Saturday, December 27, 2014

Off to a Country Wedding

Very early tomorrow (Sunday) I fly off to Canberra (where I hope to attend the Latin Mass), then have a few days in Goulburn, where I will attend a friend's wedding on Tuesday.  Prayer for the happy couple, and for safe travel for all their guests.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Long Silence

I've been busy enough, but not inclined to blog, for some time.

After lunch today, I will drive to Hobart, first, for Fr Manne's Christmas Vigil Low Mass at 6 pm, and then to attend 11 pm carols and Midnight Mass (sung, of course). Tomorrow morning, I will drive back home for Christmas lunch with my family.

A blessed and happy and merry Christmas to all!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Back from Christus Rex

I have been keeping friends posted via email from my mobile phone about this year's Christus Rex Pilgrimage – my sixth – and will soon edit these and post them for blog readers to peruse. Suffice to say that it was marvellous, with High Mass each day (Thursday evening pre-pilgrimage Requiem; Friday Votive of the Holy Cross; Saturday Mass of Our Lady; Sunday Mass of Christ the King; Monday ferial Mass), and the chance to serve Low Mass daily (Fr Rowe's private Masses on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and Fr Mannes' Dominican Rite Mass on Monday), and to hear other Masses: in five days, I've  attended eleven all told, and been to Confession, so I feel spiritually recharged. The walking was good, too, and I've developed a real taste for it, despite the weather being quite warm. Rosaries were said – and I managed to read the day hours also; and of course it was great to catch up with friends.

Monday, October 20, 2014

News Catch-up

Two weekends ago, I went to Sydney for the wedding of Sidney and Tien – a beautiful occasion of course! I ended up attending three Solemn High Masses in succession: the first, in the evening of Friday 3rd October at St Benedict's, Broadway, followed by solemn Benediction (and then dinner with friends old and new);  the second, in the late morning of Saturday the 4th at Maternal Heart, Lewisham, the wedding of the happy couple followed by Mass of St Francis (using the Franciscan propers, as the celebrant was a friar minor), with the nuptial blessing and so forth, followed by a reception that lasted till late evening; and on Sunday the 5th, the usual Sunday Mass at Maternal Heart (followed by lunch with mates at the pub). It was pleasant though rather warm in Sydney – when I walked from Annandale to Circular Quay on Sunday afternoon, it hit 34 degrees, which made my subsequent return trip on the Manly ferry a great relief. Many thanks to a friend who put me up (or rather put up with me) at his place over the weekend.

Sister Mary Stephanie of Divine Providence, OCD,  died at the Launceston Carmel on Sunday morningthe 13th of October, in the 53rd year of her religious life and the 91st year of her age – to whose soul may the Lord grant eternal rest. I attended her first Requiem on Monday, and on Tuesday was privileged, after and during morning Mass at Carmel, to pay my last respects before her open casket, placed just on the other side of their choir screen, which the nuns left open for the occasion. On Friday, I attended her moving funeral Mass, which was followed by her burial in the monastic crypt, out of sight to layfolk, where her mortal remains lie alongside those of her sisters, awaiting the resurrection.

This weekend past, I went to Hobart on Saturday, since our mid-month Sunday Missa cantata was to be at the earlier than usual hour of 9:30 am. Unfortunately, Father was late starting Mass (at 9:45 am) owing to various factors, and he had to rush to get to his flight back to the mainland – which was why Mass was scheduled so early to begin with.

I forebear to comment on the recent synod debacle, or rather, utter shambles, pleasing to the Devil only and not to Christ, since I fear I would not edify my readers. Many layfolk, priests and even bishops have been through a severe trial this past week – I certainly have. I commend Rorate cæli for their fearless and honest reporting, and take the opportunity of publically retracting some of my previous criticisms of that blog, ever since the election of Papa Bergoglio – since they have been proven correct, time and again, much as I would have hoped otherwise.

Thank God for the good bishops and Cardinals who actually know what our holy Faith teaches, and have not given in to relativism. Thank God they were not called upon to do what Scripture suggests in extreme cases ("But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed." – Galatians ii, 11). And thanks to St John Paul II, who worked a miracle, doubtlessly obtained from Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace.

Gaude, Maria Virgo: cunctas hæreses sola interemisti in universo mundo.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Congratulations, Archbishop Fisher!

I am delighted to learn that Anthony Fisher, OP, until now Bishop of Parramatta, has just been appointed Archbishop of Sydney. He is an excellent, devout and learned priest and bishop; in former days, I was lucky enough to study under him and benefit from his friendliness and support. I remember being at Sunday lunch at the Dominican Priory when his appointment as an auxiliary bishop was announced – he wept, so sad he was to leave his religious brethren and assume the heavy burden of the apostolic office. How edifying!

To think that I attended the ordination to the episcopate of both Fisher and Porteous; and to think that now the latter is my Archbishop and the former is ascending to the premier see of Australia, becoming His Grace while awaiting the customary red hat to declare him a Prince of the Church… Truly God is good and cares greatly for his little flock Down Under.

Ad multos annos!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Sunday in September

Attendance at our first Sunday of the month Missa cantata was rather sparse this weekend past, owing of course to it being Father's Day – and going to Mass at 11:30 am hardly fits with family celebrations, alas. To add insult to injury, the sacristy key was unfortunately misplaced, and by the time we obtained it and got everything set up for Mass, we began twenty minutes late: not good. Mass itself was reverent and moving as always, of course; I suppose these things are sent to try us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ambrosian Agnus Dei

The Ambrosian Rite doesn't use the Agnus Dei at Mass, except at Masses for the Dead, when it appears, in slightly different form, as the Transitorium (Communion chant):

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Three Masses

Fr Christopher's flight from Melbourne was delayed by quite a long time – meaning that our scheduled 7:30 pm Mass for the Assumption began at 8:20 pm! It was very edifying to see the full congregation remain, waiting patiently, and keeping vigil in prayer: we said Our Lady's Rosary and Litany together. At length, our Missa cantata for the Holy Day was celebrated, with the first use of the Missa Regia as the Ordinary (save for Credo III), taking up a French tradition for solemnities.

On Saturday morning, a small party attended Father's private Low Mass of St Joachim, and then enjoyed a festive brunch.

To-day, Sunday, our Dominican visitor sang Mass of the 10th Sunday after Pentecost for a congregation of fifty or so, returning to our usual Sunday Ordinary – Mass XI, Orbis factor. In honour of Our Lady, feted this weekend, we sang "Hail Queen of heaven" after Mass, before repairing to the parish centre for coffee, cake and good cheer. It was a fitting end to our three days of Extraordinary Form Masses.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Assumption & 10th Sunday after Pentecost Masses

As well as a sung Latin Mass on the third Sunday of August (the 17th of the month, which will be the tenth after Pentecost) at 10:30 am at Sacred Heart, New Town, our visiting Dominican, Fr Christopher, will sing Mass for the Assumption of Our Lady at 7:30 pm on Friday the 15th of August, likewise at Sacred Heart.

I will be driving down to Hobart after work on Friday, and staying for the weekend. Of your charity, please pray for me.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

First Sunday of August

After some very stormy weather the last several days, it was a joy to have only a few patches of fog amid otherwise bright sunshine on the drive down to Hobart. There was a good attendance at our Missa cantata for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, and the drive back was likewise fast and uneventful.

Being given to odd thoughts, I was reflecting on how, acting as M.C., I kneel less and stand more than anyone except the priest: I kneel for the prayers at the foot of the altar and answer his prayers; I kneel for the Et incarnatus est during the Creed; I kneel at the priest's left during the Consecration and Elevation, from Qui pridie to the in mei memoriam facietis; I kneel for the priest's own Communion and my own, and again when he returns any leftover Hosts to the tabernacle; and that's it (aside from many genuflections of course). And, like some Roman Emperor of old, everyone genuflects towards me – so to speak! – but only when I hold the altar card for the priest to read the Last Gospel.

