Tuesday, April 29, 2008

St Peter of Verona, M.O.P.

In the modern rite, which I must needs attend if I am to hear Mass, St Catherine of SIena is celebrated (in the old, her feast day is tomorrow). Yesterday's feast of St Peter Chanel pushed aside not only St Paul of the Cross (EF only) but St Louis Mary de Monfort (in both forms of the Roman Rite). Too many saints to fit in!

In the old rite, and especially in the Dominican Rite, today is the feast of St Peter Martyr, a Dominican slain by heretics outside Milan on Easter Saturday, 6th April 1252, and canonized within a year, the fastest of all modern canonizations; his murderer repented, and became a Dominican lay brother - which must have occasioned some unusual reflections each year as the feast approached! - and himself died in the odour of sanctity, being ever since venerated in some places as Blessed Carino.

For various reasons I consider St Peter a patron saint of mine: he was an intrepid preacher of the Faith, even unto death. In his earliest youth he, the child of Manichaean parents, rebuked their faithlessness by his refusal to disavow the Apostles' Creed, which he had learnt at school; and, as he lay dying, his skull split open by the nefarious blow from a billhook, he wrote one last time Credo in his own blood.

St Vincent Ferrer, his later confrere, also an indefatigable herald of the Gospel, tells us to treasure and pray often the Apostles' Creed with great devotion and full attention, giving heartfelt assent to its saving truths; but we must beware, lest our wicked lives give the lie to our pious utterances, for "The diamond is easily lost in the dunghill, and the precious pearl of faith is in great danger of being lost in a conscience defiled with the filth of sin." As my old P.P. (now Bishop of Lismore) said, the root of most all heresies is moral turpitude.

The Missale Romanum includes proper orations only, but the Dominican Missal has this proper, borrowing some parts from various commons:


Mass of St Peter of Verona, Dominican Priest and Martyr (T.P.)

Introit (Ps. 63:3,2)

Protexisti me, Deus, a conventu malignantium, alleluja: a multitudine operantium iniquitatem, alleluja, alleluja. Ps. Exaudi Deus orationem meam cum deprecor:a timore inimici eripe animam meam. Gloria Patri.


Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut beati Petri martyris tui fidem congrua devotione sectemur, qui pro ejusdem fidei dilatatione, martyrii palmam meruit obtinere. Per…

Epistle (II Timothy ii, 4-10)

Carissime: Nemo militans Deo implicat se negotiis sæcularibus; ut ei placeat, cui se probavit. Nam et qui certat in agone, non coronatur nisi legitime certaverit. Laborantem agricolam oportet primum de fructibus percipere. Intellige quæ dico: Dabit enim tibi Dominus in omnibus intellectum. Memor esto Dominum Jesum Christum resurrexisse a mortuis ex semine David, secundum Evangelium meum, in quo laboro usque ad vincula, quasi male operans: sed verbum Dei non est alligatum. Ideo omnia sustineo propter electos, ut et ipsi salutem consequantur, quæ est in Christo Jesu, cum gloria cælesti.

Paschal Alleluia (before Ascensiontide)

Alleluja, alleluja. V/. Felix ex fructu triplici, quem sub patre mirifico ex virtute multiplici legit sancto Dominico. Alleluja. V/. Surrexit pastor bonus, qui posuit animam suam pro ovibus suis, et pro suo grege mori dignatus est. Alleluja.

Gospel (St Luke ix, 23-26)

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Si quis vult post me venire, abneget semetipsum, et tollat crucem suam quotidie, et sequatur me. Qui enim voluerit animam suam salvam facere, perdet illam: nam qui perdiderit animam suam propter me, salvam faciet illam. Quid enim proficit homo, si lucretur universum mundum, se autem ipsum perdat, et detrimentum sui faciat? Nam qui me erubuerit, et meos sermones, hunc Filius hominis erubescet cum venerit in majestate sua, et Patris, et sanctorum angelorum.

Offertory (Ps 20:4,5)

Posuisti, Domine, in capite ejus coronam de lapide pretioso: vitam petiit a te, et tribuisti ei. Alleluja.


Preces, quas tibi, Domine, offerimus, intercedente beato Petro martyre tuo, clementer intende; et pugiles fidei sub tua protectione custodi. Per…

Communion (St John xv, 5)

Ego sum vitis vera, et vos palmites: qui manet in me, et ego in eo, hic fert fructum multum. Alleluja.


Fideles tuos, Domine, custodiant sacramenta, quæ sumpsimus; et intercedente beato Petro martyre tuo, contra omnes adversos tueantur incursus. Per…

Monday, April 28, 2008

Feast of St Peter Chanel

Tonight I did something unusual: I drove over to the Polish church (where Mass is said, in Polish of course, for emigrants from Poland), and attended Mass there, as I have done from time to time in the past: for it's only 8 k's away, and has Mass at the convenient hour of 6.30pm on weekdays; but I took with me my old missal, and mutatis mutandis read the texts to myself of the Mass of this day... It seemed somehow more attractive a way to participate than to haul over my modern missal, and get annoyed by its jejune translations which are more and more just an unpleasant memory to me. Of course, I still stood, sat and knelt as the rest of the congregation did, and responded (quietly, in Latin) to the priest's greetings and prayers, since of course I recognize what he's saying, tho' I speak no Polish. In fact, I find the Polish must be very faithful to the Latin Novus Ordo: one can notice points like the Polish version of mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

One reason that I decided to assist at Mass in this odd manner is that I was sore tempted a few days back to attend some weekday Masses at Jolimont for convenience's sake, since Mass there is at 6.30pm too, according to WikkiMissa (the SSPX's own website gives quite other times!), and it is the Trad Mass to boot - but the priests there are SSPX! Hence, they are of course suspended a divinis (no, I won't have people try and convince me otherwise, it's the plain unvarnished truth), and so in conscience I could not assist at their Mass, just as I could not do so if it were the Mass of any other suspended priest - it would be to join in an act of disobedience.

Another reason for not going there is that the Society is in an irregular position vis a vis both the local archdiocese and the universal Church, despite offers for them to come back into union, whether individually or corporately, as famously happened with those who established the FSSP and from time to time since then have left the Society for that Fraternity. (And consider the dreadful treatment meted out to those who dare to defy them and leave them, as in the case of Fr Rizzo, an excellent priest whom they persecuted: such acts are a mark of a sect.) Especially now that the Trad Mass has been declared never abrogated, what reason to remain apart? (I don't share the Society's intransigent views, other marks of their schismatic spirit, not known for its charity or lack of pride; and as for anti-semitism...!)

Furthermore, when the Society came here to Perth, like cuckoos in the nest, they (through the initial intrusion of some Transalpine Redemptorists, another irregular group, who in turn let them in) took over Jolimont, which was then used for archdiocese-approved Masses, and Fr Rowe, who had also been saying the Latin Mass there, had perforce to follow his conscience, publicly separate himself from the intruded priests lest the faithful be led astray, and ask the Archbishop to find some other place for him and the licit TLM to relocate to, since the Jolimont chapel was privately owned and the SSPX were made welcome there and were unable to be driven out by the lawful authorities ecclesiastical. (This all happened some years back; I tell the story - which is much more complicated than the partial outline I give here - as recorded, for instance, in back issues of the local Catholic paper, The Record, which praised Fr Rowe for making his stand in the face of such a debacle; and I understand he gained quite some kudos among the priests of Perth for doing so.)

As Fr Rowe is my friend, I could not disrespect him by going along to that church.


On a much more positive note, in Australia, according to the Ordo in both the EF and OF of the Roman Rite, today is devoted to St Peter Chanel, missionary priest and martyr, a Marist, who came from France (where he was born in 1803) to preach the Gospel in the heathen isles of Polynesia, and was clubbed to death on the island of Futuna on this day in 1841. Up till then, he had made few if any converts; but his blood proved the seed of Christians, in Tertullian's phrase, and within a few years the whole island was converted to the True Faith: it must be a great feast there today indeed. Again, I must be a very weepy fool: every time I read the account the Office gives of his labours and martyrdom, I get tears:

"...He would refuse nothing to the people of Futuna, not even to those who were persecuting him...

