Sunday, July 26, 2009

Riverside Again

While I do far prefer the traditional rite of Mass, I can only get that once a month here in Tasmania (yay, next week Hobart again!) - a sad state of affairs, since apart from other problems I feel really put off daily Mass, which is bad I know (valuing the accidents over the substance). Having heard Mass this morning to St Francis, my home parish though I've rarely gone there for years and years, I was pleasantly surprised: Fr Allan is a gentle, pious priest and thus gave the liturgy its rightful aura of calm; he preached on the value of the Mass as the greatest prayer. (I estimate about 70 were at Mass.) I even enjoyed singing some of the hymns (from childhood, forgive me, I've liked the setting of Psalm 99 - "All the earth proclaim the Lord" by Deiss!) and the setting of the Ordinary: wonderful, too, to hear a sung Preface in the new rite at last. Getting away from diocesan self-satisfaction, footy-culture and smug mediocrity was good.

It was good, too, to speak afterward with some fellow parishioners I'd not seen for years, and for Fr Allan to say hello. Unfortunately, I was still put off by the thing that first drove me away from Riverside: the almost overbearing eagerness of sincere-minded folk there to smile, greet, and pester. I often feel alienated at Mass: the last thing I want is to be enveloped by suffocating caring and sharing - if I feel uncomfortable, shy, and at a loss, I would much prefer to be given some space. (That was why I sat right down the back!) Before even the procession had returned to the sacristy, a nice old lady was at my elbow enquiring if I'd like a cup of coffee afterward! I said "No," rather sharply, whereupon she wished me a nice holiday - thinking me a visitor en route elsewhere, rather than a parishioner who just wanted to be let be, so I could say my prayers after Mass. This was curmudgeonly of me I know.


Michael said...

Ah Josh, the many seminarians sitting around at breakfast over here in the North of Italy, pity your plight.

There are some joys of a seminary Mass.

Joshua said...

This reminds me of being caught out by an FSSP seminarian: he had just attended the same Mass I had, and upon our being introduced afterward he observed that I had been doing something curious: he'd noticed, looking over my shoulder, that I had been reading along in the Latin in my missal, while the Mass was in English.