NEWS FLASH: As well as a sung Latin Mass on the third Sunday of August (the 17th, which will be the tenth after Pentecost) at 10:30 am at Sacred Heart, New Town, our visiting celebrant, Fr Christopher, will sing Mass for the Assumption of Our Lady at 7:30 pm on Friday the 15th of August, likewise at Sacred Heart.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Month of Latin Masses

It just struck me that I've had a rare blessing: all the Sunday Masses I've attended this month have been celebrated in the Extraordinary Form (to use the expression given us by Benedict XVI of ever-blessed memory; strange to think he's still alive). On the 6th of July, I attended Mass at Lewisham (a Missa cantata), while visiting Sydney; on the 13th, I M.C.'d our first ever Latin Mass in Launceston (again, a sung Mass); on the 20th, I again M.C.'d for Fr Rowe at his Missa cantata in Hobart; and just yesterday, being in Melbourne for an important but rather sad reason, I assisted at the Solemn High Mass in Caulfield. It was a particular pleasure to hear the verse of the Offertory sung: I do like a Mass sung in plainchant throughout (Mass XI and Credo IV, plus all the propers of course, and a hymn in honour of the Sacred Heart at Communion, as its doxology revealed). Assuming I make it to Hobart this weekend (as I may decide to stay here, given that a relative will be recovering from an operation), that will make it five Sunday Latin Masses in a row – what a blessing!

The Sunday Offertory and verse (quoting Daniel iii, 40-42) was as follows, aptly paralleling the prayer In spiritu humilitatis prayed by the priest during the offertory rite:
Sicut in holocáusto aríetum et taurórum, et sicut in míllibus agnórum pínguium: sic fiat sacrifícium nostrum in conspéctu tuo hódie, ut pláceat tibi: * Quia non est confúsio confidéntibus in te, Dómine. V. Et nunc séquimur te in toto corde et timémus te et quærimus fáciem tuam, Dómine: nec confúndas nos, sed fac nobis juxta mansuetúdinem tuam et secúndum multitúdinem misericórdiæ tuæ. * Quia non est confúsio confidéntibus in te, Dómine. 
As in a holocaust of rams and bullocks, and as in thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be made in thy sight this day, that it may please thee: * For there is no confusion to them that trust in thee, O Lord. V. And now we follow thee with all our heart and we fear thee, and seek thy face, O Lord: put us not to confusion, but deal with us according to thy meekness and according to the multitude of thy mercies. * For there is no confusion to them that trust in thee, O Lord.
Note that there is a divergence between the Missal and the Offertoriale here: the Missal reads holocaustis, the chant books, holocausto. There are a small number of such variants that were approved by the Holy See when Solemnes restored the plainchant repertoire.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Longest and Shortest Ordinaries

Thanks to dear friends, our first Launceston Missa cantata since Vatican II was graced with Byrd's Mass for three voices. Before their most generous offer, I had initially planned on our own humble schola singing the so-called Missa primitiva, which consists of the oldest and shortest and easiest settings of the Ordinary: Kyrie XVI, Gloria XV, Credo I (though I was planning on using III), Sanctus XVIII and Agnus Dei XVIII. They are syllabic, with only one note per syllable in the main.

According to a handy website giving the texts and sound files of all the settings of the Kyriale, these would indeed be quite short and easy to sing, and in total would take a bit over 9 minutes (nearly half of that for the Creed). One can fruitfully compare them to that mainstay of times past, Mass VIII De Angelis with Credo III, which the same site indicates would take nearly 12 minutes to sing. (The website only gives the Kyrie in the modern sixfold form; I estimated the length of the traditional ninefold form.)

But I began to wonder, what would be the longest composite Ordinarium Missæ? Having spent some time looking over the chants of the eighteen Mass Ordinaries, with their variants and extra chants ad libitum, it seems to me that the following (with performance times in brackets, supplied from the above website) would constitute the longest Ordinary, taking nearly 17 and a half minutes to sing:
  • Kyrie II (3:06)
  • Gloria III ad libitum (5:01)
  • Credo VI (5:56)
  • Sanctus VII (1:33)
  • Agnus Dei V (1:47)
All of these are neumatic chants, including long melismas on some syllables. It is interesting to compare the length of these to that of Byrd's polyphonic setting: unusually for polyphony, Byrd's setting of the Kyrie is only threefold, and very short (thus usually supplemented, as at our Mass, with six plainsong invocations); his Gloria and Credo are quite similar in length to the above lengthiest plainchant settings; but even his three-voice settings of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei are twice as long as those of the longest Gregorian ones.

All things being equal, I do prefer a Sanctus (with its Benedictus) that is long enough to occupy the time taken for the silent recitation of the Canon of the Mass – which is only possible if it is sung in polyphony. At the same time, many polyphonic Agnus Dei's are too long, being evidently intended for use at Masses where only the priest communicates, and no one else.

Speaking as an M.C., the Agnus Dei should ideally fill up the time between the priest singing Pax Domini and, after his preparatory prayers and reception of Communion, his turning to the congregation holding the Host and saying Ecce Agnus Dei. At least it should last until the bell is run thrice at his triple Domine non sum dignus, immediately prior to his Communion. Depending on the speed or otherwise of the celebrant, some plainchant settings are too short.

The longest composite Ordinary, assembled above, would also be suitable for a celebration of the Extraordinary Form in Eastern Rite lands, where the sensibility of local Uniates and Orthodox persons of good will would demand a lengthy Mass – one in which the Introit would be sung with several psalm verses if need be, the Gradual would have its response repeated after the verse, the Offertory would be sung with all its ancient verses, and the Communion chanted with selected psalm verses also…

UPDATE: The postconciliar Kyriale simplex contains an assemblage of simpler settings of the Ordinary, some from among the Masses and ad libitum chants otherwise given in the Liber, etc., plus a few simple forms of the Kyrie and Agnus Dei taken from chant settings of several litanies; the most noteworthy, however, is what is given as Credo "IV" more ambrosiano, which ought really be called Credo VIII (as the older books contain Credo's I to VI, plus Credo VII as an insert, as I have in my Liber) – it is the Ambrosian chant setting of the Creed (simply replacing the Ambrosian variant words ad cælos with the standard Roman in cælum), a simple note per syllable setting, with the only flourishes at all being at the very end: two notes on the first syllable of sæculi and nine for the Amen. I calculate that this should take about 3:20 to sing; and a recording of Ambrosian chant that I possess includes it, the elapsed time for chanting it proving to be 3:36 in fact.

So the very shortest Ordinary would be the Missa primitiva referenced above, but with Credo "VIII" more ambrosiano.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

To Hobart

I'm almost better from a nasty cold (or bronchitis almost) that's been plaguing me for eight days.

I didn't make it to Hobart last Sunday, but did manage to MC our special Launceston Mass, which was very well attended, with all present very moved and rapt in the sublime worship, God be praised. All thanks to our visiting priest, Fr Rowe, the marvellous choir – Byrd in three, plus the chant propers and several motets – and servers! I also served his private Low Mass on Monday morning, which was very special.

I head down to Hobart this afternoon, as Fr Rowe will again celebrate Mass for our community at Sacred Heart, New Town, at 10:30 am tomorrow, Sunday the 20th of July, before he concludes his visit to Tasmania and returns to the West on Monday.