"...he was called by the people of Futuna 'Great heart'. He said... to his companion [a lay religious]: 'In so difficult a mission it is necessary for us to be saints.'...

"...on the day before his martyrdom he had said: "It does not matter if I die; the religion of Christ had taken root so firmly in this island that it cannot be removed by my death.'"

Even his murderer himself was converted and baptized, and asked on his deathbed to be buried at the door of the church where his victim was now revered, that those coming to pray therein might step over his grave to enter.


Mass of St Peter Aloysius Mary Chanel, Protomartyr of Oceania (T.P.)

(With, at Low Mass, commemorations of both St Paul of the Cross, Confessor, and today, Rogation Monday.)

Introit (Isaias lxvi, 19; Ps. 96:1)

Mittam ex eis qui salvati fuerint ad gentes in mare, ad insulas longe, ad eos qui non audierunt de me, et non viderunt gloriam meam; et annuntiabunt gloriam meam gentibus. Alleluja, alleluja. Ps. Dominus regnavit, exsultet terra, lætentur insulæ multæ. Gloria Patri.


Deus, qui beatum Petrum Aloisium Mariam Martyrem tuum, ad prædicandum Evangelium, mira mansuetudine, flagranti caritate, et invicta constantia decorasti: da nobis, quæsumus; ut, ejus vestigiis inhærentes, fidem, quam profitemur, usque ad mortem teneamus. Per…

Epistle (Colossians iii, 12-17)

Fratres: Induite vos sicut electi Dei, sancti, et dilecti, viscera misericordiæ, benignitatem, humilitatem, modestiam, patientiam: supportantes invicem, et donantes vobismetipsis, si quis adversus aliquem habet querelam: sicut et Dominus donavit vobis, ita et vos. Super omnia autem hæc, caritatem habete, quod est vinculum perfectionis: et pax Christi exsultet in cordibus vestris, in qua et vocati estis in uno corpore: et grati estote. Verbum Christi habitet in vobis abundanter, in omni sapientia, docentes, et commonentes vosmetipsos, psalmis, hymnis, et canticis spiritualibus, in gratia cantantes in cordibus vestris Deo. Omne, quodcumque facitis in verbo, aut in opere, omnia in nomine Domini Jesu Christi, gratias agentes Deo, et Patri per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.

Paschal Alleluia (Ps 20:3; Isaias xxiv, 15-16)

Alleluja, alleluja. V/. Desiderium animæ ejus tribuisti ei, Domine, et voluntate labiorum ejus non fraudasti eum. Alleluja. V/. In insulis maris nomen Domini Dei Israël; a finibus terræ laudes audivimus, gloriam justi. Alleluja.

Gospel (St Matthew xvi, 24-27)

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Si quis vult post me venire, abneget semetipsum, et tollat crucem suam, et sequatur me. Qui enim voluerit animam suam salvam facere, perdet eam: qui autem perdiderit animam suam propter me, inveniet eam. Quid enim prodest homini, si mundum universum lucretur, animæ vero suæ detrimentum patiatur? aut quam dabit homo commutationem pro anima sua? Filius enim hominis venturus est in gloria Patris sui cum angelis suis : et tunc reddet unicuique secundum opera ejus.

Offertory (Isaias lii, 7)

Quam pulchri pedes annuntiantis et prædicantis pacem: annuntiantis bonum, prædicantis salutem, dicentis Sion, Regnabit Deus tuus. Alleluja.


Hæc hostia, Domine, quem in beati Petri Aloisii Mariæ triumpho deferimus: corda nostra tui amoris igne jugiter inflammet: et ad promissa perseverantibus præmia disponat. Per…

Communion (Ps 20:4)

Prævenisti eum in benedictionibus dulcedinis: posuisti in capite ejus coronam de lapide pretioso. Alleluja.


Angelorum pane nutriti, et superna dulcedine perfusi: te, Domine, suppliciter exoramus; ut, beati Petri Aloisii Mariæ, Martyris tui, exemplo, discamus terrena cuncta despicere, et amare cælestia. Per…

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cookery and Drink-ery

A sample of what I've whipped up and partaken of:

1. Yestereven: some stew - and a bottle of Chimay White - for Rob my guest, Steve and myself, before a screening of my DVD of "Kundun" (very apposite, no?); the stew, my own concoction, contained beef mince, bacon, ham, and turkey leg meat (would have been better with some stewing steak and chorizos, but I was making do with leftovers), with chickpeas and butter beans, in tomato puree, with onions, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, olive oil, chicken stock (there being no beef stock to hand) and some extra seasoning as for a goulash - all served on mashed potatoes. (I wished I'd bought some sour cream.) For dessert, pears cooked in red wine with sugar, cinnamon and cloves, served with custard. (This desert is better with the pears standing upright, robed in Chantilly cream - cream whipped with castor sugar and vanilla - in which case it is called Pears Cardinal.) A cup of tea washed it all down nicely.

2. Tonight, home alone, a "scratch tea", after my walk: bottle of Chimay Blue (why not treat myself?), with leftover stew, some cashews to nibble on, and the last of the custard. Not bad at all.

Creed of St Irenæus

I meant to blog this yesterday: in the Divine Office, for the Feast of St Mark (transferred, in Australia, to the 26th of April because of ANZAC Day), the second reading in the Office of Readings is taken from St Irenæus of Lyons' Against the Heresies, Book I, Chapter x, 1-3. I was struck some years back by the creedal quality of the start of this passage (Adv. Hær. I, x, 1.), and I give it here in full; somewhat wryly I note that the part from the asterisk * onwards is omitted from the reading in the Office, tho' I have pencilled it in:

The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith:

[She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father “to gather all things in one,” [Eph. i. 10.] and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess” [Phil. ii. 10, 11.] to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; * that He may send “spiritual wickednesses,” [Eph. vi. 12.] and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory.

Sunday Ramblings

I went to Mass and sang with the other guys as usual: Vidi aquam, the Sunday Propers, Mass I, Credo I, and some psalm-verses with the Communion; for hymns before and after, we had "Now thank we all our God" and - a new favourite of mine, having only learned it this year - "Through the Red Sea brought at last" (tr. Ronald Knox):

Through the Red Sea brought at last, alleluia!
Egypt's chains behind we cast, alleluia!
Deep and wide
Flows the tide
Severing us from bondage past, alleluia!

Like the cloud that overhead, alleluia!
Through the billows Israel led, alleluia!
By his tomb
Christ makes room,
Souls restoring from the dead, alleluia!

In that cloud and in that sea, alleluia!
Buried and baptised were we, alleluia!
Earthly night
Brought us light
Shall be ours eternally, alleluia!

Then, deceitful world, adieu, alleluia!
Egypt’s land in distant view, alleluia!
Christ our love,
Draws above,
Dead with him, and risen anew, alleluia!

After Mass, outside with the milling congregants, a startling sight - Fr Rowe cradling a pet ferret! One of the young ladies had brought the family pets in for "show and tell"... They look kinda cute, but the teeth and their sinuous movement were a teeny bit offputting.

In the afternoon, I finally got around to driving out to John Forrest National Park, astride the escarpment on the edge of the city, and going for my favourite walk along the old railway tracks up past the falls. But behold! In the months since I'd last been up there, a bushfire had gone through part of the terrain, leaving the undergrowth burnt bare, tho' the blackboys [grasstrees] and gumtrees have put forth new leaves from their charred trunks. And furthermore, despite a record rainfall this April - 145 mm [Update: 153.6mm] - the creek through the valley was at best a few disconnected pools, and all the side streams and pools I remember were dry; and as for the waterfall, it was gone, and I walked over its stones. It was still a good walk, just beautiful out in the bush, in a landscape so old, a walk only about 50 minutes each way, and I even saw some kangaroos, plus enjoyed an icecream at the kiosk. Note to self: Must go to the pub there for a meal and beer sometime...

