Monday, May 25, 2009

F.S.S.P. Mass at Christchurch Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Bl Sacrament is a really beautiful building in high Counter-Reformation style - the supreme achievement of the N.Z. architect Francis Petre. Unfortunately, the interior decor (altar, sundry bits of carpet, etc.) are vintage 1970's, but the basilica itself being so spectacular it would be simple enough to improve its fittings and make them fitting to the overall style.

Take the Bl Sacrament Chapel: nasty carpet, secular chairs, a plain table for altar - but the tabernacle behind is quite fine. As I arrived, having walked over from my hotel, the server was putting the candlesticks and altarcards on the altar, and a crucifix above the tabernacle... soon enough Fr Rizzo came in to celebrate Mass, a dialogue Mass (no Third Confiteor, but still the pre-'62 custom of the people kneeling throughout except for standing for the Gospels and sitting for the Offertory).

To-day being the feast of that reforming Pope Gregory VII, who endured much in order to cleanse the filth from the lives of the clergy in his day, Fr Rizzo preached on the indefectibility and holiness of the Church, and the contrast between this and the foibles of her sinful members - as many have said, the great proof of her divine origin is that, despite the dreadful people that have had authority in her, she has lasted down the centuries and shall endure until the end of time. So too, in our own lives, being fallen men yet stamped with the seal of the Trinity in baptism, we sorrow at our human faults but trust in the Lord's grace which gives us hope for heaven.
As well as the Leonine Prayers, Fr led us in the Litany of Our Lady for the repose of the soul of one Br Lawrence, a Marist who died last night: Requiescat in pace. Amen.

After Mass, I had a quick word with Fr Rizzo in the sacristy: he's in fine form as always, ever so cheerful, sincere, unassuming and friendly - evidently his congregation love him. I hope to see him back here in Christchurch come Saturday evening, at his Vigil Mass. (Returning to my hotel for breakfast, I found Fr Rizzo on the front page of the newspaper! Apparently he had to conduct a funeral in very sad circumstances - the deceased having been involved in a murder-suicide, the estranged wife hoping for their son to attend, but the son himself being a fugitive on suspicion of crimes - and the police rather traumatized matters by appearing in great force at the very church and graveside, to the distress of the mourners.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are correct - the outside of the Cathedral is beautiful - would love to know your opinion of those Stations of the Cross.