As he has recently celebrated his 20th anniversary of ordination, do pray that he be ever more and more a priest after the Heart of Christ. And please offer prayers for Mother Stephanie, at our Launceston Carmel, as she is very frail and aged, and her long life appears to be drawing to that end which we all must face ere long.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Off to Sydney and Melbourne

It's been a while since I last posted, but various matters have taken up my time.

To-night, I'm off to Sydney for the weekend, then I'll fly down to Melbourne for the week, and be back here on Saturday, before driving to Hobart, where I'll stay the night, then MC morning Mass there, before driving myself and Fr Rowe (who'll be visiting Tasmania that week) back to Launceston, where I'll MC the special 6 pm Missa cantata at St Francis, Riverside, on Sunday 13th July. Please do come if you can!

Some matters are too serious to trust to the internet, but do keep me in your prayers.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pentecost Missa Cantata

To-day, for our Latin Mass in Hobart, we were back where it all began, at Sacred Heart, New Town, where Fr (now Bp) Jarrett began the monthly Missæ cantatæ in the nineties. It was my parish at the time, and I have fond memories of my time there.

I remember "catching the bug" of the Traditional Latin Mass at Sacred Heart, when on the first Sunday of November in 1994 he celebrated the first "Extraordinary Form" Mass, with the choir singing Byrd's Mass for three voices; and when, exactly a year later, he sang High Mass (with Frs Oppenheimer and Parsons assisting), the choir rendering Victoria's Mass O quam gloriosum.

In February 1996, this time with yours truly in the choir, singing a far more modest all-Gregorian repertoire, Fr Jarrett began regular first Sunday sung Masses. He continued for five years, until he was promoted to Bishop of Lismore; I sang with the choir until I moved to Melbourne in 1999.

Fr John Wall, then based at St Canice in Lower Sandy Bay, took over the celebration of the first Sunday sung Masses until his untimely death; since then, for the last decade, the much-loved Fr Gerard Quinn, CP (easily the hardest working, humblest and holiest priest of the Archdiocese), has done so.

I returned to Tasmania five years ago, first resuming singing in the choir, and then promoting myself (completely untrained) to M.C., as it seemed to help expedite matters. And since February this year – with all thanks going to His Grace for blessing our endeavours – we have had Latin Mass at least twice a month, including the full Easter Triduum for the first time.  I have grown used to forever driving to and from Hobart!

Repairs to the roof at St Canice made us decide to move some of the June and July Masses to New Town. To-day, we had a visiting priest as celebrant: Fr Suresh from Tamworth. His visit we pray will prove fruitful; he certainly sings Mass with great care and attention (during the chanting of the Alleluia verses I suddenly realised he was singing along from memory), and is a great preacher, too.

Just as in the nineties, we had a community "pot-luck" lunch afterwards – I kept on expecting Fr Jarrett to walk into the parish centre and chat happily with us all, beneath the great painting of the Sacred Heart that hangs in pride of place. It was a marvellous occasion and made me realise how well set out Sacred Heart is for our needs: the church is a good size, very well appointed and cared for, with room outdoors for children to play afterwards and a place for all to meet and eat in the parish centre.

It was great to chat with the sacristan, too, whom I hadn't seen for years. It always was a most welcoming and Catholic parish, and evidently maintains that spirit, even if now part of the Cathedral parish; again, how kind of His Grace to allow us to use the church and facilities.

Winter remains curiously warm and sunny; it was lovely driving home this afternoon.

Next Sunday, Trinity Sunday the 15th of June, a sung Traditional Latin Mass will again be celebrated at 10:30 am at Sacred Heart, New Town. (I will be in Melbourne; I daresay all will go well.)

The next Mass after that, the "traditional" first Sunday Missa cantata, will be at St Canice at 11:30 am as usual; but on the following two Sundays, the 13th and 20th of July, Latin Mass will again be sung at Sacred Heart at 10:30 am.

With all this shuttling to and fro for Mass, I must admit to feeling relief at the prospect of the last two Sundays in June at home without having to drive three hours each way...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Christmas in June

Driving back from our first Sunday of the month Missa cantata yester-day, the first day of winter in Australia, got me musing on the way our southern seasons clash with the liturgical calendar inherited from our forebears in the northern hemisphere.  Having examined the calendar and worked out a correction that puts all to rights, it seems Sunday the 1st of June should really have been, not the Sunday after Ascension, but Advent Sunday.

Christmas, as all men know, falls soon after the boreal winter solstice, when Christ comes to enlighten those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death - but this imagery is reversed Down Under. For too long have we Antipodeans endured heat waves and broiling weather while singing of snow and holly, fainting in summer warmth over a heavy Christmas dinner!

Hence, to fit sacred time to the southern seasons, all in Australasia, temperate South America and South Africa ought keep the Lord's Nativity on the 25th of June, shortly after the austral winter solstice.

For the same reason, Easter, that feast of our true Spring, Christ's Resurrection, should be kept on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the austral spring equinox - which, by my calculations, would fall this year on the 12th of October (basing all this on the true astronomically determined dates, not on the old-fashioned computus).

I determine that the new calendar (which good Pope Francis, a fellow hemispherean, will no doubt grant with a wave of his hand, once he's apprized of it by a known enemy of the Immaculate Franciscans) for the Southern Hemisphere would run as follows for 2014:

Christus Rex (Last Sunday in April) – 27th April 2014
Advent Sunday – 1st June 2014
Christmas Day – Wednesday 25th June 2014
St Stephen, St John, HH Innocents on 26th, 27th, 28th, then SS Peter & Paul on 29th (for a most pleasing gathering of all saints round the crib)
Epiphany – Monday 7th July 2014 (not the 6th, since it must be 12 days after Christmas)
1st Sunday after Epiphany – 13th July 2014
Candlemas – Sunday 3rd August 2014 (40 days after Christmas)
4th & Last Sunday after Epiphany – 3rd August 2014
Septuagesima Sunday – 10th August 2014
Ash Wednesday – 27th August 2014
1st Sunday of Lent – 31st August 2014
Holy Cross – Monday 15th September 2014 (transferred because of the clash with the 3rd Sunday of Lent)
Annunciation – Thursday 25th September 2014 (nine months before Christmas)
Palm Sunday – 5th October 2014
Good Friday – 10th October 2014
EASTER Sunday – 12th October 2014
Ascension Thursday – 20th November 2014
Pentecost Sunday – 30th November 2014
Visitation (based on Paul VI’s wise removal of it from 2nd July to 31st May):  Monday 1st December 2014 (transferred this year from 30th November)
Trinity Sunday – 7th December 2014
Corpus Christi – Thursday 11th December 2014
Sacred Heart – Friday 19th December 2014
Nativity of St John the Baptist – 24th December 2014 (exchanged, as it were, with Christmas)

Apart from the moveable feasts shifted by six months, and the movement of various saints' days that seem inseparable from their setting relative to these, all other saints' days would remain the same, thus producing all manner of pleasing curiosities, such as the Immaculate Conception falling the day after Trinity Sunday, the Immaculata being the greatest of all after God himself.

You know it makes sense.

