International Mass

Let us try to be positive. Over 10,000 people from England, Italy, Austria, Korea and France - to name only some of the larger groups - all gathered for Mass, makes for an experience of the Catholicity of the Church. The actual organisation of the ceremony, including the distribution of Holy Communion, is reverent and very competent. My people always come back very impressed and moved by the occasion. It was a bonus for them that Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Birmingham) was the principal celebrant

There were some odd elements, looking rather like the Cardinal Mahoney Masses featured across the US Catholic blogo-hemisphere. To link with the theme of "Keep your lamps lit", representatives from the larger groups carried candles for the penitential rite. Bizzarely, these were housed in china ducks. There was a bit of coloured cloth-waving at the Gloria, and the Gospel was read 4 times by Deacons dressed in dalmatics with different coloured orphreys.

This gets to the heart of the problem with the modern International Mass. At various points, it becomes like the Monty Python inauguration of a post-box with things being repeated in four, five or six different languages. This means that those who do not speak one of the favoured languages are more definitively left out.

Presumably because an English Archbishop was the principal celebrant, the Eucharistic Prayer was in English. Hard luck any Poles or Germans who don't speak English! The booklet used for the Eucharistic Prayer contains the prayer in various languages, including the one which gives the obvious answer to this mess.

I would expect to receive the retort that Latin is a language that nobody knows so it would have the effect of leaving everyone out. As a matter of fact, the parts of the Mass which showed the active exterior participation of the whole congregation in unison were the Lourdes Sanctus and the Pater Noster sung in Latin. Somehow, everyone did seem to know them. If Latin were the normal thing for International Masses, Pilgrimage organisers would soon learn to supply people with appropriate texts.

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