Wednesday, November 30, 2011

006 Advent II - Introit - Populus Sion

I think 'beefy baritone' of Montmoreau would like to have done this.! Anyway, prayers for a blessed second Sunday in Advent, 2011.

South-east Charente Confirmation: Part Two

There were seven confirmands, six youngsters and one adult. I don't know whether they had anything with which to compare the rite which took them forward from Baptism. I do know this though,  that they would have felt the  warmth of welcoming approval that reached out to embrace them from the assembled community. I know that, and it was the best part of Sunday morning's celebration. I think the power of our singing surprised Bishop Dagens. He commented on it anyway. Those seven were well and truly confirmed. And yet there were things about the liturgy which unsettled me, and I'll post about them next time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Confirmation in the south-east Charente Part One

The Church:
Montmoreau St Denys, externally a solid 12th century edifice of stern but imposing Romanesque beauty . Inside it was clearly inhabited by a caring parish who could afford to heat the building well. We were early and having entered by a side door into the north transept, easily found seats close to the sanctuary.

First impressions before Mass
As usual in the churches of our deanery , I was depressed by the bare altar. Instead of the Benedictine candlesticks, behind the altar in a broad semi-circle were six stands with an elecrtically operated  'flame' atop each. I couldn't work our where the Blessed Sacrament was hidden. (Sadly, I am used to that terrible feeling of confusion and loss.)

Music for the Mass was still being rehearsed right up to the moment when the entrance procession began. There was no choir and even though I established later that there was a harmonium in the church, it appeared that the music would be led by a lady lutenist who also played the clarinet, a violinist, and one man with a very loud and powerful baritone voice. I have to admit that the rehearsal was preferable to the seemingly endless procession of busy-bodying women in and out of the sacristy which I witness on most Sundays during the half hour before Mass begins. None of that here. What a relief! There appeared to be three of four young male altar servers assembling for duty, attired not in cassock and cotta but in those drab alb-like garments that somehow always look ill-fitting and grubby.

Beefy baritone took us through some of the responses but his mike was head-burstingly loud. By that time the church was almost full and the congregation gave him as good as he was giving. At least these sheep are not going to feebly bleat I thought, and even began to relax..

Please understand me. I did not attend this liturgy with the intention of being critical and sour. I wanted it to be wonderful for the sake of the confirmands . I desperately wanted not to be distracted by dubious liturgical practice. But over the years I have witnessed some terrible things. Matters have improved over recent years but nevertheless those deeply ingrained memories still make me nervous.

As the procession came out of the sacristy and headed to the west door, I noticed that Bishop Dagens was clutching his mitre in his left hand. Well,  I thought, at least it's going to be an improvement on Bishop Crowley's 1986 Confirmation, in Chelsea, when he caused reactions ranging from uneasy disappointment to affronted outrage, by conducting the rite totally without time-honoured episcopal headgear.

More tomorrow

Belated thanks to 'Linen on the Hedgerow'

Thank you Richard for choosing me as the blogger with whom you would most like to share a bottle of wine.
I'm glad you chose that form of beverage because it would take (slightly!) longer to drink than a cup of tea or coffee, thus giving us more time to chat. I warmly reciprocate your wish and expect the odds on our meeting are in favour of its being at a London pub blogfest somewhere near Westminster Cathedral. Maybe next year?

I prefer a 13% Bordeaux or Chilean red. How about you? If we can't agree, we can always fall back on a pint or two of real ale. Shepherd Neame's 'Bishop's Finger' is my favourite! Seriously it's one of the few things I miss about England - notice I said things, not people.

God bless and thanks again,


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Confirmation at Mass tomorrow morning.

The Mass will be the only one in our entire Deanery tomorrow. Thanks to my auto-mobile friend Christiane, I am able to travel the 18km to Montmoreau where the Confirmation will be 'conferred' by our Bishop Dagens during that Mass.