Monday, May 26, 2014

St Philip's Day

While I didn't make it to early Mass to-day, I attended evening Rosary, and went to confession; which struck me as a decent and apposite manner of worshipping on St Philip's feast, being as he was a great patron of penitents of every walk of life. He is a great saint and powerful intercessor, to whom I owe much, and especially at this present time, given the signal benefits vouchsafed unworthy me. Pippo buono, prega per noi.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

4th Sunday after Easter: Missa Cantata at 10 am

Tonight I have a parish dinner to attend, which will make getting up and departing for Hobart very early tomorrow morning – at 6:30 am, since I need to get to St Canice well before 10 am – all the more tiring; ah well. Since Fr Christopher, a Dominican from Melbourne, is to celebrate the Mass, and the only return flight available was earlier than usual, so too will our Missa cantata be held at an earlier time. If the M.C. yawns at the altar, at least only the priest at whose side he stands will notice.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Our Lady of Fatima

Having heard Mass of Our Lady of Fatima at Carmel this morning, it was good to gather with our little schola twelve hours later at St Francis and first practice, then sing Compline followed by Benediction; it seemed fitting to begin the latter with Jesu dulcis memoria, then to chant the Litany of Loreto, before proceeding to the usual Tantum ergo &c. We closed with the Sub tuum, concluding this Marian feast by flying to her patronage, that the Blessed Virgin defend us by her all-powerful intercession in all dangers.

Monday, May 12, 2014

3rd and 4th Sundays after Easter

Yester-day we had our usual Latin Mass in Hobart, not on the first but on the second Sunday, as Fr Quinn was at a conference interstate at the beginning of the month. Next Sunday, the 18th of May, we will have a Missa cantata at the earlier time of 10:00 am. Maintenance work is occurring at St Canice, so it is possible that we may have to relocate at least temporarily, but the details are still frantically being finalized.

I apologise for not having blogged much, but my time has been taken up with many most welcome blessings, to say nothing of the usual demands of work and ordinary life. I have also attended some happy events – such as the solemn Mass, with the singing of Palestrina's Missa Papæ Marcelli, for the installation of Fr Tattersall as parish priest of the personal parish for the Latin Mass community in Melbourne; and the ordination of my friend Justin to the diaconate at the Ukrainian Cathedral in Melbourne. God bless the two of them in their sacred ministry, to the glory of God and the sanctification of souls.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our First Triduum and Easter

A great success – this year, the Hobart Latin Mass Community celebrated the Triduum and Easter for the first time since the liturgical changes in the nineteen-sixties.

Fr Mannes, a Dominican currently based in Sydney, very kindly came down to Hobart to officiate – he is an excellent singer, and rendered the Exultet extremely well. The choir also performed admirably (no mean effort, singing all the chant, plus motets, at the liturgies for four days in a row), as did the servers; the only real mishap resulted from yours truly, as M.C., managing to step on and break the incense boat, while manoeuvring the umbella into place at the start of the procession to the altar of repose on Holy Thursday evening (I had driven down from Launceston after work, so arguably I was a little distracted). Several appreciative comments about every other aspect of the liturgies were received: I still can't believe we did it! (The incense boat will be repaired in due course…)

In order to be ready for the special rites, we practiced from 6:30 pm onwards on Holy Thursday, and on Good Friday from after Stations till the afternoon Liturgy, with a break for a penitential lunch, while on Holy Saturday we practised from about 6 pm onwards. On Easter Monday it took us till nearly 11 am to get everything packed up. The Archdiocese very kindly lent us several old vestments and a chalice for the liturgies, as the sacristy at St Canice wasn't fully equipped for the many ceremonies carried out.

Our timetable was as follows:
  • 7:30 pm Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, sung and with incense as usual (no footwashing this year), followed by the procession to the altar of repose, then the stripping of the altars and Compline (90 minutes all told); adoration at the altar of repose continued till midnight;
  • 10:30 am Good Friday: Stations of the Cross (half an hour);
  • 3:00 pm Good Friday: Solemn Afternoon Liturgy (only 75 minutes - the Passion was read, not sung, and there were less than our usual Sunday numbers present);
  • 7:30 pm Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil (2 and a quarter hours - the church has no font so all that part of the service was omitted);
  • 10:30 am Easter Sunday: Missa cantata, with Vidi aquam beforehand (70 minutes);
  • 9:00 am Easter Monday: Low Mass, with the Ordinary sung (40 minutes).
On Good Friday evening at 8 pm, I went with a friend and Fr Mannes to attend the Greeks' service of Matins, with procession of the epitaphion; it was good to see, and I met up with several whom I know, but I found it a very long three hours, so I decided to turn down the invitation to come back the next evening after our own Vigil! Having stayed in Hobart for four nights, I've now returned home on a cold, wet autumn afternoon.

Next year, who knows? With a sufficiently augmented choir, we could even attempt Tenebræ… it would be shorter than the equivalent Byzantine Rite service that I attended.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Column of the Scourging

According to the 1925 Processional of the Franciscans for use in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on Holy Wednesday, "according to a most ancient custom, the Holy Column of the Scourging is today exposed for veneration". After singing the usual hymn, the following antiphon, versicle and collect is recited; these might with profit be appended to the psalm of the scourging (as given in the previous posting), or added after reciting a decade of the Rosary while meditating on this, the second sorrowful mystery.

Aña. Apprehendit Pilatus Jesum et flagellavit: ac tradidit Judæis ut crucifigeretur.
V/. Fui flagellatus tota die.
R/. Et castigatio mea in matutinis.
Deus, qui pro salute nostra in assumptæ carnis infirmitate, ad [hanc*] Columnam alligari, et flagellis cædi voluisti: concede propitius; ut qui ejusdem Columnæ gloriam celebramus, pretiosi Sanguinis tui fructum consequi mereamur. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. R/. Amen.

Ant. Pilate took Jesus, and scourged him: and delivered him to the Jews to be crucified.
V/. I have been scourged all the day.
R/. And my chastisement hath been in the mornings.
Let us pray.
O God, who in the weakness of our flesh which thou hadst taken upon thee, wert pleased, for our salvation, to be bound to [a / this*] Pillar and scourged with thongs: grant, we beseech thee, that we who celebrate the glory of that Pillar may become worthy to obtain the fruit of thy precious blood: who livest and reignest world without end. R/. Amen.

[*The word hanc ("this") is only used at the actual Column itself.]

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Psalm of the Scourging

That devout man, the Servant of God Don Giulio Tomasi, Prince of Lampedusa, used the following prayer, based on Psalm 50, when commemorating the scourging of Our Lord at the pillar:

Miserere mei, Deus, secundum copiosam redemptionem tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem plagarum tuarum, sana infirmitates meas.
Amplius lava me Sanguine tuo: et cruore vulnerum tuorum munda me.
Quoniam languores meos in te cognosco; dolores tui fuerunt pro me semper.
Tibi soli non fuit peccatum; nec malum unquam fecisti: ut justificeris in operibus tuis; et vincas cum judicaris.
Ecce enim absque iniquitate conceptus es; et ex Spiritu Sancto concepit te Mater tua.
Ecce enim animam meam dilexisti; et in Cruce amorem tuum manifestasti mihi.
Asperges me Sanguine tuo, et mundabor: lavabis me; et super nivem dealbabor.
Auditui meo dedisti verba lætitiæ; quando erant in Cruce ossa exaltata.
Avertisti faciem tuam a peccatis meis: et chirographum mortis meæ delesti.
Cor tuum apertum ostendisti mihi; et spiritum misericordiæ in visceribus tuis.
Ne excludas me a fructu Sanguinis tui; et gratiam redemptionis tuæ ne auferas a me.
Redde mihi antiquas misericordias tuas: et spiritu amoris tui confirma me.
Docebo iniquos pietatem tuam; et impii percutientes pectora sua, revertentur.
Libera me, ne sim reus Sanguinis tui, Deus salutis meæ; et exaltabit lingua mea misericordiam tuam.
Domine, labia tua in Cruce aperuisti; et os tuum oravit pro salvatione mea.
Quoniam si damnare voluisses, fecisses utique; morte peccatorum non delectaberis.
Sacrificium acceptabile Deo, mors tua: cor tuum apertum, et lanceatum, Deus non despiciet.
Benigne vitam tuam pro me obtulisti; et coram omnibus gentibus extra muros Hierusalem.
Tunc acceptatum est sacrificium misericordiæ pro oblationibus, et holocaustis: et tu fuisti super altare Crucis, pro omnibus vitulus. 
(Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy copious redemption. 
And according to the multitude of thy wounds, heal my infirmities.
Wash me yet more with thy Blood, and cleanse me with the gore of thy wounds.
For I know my sufferings in thee, thy sorrows were always for me.
In thee alone was no sin, nor didst thou any evil: that thou mayst be justified in thy works and mayst overcome when thou art judged. 
For behold without iniquity thou wast conceived; and by the Holy Ghost did thy mother conceive thee.
For behold thou hast loved my soul: and on the Cross thy love thou hast made manifest to me.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with thy Blood, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
To my hearing thou didst give words of gladness: for on the Cross thy bones were exalted.
Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out the handwriting of my death.
Thy heart laid open thou didst shew unto me; and the spirit of mercy within thy bowels.
Exclude me not from the fruit of thy Blood; and take not the grace of thy redemption from me.
Restore unto me thy mercies of old: and strengthen me with the spirit of thy love.
I will teach the unjust thy kindness; and the wicked striking their breasts shall be converted.
Deliver me, lest I be guilty of thy Blood, O God of my salvation; and my tongue shall extol thy mercy.
O Lord, thou didst open thy lips on the Cross: and thy mouth didst pray for my salvation.
For if thou hadst desired to damn, thou would indeed have done it: with the death of sinners thou wilt not be delighted.
A sacrifice acceptable to God is thy death: thine opened and lance-pierced heart God shall not despise.
Favourably thou didst offer thy life for me; and before all the nations outside the walls of Jerusalem.
Then was accepted the sacrifice of mercy in place of oblations and whole burnt offerings: and thou wast upon the altar of the Cross, in place of all bullocks.)

Bunyip Aristocracy

Aristocracy, as the Philosopher says, is the rule of the best; to-day, we have representative democracy, whereby certain elite groups compete to receive the fabled popular mandate. Tolkien said that he would prefer unconstitutional monarchy – and rulership of the sort displayed in his fiction, which seemed to mean that day-to-day affairs were almost unaffected by any government at all, most of all in the Shire, seems an excellent suggestion in these days of creeping totalitarianism. O for the days when the tithe was all the tax we paid!

Wentworth was lampooned when, in the debates before New South Wales (and several other Australian colonies) attained responsible government in the 1850's, he proposed an hereditary Upper House, after the model of the Lords in London (not of Lord's in London). This was thought ridiculous, a bunyip aristocracy of jumped-up Rum Corps profiteers and squatters, as odd as a platypus and about as useful.

But since our Prime Minister has fittingly restored knighthoods in the Order of Australia, our own home-grown system of awarding merit in right of the Crown, it amuses me to speculate on yet further prime ministerial largesse, should a Menzies-like longevity attend his time as the Queen's First Minister Downunder. Just what would an Australian peerage look like?

Peerages these days are titles and nothing else: I seem to recall that the last time a nobleman used the privilege of trial by his peers – the House of Lords – was back in the fifties or earlier; rights such as personal access to the Sovereign have fallen into desuetude; and the right most associated with power and authority, that of sitting in the House of Lords, has been taken away – only ninety or so hereditary Lords (elected by polling the peerage) still ornament that chamber named after their number. Of course it all went downhill when the mitred abbots were removed at the Reformation…

No rival to the Senate is proposed; merely that the particularly great and good (let's be honest, those great in donating to worthy causes, such as political parties, as well as those actually or merely seemingly good according to this world's passing standards) ought get not merely a knighthood but a dukedom. After all, who doesn't like Downton Abbey?

Having inquired to a very small degree, I find the surviving aristocracy of the Old Country has a little over eight hundred members (including Irish titles). For some reason, there are almost 70% more earls than viscounts, despite viscount being a lesser title than earl (then again, the name of viscount is a Continental importation, as is marquess, a rank for those not really suitable as dukes); otherwise, there are very roughly half as many peers in each succeeding rank, from the 450 barons (or Scottish Lords of Parliament) to the 24 non-royal dukes.

Now, as Australia has about one-third the population of the British Isles, it seems fair and proportionate to imagine a future local meritocratic peerage of about 280 members, allotted in proportion to state and territory populations, allowing each state at least one (so Tasmania would one day have a duke – no, not that impostor the Duke of Avram, a former state parliamentarian – even though our population is so small). I spare gentle readers the calculations; suffice it to say that Her Majesty would be asked to ennoble sufficient persons of merit that this nation gain 10 dukes, 19 marquesses, 36 earls, 71 viscounts and 143 barons…

Succession to these peerages would, of course, be open to the oldest child or nearest relative regardless of gender (a fraught issue these days in any case), unless, say, Countess Greer would wish to place her earldom off-limits to males. And it would be a matter for ecumenical consultation to see how Catholic and Anglican bishops (and abbots) would be ranked alongside the Lords temporal. Do cardinals outrank dukes?

I predict that, whatever the whining of lefties and the cultural Irish (it pleases me to imagine the outpourings of bile at the ABC), it would be quite remarkable how many fervent republicans would snap up the titles on offer; and titles would be all they would be, in plain truth, so how cheap and cheerful a present to offer to leading persons - it could help Lord Carr get an upgrade on Emirates from business to first class, for example, lest he suffer, poor man. After all, the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition was fairly muted in his criticism of knighthoods, since his mother-in-law was the first to receive one and is now a Dame.

I would retain but one restriction corresponding to the very nature of the British nobility - as they cannot sit in the House of Commons, not being commoners, neither should any future Australian title-holders be permitted to hold elected office (needed, a declaratory Act to this effect): thus Clive, Marquess of Coolum, would have to relinquish his seat in the House of Representatives upon his accession to so titanic a dignity; but of course he could still manipulate his and another party's Senators behind the scenes, in the best tradition of the Whig and Tory aristocrats of old. Many likewise would rejoice at a peerage for Senator Abetz, not least his colleagues.

Finally and most nobly, in parallel to their British titles, the members of the Royal Family could each receive a royal dukedom here: Charles could be fittingly created Duke of New South Wales (for like a Botany Bay convict he's certainly doing his time, if not in exile, yet in waiting for the throne so many years), Philip Duke of Queensland (a nice pun, that), Anne Duchess of Victoria (fittingly for a female descendent of that monarch), Andrew Duke of Tasmania, Edward Duke of South Australia, William Duke of Western Australia (full of Poms as it is), Harry Duke of the Northern Territory (given his wild adventures), and dear little George Duke of the Australian Capital Territory – how fitting for our future King George VII, long may he one day reign.

I assume there is no need to pass legislation to enable all this fantasy, since the Sovereign is the fount of all honour and it would need but the respectful advice of the Prime Minister to move the Crown to issue the patents of nobility of some bunyip aristocracy. Unlike the American, our Constitution does not forbid such grants being one day made; and Malaysia, for example, has not merely its several state sovereigns, but an elected monarch and also titles of honour and nobility, so we would be but better inculturating ourselves into the Asian area – is not Thailand, too, a monarchy? Japan an Empire (I mean, a land with an emperor)? and Brunei the equivalent of a grand duchy? does not a Sultan still reside at Yogyakarta and hold court? – by developing our own analogues to such titles.

We nowadays solemnly recognise the fabled Dreamtime, its Rainbow Serpents and mythic creatures, in ritual moments opening civic and state occasions; likewise we love and retell tales of the bunyip and the banksia men; we mock not but value the platypus and the echidna, lament the passing of the Tasmanian tiger, and emblazon the kangaroo and emu as the supporters of our national coat of arms (as neither animal can walk backwards).

