Mass with the Holy Father

This morning, participants in the Clergy Conference attended Mass celebrated by the Holy Father for the feast of the Epiphany. A number of things stood out in comparison to the past papal Mass that I attended. There were no concelebrants (though there were two Cardinal Deacons and two other Deacons); there were the seven acolytes that others have noticed. A bell was rung at the usual times during the Mass; something that has been recently reintroduced. All of the music was, of course, liturgical music: either plainsong or polyphony. There was also very little of the clapping and shouting that used to characterise papal Masses (just a modest amount at the entrance and the recessional.) the atmosphere throughout the Mass was reverent, including some extended periods of silent prayer. In our section everyone knelt down for the consecration: again something that I do not remember from previous Masses. Pope Benedict has certainly made a significant mark on the celebration of the papal Mass.

Some of the professional photographers:

Fr Charles Briggs and Fr Michael Brown (Forest Murmurs) after the Mass

We exited the Basilica via a passageway and door that I have not been through before:

Various dignitaries are saluted by the Cohors Helvetica:

Even the scaffolding at St Peter's is covered with the papal colours:

The Vatican has its own lamp posts:

with the papal insignia:

I'm off now to listen to the next talk of the conference which is to be given by Mgr Guido Marini, the papal MC.

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