Thursday 23 September 2010

Ushaw: Priests Training Day Two (posted 13/04/2010)

Day Two dawned very misty and quite cool, but by mid-afternoon the sun had shown its face and everything was bright and cheerful again.
Today has been a fairly hard day.  We have had two sessions of training for our groups, each lasting for over an hour.  The priests in my group are absolute beginners and after the first session I think that they were even more confused about the Traditional Latin Mass than they were before - there is such a lot to learn about this way of celebrating Mass and you have to learn every little gesture to try and make the Mass as perfect as you can, for the sake of the Mass itself.  At the same time I am attempting to train a layman to be a server at the Latin Mass.  However, I am pleased to say that they are all keen to learn, and I think that by the end of the second training session I felt that we were making progress.  To such an extent that tomorrow one of my priests is going to go through the actions of the Mass with me prompting him.  The best way to learn is to do it, even if that means getting a bit of a push here and there to do the right thing!
Early morning today saw Ushaw as it used to be: silent in the cloisters around the chapel, with priests vested for Mass scurrying to their assigned altars, with a server in front of them carrying the missal and cruets with water and wine; Masses being celebrated at the numerous altars around the cloisters, the murmur of Latin prayers as one walked by an altar, an occasional bell marking a part of the Mass.  I did not celebrate an early morning Mass, because it was my privilege to celebrate the Missa Cantata at the High Altar in St Cuthbert's Chapel.  In all my time at Ushaw, and since, this was only the second time that I had been celebrant at this altar, and with the splendid vestments provided by Luzar Vestments it felt for me very special.  I am pretty sure I made a mess of the intonation of the Gloria, but I did it with confidence!  And since the organist seemed to pick up exactly where I left off, I was pretty satisfied that I hadn't done too badly!  One other thing stood out at the Mass: the thurible was absolutely full of burning charcoal - at one point I was afraid that some charcoal would spill out of the thurible - and since the spoon for the incense was like a small shovel, by the time I had shovelled incense onto this mass of charcoal, the smoke was thick and I could hardly see the altar or the crucifix!  But for me it was a lovely occasion.
The lecture which we should have had this afternoon was unfortunately cancelled, because the speaker didn't turn up, so many of us went to have a cup of tea, a biscuit and a chat.  The chat was good, but I am glad that there were no bishops present!  On the other hand .....
In the early evening we had Rosary and Benediction.  What was unusual about this was that the Rosary was said in Latin, at least the Paters, Aves and Glorias.  At one time, in the later Middle Ages, all Catholics could say these and other prayers in Latin, and usually did.  Nothing new there then.  Perhaps it would be nice if we were ever able to bring back this kind of former knowledge, which could lead to a deeper practice of the Faith.
Later this evening we will finish our day with Compline, the Church's official night prayer.
Once again today the food served to us has been excellent.  It has been a tiring day (walking around the College involves miles of trecking along corridors - from my room to the St Cuthbert's Chapel must be a quarter of a mile and we make that walk many times a day). As I say, it has been tiring, but worthwhile and very enjoyable.

1 comment:

  1. "What was unusual about this was that the Rosary was said in Latin, at least the Paters, Aves and Glorias."

    When I lived in Rome (over 40 years ago) and one went into a church where the Rosary was being said, it was invariably being said in Latin! On querying an Italian student about this, he replied that this was normal in Italy.

    Of course the words are very similiar in both languages ("Ave Maria gratia plena..." "Ave O Maria piena di grazia...").

    However, I suspect that the practice no longer obtains, unfortunately.