Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Whit Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

While the pilgrim host approached Chartres, I spent the morning very quietly, before finally rejoining their column, and sharing with them all in the High Mass in presence of the Bishop of Chartres. As is the ancient French custom (introduced by one of the kings - was it Louis XII?) the choir, as at Notre Dame de Paris, sang O salutaris Hostia after the Consecration. 

(An excellent custom, which, when one thinks about it, sums up with admirable concision the purpose of the Eucharistic Sacrifice and Sacrament.)

After freshening up (kneeling on gravel outside the Cathedral in the afternoon sun, and then, after the two hours of Mass, gong to retrieve everyone's luggage, was tiring), we Australians (nearly sll of whom had been privileged to attend the Mass indide the Cathedral) enjoyed dinner with the English pilgrims; and through a mutual friend I made the acquaintance of Jamie Bogle - who it transpires knows many of my friends back in Melbourne.

On Tuesday morning, we Australians and English had our own High Mass in the crypt at the altar of Notre Dame sous terre (Our Lady under the earth), and then many of us whiled away the rest of the afternoon eating and chatting at the Cafe Serpente. God willing, in three or five years when next there's an Australian Chapter I'll have another go at this great pilgrimage, now I have a rather more realistic idea of all it entails.

(Next time, for example, I will actually make sure I bring such essentials as: a hat, shorts, clean t-shirts and the like, not to mention suitable shoes and a bar of soap!)

Departing Chartres for Paris was a bit sad, especially once I left all my fellow pilgrims and had to drag my baggage through the busy Metro to my new hotel (I should have booked to return to the first one, in the Latin Quarter - instead, I'm in the 10th Arrondisement, with no air con!).

To-day, Wednesday, I walked a good twenty five minutes each way to the nearest Latin Mass in the morning - a somewhat odd one, since the priest said certain parts of the Canon aloud: the proper parts of the Communicantes and Hanc igitur, the very Words of Consecration, and "omnis honor et gloria"! As is common in France, and of course nowadays allowed, he read the readings in French alone. I was planning to look about to-day, but I'm exhausted, and about to have a nap.

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