Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mass with Fr Marshall

I first met Fr Marshall when he was still based in Christchurch, and still a member of the Transalpine Redemptorists (apparently, their N.Z. house often received phone calls about booking a seat on the TranzAlpine tourist train!): now he is based in Melbourne, at St Aloysius, Caulfield, but is visiting Tasmania for a week or so, having come down to officiate a baptism. This Sunday, he kindly sang Mass for us at St Canice, Sandy Bay, at the usual time of 11:30 am. Unlike dear Fr Quinn – our usual celebrant, who alas cannot sing, and thus monotones the Mass – he treated us to a full Missa cantata: the choir returned the favour by not merely psalm-toning (as most do) but singing all of the proper Gregorian chant even for this Sunday's Tract, the longest of the liturgical year, seeing as it consists of nearly all of Psalm 90!

He is a wise and learned and friendly priest, who greatly reassured me (the self-trained M.C.) and our servers, that we are basically doing everything right; though of course I have picked up some tips for our next "normal" Latin Mass, such as using a ciborium for the people's hosts (by analogy with OF practice, Fr Quinn has been using a large second paten) and spreading the corporal out before Mass when setting the veiled chalice and paten on the altar (rather than having the celebrant do so at the offertory). Such is my ignorance...

Fr Marshall not having brought an altar missal, he was luckily able to borrow the latest Vatican reprint of the 1962 Missale Romanum from the choir master (!), who just happened to have brought one along with him... However, as I learnt during Mass, it doesn't lie open on the missal stand as well as one would hope, and some of the page turns during the Canon were inconvenient. It was good to have a celebrant who knows the censing prayers by heart, having said them at many a Mass, rather than having to have them read out of the Missal, which is inconvenient and slows matters down rather during what is already a rather complicated action.

Our usual celebrant being a sworn teetotaller, he takes the ablutions in water only, so it occasioned some surprise to the servers to have the M.C. direct them to pour first wine, then wine again, then water... Fr Marshall mentioned that here in Australia (he is a Scotsman who trained for the priesthood in Germany) he often has to tell the server to pour more water at the second ablutions; as a server for many years, I assured him that Australian priests often tell the overeager server to stop pouring so much! De gustibus...

Attendance at the Mass was good – I would say forty or more – though some regulars were absent (given it was not the usual first Sunday), despite notice being given at the last first Sunday Mass. I was happy to relax with friends afterward (including our visitor), having come down to Hobart the afternoon before, and overnighted at a nice b&b. Heading back home at about half four, I arrived at my house in Launceston a little before half seven. I do wish we sometimes had a Latin Mass in the North!

Many thanks once more to Fr Marshall for such a devout and dignified Mass, and for his kindness and support to us Tassie Traddies – and due respect to His Grace, for permitting this public Mass, of course.

1 comment:

Matthias said...

ah Fr Collin Marshall,like me a Protestant who crossed the Tiber and who was part of my RCIA