On the way home, I heard that poignant ballad "And the band played Waltzing Matilda" (Eric Bogle, 1972) on the car radio, and must include it as the just rejoinder to any inane glorification of the terror and horror of war, that scourge that may need be borne, but ought never be asked for:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Lucky Two Thousandth?

Most of my readers must live on other continents - i.e. in Europe or in North America - because every time I finish blogging late at night, sleep, and then check the counter the next morning over breakfast (sad, I know, but true), lo and behold! there is a jump in visits.

The rate of visits has also increased, from about 10 a day to 25 a day; and, as my friend and fellow Aussie blogger David Schutz linked to my post about Mass at the Cathedral in Melbourne, and then the worthy Fr Z linked to his post, the number of readers has spiked.

Since I am inquisitive, I like to get any comments people may be willing to make, to see who's reading my blog; but few contribute. :-(

Now, according to the counter, I will soon have had 2000 visits to Psallite Sapienter, whereas I had only marked the first 1000 visits on the 11th of March this year, having turned the counter on back on the 11th of December last; so best wishes to the lucky 2000th visitor.

I hope that all my readers find something good, natural or supernatural, here, overlook whatever may be bad, and raise their minds to God and pray for all, sparing an intercession for me.

P.S. Having investigated further all the information my site meter can give me about visitors to this blog, I discover a reader in Iran!
Khosh Amadid!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lest We Forget

Pete ("bell") and I ("book") served Fr's 9 am Low Mass for the Feast of St Mark, with commemorations of the Greater Litanies and All the Faithful Departed. I said Lauds of the Dead after Mass.


It was nearly 10 o'clock by when I finished, but I made it down a few blocks and caught a good part of the already-begun ANZAC Day parade, which finished about 10.50 am.

The very large crowds [a record, apparently - and some 40,000, could you imagine it, attended the Dawn Service at the WA War Memorial in King's Park!] enthusiastically applauded the returned servicemen, who marched together with the descendents of deceased Diggers. It was good to see the Vietnam Vets well respected.

One banner got me: that of one of the Western Australian regiments, which first fought for the Empire in the Sudan in 1885, to crush the fanatic hordes of the Mahdi, and restore Queen Victoria's civilizing rule. Over 120 years later, Australia again combats the same forces of perverted misbelief.

I was amazed to see, marching among the Allies, about two dozen Rhodesian veterans, behind a proud "Rhodesia" banner bearing such campaign names as Matabeleland 1893 and Rhodesia itself, 1965-1980. How I wish one of them had rid the world of Mugabe! There was also a sizeable contingent of former members of the South Vietnamese armed forces, behind flags and banners of the former Republic of Vietnam. Lest we forget.

Furthermore, as well as many Brits, there was a very small contingent of combined North American veterans, marching behind side-by-side U.S. and Canadian flags. I suppose some of the half dozen Normandy D-Day veterans that marched separately may also have been such - how astounding to see men who had faced that hell, and lived!


At the foreshore reserve we all gathered for the 11 am Commemorative Service, His Excellency the Governor taking first place at the ceremony.

I think the Order of Service instructive and moving:

The WA State President of the Returned and Services League welcomed all and gave an address; then all stood for some verses of the Kipling hymn -

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

(This was first written for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria: now it is we Aussies who rule "over palm and pine", but must remember that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and the will to defend what our ancestors won.)

An Anglican chaplain next read a prayer for The Queen and those who govern us under her. Following that, we sang the opening of the Royal Anthem -

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!

The same chaplain then read prayers for our armed forces, and for those who suffer because of warfare.

The massed choir followed this with "In Memoriam" by Summers -

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends. (St John xv, 13)

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
we will remember them - lest we forget.

An army bugler played the Last Post, followed by a minute's silence in honour of the fallen, and then the Rouse; I always use the silence to say a private De Profundis for the dead.

Next, the Ode -

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
we will remember them -
(all repeated:) we will remember them.
Lest we forget -
(all repeated:) lest we forget

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defence is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

The hymn concluded, there was a special address from a young lady, who last year was selected to go on the WA Premier's tour of the W.W.I battlefields; she spoke well, as did the Governor who next addressed us. We must remember the ANZAC's, and practise their virtues, lest we forget.

The choir then sang part of the patriotic "My Country" by Dorothea MacKellar:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,

I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.

Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;

I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.

Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

To conclude, there was a prayer of remembrance of the fallen by the chaplain, and finally the first verse of the National Anthem, Advance Australia Fair:

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
"Advance Australia fair!


The Service being ended just before noon, I made my way to a pub as the custom is, and where to go but the Belgian beer hall? My forefathers died for Belgium and France. The large numbers of navy personnel in the pub must have agreed! Two beers and some pommes frites later, sufficit for me.


ANZAC Day always moves me to tears: over 102,000 Australians have given their lives in war, most of them younger than I am. As our P.M. Billy Hughes reminded President Wilson at the Versailles peace conference, "I speak for 60,000 dead".

I regard ANZAC Day as one of the closest approaches our civil society makes to pietas, to the praise and inculcation of virtue, true manly valour, and sacrifice, and to religion. It is a sign that the old tried and tested character of Australia is not yet dead. The ever-larger crowds of recent years seem to agree: people are searching and reaching out for something, something to aspire to amid so many distractions from the good.

Please remember in your prayers and at Mass those fallen in war, and especially my great-uncle Neil, who died for King and Country in World War II; he was sent to the Dominion of Canada as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, and perished there in the crash of an aircraft he and and a trainee were in.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis: requiescant in pace. Amen.


ANZAC Day... The long Parade of ever-thinning out, ever-older returned servicemen... The marching bands, some in Scottish kilts with bagpipes, playing "Waltzing Matilda"... The Last Post... The Ode... The old hymns they sing every time... You used to see the very last of the WWI Diggers being driven by slowly in special cars, but I think all have died*, and the WWII veterans are in their eighties now; the Vietnam Vets are middle-aged and older; Australian troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan must not be forgotten. Lest we forget.

* No - I was wrong: there is one still living: Jack Ross, 109, of Ballarat.

I had planned to get up long before dawn, and drive into town to go to the Dawn Service at King's Park, but a combination of factors forced a change of plan. We have Mass for St Mark's Day at 9am at the Pro., and I hope the road closures for the Parade won't block me from getting in and parking close by! After Mass, I'll go to the Parade and the late morning Service down by the foreshore.

Fr Rowe told me that he had the option (! - in the old rite! yes: by special decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, 23rd June 1961) to say a Requiem today rather than the festal Mass, and in the new rite in Australia (and N.Z. I suppose) the feast of St Mark is moved to tomorrow, so that a Requiem with proper texts and prayers can be fitted in today, in memory of all those fallen in war, "who gave their tomorrow so we could have our today". As I use the modern Office, today I'll do the Office of the Dead, and keep St Mark for tomorrow.

As for the Litanies, I can only assume Fr plans to say them privately.

I append some pictures sent me that were taken by Fr Bernard, when he came with me to the ANZAC Day Parade in Melbourne, back in 2006; it took 4 hours for all the marchers to pass by...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

St Fidelis

St Fidelis was faithful unto death: after a very stressful day, I can only pray for strength to carry on somehow: work and family pressures are just too much to bear. At least I went to Mass: how can morning and evening be so difficult, and yet the middle of the day so happy and blessed? St Fidelis, Martyr for the Faith, pray for us.

Exitus et Reditus

All of Creation and Redemption and Sanctification is in essence exitus and reditus: the Creation of creatures by God, their falling away into sin, and His bringing them back into union with Him by His mighty works and wonders. The whole Summa of Aquinas is designed along these lines.

A reader asked whether there be a counterpart to the Itinerarium to be said upon the happy return of pilgrims. I wasn't sure, but, having checked, have found that there is.

