Today, Wednesday, dawned dull, but the clouds broke and this has been a splendidly sunny day, a little cold but still sunny.
Today has, I feel, been a very good day. For me it began with a 'private' Mass (that is, just me and my server) in the Oratory Chapel, a small chapel which has several display cases full of the relics of the saints. It was an interesting Mass; for my server this was the first time that he had served for a Traditional Mass. Indeed, it is only a couple of weeks since his priest asked him to help by serving for the Novus Ordo Mass, and now he was here at Ushaw being persuaded to serve a TLM; to say he was nervous would be an under-estimation; he told me later he had expected to make about one hundred and fifty mistakes, but he only managed ninety-nine! By the time he goes home on Friday, he will be competent, I am sure.
Both he and his priest are part of my tutorial group, along with Sri Lankan Father Shelton, and one of our local priests. In our tutorial session this morning, I had one of my priests go through the actions of the Mass - learning by doing is my motto! It took a long time, but I feel that by actually handling the chalice and all the other things which we use for Low Mass a student will begin to get a close 'feel' for the Traditional Mass. The other important thing, of course, is to teach them not to do things in a Novus Ordo kind of way; fortunately with this group that is not a problem.
We took so long with our tutorial that we had to rush about a bit to get ready for today's Missa Cantata; again this was a beautiful occasion and the singing was divine - a little bit of Heaven, to be precise - it certainly raises the mind and heart.
The other wonderful thing about today during meals (still excellent and tasty) and time-outs in the Coffee Bar is the camaraderie amongst all the participants - priests of all different ages, some in parishes, some not, most with vastly different experiences from others - and likewise the laymen who are with us either as choir members or part of the altar serving team. The one thing which we all have in common is a love for the traditional church and the desire to learn more about that church and in our own way to 'make it happen' once again. One day when our bishops and all our leaders decide to honour the Holy Father's teaching in Summorum Pontificum, which I believe they will eventually, then there will be a proper mixture of the old Mass alongside, and honoured together, with the New Mass, which the Pope has declared to be the Ordinary (or usual) Form of the Mass.
Now I am going to go down to the Coffee Bar where someone is going to show a video of a Solemn High Mass which was made in my time at Ushaw. I am going to try and spot myself among the four hundred students in the St Cuthbert's Chapel, but the trouble is that it is so long ago that I can't even remember where I was sitting at the time!