Forwards then to such a future, towards a true culture of entitlement!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Compline and Stations

Another pleasant evening: first we practised, then we sang Compline, followed by Stations of the Cross, with an English version of the Stabat Mater, and, to conclude, the Vexilla Regis and Christus factus est.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Passion Sunday Missa Cantata

A good showing for our Passion Sunday Missa cantata at St Canice – fifty or more (including the many children), with a pleasing sound from our choir and a sterling performance on the part of our servers. I've had a most pleasant weekend in every respect, though I did need to dash back from Hobart (where I dropped off a very dear friend at the airport to await her flight) in order to get back in time to attend a dinner for my parish priest's ordination anniversary in Launceston.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Compline and Honours

Though unfortunately our priest was unable to attend, and so we didn't have Benediction last night – at which I served at the city church on Monday night in any case, since the weekly Rosary devotions include Benediction this Lent – we did keep the feast of the Annunciation with special care, by singing the Litany of Loreto after Compline, and ending with the hymn "The Angel Gabriel from heaven came".

In other good news, the pre-eminent rank of Knight and Dame in the Order of Australia has been restored by our Prime Minister, just as the title of Queen's Counsel for senior lawyers is in process of being restored in certain State jurisdictions when it had been replaced with "Senior Counsel". We are a monarchy after all...

Friday, March 14, 2014

2nd Sunday of Lent - Missa cantata, 10:30 am at St Canice

While last Sunday found me at St Aloysius in Melbourne, where they are celebrating the imminent establishment, by decree of the Archbishop of Melbourne, of their community as a personal parish for those adhering to the traditional Latin liturgy, this Sunday almost upon us will instead find me in Hobart, at our now-fortnightly Latin Mass, its frequency being in process of increasing, thanks to our new Archbishop.

Since a visiting priest with different time constraints will be coming to celebrate the Missa cantata, Mass will be at the earlier and actually more convenient time of 10:30 am. As usual, Mass will be at St Canice, Sandy Bay.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

War and Peace

Matters in the Ukraine have reached breaking point; Russia is acting just as the USSR did – I think of the cynical and lying manner in which Stalin proclaimed peace while bloodily occupying the Baltic States, for example. That said, I think Ukraine might be well advised to let the Crimea go, since Russia is in de facto control there already.

How upsetting, to think that the pro-Russian President of Ukraine would turn tail and run, and those pro-Europe scum came suddenly to power! How upsetting – to the Kremlin, not known for fondness toward would-be overthrowers of authoritarian regimes.

The real danger comes if Putin (think Stalin, think Lenin, think Ivan the Terrible – Russian autocrats are all the same, just like those Russian dolls all nested inside each other) decides to take more than the Crimea: perhaps the easternmost Donetsk and Luhansk regions, to begin with.

After all, to the detritus of the old Soviet Empire (I mean Kaliningrad Oblast, between Poland and Lithuania), several puppet states "protected" by the Russian military have been added since the breakup of the USSR:
  • Transnistria, between Moldova and Ukraine: 4,163 sq km (protected since 1990)
  • Abkhazia, formerly north-western Georgia: 8,660 sq km (protected since 1992-3 and especially since 2008)
  • South Ossetia, formerly north-central Georgia: 3,900 sq km (also occupied since 2008)
  • Crimea: 26,964 sq km (de facto occupied as of late February 2014)
It appears the bear is getting hungrier.

May we expect ethnic cleansing, or just bashings and like cruelty, once the Crimea "overwhelmingly votes to reunite joyfully with the Motherland"? If I were a Crimean Tatar I'd be afraid.

Russia's government of course assumes that the European Union, the US and NATO are all as gormless and spineless as they have so far appeared; which seems a fair assessment. But hand-wringing will not scare away the bear, only a bloodied nose will. At least the Lithuanians have realised what's at stake, and have invoked Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

If NATO mobilised, and the US and UK declared they were willing to enforce, militarily if need be, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, a "piece of paper" signed also by Russia (perfidy again), which guaranteed the borders and territorial integrity of Ukraine against the threat of force – then Putin might draw back.

Then again, NATO might prove itself the loser in such a conflict, should conflict come. Or Russia. Who knows what may happen? And didn't something very nasty transpire in similar circumstances in 1914?

Do pray for peace:

Aña. Da pacem, Dómine, in diébus nostris: quia non est álius qui pugnet pro nobis, nisi tu, Deus noster. 
V/. Fiat pax in virtúte tua. 
R/. Et abundántia in túrribus tuis.
Oratio. Deus, a quo sancta desidéria, recta consília, et justa sunt óреrа: da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda nostra mandátis tuis dédita, et hóstium subláta formídine, témpora sint tua protectióne tranquílla. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. R/. Amen. 
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccáta mundi, dona nobis pacem.
Regína pacis, ora pro nobis.
Ant. Give peace in our time, O Lord: because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God. 
V/. Peace be in thy strength. 
R/. And plenteousness within thy towers. 
Let us pray. 
O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed; Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee, we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen. 
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us thy peace.
Queen of peace, pray for us.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rosary Prayers

After introductory versicles, begin the Rosary with the "Hail, Holy Queen", its usual versicle and the collect "O God, Whose Only-begotten Son" – this was the somewhat startling advice I found in several late nineteenth century books, said to follow the official method laid down for use amongst Dominicans.

These days, of course, one expects to say such prayers at the end of the decades (Dominicans still maintain the introductory versicles, instead of the newfangled Creed, Lord's Prayer and three Hail Mary's); then, instead, they were said beforehand, and afterward – where now they are recited – instead came first the Litany of Loreto, and then the Sub tuum and an anthem to St Dominic, with appropriate versicles and collects.

The collect connected to the Sub tuum in this arrangement seemed familiar, as I have seen it referred to as St Pius V's prayer for use at the conclusion of the Rosary – the more familiar "O God, Whose Only-begotten Son" having been introduced by his successor, Gregory XIII, when he approved a proper Mass and Office for the feast of the Rosary. But the prayer appointed by St Pius V is itself a modification of the Dominican collect for Marian feasts – unsurprising, as Pius was a Friar Preacher:
Supplicationem servorum tuorum, Deus miserator, exaudi, ut, qui in societate sacratissimi Rosarii Dei Genitricis et Virginis congregamur, ejus intercessionibus, a te de instantibus periculis eruamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. R/. Amen. 
(Hear, O merciful God, the prayer of thy servants: that we, who meet together in the Society of the most holy Rosary of the Virgin Mother of God, may, through her intercession, be delivered by thee from present dangers. Through the same Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.)
Having come across this old form, I now preface the Rosary with the Sub tuum, versicle Post partum and collect Supplicationem servorum quorum, plus – from what I've learnt from our local Monday night Rosary group – the Memorare, before I make the usual start by signing myself with sign of the Cross, saying the Creed, and so forth. 