Firstly, if the Itinerarium be not said by the one travelling, but instead if it be said on one's behalf as a blessing over one by a priest, it is augmented as follows:

Pilgrims ought obtain a letter of recommendation from their Ordinary or parish priest, go to Confession, hear Mass (at which the orations for pilgrims ought be inserted by the celebrant), receive Communion, and then after Mass be blessed. The Itinerarium is recited not in the first person singular or plural as the case would be by oneself ("I/me/my/mine") or by a group ("we/us/our/ours"), but is recited over the pilgrims in the second person singular or plural ("thou/thee/thy/thine" or "you/your/yours") as appropriate. However, the last prayer of the Itinerarium is shorn of its doxological conclusion, and instead a fifth prayer is added, plus a blessing, in place of the Procedamus, and holy water is sprinkled upon the pilgrim(s):

Hear, Lord, our prayers, and kindly accompany your servants on their journey; and as you are present everywhere lend them your aid at all times, so that with you as their shield they will be defended from all dangers and pay you their homage of gratitude; through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.

May the peace and blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come upon you and remain with you forever. R/. Amen.

Secondly, on the return of the pilgrim(s), the following is said in thanksgiving, ending with the sprinkling of the pilgrim(s) with holy water - BTW, sorry about the mix of Latin and English, but it's the best I can do at short notice:

V/. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R/. Qui fecit caelum et terram.

Ant. See, thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord. (Ps 127:4)

Psalm 127

Blessed are all they that fear the Lord: that walk in his ways.
For thou shalt eat the labours of thy hands: blessed art thou, and it shall be well with thee.
Thy wife as a fruitful vine, on the sides of thy house.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
May the Lord bless thee out of Sion: and mayest thou see the good things of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
And mayest thou see thy children's children, peace upon Israel.
Glory be...
As it was...

Ant. See...

Pater noster... (the rest inaudibly until:)
V/. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
R/. Sed libera nos a malo
V/. Blessed are they who come in the name of the Lord.
R/. Blessed be you by the Lord who made heaven and earth.
V/. Look with favor, Lord, on your servants and their works.
R/. And keep them in the way of your precepts.
V/. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R/. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
V/. Dominus vobiscum.
R/. Et cum spiritu tuo.


We beg you, Lord, be appeased, and lavish on your servants pardon and peace, so that being cleansed of all their transgressions they may serve you with tranquil hearts.
Almighty everlasting God, the ruler of our lives and destinies, grant to your servants continual and abundant peace, so that those whom you have brought back safely to their various occupations may bask in the security of your protection.
God, the support of the lowly, you who console us by the love of our brethren; bestow your grace on our brotherhood, so that we may always see your presence in those in whom you live by your grace; through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.

May the peace and blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come upon you and remain with you forever. R/. Amen.

Sunday Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral, 13th April

It's nearly two weeks since I assisted at the Solemn Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, but I did say I'd post about it and 'review' it, so here goes...

(Bear in mind that this was the first Novus Ordo Sunday Mass I attended since January, and the first Novus Ordo Mass I've attended for almost a month. Also note that I have previous experience of attending - and serving - Mass at the Cathedral in Melbourne, both under Archbishop Hart and, before him, under Archbishop Pell, prior to his translation and elevation.)

I was with my mother and father, who'd met up with me in Melbourne, and I brought them along with me to Mass; Dad isn't Catholic, and this would be the first Mass he's come to for some years (occasionally in the past he came to Christmas or Easter Mass), while Mum normally attends either a parish Mass (so she can have a sleep-in), or goes to the early Mass at the Carmel in Launceston, where she and I prefer to go if we're not too tired!

So that Mum and Dad (and I) would see better, at my suggestion we sat in the south transept, facing toward the new sanctuary - Pell had the old sanctuary extended into the crossing, and there sits a fine marble altar. The old sanctuary contains the choirstalls, and the old high altar is the place where the Sacrament is reserved. (Even for the Traditional Latin Mass, the new altar and forward sanctuary is used.)

On the altar were the customary seven candles - yes, in Melbourne at least it's always done for a bishop. There was no altar crucifix, but on the pillar off to the gospel side there is a very large permanent stone or marble crucifix, which is the one censed and venerated during all Masses.

Amusingly, in the Novus Ordo this Sunday I'm reporting about was Good Shepherd Sunday - so I kept an Octave for the Good Shepherd, having celebrated it the previous Sunday in the old rite! The Introit and Communion sung at the Cathedral were the same I'd joined in singing the previous week.

At 10.55 am, a small sub-group of the cathedral choir (all of whom are men or boys, each vested in surplice and red cassock) formed a schola in front of the pews in the south transept, just next to the organ console. They sang the Gregorian Introit Misericordia Domini, omitting, however, the Doxology (as is allowed in the Novus Ordo).

As soon as they finished, the regular cantor, likewise vested in red cassock and surplice, went to his place at the front of the sanctuary on the epistle side and asked all to stand and sing the processional hymn, number 838 from the Catholic Worship Book, "There's a wideness in God's mercy". This is a favourite of mine, a lovely hymn by Fr Faber (as altered by later editors) to a very pleasant tune. As the (somewhat small) congregation sang (the nave didn't look full-up, and neither transept was), in processed the cathedral choir, who filed around the outside of the new sanctuary and ascended by side stairs to the choirstalls in the old, followed by the thurifer, crucifer, cerifers, other servers (all in soutane and surplice), the M.C., Fr Laurence Cortez, a priest (the Dean, I think) holding aloft (rather showily and vulgarly) the Book of Gospels, and His Grace Archbishop Hart, resplendent in vestments with pallium, mitre, crosier, and episcopal dalmatic peeking out under his large flowing chasuble; behind him came two servers bearing vimpae, whose job it is to take away and give back the mitre and crozier as appropriate. The archbishop and ministers entered the sanctuary, genuflecting before the altar, and then His Grace censed the altar before repairing to his throne, against the pillar behind the altar on the epistle side.

Once the hymn ended, Hart began Mass, singing "In the name..." and "Peace be with you", to which all responded in the same chant. He then spoke a brief introduction, before reverting to singing Penitential Rite B: "Lord, we have sinned against you... Lord, show us your mercy and love... May almighty God have mercy on us...". Then - as is the custom at St Patrick's when the choir is singing a long Mass, whatever the modern rubrics may dictate - he and everyone else then sat down, while the choir sang the Kyrie and Gloria from Victoria's Missa O quam gloriosum (a regular item in their repertoire). His Grace at the end of the Gloria (which strangely he did not intone, though with his good voice he could have) rose, and then sang the Collect.

The Liturgy of the Word was the first place in which I think an improvement could have been made. The first and second readings were read well by a nice lady, but really to have a vested lector do it would have been better - she was willy-nilly the token female in the sanctuary for sure! She was escorted up and down the stairs by one of the servers, bowing to His Grace and so forth as is good etiquette. The responsorial psalm was led and sung by the cantor, to a not unpleasant modern tune (from the CWB, no. 590). The Alleluia and versicle were likewise led and sung by him, but the choir added a final Alleluia from Purcell; meanwhile, the priest assisting the Archbishop played deacon - as he did throughout, except when offering up the Sacrifice of course! - and received his blessing after incense was blessed, and then processed to the handsome brass eagle lectern (by the pillar in front of the altar on the gospel side) with cerifers and thurifer as per usual, first retrieving the Gospel Book from the altar, where it had been laid at the start of the Mass. He sang the initial and final versicles, but read the pericope itself. Irritatingly, he again marched about heaving the Book high in the air, and at the end lifted the Book up as if to proffer it for veneration; no one sat till he had carried it back to the Archbishop for him to kiss it, as is right.

His Grace then reassumed his mitre (having held his crozier during the Gospel) and went to the lectern to preach - he very rarely preaches seated at his cathedra, except for ordinations, etc., despite this being liturgically more appropriate. Surprisingly, it was a short and very straightforward homily; normally, Hart tends to have such an embarrassment of riches in terms of content that his sermons are hard to remember, though very good.

