Sunday, 26 January 2014

Putting the pieces together

Yesterday morning, we travelled some distance to an Extraordinary Form Mass, in the very beautiful setting of Our Lady and St Wilfrid's Church, Warwick Bridge.  It is a very small church, and very beautiful in a Victorian way: an intact Pugin design including rood screen and other beautiful details.

The Mass was a Low Mass: very quiet and prayerful. 

Perhaps it was the combination: the travel, the Saturday morning, the quiet Low Mass, and the beautiful setting, along with the fact that I have recently been musing on my Father's relationship with the liturgical changes, that made me remember with new clarity, and possibly new insight, the Saturday mornings of my early teens.

Because back then, in the 1970s, we used to travel into London on a Saturday morning, taking the tube to South Kensington. Then we would go to the Oratory, make our way to the Lady Chapel, and then push through heavy curtains into St Wilfrid's Chapel.

There, an elderly priest would say a Low Mass.

Putting the pieces together, I think that this must have been one of those 'old or sick priests who may celebrate the old rite privately,' according to the Bishops' statement here.  I think that the heavy curtain was put in place to ensure that this scandal - someone praying the Old Mass - would not be visible or audible to the Faithful in the Oratory, and also to prevent people attending this - as it was to be said privately.

I further deduce that this was (at least one instance of) my father acting on his judgement that: 'I am not obliged to 'obey' such authorities.' (see here).  Presumably, we were not meant to be there, though my memory is that quite a few people attended this private Mass on a regular basis.  It was certainly where I first learned to love the traditional Latin Mass.

I would be very interested in any light anyone else can shed on that Saturday morning Mass back in the early- to mid-1970s.


Jonathan Marshall said...

I'm afraid I haven't the experience to comment on your specific question, Ben, but from a personal point of view I completely agree with my fellow-convert Evelyn Waugh - a simple Low Mass in the early morning is a pearl beyond price.

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks for this, and for your previous comment: acted on!

I quite agree about Low Mass: much as I love liturgical music, liturgical silence has an even higher place in my heart.