer of consecration - we twitted him at the afterparty, was he really ordained? The music, provided by the same choir of friends mentioned above, was very pleasant, and I was very glad to hear Ronan's setting of Tu es sacerdos being sung! After the one-and-a-half hours of the liturgy passed by, we all received Fr Mannes' first blessing, Deo gratias.
And lack of time precludes me more than alluding to the good time that was had by all at the various post-liturgy functions that were held over this weekend, or to the good folk who kindly put me up and/or put up with me (such as Roman and Terra), or to my enjoyment of this return visit to the beautiful city of Adelaide, or to my nearly missing my plane from Perth to Adelaide because I was sitting quietly in the departure lounge trying to finish Lauds, didn't know the flight was boarding since the P.A. system wasn't working!

As I'm in the capital of South Australia, on the river Torrens, the following Psalm 125 seems highly applicable:

In convertendo Dominus captivitatem Sion,
facti sumus sicut consolati.
Tunc repletum est gaudio os nostrum,
et lingua nostra exsultatione.
Tunc dicent inter gentes:
Magnificavit Dominus facere cum eis.
Magnificavit Dominus facere nobiscum;
facti sumus lætantes.
Converte, Domine, captivitatem nostram,
sicut torrens in austro.
Qui seminant in lacrimis,
in exsultatione metent.
Euntes ibant et flebant,
mittentes semina sua.
Venientes autem venient cum exsultatione,
portantes manipulos suos.

When the Lord brought back the captivity of Sion,
we became like men comforted.
Then was our mouth filled with gladness;
and our tongue with joy.
Then shall they say among the Gentiles:
The Lord hath done great things for them.
The Lord hath done great things for us:
we are become joyful.
Turn again our captivity, O Lord,
as a stream ["torrens"] in the south.
They that sow in tears
shall reap in joy.
Going they went and wept,
casting their seeds.
But coming they shall come with joyfulness,
carrying their sheaves ["maniples"?!].


Stephen said...

You are right about how "the Novus Ordo can resemble learning to drive in a manual car: too much bumping and grinding of the gears!"

Some significant solemn Ordinary Form Masses that come to mind were in St Peters basilica and in St Marys in Sydney. Both occassions were magical but did feel like a game of American football - stop start, stop start.

The solemn EF Mass flows so much more smoothly. The music complements the action.Not we will have this motet and then we will do something else. Because of course ppl need to understand every word that is spoken to be able to actively participate.

Terra said...

I noticed the name thing - I assumed James was Br Vincent's baptismal name???!

As to the NO, frankly its not just the bumping and grinding, it is that the ceremonial is a shadow of the real thing! The ordinands clearly pushed things as far as they were able in most cases, terms of making it reform of the reform, but ran up against the usual problems!

Joshua said...

Thanks for your confirmation of my feelings on this subject!

Terra - no, Br Vincent's baptismal name is Michal (Slovak for Michael, though we joke it's Saul's daughter's name).

Stephen - as you know, there's far more actual participation at the EF, since the attendees tend to be very liturgically oriented persons who pray the Mass in my experience. The contrary test is simple: ask someone who goes to the Novus Ordo to explain the parts of the Eucharistic Prayer, and despite their having heard it for many decades they'll be quite unable to!

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear of your goings-on Josh. I'm back in Hobart (hasn't changed much) and am looking forward to seeing you.


Joshua said...


See you there! I'll be busy in Lonnie till at least Monday after Christmas, but then...