Friday the 11th of September 2010, a bit after 6:30 pm at Holy Name, Stepney, in Adelaide, the City of Churches: Low Mass of St Nicholas of Tolentino, offered, not by the expected Fr McCaffery, F.S.S.P., but by another priest – an American, probably of the same Fraternity. He prefaced Mass by explaining that the Sacrifice was to be offered up for the victims of Saturday’s earthquake in Christchurch, and by telling us that Fr Rizzo – well-known to me and the congregation, evidently – was safe but somewhat traumatized, sleeping in his car for fear of aftershocks, since he had been thrown against the wall while asleep in his bed by the force of the original tremor. The Cathedral there is presently closed as a precaution, but Mass is being offered in the adjacent, undamaged hall.
In the manner I’ve observed of other Fraternity priests, past and present (certainly those in Melbourne do the same), Father began the prayers at the foot of the altar in a very low voice, which he maintained till he came to the Introit. (I used the time profitably in saying the traditional psalms and so forth that comprise the accession office before Mass.) Strangely, he used the same low voice for the Offertory antiphon and for the Agnus Dei, as also for the Last Gospel (although many priests do that). The fact that the server brought a lit candle to the altar at the start of the Canon marks a rubrical observance maintained only by the Fraternity in my experience – Dominicans do so, but as part of their own proper Use.
The celebrant preached a short sermon in honour of St Nicholas of Tolentino, reminding us that he was known particularly for his penance, his humility, and his kindness. What a high standard he sets for us all! I prayed to gain somewhat of his kindness at the least.