Thursday, our last full day. Dull all day.
I celebrated a 'private' Mass again with my trainee-server: we arrived at our altar in the Oratory chapel, the 'relics chapel' (so called because the sides of the chapel have display cases of relics of martyrs and saints) only to find that the candles were unlit and the cruets, which should have been there had disappeared. My server did some scurrying around, lit the candles and found the cruets, and then we could begin. He really is making progress: he was one hundred per cent better than yesterday, and I understand that he is getting expert tuition on a one-to-one basis from an expert server - he will be able to direct his priest on the Traditional Mass pretty soon!
The main Mass this morning was a Solemn Requiem Mass sung by Father Brown (of Forest Murmurs); the choir was augmented by singers from around the North-East, and they sang Victoria's Mass for a Requiem, totally unaccompanied by the organ, beautifully sang, ethereal in quality. At the end of Mass, there were the Ablutions over the black draped catafalque (representing all the bishops and priests we had been praying for during Mass). It was solemn, dignified and totally suited to the purpose of offering souls to God with all their sins forgiven. How much the Church of today has lost, with its casual attitude towards sin and the presumption of immediate sanctity!
My tutorial sessions with my priests are now finished. Besides the two sessions in which I tried to explain how to say the Traditional Mass, each of my priests has had the chance to go through the service individually, using a chalice and all the veils etc and an actual altar bread; each of them was able to say the Latin prayers of the Mass. And this was tough for them - imagine trying to learn actions whilst saying words of a foreign language which you hardly understand or can pronounce! That's not easy - none of them are Latin speakers or have studied Latin. But I am quite certain that if they continue to practice the Latin and the actions for the Traditional Mass they will find that they will become fluent all round. I am certainly happy with their progress.
In the afternoon, Father de Mallerais, an ordained priest of the Fraternal Society of St Peter (FSSP), gave us a talk on how he personally valued the Missal of the Traditional Rite of Mass as a powerful medium for bringing the long-standing traditions of the Church into the modern world. He also told us about a number of events in his Society which gave him great hope for the future of tradition, the consecration of the new chapel in Denton, Nebraska, by a cardinal of the Church, visits by other cardinals to their seminary in Germany, the work of the Society for Juventutem.
Sorry. but I can't write any more tonight; it's been a great night, and I will explain tomorrow in my final Conference post.