Spanish sources gave a variant to the Dominican or rather "Pian" collect for the Sub tuum (which they paired with the collect of the Angelus for good measure), which I prefer, as it is not so much that we meet together in a society of the Rosary as instead meet to recite it – hence its use in the version given below (Dominicans omit "gloriosa et" in the Sub tuum, by the way):
Aña. Sub tuum presidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix: nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. 
V/. Post partum, Virgo, inviolata permansisti. R/. Dei Genitrix, intercede pro nobis.
Supplicationem servorum tuorum, Deus miserator, exaudi: ut, qui ad recitandum sanctissimum Rosarium Dei Genetricis et Virginis Mariæ congregamur, ejus intercessionibus a te de instantibus periculis eruamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. R/. Amen. 
Ant. We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God: despise not our petitions in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
V/. After childbirth, O Virgin, thou didst remain undefiled. R/. Mother of God, intercede for us.
Let us pray.
Hear, O merciful God, the prayer of thy servants: that we, who meet together to recite the most holy Rosary of Mary, Mother of God and Virgin, may, through her intercession, be delivered by thee from present dangers. Through the same Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Better Late Than Never - A Joint Contribution

How to hold a Septuagesima Eve or Farewell Alleluia Party

Septuagesima Eve is the lychgate of Lent – that way station marking entry into the churchyard, ere on Ash Wednesday we pass through the very portal of the church into Quadragesima Abbey, as it were, where for forty days and nights we will redouble our penances and in monkish wise undertake ascetic exercises, cloistering our souls from the busy world till the happy day of Resurrection.

Now a lychgate, as all men know, is a gate overshadowed by a roof, symbolic of Him Who is the Gate of the sheepfold, Himself overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, whereto a body brought for burial is carried, and the first part of the funeral conducted, before it is brought into the church. Hence, when as at first Vespers of Septuagesima the Alleluia is laid aside, in a manner its death is to be represented – just as the corpse, in shroud y-wrapt, ought be plonked down in the lychgate.

Moreover, a wake ought be held, for to mourn dead Alleluia (dear maiden), and, to prevent enormities, Alleluia ought be buried straightway. For this reason, on Septuagestima Eve, Alleluia is buried after Vespers; and, both before and after these affecting services, cocktails in the liturgical colours ought be served nearby.

Before the obsequies, as suitably accoutred guests arrive for this devotional pastime, the gracious host ought present each one with a green cocktail to fittingly conclude Epiphany-tide. It is not permitted to colour the drink with green food colouring – note in particular that green-tinted Guinness is an abomination, and one reserved in any case for St Patrick’s Day. Instead, cunning combinations of sundry decoctions, liqueurs and elixirs are to be employed. This verdant beverage, and all subsequent top-ups, should be consumed before the commencement of First Vespers of Septuagesima.

One should wait until all guests arrive before starting Vespers; it is most disruptive to have people scrabbling for chairs and music, and attempting to join in psalms half-way through. Note that, if the land be laid under interdict, the doors must be closed, and the Office recited on a low note; which will somewhat dampen the spirit of the occasion.

For Vespers, a mediæval chapel (Gothic or Romanesque) is required (every home should have one), or at least a large space, fittingly tricked out, with two rows of chairs facing each other. Do not use narrow hallways: otherwise there can be the risk of accidental concussion at every Gloria Patri. While purists may gasp in horror, it is suggested that the two choirs be mixed (with men and women on each side), lest the volume be too unequal.

It is preferable, whether there be a permanent or temporary chapel, to celebrate Vespers before a dressed and decorated altar (eastward facing) upon which the requisite number of lit candles burn. The Alleluia should be hung on the altar front for all to observe clearly. If no medieval tapestry is available, a large piece of cardboard, made to resemble parchment, with the Alleluia y-writ thereon in clearly visible lettering (employing a flowing font with serifs) will suffice, and may be attached to the altar with concealed tape if no hooks are provided.

Benedicamus Domino with doubled Alleluia having been sung, and Vespers concluded with the Fidelium animæ (or, if a bishop be present, after he has imparted his blessing – if several prelates be present, the highest-ranking blesses unless suspended a divinis), immediately two or four of the youngest present (juniores priores) approach the altar, make due reverence, detach the Alleluia in comely fashion, and gently lay it flat, text facing up, on the waiting bier, which has been prepared earlier.

Carrying their cargo with deserved decorum, these bearers then lead a funereal procession out from the chapel, through the house, and around the garden to the grave prepared (which must have been suitably decorated with purple flowers, and supplied with a handy pile of stones nearby). Meanwhile all sing the hymn Alleluia dulce carmen, preferably in polyphony, repeating its verses as necessary until Alleluia be buried into the grave. 

Having assembled at the graveside, the officiant first rolls up the Alleluia if necessary, then with sober deportment deposits it into a coffin or other apt receptacle. After sealing this, he lowers it into the grave. All present then process past this resting place of dead Alleluia, each one laying a stone on top as they pass, thus building a cairn while still singing. All depart the grave in solemn silence after a most liturgical pause.

Following the obsequies, as expeditiously as possible, the host and his attendants (as it were the celebrant and his ministers) should make and distribute purple cocktails to the guests. On no account are any left-over green cocktails to be consumed, under pain of serious sin and excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See. Nonetheless, exceptions to this rule are allowed for those who are allergic to the purple cocktail; or those who are only permitted one alcoholic beverage and who arrived too late to finish their drink before Vespers; or those holding a Papal indult or immemorial privilege: no others.

During the mixing these purple cocktails, it is fitting for guests to retire and shed their green garments in favour of purple ones, if possible. Men of limited imagination may choose simply to change their neck tie. Since the liturgical portion of the evening has been completed (as Compline will be recited in private), guests may innocently disport themselves henceforth as befits any polite social gathering, taking care to remember that utterance of the ‘A’ word is strictly forbidden.

It is appropriate to serve dinner now. Please note that serving only purple food would be considered excessive, not to mention nauseating. A reasonable use of vegetables in such shades would be appropriate, however.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Almost Finished

While in Rome on pilgrimage, four of us, during our visit to Santa Maria Maggiore, decided to go to confession. A little later, we compared penances, feeling a rather hard done by… a young lady had been told to say her Rosary every day for a week for a certain intention; one of our priests had been told to offer up his Breviary every day for a week for a similar cause; and Mike and I, upon learning that each of us had been told to offer up the Rosary for such and such an intention (I got "sincerity"), daily – for a month – felt uniquely put-upon.

I recall that, according to that devout book, The Secret of the Rosary, St Dominic assigned just such a lengthy penance to a pious Roman matron, who was in the habit of doing the rounds of the Seven Churches every day. Like her, I own to feeling more than a little discomfited!

Doubtless the … son of St Dominic in question (for the confessors at St Mary Major are Blackfriars) had been a-reading some such "manual of penance". I am now nearly finished fulfilling this penance – at least I have thereby got back to saying the Rosary. Perhaps that was the desired result.

Moral of the story: when on pilgrimage with no less than three priests, don't think to shop elsewhere. Or at the least, avoid the confessionals of Friars Preachers like the plague.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Latin Mass This Sunday: at St Canice, at 10:30am

I've just had it confirmed: our first "extra" Traditional Latin Mass for the Hobart Latin Mass Community will be sung this Sunday, the 16th of February, at the usual location – St Canice Church, Sandy Bay – but an hour earlier than usual, at 10:30 am.

We are grateful to Fr Marshall for flying in from Melbourne to offer Mass for us; he will be visiting for several days, and once details of when and where he will say Mass each day are available, I will assist in publicising them.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican

As I had to attend a meeting in Hobart at lunchtime, I decided to drive down earlier, and attend the 10 am Divine Liturgy at the Ukrainian Catholic Chapel of the Transfiguration, where friends of mine customarily worship on Sundays. 

I haven't attended a Ukrainian Liturgy in Hobart since the construction and consecration of the chapel in August 2010; it was good to join the small but devoted congregation to sing the praises of the Trinity, and receive the Sacred Mysteries.

It proved a little hard to find the chapel – it is located within the Ukrainian Club, tucked anonymously among the commercial buildings and fast food restaurants of Moonah; luckily, as I knocked at the locked front door (not knowing of the open door leading in from the back car park), their priest, Fr Tony Warwarek, heard me and let me in.