It will only be the fourth occasion in my life that I have attended a Confirmation: the first in 1962 when I was myself confirmed by Archbishop King of Portsmouth (of blessed memory) at St. Laurence's church in Petersfield; the second at St. Mary's Cadogan Street, Chelsea (1986?) where I was a chorister when Bishop Crowley, then auxiliary in Westminster, came to 'do' the Confirmation; and the third at Arundel Cathedral in 1998 where then Bishop Murphy-O'Connor was celebrant during a Mass in which I played a minor role as sponsor to one of the girls at Elmhurst Ballet School in Camberley.  It will be impossible to get through tomorrow morning without reflecting on these three events, but I will reserve prayers at the Mass for the young French Catholics who will, in that holy hour, be receiving this Sacrament.

I hope to report on Monday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Novena for Seminarian Philip Johnson

The Novena begins this coming Wednesday and culminates on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. See Fr Z for more details.

Whatever happened to the promised consideration of restoration of Holy Days?

Perhaps I dreamed it, in wishful thinking mode, but I thought that after the BCEW plenary meeting in the Spring of this year, Archbishop Nichols stated publicly that the bishops had all gone back to their dioceses to consider the 'pastoral needs' of the matter and that we would hear something about it after the next meeting in November. Well, that has just happened, and as far as I can see, nothing has been said at all. I hope for correction if I've overlooked something.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Archbishop Nichols publishes book on St. John Fisher

'Pastor in Valle' was at the book's recent launch and writes about it here He has not yet finished it, but so far seems impressed.That is encouraging since I greatly value his opinion

Saint John Fisher is one of my favourite martyr saints and I will therefore buy the book.
I have known for some time (courtesy of Wikipedia) that the then Fr Nichols specialised in the 'theology of St. John Fisher' during a year's study for an MA in Theology at Manchester University, that degree being awarded to him forty years ago in 1971..I do trust that the present volume is the result of further reflection and research over the intervening years, and is not merely an edited version of the original thesis, trotted out now merely because the author is the current Archbishop of Westminster.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

XIII. Haydn St. Cecilia Mass, Hob. 22 5 Marc Minkowski.

I think Haydn must have been familiar with today's Office reading from Saint Augustine, in which he answers the question 'What is singing with jubilation? It means' he says, 'to realise that words are not enough to express what we are singing in our hearts'.

Happy Saint Cecilia's day!

"I will rejoice in you and be glad, and sing psalms to yourname, O Most High. When I sing to you my lips shall rejoice."
(Responsory at the Office of Readings for the Memoria of St. Cecilia.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bones does even better with 'Universae Ecclesiae'

Link to his blog 'That the bones you have crushed may thrill'; in the sidebar here

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'The Ballad of Summorum Pontificum" by 'Bones' of England

Right, times is desperate! Get learning the refrain and next time you're in St. Peter's Square for a papal Audience, team up with some like minded English Catholics, PREFERABLY YOUNG, and give it some welly so the Holy Father can hear it as he passes in the popemobile. Make sure you have lots of Union flags so that he can identify where the noise is coming from. Display the refrain on banners in print large enough to be read:

Terrible for an old lady to be inciting this sort of action, but I've just about reached the end of my tether, one which has been stretched, pulled and frayed almost beyond endurance for half a century.. I realise going to Rome is expensive and beyond most of our pockets. Maybe it would be possible to organise peaceful performances on the home turf.

God bless and well done Laurence!

For the Feast of Christ the King: Regensburger Domspatzen: Christus vincit

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Speculation on next Consistory: February 2012?

On November 14 Sandro Magister claimed that 'word is going round the Vatican' that the next Consistory will be in February next year. He speculates that if Benedict XVI adheres to previously established practice, Florence will possibly/probably yet again not make 'the purple' because it has a surviving emeritus Archbishop, who is not yet 80 - Cardinal Enrico Antonelli (75) . From an English point of view it would yet again rule Archbishop Nichols of Westminster from the running. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connnor is not 80 until August. If on the other hand the Consistory is delayed until later in the year............
Whether or not Pope Benedict really intends to retire on his own 85th birthday, he may decide on a February Consistory as possibly his last chance to affect the composition of the College at the next conclave.

