I was running late for Mass yesterday afternoon - but when I came into the side chapel at the Church of the Apostles, the candles were lit, but Father hadn't yet arrived, so I said some prayers (the end of Prime, as I recall), and waited - and waited...
In the end, no priest shewed up! (Some parishioners went next door and knocked on the deanery door, but to no avail.) The regulars conferred among themselves; one old fellow (the congregation of nine, including myself, was rather aged, excluding myself) read the readings, announcing the Gospel rather pathetically as "Since we have no priest to read it, the Gospel is..."; and one old lady, who's an extraordinary minister of holy communion, was prevailed upon by the others to bring forth the ciborium from the tabernacle, all kneeling - then we stood, said an "Our Father", then received the Host. No other prayer being said, this ad hoc arrangement ended in silence as one by one the confused faithful departed. (I had felt it would have been rude to the other people there to have got up and left when the absence of Mass was announced, so I stayed for all this. Afterward, I stayed behind, and prayed the rest of the day Hours.)
I cannot say how depressing and desolating this liturgy of abandonment was.
(Years back, ahem, I was deputed in Melbourne to conduct a liturgy of the word with holy communion at Monash University one Thursday a week, so I am aware of the modern ritual provisions that layfolk ought follow in such a case, which I attempted to fulfil to the letter - but to be honest even then I wasn't quite happy about doing so, and now, no longer having any such authorization, and only going to the Novus Ordo for lack of a Latin Mass, I would and could hardly have attempted to improve yesterday's anomalous situation!)
Apparently the usual 8.15 am Mass this Friday at St Patrick's chapel has also been mysteriously cancelled (at least some warning has been given): I wonder if someone is sick? (To be uncharitable, this would not have been the first time the priest has simply forgotten to turn up - I recall finding that out for certain in a case of Mass for some old religious sisters in Launceston some years back, who told me that it had happened to them several times. So much for the priest's fidelity to daily Mass...)