As I drove down, I recalled that it was "Octogesima", the Sunday before Septuagesima – and, as Eastern and Western Easter coincide this year, that applied to the Byzantine Rite also: and in that Rite, as I realised when the Liturgy began, that means it is the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican.

This Sunday, which is of the 8th Tone, first signals the approach of Great Lent: the Gospel pericope's call to true compunction and humble self-awareness rather than delusive pride and contempt toward others accords with this; and of course this week in the Eastern Church calendar is wholly fast-free, the last before Easter Week.

In the Byzantine Rite, next Sunday (equivalent to Septuagesima) is that of the Prodigal Son; the Sunday after that is Meatfare Sunday, equivalent to Western Carnevale, being the last day for eating flesh meat till Easter, with the week after that being Cheesefare Week, culminating in Cheesefare Sunday, last chance for dairy products and eggs till after the fast; for Great Lent begins on Monday 3rd March (Monday after Quinquagesima), rather than on the Western Ash Wednesday, 5th March 2014.

Having, especially in Melbourne, attended the Divine Liturgy off and on, I feel familiar with this form of the Eucharistic Sacrifice; I just have to remember not to sing "Gospodi" as with the Russians, but "Hospodi" with the Ukrainians. Most of the service was in English, except for the continual "Hospodi pomilui", other suchlike responses, and certain important chants, such as the Trisagion (which I managed to sing: "Svyaty Bozhe, Svyaty Kripky, Svyaty Bezsmertny, pomilui nas"), the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer.

Having received Our Saviour's Body and Blood, I recalled the advice of a prayerbook: "And after the divine Communion of the life-giving and mystic Gifts, at once give praise and great thanksgiving, and fervently and heartily sing to God: Glory to Thee, O God; Glory to Thee, O God; Glory to Thee, O God."

The noble and immemorial worship of the Byzantine Rite lifts up the heart and mind and soul to God. Would that I could attend it more often!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

2000 Years’ Indulgence

Dix claimed in his magnum opus (I have the 1946 second impression of the second edition: see page 622) to know of no mediæval prayers for Mass in Missals that did other than commemorate the Passion, by referring also to the Lord’s resurrection and ascension.

But what of a common prayer in layfolk’s Primers – I first found it in a facsimile edition of the Great Hours of Anne of Brittany, which I bought for €60 at the monastery of St Scholastica at Subiaco in Italy a few weeks ago – a prayer adorned with a probably apocryphal, but to late mediæval pray-ers most attractive, promise of 2000 years’ indulgence (granted apparently by Pope Boniface VIII at the request of his sworm enemy King Philip IV of France! hence my suspicion)?

The prayer in question, Domine Jesu Christe, qui hanc sacratissimam carnem, which is to be said between the Elevation and the third Agnus Dei, is profoundly anamnetic: as Jungmann explained it, “remembering [Christ’s Passion, Resurrection, Ascension], we offer” – and this prayer, to be recited, in God’s own Latin of course, by lay attendees at Mass, precisely does this.

(For those wishing to behold it as Anne of Brittany did, here and here are links to those beautiful pages.)

The prayer exists in slightly variant forms – a little googling reveals ten different recensions – so in the interest of devotion, I having no skill in text criticism, nor access to a critical edition such as Wilmart’s Auteurs spirituels et textes dévots du moyen âge latin, I have decided to conflate the texts into what I prefer:
Domine Jesu Christe, qui hanc sacratissimam Carnem tuam et hunc pretiosissimum Sanguinem tuum de gloriosissimæ Virginis Mariæ utero assumpsisti, et eumdem pretiosissimum Sanguinem tuum de sacratissimo latere tuo in ara Crucis pro salute nostra effudisti, et in hac gloriosa Carne a mortuis resurrexisti, et ad cælos ascendisti cum eodem sacratissimo Corpore tuo, et iterum venturus es judicare vivos et mortuos in eadem Carne: libera nos per hoc sacratissimum Corpus et Sanguinem tuum, quod modo in altari per manus sacerdotis tractatur, ab omnibus peccatis et immunditiis mentis et corporis, et ab universis malis et periculis, præteritis, præsentibus, et futuris. Qui vivis et regnas Deus in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

(Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst assume this Thy most sacred Flesh and this Thy most precious Blood from the womb of the most glorious Virgin Mary, and didst shed the same Thy most precious Blood from Thy most sacred side on the altar of the Cross for our salvation, and in this glorious Flesh didst arise from the dead, and didst ascend into heaven with the same Thy most sacred Body, and shalt come again to judge the living and the dead in the same Flesh: deliver us by this Thy most sacred Body and Blood, which in a manner on the altar is handled by the hands of the priest, from all sins and uncleannesses of mind and body, and from all evils and perils, past, present, and to come. Who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.)
It is a very full-blooded profession of faith in the truth that the Flesh and Blood of Christ are offered up on the altar and handled by the priest, the very same He took from His Mother, the same Blood which He shed on the Cross, the same Body in which He ascended to heaven, the same Flesh in which He shall come again to judge the quick and dead.

I do think, however, that the petition of the prayer for deliverance from all sins and uncleannesses, from all evils and perils, is a little anticlimatic, given the robust restatement of belief in the saving works of Christ that precedes it. (The petition is of course derived from the opening phrases of the Libera nos, the embolism or prayer that follows the Pater noster.)

That said, do think about using it – I have, since I found it.

(What a pity that all promises of more than a thousand years' pardon, if any were ever validly granted, were abrogated over a century ago; and – sigh – as the former method of measurement of the amount of temporal punishment remitted, by reference to so many days, Lents, or years of canonical penance, was abolished by Paul VI, all that remains to enrich this devout prayer is the general grant in the modern Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, by which the Church from the treasury of merit of Christ and the Saints doubles whatever remission of temporal punishment due to sin is gained by the praying of the prayer.)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Return at Last

I'm home again at last! More to come soon.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

I apologize for the break in transmission, but the pilgrimage has been so busy that I have had no time wherein to blog.

Most days, we have had a Missa cantata - sometimes two, as when we had the first at St Joseph's Church, Nazareth, and the second at the crypt altar of the beautiful Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, surely a great privilege - and we have visited many of the holy places, with many more to come.

For example, today we visited Bethlehem, and, after first praying in the Milk Grotto, were able, after much lengthy queuing, to kiss the spot where Our Lord was born, in the grotto under the Church of the Nativity, which is the oldest surviving church in the Holy Land, built at the command of St Helena, Empress. We had our Masses in the Shepherds' Fields.

Tomorrow, we arise very early and proceed to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Low Mass at Calvary first, then Missa cantata in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel; afterward, for such as want it, there will be English Mass in the Crusader Chapel (I plan to go along to hear the sermon).

Oh, and before I forget, do not ever bother to stay at the David Dead Sea Resort and Spa - the service or lack thereof was awful, the people in the main unfriendly or untrained. That said, the various day spa treatments were quite nice! It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but then again neither was a bus trip through the West Bank... I'm glad to have an Australian passport.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Off to Western Australia, the Holy Land, and Italy...

Very early on Friday morning I will fly off to Perth via Melbourne. I'll have the weekend in Western Australia – my first return visit since I moved back to Tasmania for work in 2009 – and then, together with a large group of fellow pilgrims, I will fly via Dubai to Amman, and travel from there into the Holy Land. After two weeks or so, we will fly on to Rome via Istanbul, and, after a week or so in Italy, at last return home (I will get back in the evening of the 1st of February). Of your charity, please pray that the trip proves safe and spiritually rewarding; I will remember all friends and readers in prayer at the holy places.

I may or may not have the chance to blog about all this, but hope to do so.