Departure: about 1pm, Easter Sunday.
Return: about 8pm, Easter Monday.
Approximate distance covered: 400km+.
Having had a good sleep in till 11.30am, and having been at the Trad. Vigil, which suffices for Matins, Compline, and Lauds, all I had to read on Sunday at noon was Prayer during the Day from the Divine Office. Luxury!
Once dressed, packed and breakfasted, I drove from home about 20km to Good Shepherd Church, Kelmscott, with my car already packed by Fr Rowe the day before, prior to the Vigil, with vestments, candles, booklets, and whatnot (in other words, with everything needed for Mass at Bunbury, plus vestments for Kelmscott). The journey took about half an hour - then, upon arrival there, the vestments were unpacked, and, after making my Easter confession, I went to practise the music with Fr Terence (who was to play the none-too-reliable electric organ, as well as sing). Fr Richard joined us shortly before Mass began, just before 2pm. Fr Rowe and servers - including Aaron, who was bringing the Frs R. & T. on the trip in his car - processed in.
The proper Vidi aquam, Mass propers psalm-toned, Mass Orbis factor, Credo III, the Victimæ paschali, O filii et filiæ (solo by yours truly) at offertory and Ad regias Agni dapes at communion - after I made my Easter communion - some organ interludes, and "Through the Red Sea brought at last" for a recessional, comprised our modest and rather unevenly-executed programme. (The Ad regias Agni dapes is an especial favourite of mine, since it is so appropriate for the reception of Holy Communion in Eastertide, and I like in this season to use part of it as a prayer at the Elevation of the Host.) But of course this was but the ornament of the Holy Liturgy, in which we have seen the resurrection of Christ, once more made present in His Body and Blood as our feast and sacrifice, triumphant on the very day of His victory over death.
Fr Rowe gave a short sermon (based on an earlier remark of Fr T.) lampooning the local unbelieving Anglican Archbishop, for his comments in the newspaper to the effect that those believing in the literal, physical resurrection of Our Lord were "living in fairyland": as Fr Rowe pointed out, it is pretend clergy of a pretend church that are living in fairyland [as could be said quite literally of their Dean at St George's, BTW], and one may well ask why they bother at all with their ecclesiastical pretense: is this not hypocrisy? As the Apostle reminds us, If Christ be not risen, our faith is in vain - but He is risen, and His resurrection is our hope.
Come 3pm, Mass concluded, and - after some tasty sandwiches and fizzy cordial provided by the servers' mother - we headed off in convoy for Bunbury, that great metropolis of the South (population approx. 81,000). Along the way, not one but two stops for petrol! (Aaron thought, when I stopped to refuel, that he wouldn't need to fill up even though he had stopped at the servo too, but he revised that opinion further down the track, and, since they were following us, I had perforce to pull over as well.) Because of all this dawdling, we really had to rush... at least, en route, Fr Rowe led a Rosary for himself and me, and likewise the Chaplet of St Michael, and Vespers and Compline from the Roman Breviary, thus completing the cursus of the day prior to 6pm...
We arrived at St Thomas' Church in Carey Park (a suburb of Bunbury) at about a quarter to six in the afternoon, with most of the people already there and waiting for us. Fr Rowe sent Fr R. into the confessional, and lined up the prospective penitents, and then helter-skelter we all got ready for Mass. The music was the same as for Bunbury, albeit with only Fr T. and myself to sing, and a slightly less ill-behaved electric organ... Fr R. sang the Mass (which began a bit late, at about 6.15pm), and gave a beaut homily (which I suspect he was repeating from an earlier Easter Vigil); we finished by 7.15pm, and then had a good chat afterward with various of our friends and acquaintances - including the family of Peter, a sometime-commenter on this blog, who's currently visiting some Traditionalist Carmelites in America.