The Creed, spoken, followed - obviously it would be better if this were sung, but this is never done, alas: I recall that the CWB includes Credo III.

An explanation for the brevity of the homily: His Grace then came with some of his ministers to before the altar, to bless and admit new choristers and new leaders of the choir. For each there was a question and response, then came a prayer, the blessing of choir medallions with holy water and a final blessing, all obviously modelled on the institution of lectors and acolytes. All well and good, but I must say I no longer entirely like such ceremonies, however good, inserted into the Mass (as these days is done with Baptism, Confirmation, etc. - and, of course, as has always been done with Holy Orders, but arguably the latter has a special intrinsic link with Mass).

The Prayers of the Faithful followed; the nice lady returned and read the nice short undidactic petitions, eight of them, while His Grace introduced the whole ritual and concluded it with a prayer. Notably, as the CWB provides (no. 571) and as is always done at the Cathedral, the cantor sang "Let us pray to the Lord" after each petition, all responding in song "Lord, hear our prayer".

The Offertory followed. There was an Offertory procession (while it was mustered, the altar was set), and the rite continued as per usual once His Grace and ministers, in front of the altar, had received the gifts brought up. The incensation of the elements, the altar, the crucifix, His Grace, the clergy and people was fulsome - as he always does, Hart censed the oblata in the old manner, with three signs of the cross and three circling swings. Meanwhile the choir sang the motet Surrexit Pastor bonus by Lassus. The "Pray, brethren..." was spoken, the Prayer over the Gifts sung.

His Grace then sang the usual dialogue before the Preface, and the Preface itself. The Sanctus was mainly in English, using the plainchant music of Mass XVIII, but the final Hosanna in excelsis was an extract from Victoria's Mass O quam gloriosum, sung by the choir in Latin. In the meantime, the thurifer and four torchbearers processed in from the sacristy (at the back of the south transept) and took their positions: the torchbearers in front of the altar, and the thurifer behind it (if there had been a deacon, he would have done the censing at the impending elevations). During the Eucharistic Prayer the incense went up continually in a great spreading pillar of cloud, as is the norm in Melbourne - to digress, at one Cathedral Mass the enthused thurifer put so many coals in the censer that it cracked from the heat and fiery combustion of the incense, to the fury of the sacristan!

Eucharistic Prayer III was used, spoken in English: unlike some I see this prayer as of course orthodox per se and legitimately approved, whatever may be said of the untraditional invention of new 'canons' like this; it is in my opinion (especially with reference to the Latin) the best of the new prayers. The emeritus Archbishop Little having just died, the appropriate inserts for Masses for the Dead were used - query: are they for use at any Mass pro opportunitate, or should they only be used at a Requiem? All was done very correctly; at the elevations, His Grace turned to the north and south transept when showing the Host (shades of the old Papal Mass!) - years ago, at an ordination Mass at a Melbourne church, I saw him, then an auxiliary bishop, do a complete circle while elevating the Host, so that all arrayed about might see, worship and adore; but I think he may have decided that that was a bit OTT ("over the top"). As he was accompanied by one priest, that priest read that part of the prayer given normally to concelebrants. The Memorial Acclamation (a most unfortunate innovation, only loosely based on Coptic Rite analogies, etc.) and 'Great' Amen (that fond invention of modern liturgists based on one slender text of St Jerome) were sung in English, but the choir tacked on a polyphonic Amen, salvaged from the unused Credo of Victoria's Mass. The torchbearers (and thurifer, of course) left during the 'Great' Amen, as is done in the modern form of the Roman Rite, rather than remaining until after Communion, as in the traditional form.

The Lord's Prayer, Embolism, Prayer for Peace, "The peace of the Lord be with you always", and "Offer each other the sign of peace" were all sung: the last-named, by the priest, qua deacon, at the lectern! The usual restrained exchange of handshakes followed among the congregation. Then the choir quickly took up the Latin Agnus Dei, singing the first and third lines from Mass XVIII, and the middle line from Victoria's setting. (This was probably done to save time, since else the "This is the Lamb of God..." would have been unduly delayed.)

His Grace thereupon made the invitation to communion, to which all responded, and then proceeded to give the Sacrament to the ministers and people. The M.C. and the other priest also assisted in distributing Holy Communion, as did the cantor, who presumably is an extraordinary minister thereof. (No communion plate was used.) At St Patrick's, communion is never given to the laity from the chalice, as this would entail an impractical number of chalices and extraordinary ministers, to the detriment of proper understanding of liturgical roles and the doctrine of concomitance. (I seem to recall that the M.C., or perhaps another, went up to the tabernacle at the old high altar and back to get the needed ciboria of extra Hosts.)

The aforementioned schola sang the Gregorian Communion Ego sum pastor bonus, adding a psalm-verse and then repeating the antiphon, just as they had done with the Introit. After that, all were invited to sing together CWB no. 685, "Gift of finest wheat", a passable Eucharistic hymn from one of the Eucharistic Congresses held in America in the immediate postconciliar period.

The Prayer after Communion was sung; only then, as the Novus Ordo provides - and not, as is frequently done incorrectly, before the Prayer - a brief notice was given by His Grace about the upcoming funeral of Archbishop Little. Then he sang "The Lord be with you... Blessed be the name of the Lord... Our help is in the name of the Lord... May almighty God bless you...", imparting the triple episcopal blessing, turning to each transept as well. The priest concelebrating, again acting as deacon, from the lectern sang the dismissal, in English.

The recessional hymn was the rousing "Hail Redeemer, King Divine" (CWB no. 703). As first the choir, then the Archbishop and his ministers processed out down the nave as they had came, His Grace blessed the good folk as he went.

After the hymn, the organist played Bach's Prelude in G (BWV 541). The solemn liturgy concluded at about 12.15pm, so lasting an hour and a quarter - just as the Missa cantata at my own church does! (I think Fr Rowe preaches longer sermons.)

My father's comment: I would have brought a packed lunch! (I think he found it a little long...)


Suggested improvements to what was basically the Novus Ordo at its best and at its conservative limit in Australia, in rough order of do-ability:

* Above all, Mass ad orientem: the new altar has a large footpace all round it sufficient to allow Mass to be said facing liturgical East, and this in my opinion is the next big reform of the reform to be broached. It would greatly, grandly stress the sacrificial, aweful, mysterious, hieratic cultus of the Mass as divine worship.

* An instituted, vested lector to read, rather than a token layperson; after all, the hordes in the sanctuary are all men in vestments, and this ought need no apology.

* The Gospel sung (by a deacon, there's usually one present or available).

* The Creed sung.

* The deacon to read (sing?) the petitions of the Intercessions - it is completely silly and a bit of tokenism to take this his proper ministry away from the deacon and give it to a layperson, who fits in among the hordes of vested men about as much as a pork-chop in a synagogue.

* Gregorian Propers: at least the Offertory, and possibly the Gradual and Alleluia; would anyone really miss the Responsorial Psalm, that "exercise in short-term memory" that just hasn't worked out very well in practice ever since its introduction?

* More Latin! (Until the late nineteen nineties, just before I first moved to Melbourne, there had been a Novus Ordo Latin Mass at the Cathedral every Sunday since the liturgical reforms, but sadly it was given up.)

* Some sort of improvement so that the integral Mass setting of Victoria, say, could be sung: this would mean, above all, reciting the Eucharistic Prayer silently while the Sanctus and Benedictus roll forth... (This requires rubrical adjustments, an enrichment of the ordinary form by the extraordinary.)

Fratres Oratorii - Sessio IV

Prayer and adoration, followed up with fellowship and good cheer: after filling the Pro. with clouds of incense, and all persevering in mental and vocal prayer, some of the fratres - Fr Rowe, Justin, Pete and I - were able to catch up afterward for a rather good Thai meal with beer and wine, concluded with conversation (and some homemade Limoncello, plus tea and sweets) at the presbytery.

