Tuesday, 9 December 2014
Missa Cantata for the Immaculate Conception
Yesterday evening I attended the Missa Cantata for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception organised by the Durham Chapter of Juventutem. It was celebrated, with permission from the local Dominicans who have care of the Durham parish of St Cuthbert, by Father Bede Rowe of ‘A Chaplain Abroad’.
I and others I spoke to were impressed by the proficiency of the servers who had no practice at all, and the quality of the singing, the singers having had but scant practice just before Mass. Both he serving team and the singers included members of the Durham Juventutem group, the singers also having members of the student body of Durham University. They were aided and supported by a fine young organist. There was a good number in the congregation and the Buffet afterwards was enjoyed by all, along with great company! I sat in choir for the Mass, along with Father Paul Tully, Catholic chaplain to the local Durham Hospitals.
Having seen how these young people love what they were doing, and the older members of the congregation supporting them, I have to say that for the life of me I cannot understand why there is continued resistance to the Church’s ancient liturgy. Several young people spoke to me in the following Buffet saying they had never attended an Extraordinary Form Mass and asked why it was not more commonly available. One young lady however, had the same reaction I did many years ago when I first attended a TLM: it was all done on the sanctuary and the people did little or nothing. I told her my own story of having only come to appreciate the TLM only after several attendances by which time I had come to value the silence and the permission it gives to pray in my own words from my own heart rather than make programmed responses. She did, however, say she liked what she saw (she had an advantage over me in that my first few attendances were at low Masses said in a hotel room back in 1980!)
I think it is time that the EF was not be simply allowed by the Church but actively promoted in order that we allow the Holy Spirit to show us which Form allows Him to reach the human heart more readily. It is not enough to permit the TLM: permission can be a neutral stance. What we need is for the Church’s liturgical treasure be valued and positively promoted, rather than grudgingly tolerated.
The photographs were taken by Mrs Susan McDowell and Mr Michael Wee.