Sunday, 22 March 2009

Laetare Sunday

Laetare Sunday was celebrated with solemnity in my parish today. At both usus recentior and usus antiquior Masses, we used the new set of rose vestments made by Luzar Vestments and paid for by donations from around the world thanks to blog appeals by Damian Thompson (Holy Smoke) and Fr John Zuhlsdorf (What Does The Prayer Really Say) together with donations from parishioners and friends locally.

At our usus antiquior Mass, Dr Laurence Hemming (author of "Worship as a Revelation") was deacon and Rev John Harrison subdeacon. We had enough altar servers to field six torchbearers and a full congregation gave a model example of "full, active, conscious participation" throughout.

As ever, the bulk of the congregation was composed of parishioners and their families. Today we also had a few extra visitors who travelled to Blackfen specially.

As I have mentioned before, at the celebration of High Mass, I am very conscious of the subordination of myself as priest to the mysteries that are celebrated. It is emphatically not about "me". The formal gestures of reverence and assistance given by the Deacon and Subdeacon are so obviously meant as reverence for Christ in his mysteries that it would be a ludicrous misunderstanding to see them as directed to the priest himself.

The quintessential form of the Classical Roman Rite is the Pontifical High Mass. The High Mass with the parish priest as celebrant is the nearest that we can normally approach this form. Fr Faber was right to describe it as "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven" .
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