Friday, 8 January 2010

More on yesterday's Mass

Here are two of the photos posted by the NLM (more here)

and here is one of John Sonnen's at Orbis Catholicus - he managed to get up to a high vantage point (there are more at several posts on his blog for 7 January):

I decided not to go on the trip to Bagno Regio today but to spend a quiet day in Rome, make an extended visit to the tomb of St Peter, go to confession in the Basilica, and celebrate Mass quietly. I also had a long walk round the Centro Storico, visited various Churches and had plenty of time to ponder yesterday's experience of assisting at Pontifical High Mass.

First of all, I would like to emphasise what a devout and kindly man is Cardinal Cañizares Llovera. With devout bishops it is sometimes difficult to tell at first whether they are being prayerful or just rather grumpy and doing their best to suffer the attentions of their assistants. His Eminence took time to read the prayers in preparation for Mass quite slowly, then suffered the process whereby Fr Tattershall (Assistant Priest), Fr McDaniels (deacon), and myself (subdeacon), went through the elaborate but ultimately rather uncomfortable (for him) process of being vested for the Pontifical Mass with amice, alb, cincture, pectoral cross, tunicle, dalmatic, chasuble, buskins, sandals, gloves, ring and mitre.

Cardinal Cañizares was not particularly familiar with the ordinary rubrics of the usus antiquior. This meant that he had to be guided very closely by the MC and the Assistant Priest. Again he submitted to this with great humility and calm, remaining prayerfully attentive throughout the Mass.

After Mass, there is another process of tugging and pulling as the various vestments are removed and, once the mozzetta is back in place, the prayers in thanksgiving after Mass. His Eminence again took time with these and only after all was finished did he break out into a warm smile and thank everyone individually with obvious sincerity and joy. He took the trouble to meet all the seminarians individually as well as many of the clergy present.

For myself, I did wonder whether this was the most special moment of my liturgical life. When I was a student, I did serve Mass for Pope John Paul and on one occasion was Deacon at the papal Mass at San Lorenzo in Damaso so I think they have to rank higher. Nevertheless, of all the things that it is possible to do liturgically, assisting as Sacred Minister for the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship in one of the Major Basilicas will take some beating. It was a great privilege and a splendid example of the relationship between adoration and communion of which Mgr Marini spoke the other day.
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