Sunday, July 18, 2010

Missa Cantata at Lewisham

Just south of the town of Campbelltown, about a third of the way down the Midlands Highway from Launceston to Hobart, there is a grassy hill on one side of the road, and flat fields on the other; a farmhouse may be seen; a sign names the locality "Lewisham".  I always smile when I pass it, especially if going to or from Tasmania's monthly Latin Mass.

Being in Sydney this week-end, I of course betook myself to Lewisham here, or rather to the Chapel of the Maternal Heart of Mary.  I arrived very early, and so was ready in plenty of time for Terce (according to the Monastic Breviary), at 10:15am, which is sung in choir before the main Mass.

Mass was only a Missa cantata to-day, with the schola singing; the organ was played also.  Fr Gresser was the celebrant, and to my delight dear Fr Rizzo, who's over here in Australia on a break from his assignment in New Zealand, was the preacher.  (He exhorted us to think well on the words, Render an account of your stewardship – for thus Christ will require of us, and so we ought diligently examine our souls daily, that we may escape hell, and be admitted to heaven.  An excellent sermon about the one thing necessary, reminding me much of Fr Rowe's repetition of what ought be our core concern, namely, to save our souls.  As an aside, he warned us against joining the Freemasons; I twitted him afterwards about this, observing it were somewhat unlikely the good Traddies in the congregation are sore tempted to partake of satanic Masonic rites...)  Both priests administered Communion.

At our Tasmanian Mass, we never have the Asperges beforehand, so it was a real delight to join in singing it and to be blessed with holy water.  My old mate Christopher was thurifer; he and the other four servers were in apparelled albs and amices, as was worn by the celebrant; the M.C. and the five singers in choir were in cassock and those rather silly, forgive me! Anglican-style super-wide-armed faux mediæval surplices that are de rigueur for Trad. Masses in Sydney and Melbourne apparently.  Thank God Fr Rizzo wore a biretta...

The singing was really magnificent, and the congregation lustily joined in Mass XI and Credo V (the latter new to me).  At the Offertory, the schola sang a rather curly hymn (Adesto sancta Trinitas) and at Communion, Our Lady's Magnificat, set in faux-bourdon or rather in parts by the estimable Ronan.  All sang Sub tuum at the end of divine service.

I tarried in church to join in Monastic Sext; that executed, we all processed to the altar of the Blessed Virgin singing the solemn Monastic Salve, which I rather massacred since I know the Dominican variant!

Afterwards, we all gathered in the courtyard for a lot of happy catching-up and conversation, which a large party of us continued over lunch at the White Cockatoo in Petersham, just up the road.

Eucharist then Agape: very traditional.

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