Perish the thought.
I mean of course, perish the thought that he may be considering retirement.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More from Maestro Monsignor Guido Marini

Vatican official notes Pope's attention to detail in liturgy :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) and shares his  personal thoughts whilst standing at Pope Benedict's left hand during Mass. 'At those moments I think to myself, " I am at the side of the Vicar of Christ," and I renew my faith.' I think this is my favourite quote, particularly on St. Leo the Great's day: But perhaps this one is even better: 'I pay attention to everything that goes into the rite in order to really help those participtating to experience God and to help those who are in a spirit of adoration.'

Thank you, dear Monsignor. May Our Lord and His blessed Mother watch over you and grant you a safe and successful trip to Benin and bring you safely home to Rome.

Pope Benedict and the personal significance of the South Tyrol

ZENIT - Pope Remembers His Mother's Stories

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Will Benin be the Pope's last long voyage? Sounds as if it should be if we want to keep him with us.

Pope reported to have Arthrosis

Personally, I think that Arthrosis is only one aspect of the problem and in any case it can't have been helped by that crazy woman who knocked him down a couple of Christmases ago. Aside from that, itt's quite clear to anyone who observes him closely that he has difficulties of balance. He has a tendency to fall over. This cannot be helped by the failing sight in his left eye, which is the case according to some reports, but which has been unmentioned/overlooked/ignored, by nearly all commenters.

May God help our dear Pope Benedict.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bad news from Ireland -updated

According to the French blog 'Salon Beige', the Irish government has announced that it will close its Embassy to the Holy See, giving the Euro crisis as the reason. I hope that Fr Gabriel Burke and perhaps Fr Hogan will comment tomorrow.

A sad day indeed.

Update: Father Hogan has posted on his blog 'Ex Umbris et Imaginibus' - and again here.  The second linked post contains text of Cardinal Brady's reaction and also a link to comment by David Quinn.
Thank you Father

Pope Benedict: Three days that changed the world

Go here to read Vatican Radio's draft translation of the Holy Father's homily at this morning's Mass.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Church Triumphant, Militant and Suffering

As long as we live, we are members of the Church Militant. As such, yesterday we turned our souls to give thanks to God for the Church Triumphant; today, and traditionally for the rest of November, we pray for the Church Suffering (in Purgatory). The reason I love this time of year is that the Church draws our attention to her essential composition, makes us realise to which part of her we as yet belong. And tries to make us each year more fully aware of how we should behave in reaction and relation to the other two vast and innumerable hosts that exist beyond/outside earthly existence.

I had another fall on the eve of All Saints, this time over a lurking vacuum cleaner outside the dining room door. At first I thought I may have broken a bone in my hand, but although it is horribly blue and swollen and looks as though it has done at least one round with Mike Tyson, I think it will be all right. I could make it the excuse for the brevity of this post. That would not be honest. Truth is that I can't find words to express the vastness of the Divine economy of the Church of Christ. Several beloved composers have tried to do it in music  -   first those monks who wrote the Plainchant Requiem, then Victoria, Mozart, Dvorak, Berlioz -  and I list Verdi and Faure, even though they were not believers.

I think Victoria is my man, but then that is for another day.

God bless all here,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

O Quam Gloriosum est Regnum - Victoria

"Oh! how glorious is the kingdom wherein all the saints rejoice with Christ; they are clothed in white robes; they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth."
Feast of All Saints - Magnificat Antiphon at Second Vespers.

November 1, the Feast of All Saints

"Almighty and everlasting God, it has been granted to us to celebrate on this one feast, the merits of all Your saints; we pray that through this great host of our intercessors, You would pour out on us the longed for abundance of Your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who being God, lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen"
(Collect at Mass - translation from Saint Andrew Daily Missal, 1962)