Sunday, March 22, 2015

Thank you, St Patrick

It struck me on St Patrick's feast day that I really ought thank him, that truly noble Apostle of Ireland and Patron of Tasmania – since the prayers made to the Lord through his intercession (see side bar), that the Traditional Latin Mass, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, be available in Tasmania, at least on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, have been answered: His Grace Archbishop Porteous appointed Fr Suresh as Chaplain to the Archdiocese of Hobart Latin Mass Community earlier this year, and we have had weekly EF Masses ever since the end of January, thanks to him and Fr Quinn.

First Friday EF Masses have begun; this week, those in Hobart can attend a sung 6 pm Mass for the Annunciation; and again this year, we will have Fr Mannes visiting from Sydney in order to celebrate the sacred rites of the Paschal Triduum. As if that were not enough, since March, on the first Sunday of each month, there is a Missa cantata in Launceston – Truly, my cup runneth over!

I discovered an old posting of mine from December 2012: how much has changed in so little time! And to my surprise, the prayer to St Patrick asking for Latin Masses in this State I found I put together back in October 2008, before I moved back to Tasmania from Western Australia (together with some rather verbose additions unused for years). (I also again thank Fr Hunwicke for assisting me with Latinizing part of it – and for suggesting the addition of "at least".) So it took only 6 years and a quarter for this prayer to be answered: Deo gratias et Patricio.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Viva, viva Benedetto

An unremarked milestone was passed on the 16th of February: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI surpassed the lifespan of Pope Clement XII (who died aged 87 years 306 days), to become the second-longest-lived Pope, outranked only by Leo XIII (who died aged 93 years 140 days): since Georg Ratzinger is still alive, aged 91, God willing, Benedict may indeed live on to surpass that span too, come the 5th of September 2020. Benedict XVI would by now have reigned for over nine years, had he not unexpectedly resigned.

(But do note that Pope John XXII's age at death is uncertain: some sources claim he may have been as many as 89 years old.)

Meanwhile, as the joke has it, the priests of Rome pray at Mass "for Benedict our Pope and Francis our Bishop"! – today begins the third year of the pontificate of Papa Bergoglio, our Latin American leader (caudillo?) from the Silver Republic (that being the literal meaning of his homeland's name). I do hope his second Synod on the Family is less embarrassing and more fruitful than the first; at least he has his own right-hand-man in Cardinal Pell, with the skills (less common in southern Europe and similar places) necessary to reform the murky details of Vatican finances.

If, according to the ineluctable designs of Providence, our one-lunged Argentinian Supreme Pontiff should predecease our former German Shepherd (for after all, as St John Paul the Great opined, the Church ought breathe with both lungs), could a future conclave re-elect the Pope Emeritus, that the Church return to the Golden Age from its current Silver Age, so to speak? And, if so, would he be Benedict XVI & XVII? Or could he take an entirely new Papal name – Ignatius, perhaps? That would be most confusing.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tasmanian Pilgrimage

A small group of friends and I spent the weekend on a Lenten pilgrimage: on Saturday, we walked from St Joseph's Church in Hobart to St John's Church in Richmond (25 km); and on Sunday, another 28 km to St Patrick's Church, Colebrook. The three churches mentioned are all historic: St Joseph's, built 1841, was Hobart's original pro-cathedral; St John the Evangelist's, built 1837, is the oldest extant Catholic church in Australia; and St Patrick's, Colebrook, built 1857, is a perfect Pugin design.

Shelstone Saddle (our Saturday lunch stop) with Hobart in the distance

His Grace condescended to join us for the last hour of the walk into Richmond, and proceeded to celebrate Mass for us in the Ordinary Form; Hugh and Tony sang the Gregorian propers, just as they did the next day at Colebrook, where Fr Suresh sang a Missa cantata. En route, from time to time we said the Rosary (ten decades each day), sang hymns, conversed and enjoyed the pleasant weather and  scenery.

Simon and Lyle took turns in driving our support vehicle, which kept us supplied with water, plus food and drink for lunch, morning and afternoon tea. The pilgrimage could not have happened without the kind permission of the local parish priest, nor the support of other friends of mine who assisted us. David, who joined our band on the Sunday, lives locally, and helped plan the route.

A little before lunch on Sunday, with Gravelly Ridge to climb afterwards

It was a pity that a few others were unable to attend in the event, but c'est la vie. I must say that such a generous dose of unaccustomed fresh air, sunshine and exercise all agreed with me, and I cannot wait to strike out cross-country again. Being a Catholic affair, we quenched our hard-earned thirst and enjoyed a pleasant dinner together in a local pub each evening.

Colebrook was originally named Jerusalem, and so our little venture bore a somewhat grandiose title: a Lenten Pilgrimage to Tasmania's Jerusalem. All pilgrimages, large and small, are images of the progress of each Christian, and of the whole Church, through the desert of this world to the supernal City of God. As St Louis IX said as he lay dying, "We will go to Jerusalem".

St Patrick's Church, Colebrook