I realized in my prayer truths that I have neglected: that faith - that infused intellectual supernatural theological virtue - is so potent and divine as to unite us to God, that we live already foretasting heaven on earth if God be in our soul, and that the one thing necessary is to aspire toward union with God in foretaste of our union with Him forever in heaven. I must not cease to nourish my soul by mental prayer, else my spiritual life die of inanition.

And as a completely unexpected bonus, Justin called me over to the organ as we packed up after the hour of prayer, and played and got me to sing along with a Wesley hymn that is quite Catholic and evangelical in the best sense: "And can it be that I should gain / an interest in the Saviour's Blood?". What a pity Wesley didn't find his way to the Church; he would have then been most perfectly the Newman of his age. I for one find his hymns both orthodox and potent.

Casting my mind back over previous sessiones, I record the following hours spent in prayer:

* Sessio I - 6.30pm, Tuesday 20th November 2007;

* Sessio II - 6.30pm, Monday 10th December 2007;

* Sessio III - 6.30pm, Tuesday 29th January 2008;

* Sessio IV - 6.30pm, Wednesday 23rd April 2008.

Our next planned sessio, the fifth, is for the Feast of Our Patron, St Philip Neri, on Monday the 26th of May 2008: the hour of mental and vocal prayer will be held a hour earlier, at 5.30pm, to allow for sung Mass of St Philip at 6.30pm.

Once we complete the move to St Anne's, perhaps we can make the Oratory a more than monthly devotion...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Six Candles for St George

I thought I was going to be late for Mass, but arrived instead just before Fr gave Benediction; the sanctuary looked suitably mysterious, with twenty candles ablaze. Since George (happy feast day, mate!) had served the Holy Hour thus concluded, Fr Rowe popped out after the end thereof to ask if I would serve his Low Mass, and I gladly assented, quickly getting vested and putting out my hand missal on the gospel side of the footpace just before Mass...

That hand missal nearly occasioned a disaster; after giving me Holy Communion, Fr nearly tripped on it (now at the epistle side) when descending to the altar rails with the ciborium. However, he didn't seem worried afterward.

Why were the big six all alight? Well, since electrical work is going on in the school buildings next door, we had no power today, and Fr had George leave the altar candles alight, after snuffing out and removing the Exposition candelabrae, so as to be able to see! (It has been a rainy, cloudy morning.)

Why St George and the dragon? The tale as told is pretty obviously that of Perseus and Andromeda in Christian dress. But of course the iconography is symbolic: George, the military man who was martyred for Christ, fights the good fight of the Faith, and by the weapons of truth and grace, bearing the shield and armour and helmet of faith and purity, truly defeats sin, Satan, death and hell (who are the real actors behind the cruel Roman persecutor, their minion) and thus rescues the beautiful woman who is an image of the Bride of Christ, whether as the Church or as every Christian soul, that she may have eternal life with Christ Our Lord in heaven. He rides upon a white horse, just as does his Master, the Victorious Conqueror, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Who is called Faithful and True. It is another example of a true myth, which retells in allegory what really transpired when, in the eyes of the scoffing world, a fool died in torment for not obeying Caesar when the ruler of this world demanded obedience to 'the way things are' (which to the believer in Truth would have meant apostasy and idolatry). The legend thus compares to the similar tale of St Patrick casting out the snakes from Ireland, which obviously signifies his driving off that isle all pagan idolatry and wickedness.

Here are the collects from the 1962 and the 1969 Missals:

Deus, qui nos beati Georgii Martyris tui meritis et intercessione laetificas: concede propitius; ut, qui tua per eum beneficia poscimus, dono tuae gratiae consequamur. Per...

(O God, Who dost rejoice us by the merits and intercession of blessed George Thy Martyr, be pleased to grant that, as we implore through him Thy benefits, so we may follow [after him] by the gift of Thy grace. Through...)

Magnificantes, Domine, potentiam tuam, supplices exoramus, ut, sicut beatus Georgius dominicae fuit passionis imitator, ita sit fragilitatis nostrae promputs adjutor. Per...

(Magnifying, Lord, Thy power, bowing down we humbly pray that, as blessed George was made an imitator of the Lord's Passion, so he may be a prompt helper of our frailty. Through...)

The late Marquess of Bute, in a footnote to his translation of the Breviary, says: "This saint is one of the most popular in Christendom, but who he was, and indeed everything about him, except the fact of martyrdom, is enveloped in the greatest obscurity. The labours of the Bollandists tend to show that he was a soldier by profession, and that he is a martyr (otherwise anonymous) who was tortured to death for pulling down the edict of Diocletian against Christianity, at Nicomedia, in A.D. 303. He seems, says Alban Butler, to have been arrested on Good Friday, (April 16,) and after having been tortured for eight days, to have received his crown on the Friday following, April 23. He was the first victim of Diocletian's persecution."

My best wishes to all English Catholics on this 1st class feast/solemnity! I will not cry, however, without some pain, "God for England, Harry and St George!" - for yesterday was the lamented anniversary of the day when, in 1509, bad King Henry VIII ascended the throne of his Catholic forefathers, and soon enough brought heresy, schism and persecution into the realm once styled Our Lady's dowry.

Here's a nice apposite hymn, from that fine Anglo-Catholic production, The English Hymnal:

Lord God of Hosts, within Whose hand
Dominion rests on sea and land,
Before Whose word of life or death
The strength of nations is but breath:
O King, enthroned all thrones above,
Give strength unto the land we love.

Thou Breath of Life since time began,
Breathing upon the lips of man,
Hast taught each kindred race to raise
United word to sound Thy praise:
So, in this land, join, we beseech,
All hearts and lips in single speech.

To George our saint Thou gavest grace
Without one fear all foes to face,
And to confess by faithful death
That Word of Life which was his breath.
O help us, Helper of Saint George,
To fear not bonds that man can forge.

Arm us like him, who in Thy trust
Beat down the dragon in the dust;
So that we too may tread down sin
And with Thy saints a crown may win.
Help us, O God, that we may be
A land acceptable to Thee.

The Divine Office, in its Supplement for England and Wales, includes this hymn:

Leader now on earth no longer,
Soldier of th'eternal King,
Victor in the fight for heaven,
We thy loving praises sing.
Great Saint George, our patron, help us,
In the conflict be thou nigh;
Help us in that daily battle,
Where each one must win or die.

Praise him who in deadly battle
Never shrank from foeman's sword,
Proof against all earthly weapon,
Gave his life for Christ the Lord.
Great Saint George...

Who, when earthly war was over,
Fought, but not for earth's renown;
Fought, and won a nobler glory
Won the martyr's purple crown.
Great Saint George...

After Mass we repaired to the strangely named "Magic Apple" for morning tea cum early lunch. In about an hour I'm going to the bloodbank to make a donation.

And, of course, tonight is the April assembly of the Fratres Oratorii, founded late last year; this is only our fourth session, unfortunately, but hopefully we can be more regular in the future...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brothers of the Oratory

Come all who seek to pray - the Brothers of the Oratory will meet tomorrow evening, on St George's Day, Wednesday the 23rd of April, at St John's Pro-Cathedral, Perth, from 6.30 to 7.30 pm.

We commence, as is our wont, with Exposition of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Next, we sing the Litanies of the Saints, to unite ourselves with all the Church down the ages, in communion with all the elect who ever worship the Lamb, joining our praise and prayer and worship with theirs, that God may hearken unto our united petitions and save us. Invoking the Holy Ghost, and, under Him, St Philip our Patron, we then embark together upon an half-hour of mental prayer, to be ended with prayers for each other and for perseverance in God's service. The devotions culminate in Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; then we sing the Anthem of Our Lady, and a hymn to St Philip to conclude.

Those attending are welcome to gather afterward for conversation, dinner and a drink.

St Philip Neri, Patron of the Fratres Oratorii, pray for us.

