måndag 3 december 2012

English Masses abroad

I made an unplanned attendance at an English Mass yesterday. The new translation was used. My impression was that it is popular with those who attend. Unfortunately, the priest who celebrates the English Mass is leaving and apparently it will not continue after the new year.

Those attending are young people - perhaps thirty or so - who do not intend to stay in the country and so would not be happy with the vernacular mass. Logically, an international Mass would be in Latin, which is why Latin is the official language of the church. The Tridentine Mass is peculiarly suitable for an international congregation because much of it is said silently and everyone can follow with printed translations in their own language. But - and I spoke to one of them about it - the present congregation who attends the English Mass would not be happy with the Latin Mass. It would be a great pity to deter them by taking away a Mass that they were at ease with.

If possible, then, a means should be found to continue with this Mass for the time being, but as a parish Mass listed in the schedule as an "International Mass". Over a period of 12 months, it can be switched over in stages to become a Tridentine mass, with an explanation being given at each stage, perhaps through a study group. At the end of the transition period, it can then appear in the parish mass schedule as "International Mass".

A successful twelve-month migration route might look something like this.
  1. Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei is sung in Gregorian chant
  2. Pater Noster sung in Latin
  3. Credo sung in Latin
  4. Responses in Latin
  5. Proper is sung in Latin, with Asperges/Vidi Aquam
  6. Communicants line up at the sanctuary step instead of queueing. This makes for easier distribution.
  7. Communicants offered option to receive communion kneeling.
  8. Celebration is Ad Orientem
  9. Canon is recited in Latin
  10. Complete change to Tridentine rite.
All of these stages were taken in Brighton up to stage 8, with explanations all the way through. However, the parish priest decided that for the time being the main Sunday Mass should not be in the Extraordinary form and this is celebrated at another time.

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