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.