SS Soter and Caius, Popes - Pray for us

After some uneasy dreams, I resolved to get up early and go off to Mass; the 7.45am Low Mass was attended by some half-dozen early risers. It was good to have the Sacrifice offered in honour of two early Popes and Martyrs: may their prayers avail with the Lord, Who is always pleased to act through secondary causes - for their sainthood is itself the fruit of His One Sacrifice, the selfsame clean Oblation that He gave to His Church to perpetuate at the altars until the end of time, that the merits of Calvary be applied to all.

Mass was followed by second breakfast, with Fr et al., at the usual local coffee shop. Then, over to St Anne's, Belmont, to measure up the sanctuary for its impending restoration!

I think we need invoke these Holy Popes feted today for the overcoming some divisions, as I will now explain...

Discussions later on with one of my housemates reveals that the folk who currently have Mass at St Anne's are rather displeased - angry, in fact - at the changes to take place: for, despite the fact that otherwise their little church would have been soon closed and sold off (this is true), they understandably want to hold onto what they have been used to.

Of course, Fr Rowe must accept the situation as presented to him, given that the Archbishop has decreed this change, and the Parish Priest has his own manner of explaining and dealing with this handing-over of one of his four churches, as is his perfect right.

The trouble arises because the people going to St Anne's have justifiably fond memories of their church when it was a parish all its own, with two fine priests in succession, whereas since it was almalgamated with the nearby other churches they have gradually lost all that they had had established, since they no longer have their own priest, nor daily Mass, etc., but must share with the other three churches in the new, larger parish.

Moreover, since Fr Rowe will be taking over the role of P.P. at St Anne's (in a sort of personal parish, tho' I dn't know if that is the right technical term), all current activities of the wider parish that are presently based at St Anne's must end, or rather be relocated elsewhere (and apparently they are being ended rather than relocated, tho' that's not Fr's fault).

Above all, since the church will have to be renovated, a new sanctuary fit for divine worship installed, etc., St Anne's will close temporarily, and the Bl Sacrament not be reserved there for a month or more - and that means no more Perpetual Adoration for the present, despite it having gone on for six years without a break till now.

This is of course a sore point, but Fr Rowe cannot bear the responsibility: he has indicated that once St Anne's reopens, the Adoration could be restarted, but really, since it is one devotion of the current wider parish, it surely should be transferred to one of the other three churches: the problem is that the P.P. has indicated that he doesn't want this.

So the Adorers are upset, and apparently they or others concerned have said and spread some most unkind things about Fr Rowe - when perhaps they should respectfully criticise their own P.P. or His Grace, who after all was the one who made this decision to detach St Anne's from the parish and give it over to the Latin Mass Chaplaincy, rather than close and sell it as otherwise was to happen.

They are quite properly petitioning the Archbishop to work out some way that the Adoration may continue somewhere else for the time being, and hopefully a solution will be found to their concern.

I don't believe I've written anything secret here, so I mention all this to the end that anyone concerned may see that of course the locals aren't delighted with change - who ever is? - but that their understandable upset should not be directed at Fr Rowe or the Latin Mass community, who of course love Our Lord in the Bl Sacrament (think of his frequent Holy Hours with Benediction), and don't deserve to be maligned.

We are not coming to take over and cast out the faithful parishioners, but rather are coming, at the desire of the Ordinary himself, to revitalize a church that would otherwise have been closed and sold off. I am sure Fr will exert himself to conciliate and explain the unavoidable problems all this entails, and he and we would like nothing better than to welcome all the affected persons to worship Our Lord together with us newcomers at St Anne's as soon as possible.

SS Soter and Caius, pray for us.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Roadtrip! - Part III

I started back from Bunbury, chauffeuring a priest carrying the Bl Sacrament...

After driving hard, and saying a Rosary, plus listening to the 3rd Lesson of Matins and praying the ensuing Te Deum, all the while by these and other unspoken prayers trying to keep recollected and prayerful in presence of the Sanctissimum Fr was carrying on his person, we reached Mandurah at half-past one, and Fr brought the Sacrament to the shut-in that he visits there. It was good to waste a little time, watching a cat wandering about the adjoining units and admiring the gardens.

The weather, since my return West, has been refreshingly cool, with sunshine between occasional showers, just how I like it.

Anyhow, after the visit, Fr and I then stopped off for a late sandwich and cuppa at Gerald's house, together with two of Fr's far-flung parishioners who happened by. It was about three o'clock by the time we drove on via Pinjarra and the SW Hwy, going back the way we came.

Just before 4pm, we stopped off at the Schoenstatt Shrine to pay a visit. Fr caught up on his Breviary, and I prayed my Novena prayers for what turned out to be the 10th day! So that makes a fitting end to my petition to Our Lady, who is venerated so specially at that quiet peaceful prayerful shrine. We then followed the Albany Hwy into Perth, and I deposited Fr Rowe at the Pro-Cathedral at about 5.20pm, leaving him there to set up for his 6.30pm Mass. After quietly praying the Litany of St Philip Neri and Vespers in the church, I finally turned for home.

My housemates and I have just had dinner, and I think it's time to turn in for the night. A very good but tiring addendum to my holiday this overnight foray has been.

P.S. This was my fourth such ferrying of Fr Rowe back and forth to Bunbury; I first did this in late October and late November 2007, before I began blogging, and before Fr had the Kelmscott Mass.

Roadtrip! - Part II

I take up the tale from our arrival in Bunbury...

BTW, the reason Fr Rowe had to get me to drive him to Bunbury was that he had planned to fly down in a light aircraft, but this had had to be cancelled at short notice owing to a severe storm warning (which turned out not to eventuate). Strange but true.

Anyhow, I finished reading through the Sternbeck Missalette, which has very useful and informative instructions on the liturgy and its parts, albeit it with some rather eccentric translations, and I used it to assist at my third Mass of the Sunday, at St Thomas' Church, Carey Park, Bunbury. It is a very humble shedlike building! There were 40 or so present, including four altar boys to serve the Low Mass.

After Mass and a cuppa afterward, Fr Rowe, myself, Pete and Tom his brother, plus Gerard (Pete and Gerard being two of the servers), went off to have dinner at a rather good Indian restaurant. I brought in a bottle of plonk, but the place turned out to not be BYO, so I put it by the partition; when Fr reminded me not to forget it, everyone broke up in hysterics when I said rather heatedly, "Certainly not, it cost me EIGHT dollars!" Oh well.

Some good friends very kindly gave us lodgings for the night, and Monday started off at a nice reasonable hour with Low Mass at 9am, for the feast of St Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church. Some 30 people attended, including lots of kids with their families. (I prepared for Mass with Office of Readings and Lauds, and gave thanks afterward with Terce.) Then followed a cuppa, and after that Fr and I went over to the Castieau family home, for brunch around 11am: sausages, eggs, bacon, maple syrup, bread, toast, pancakes, orange juice, pineapple juice, and tea... what a blow-out!

Just after noon, we collected the Blessed Sacrament from the church, where Fr had left his pyx, and we set off for home via Mandurah at 12.19pm.

To be continued...

Roadtrip! - Part I

Greatly to my surprise, Fr Rowe rang me up at 8.30 on Saturday night, and asked if I could drive him down to Bunbury the next day for his monthly Mass there - "Certainly, Father," said I.

(I had actually gone to bed very early, and so he woke me up - he later confessed that he had wondered why I had sounded so groggy!)

Anyhow, I was then committed to what turned out to be a sort of impromptu extension of my week's holiday.

From some notes I took along the way:

In the morning, I grabbed most of the stuff I'd need for the trip, then got going to church...

I arrived just in time to go to confession and then join in singing the Mass with the other three members of the schola; as Andrew was organist, Justin was cantor (they swap roles each Sunday). It was great to sing Mass I and Credo I, plus one of my absolute favourite Offertories, Jubilate Deo: the long melodic run up the scale is very moving. Because of this long Offertory, we sang no other piece beside it; and at Communion, together with the actual Communion anthem, we sang extracts from the famous Psalm 33, so eminently suitable for the reception of the Sacrament. For vernacular hymns at the beginning and end, we had a Welsh celebration, singing "Love Divine, all loves excelling" (to "Hyfrydol") and "Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer" - the latter sung out loud enough to bring the house down. Marvellous.

