Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Relics and Fossils: Missa cantata for the Immaculate Conception

Fathers Earl and Goodill, the Dominican community who run St Cuthbert’s, welcomed us into their premises before Mass and had already arranged the altar with a Big Six and Missal before we even arrived, for which we were very grateful –though I had taken our parish Missal, chalice etc, in case we had no access to the sacristy, Fathers Earl and Goodill having reminded us that they were to be out of the building that evening on another engagement.

The singing for the Missa was good, especially since the singers had hardly any preparation (indeed, only one practice just before Mass, I believe), and the servers did very well. Father Bede was a model of reverence. There was a good number in the congregation and at the buffet afterwards, which seemed to be enjoyed by all, along with great company. Sitting in choir were Father Dickson (from Thornley) and Father Tully (local hospitals chaplain).  

A number of young people attended the Mass who had never seen it before, and seemed very happy with what they experienced. One more person joined our Juventutem chapter that same evening, and has already suggested activities for future dates.

I did wonder how long it is since St Cuthbert’s saw the Former Liturgy celebrated in its sanctuary. It is amazing that it has taken young people rather than those who grew up with this form of Mass to restore the EF to the sanctuaries for which they were built. As Father Dickson said, perhaps that EF Masses are organised and attended by the youth will serve as a reminder to the older generation that not all that is old is to be discarded –that some things, such as the Traditional Rite, only grow more venerable with age, like a valuable heirloom or precious relic, as opposed to a dead fossil.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

More Juventutem...

Juventutem will, hopefully, soon have a second official branch in Hexham & Newcastle, the most recent being established in Durham, serving the Southern end of the Diocese (our Juventutem confreres at the Northern end of the Diocese are in Gateshead). Initiated by me (Andrew McDowell) and a former schoolmate, Paul Duffy, we began our Chapter just a few weeks ago. See our Facebook page here (and see here for Juventutem in Gateshead).

Supported and guided by the University Chaplaincy, to whom we extend our grateful thanks, we had 7 members in Durham from our first meeting, and expectations that more will join us. All our members demonstrate involvement in our own parishes as catechists, choristers, Buildings & Grounds workers, etc. We are multi-cultural with members from England, the USA, and EF (Extraordinary Form) communities in Singapore and Poland. We already undertake clothing and sandwich runs to the homeless and are planning a Sponsored Walk for Aid to the Church In Need in the better weather.

While Juventutem is geared towards youth who are already attached to or are attracted to the Traditional Liturgy (which we seek to promote) our chapter, by being active in our parishes, working with the homeless and fundraising for the Developing World illustrates the fact that the vision of young people attached to the EF (or TLM/Traditional Latin Mass) is much wider than is supposed by those who disparagingly speak of devotees of the Traditional Mass as ‘odd’ or ‘eccentric’; as ‘engaged in a passing fad’ or as ‘only interested in Latin and lace’. Devotees of the Traditional Mass are in fact people with a social conscience involved in everyday parish life who simply value the Tradition of the Church and wish to see it promoted.

The group on our way to to contact homeless folk in Durham 

Our Chapter meetings begin with the praying of the Judica Me, after which we discuss group business and study some Church document (currently Sacrosanctum Concilium from Vatican II) before retiring to the local pub for social time. We plan to have some of our meetings over a meal out, and since promotion of the Traditional Liturgy is the distinguishing aim of Juventutem, have arranged a Missa Cantata for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception at 7pm in St Cuthbert’s Durham, celebrated by Fr Bede Rowe of that great blog ‘A Chaplain Abroad’; singing by members of the Chaplaincy choir who will be signing Byrds mass for three Voices. Holy Mass will be followed by a small buffet. The whole evening is, of course, open to all.

We are a cheerful little group with big hopes for the future, so do say a prayer for us and for our Juventutem Confreres who are looking after the Northern end of the Diocese. Our patron saints for the Durham (Southern) Chapter are St Cuthbert (under whose roof we meet) and Our Lady, both in fact Patrons of the Hexham & Newcastle Diocese in which our Juventutem group is situated.