Aaron and his two priest-passengers headed off to stay with Michael, who often makes the commute to Perth to serve at the Pro.! But Fr Rowe and I were to stay with friends of ours, with whom he always stays and with whom I've stayed when I've done the Bunbury run with Fr before. Lucky us - Frank (our host) had some dhufish, a Western Australian delicacy, for us, which a mate had caught; lucky for us, since it can be $70 a kilo. A royal Easter feast; Frank shewed me the vintage car he's renovating also, which was quite something. And then, finally, to bed after ten.
Up at 7.30am, breakfasted, dressed, packed, and back to church (Aaron and Fr R. had already been in at 7am for a first Low Mass) for Low Mass at nine in the morning on this Easter Monday holiday: about twenty people came, and Fr Rowe gave them a sermon on the Scriptural proofs of the Resurrection, continuing our anti-Anglican theme. Aaron and the other priests arrived toward the end of Mass, and afterward, after the packing up, we split up - they went to visit the local Discalced Carmelite Nuns (concerning whom I blogged last year), while we went to visit Rosemary and family (Gerard her son was the server today, and he helped yesterday too), lovely people, and while there Fr and I joined them for brunch of bacon and eggs.
It wasn't till after twelve that we returned to St Thomas' to collect the pyx with the Sacred Host. (Fr Rowe takes communion to a shut-in in Mandurah as part of his round trip each month.) I had only past the first psalm of Matins, when he returned with Our Lord. From then till Mandurah, we had Rosary, Chaplet of St Michael, Vespers and Compline (! - he'd finished the rest already), Divine Mercy Chaplet, and so forth: it was a great privilege to travel with a priest carrying the Blessed Sacrament, tho' I didn't manage much more than a very conventional devotion.
Once in Mandurah, while Fr made the sick call I finished Matins and Lauds just about, and then we popped in to visit Gerald for lunch-cum-afternoon tea, during which Aaron and Frs T. and R. arrived, fresh from the same heavy traffic we'd had, but still delighted to have had converse with the nuns, who had all assembled in the large parlour, and had fed them quite a feast into the bargain. Very Catholic! But it was after 2pm by the time we had got to Mandurah, and didn't leave till half-past three: so, back to hard driving on the second-last lap.
Once en route, Fr decided to anticipate Matins and Lauds for Tuesday! So I felt very confused indeed with all this Office. Back at last to his presbytery, we unloaded everything, and to cut a long story short then I had to take him into town for the last Mass of the day at the Pro., not because he was to say it - Fr Terence did - but because he had to set up for the ceremonies afterward...
Arriving at the Orate fratres, by the time I'd run back to the car for my Breviary it was almost time for the consecration, and so I adored at the Elevations then prayed Prime, Terce and Sext, with a pause for a spiritual communion at the Ecce Agnus Dei. After the Last Gospel, Leonine Prayers, and Regina cæli, there was time to complete the Office with None.
[Does anyone else find the sequence Matins (interrupted), Vespers, Compline, Matins (continued), Lauds (interrupted, then completed), Matins of the next day, Lauds of the next day, then finally Prime, Terce, Sext and None of today rather bizarre? I felt disoriented.]
Then - the supplying the ceremonies of Baptism for little Augustina, who'd been laved in the waters of regeneration in the hospital soon after birth in an emergency; now all her friends and family were assembled, including me, who know her mother slightly. Fr Terence did a great job, catechising and preaching as he led us through the ceremonies, which were rounded off by enrolling her in the Brown Scapular and Miraculous Medal, and consecrating her to Our Lady, as is the pious custom. What a beautiful end to Easter Monday: a tiny baby publically recognized as one of the newest members of the Mystical Body of Christ, as we celebrate with joy His triumphant resurrection.
I had been tired, but all this evening ritual restored me, and I joined everyone for a light supper in the garden by the church afterward, before finally driving back to my house.
It's been a great trip, but it is really good to be back home.
Happy Easter to all readers; if you're not clergy I doubt you've had quite so busy or churchy an Easter as I!