I was struck by the Sunday's Epistle: St James i, 17-21; it contains a very wealth of doctrine:

Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.
For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning of his creatures.
You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger.
For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God.
Wherefore casting away all uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

I for one am a slave to anger and my irascible passions, and must heed this exhortation. On the positive side, it is most wonderful to think of all the gifts and graces of God coming down from Him Who Is Pure Act Impassible! And yet more - He hath begotten us by the Word of Truth; and by the ingrafted Word we may save our souls. Bl Columba Marmion is very big on this point, a constitutive element of our divine adoption as sons in the Son.

Similarly, the singing of the first Alleluia verse occasioned much thought on its text - is not Christ in truth the actual Dextera Dei, Who not merely sitteth on His Right, but in a manner surpassing words Is God's Right Hand (cf. St Irenæus), Who "hath wrought strength", "Who hath exalted me" (Ps 117:16)?

The orations of the Sunday (the 4th after Easter) were all likewise pregnant with significance:

Deus, qui fidelium mentes unius efficis voluntatis: da populis tuis id amare quod præcipis, id desiderare quod promittis; ut inter mundanas varietates ibi nostra fixa sint corda, ubi vera sunt gaudia. Per...

(O God, who makest the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant to Thy people to love that which Thou commandest, to desire that which Thou dost promise; that amid mundane changing things, our hearts may there be fixed, where true joys are. Through...)

Deus, qui nos per hujus sacrificii veneranda commercia, unius summæ divinitatis participes effecisti: præsta, quæsumus; ut, sicut tuam cognoscimus veritatem, sic eam dignis moribus assequamur. Per...

(O God, Who by the venerable commerce of this sacrifice hast made us partakers of the one supreme divinity: grant, we beseech, that, as we know Thy truth, so we may follow it with worthy manners. Through...)

Adesto, nobis, Domine Deus noster: ut per haec, quae fideliter sumpsimus, et purgemur a vitiis, et a periculis omnibus eruamur. Per...

(Be present to us, Lord our God: that by these, which we have faithfully received, we may be both purged from vices and delivered from all perils. Through...)

(Amusingly, the Sunday collect turns out to be the Monday collect in the Novus Ordo! It is a most beautiful prayer. Likewise, the Secret plainly tells how that the Sacrifice we share in the Eucharist makes us partakers of the Divine Nature, but begs that we may live worthily according to the truth we profess - lest what is promised us comes not to pass.)

Fr Rowe preached an intriguing sermon, elucidating the meaning of the Gospels of the five Sundays between Easter and the Ascension.

After Mass, I prayed the Office of Readings, and Prayer during the Day (Lauds having been said earlier), and then repaired for coffee and conversation with the rest of the usual dozen or so, until the last morning Mass was almost over - I got back in time for the Last Gospel and last hymn (an English version of O filii et filiæ). We then loaded up the car with Fr's stuff, and I set off with him to Kelmscott (via my place: I'd left a bag behind).

I decided to use Michael Sternbeck's new Missalette, put out by Ignatius Press, to so to speak road-test it, at Mass at Kelmscott and Bunbury (I'd used my Abbot Cabrol Missal for the morning's Missa Cantata, when not singing from the Liber Usualis). On Fr Rowe's advice, I don't communicate a second time when assisting at second and third Sunday Masses, but simply renew my thanksgiving for the inestimable gift of Our Lord in the Sacrament I have received.

On arrival and departure from Good Shepherd, Kelmscott, I was thanked for this my blog by the two main altar servers, Matthew and Scott, and their mum - they are readers of it!!!

The 2pm Low Mass was a dialogue Mass, apparently by spontaneous choice of the people: I liked this very much. We accompanied the liturgy with three hymns, "Bring, all ye dear-bought nations, bring", "Soul of my Saviour" (at offertory) and "Jesus Christ is risen today". There were about 40 present for the Holy Sacrifice.

At 3.05pm, Fr and I set off for Bunbury, via the South-West Highway, the inland route, a much more scenic drive than the main road nearer to the coast. We made very good time, arriving in just over 2 hours, and managed to get in a Rosary, my Novena, Vespers and Compline from Fr's Breviary, some naps (for the priest only!) and discussion of some details of Fr's retreat in Ballaarat the week before last, which I hadn't heard a report about because of my holiday last week.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Papal Anniversaries

Our Most Holy Lord the Pope has just had two important anniversaries:

* his baptism at the Easter Vigil on the day of his birth, 16th April 1927; and

* his election as Vicar of Christ, on the 19th of April in 2005, 3 years ago yesterday.

All must relisten to the "Habemus Papam" remix!

Listen to His Humility...

Ad multos annos, sanctissime Pater!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What Prayer Could Be Finer?

Used by countless priests daily for at least sixteen hundred years... These days, when I desire to do so, from memory I recall these words as I watch Fr at the altar, offering up the Sacrifice: each gesture reminds me of what is being prayed, and to this I unite myself.


Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, Dominum nostrum, supplices rogamus, ac petimus, uti accepta habeas, et benedicas, hæc ✠ dona, hæc ✠ munera, hæc ✠ sancta sacrificia illibata, in primis, quæ tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare et regere digneris toto orbe terrarum: una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N. et Antistite nostro N. et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicæ et apostolicæ fidei cultoribus.

Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N. et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est et nota devotio, pro quibus tibi offerimus: vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se suisque omnibus: pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis et incolumitatis suæ: tibique reddunt vota sua æterno Deo, vivo et vero.

Communicantes, et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosæ semper Virginis Mariæ, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beati Joseph, ejusdem Virginis Sponsi, et beatorum Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreæ, Jacobi, Joannis, Thomæ, Jacobi, Philippi, Bartholomæi, Matthæi, Simonis et Thaddæi: Lini, Cleti, Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Joannis et Pauli, Cosmæ et Damiani: et omnium Sanctorum tuorum; quorum meritis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuæ muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostræ, sed et cunctæ familiæ tuæ, quæsumus, Domine, ut placatus accipias; diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab æterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerari. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Quam oblationem, tu, Deus, in omnibus quæsumus, bene✠dictam, adscrip✠tam, ra✠tam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris; ut nobis Cor✠pus et San✠guis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui, Domini nostri Jesu Christi.

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas, et elevatis oculis in cælum ad te Deum, Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, bene✠dixit, fregit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite, et manducate ex hoc omnes.


Simili modo postquam cœnatum est, accipiens et hunc præclarum Calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: item tibi gratias agens, bene✠dixit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite, et bibite ex eo omnes.


Hæc quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.

Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejusdem Christi Filii tui, Domini nostri, tam beatæ passionis, necnon et ab inferis resurrectionis, sed et in cælos gloriosæ ascensionis: offerimus præclaræ majestati tuæ de tuis donis ac datis, hostiam ✠ puram, hostiam ✠ sanctam, hostiam ✠ immaculatam, Panem ✠ sanctum vitæ æternæ, et Calicem ✠ salutis perpetuæ.

Supra quæ propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium Patriarchæ nostri Abrahæ: et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctam sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: jube hæc perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinæ majestatis tuæ: ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione sacrosanctum Filii tui Cor✠pus et San✠guinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione cælesti et gratia repleamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N., qui nos præcesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis.

Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Nobis quoque peccatoribus, famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam et societatem donare digneris, cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et Martyribus: cum Joanne, Stephano, Matthia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcellino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Cæcilia, Anastasia, et omnibus Sanctis tuis: intra quorum nos consortium, non æstimator meriti, sed veniæ, quæsumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Per quem hæc omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sancti✠ficas, vivi✠ficas, bene✠dicis, et præstas nobis.

Per ip✠sum, et cum ip✠so, et in ip✠so, est tibi Deo Patri ✠ omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus ✠ Sancti, omnis honor et gloria, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.