Thursday 2 January 2014

A Traditional Latin Mass on New Year’s Day

Since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum in 2007, the Traditional Latin Mass congregation of Cheltenham has been very fortunate in regard to the good priests who have regularly offered the Holy Sacrifice in the ancient form. Father Tom Smith, now at Warminster; Father Alexander Redman of Dursley, and now Father Ian McCarthy of Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water: they have each been a great blessing to us.

Because of various disruptions, I had been unable to attend the monthly TLM at St Gregory’s for a little while. I missed it very much. Yesterday evening, by means of a lift there and a taxi back, I had the quiet joy of being present at the first Low Mass of the year.

There is something very powerful about being part of a congregation that unites itself with the priestly workman as he goes about his Task. Yesterday, unusually, there was no altar server, and the congregation spoke the responses, with unostentatious dignity.

The number has shown a slow but steady increase over time, and at the end of a day of almost unremittingly vile weather about thirty people had made the effort to attend. They included quite a few newcomers, I think. It was very impressive.

As I knelt and prayed and observed Father going about his work at the altar, I tried to fathom out what it is about this form of the Mass that always goes to my heart in a way that the Novus Ordo form does not. At one time there is a particular reason; at another, a different one. Last night, the idea of normality came to me very strongly. If I had my heart’s desire in these things, I would wish to attend the Traditional Mass as my normal Mass.

I particularly wanted to write this post, in order to record an exchange I heard after the Mass, while waiting outside the door for my taxi to arrive. I heard a young woman say, as she came out, “That was beautiful”; and her companion agreed.

After that, I have no more words, except to wish my readers many blessings for the year ahead.