First of all, I have to say that I was wrong about Ushaw and the internet: this building is wifi connected, and the mobile phone signal is much stronger than in my own home!
The weather today (Monday) is beautiful, sky blue from one horizon to the other, sunshine bright and warm - I hope it stays like this.
We have eighteen priests who have come to learn how to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass or in some cases to improve their present knowledge.Two of the priests have been sent here from Sri Lanka by Archbishop Ranjith of Colombo, another priest is from Nigeria and a fourth is from South Africa, the rest are from all around England and Scotland. There are six priests who are here as tutors. I am particularly thrilled that one of the priests whom I tutored last year is here again to learn about the Missa Cantata.
The priest-students have been divided into five classes: three groups will learn about the Low Mass, one group will learn about the Missa Cantata and the fifth group will learn about the Solemn High Mass. A sixth group is made up of laymen who want to learn the intricacies of becoming Master of Ceremonies.
Today has been a fairly relaxed settling-in kind of day. This morning we had a Solemn High Mass; the singing was led by the Rudgate Singers of York, amalgamated by others from around the country. The celebrant who was scheduled to say the Mass had not arrived in time, and a priest who was passing the sacristy (at the wrong time) was grabbed and persuaded to be the celebrant. It was a fine occasion: the Mass was in honour of Our Blessed Lady, the parts of the Mass (Kyrie etc) were from the plain chant Cum Jubilo, and the proper of the Mass was plain chant (that is, Gregorian Chant) sung by the choir.
In the early evening Father de Mallerais led Vespers of Our Lady to celebrate the opening of the week's conference. The singing of the psalms in the traditional monkish way was very soothing and calming, and there was a sense of timelessness to the proceedings.
The food has been very good today - and from my point of view, the wonderful thing about the food is that I don't have cook it or wash up after it! The conversation has been good, and the whole group - a mixed group of clergy and laymen - is beginning to meld together, as I am sure you would expect.
A good and relaxing first day.