Monday, April 3, 2017

First of April, Third of May

We normally have a Sunday evening Missa cantata here in Launceston on the second Sunday of each month; however, as next Sunday is Palm Sunday, a day of great liturgical exertions, our chaplain drove up from Hobart a week earlier, so we could celebrate Passion Sunday on the first Sunday, which was yesterday, the 2nd of April. Next month, something similar obtains: to avoid clashing with parish missions, the Missa cantata will be celebrated on the third Sunday, the 21st of May. As April has five Sundays this year, this means that six Sundays will intervene between our two Missæ cantatæ. I do hope those who weren't present at Mass yesterday evening hadn't missed out through their own fault by not reading the schedule! I didn't send any reminder messages as I have in the past. And people will have to pay attention to find out when the next Mass occurs, given this latest change to our schedule.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Las Huelgas

Las Huelgas was a Royal convent of Cistercian nuns… Until a few years ago one was only allowed to step into the huge bare church and look through the grille into the nuns’ choir. Now the convent of Las Huelgas has been opened by Papal permission, and it is one of the most magically beautiful places in the world. 
…no less extraordinary were the experiences of the commission who came to open the convent… a day or two before the commission left and its work was done, a feast was given to them by the abbess and the nuns. It took place at some strange hour, three or four o’clock in the morning, recalling accounts of audiences given by the Dowager-Empress of China which were at that hour; and the dishes, I was told, were either of an intolerable nastiness, or else quite exquisite in taste but entirely unfamiliar being from probably thirteenth-century recipes.
— Sacheverell Sitwell, Monks, Nuns and Monasteries (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965), 125 & 127.