Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus

There is a fitting text from the Old Testament that I can't seem to find the reference for, but it mentions that for all the splendour of sacred vesture, even more admirable, and what truly makes them beautiful, is the virtue of the priest who wears them.

This photograph is of Bishop Peter J. Elliott, taken from the Pontifical Mass for Christ the King in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo. This and other photographs (featuring some familiar faces) can be found at the NLM. Thank you Mr Tribe! Mitre by the St Bede Studio.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Perhaps an idea for another article

Writing papers at the last minute is like a death bed conversion. Some constancy before hand would make the outcome much more splendid. Papers, like death, shouldn't be done in a rush - but the whole composition process reflects the concupiscent condition very well.

Anyway, I do point your attention to 'New Springtime', the recently launched online journal of the Australian Catholic Students Association. It has some wonderful content, including an article on modesty by Mrs Helen Sidhu, which I highly recommend.

Latin Love Letters


Amo te ex toto corde meo. Et gaudebit sponsus super sponsam: gaudebit super te Deus tuus. Et vocabunt eos: Populus sanctus Redempti a Domino: tu autem vocaberis Quaesita Civitas et non Derelicta.

In Teipso,

Monday, October 29, 2007

No Mere Decoration

In Sacramentum Caritatis Pope Benedict XVI wrote, "Beauty, then, is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation." Again, "Special respect and care must be also given to the vestments, the furnishings and the sacred vessels, so that by their harmonious and orderly arrangement they will foster awe for the mystery of God, manifest the unity of the faith and strengthen devotion."
As examples of the these principles being put into practice, here are a few photos of the sacred vessels used for the Pontifical Mass yesterday, together with an image of the cathedra.

This chalice from 1894 was commissioned by Dr. Stephen Reville OSA, second bishop of Sandhurst, and made in Paris. Details for this ciborium could not be obtained but it probably dates to about the same period as the chalice.

A range of ewers and basins for the ceremonial washings throughout the Mass. On the right is a holy water bucket and sprinkler.

The cathedra or bishop's throne was carved from Austrian oak and installed in 1914. It features carvings of Sts. Augustine and Patrick, in honour of the first two bishops of Sandhurst who were Augustinians from Ireland.

Finally a photo of my fellow servers - Dane, Omar and John Paul - making one of many toasts at the table during the dinner following the Mass. The evening will be particularly remembered for a speech from one of our chaplains, who was also an organiser of the first Christus Rex pilgrimage, in which he presented a very brief history of the early years of the pilgrimage and then expressed his amazement at how it has grown in nearly twenty years. He also called upon those present to pass on to future generations this history, which is just as important as the pilgrimage itself.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Pilgrim's Plod

Today I was a pilgrim for 4km. Later, I traveled across three dioceses. At a most glorious Pontifical Mass, we received the Apostolic blessings of two bishops, to the eternal honour, and glory, and praise of one King, Rex Regum, Christ the Lord.

Thank you Lord for your holy bishops, priests, religious, families, and faithful souls. Thank you for making men for your praise. Thank you for beautiful vestments and splendid mitres.

Now it is late, I am back under the jurisdiction of our beloved Archbishop Hart, and I might benefit from a panadol to ease a minor complication from too much sun.

Gloria, laus, et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redemptor! Rex meus, at Deus meus! Lord, bless your pilgrims!

I think 'peregrini' is a sweet word.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Prayers for the Pilgrims

Please pray for those pilgrims who have set off this morning on a walking pilgrimage between the Cathedrals of Ballarat and Bendigo in honour of Christ the King. The pilgrimage will culminate in a Solemn Pontifical Mass offered by Bishop Peter J. Elliott - in the sight of Bishop Joseph Grech of Sandhurst - this Sunday at 3pm. All are encouraged to attend.

Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Laetatus sum eo quod dixerint mihi in domum Domini ibimus

Yesterday while cleaning and clearing up after the Mass for those going on the Christus Rex Pilgrimage, we (John-Paul, Omar and myself) received a very special visitor, Mrs Margaret Scott. Margaret had been a parishioner and student in the early days of St. Aloysius, where she was confirmed by Dr. Daniel Mannix and later married. Her mother had worked in the school canteen and Margaret herself had been one of the ladies who prepared the flowers for Church.

During our conversation with Margaret, she recalled the horses Fr. John O'Brien, the first parish priest, kept on the land adjacent to the church, being sent out to purchase cakes for the visiting Presentation nuns, who were not allowed such extravagances in the convent, and the old spire of the church, which was subsequently removed because of structural problems. She also referred to St. Aloysius being a replica of a French church, which she had the fortune to visit during her forty years living in England, and the occasion Dr. Mannix went disguised as a nun to England, which he had been barred from visiting because of his Irish sympathies.

In the header of this post I have quoted Psalm 121, "I rejoiced when they said to me: Let us go to the house of God" and for the three of us the most memorable part of Margaret's visit was the visible joy she experienced in returning to the church of her childhood as well as knowing the Mass of her youth was still being offered in that same church.

From the Annals of St Aloysius

Following our previous post of Omar's birthday celebrations, we wish to announce that he has been appointed sacristan for the Christus Rex pilgrimage from Ballarat to Bendigo. This is a great honour for young Omar and may finally bring him to the attention of the new Papal Master of Ceremonies in case he is looking for an apprentice.
These three pairs of episcopal gloves were purchased from the official papal outfitters, Gamarelli's. The set in the middle will be adorning His Lordship, Bishop Peter Elliott, for the final mass of the Christus Rex pilgrimage.
Our own Perpetua in conversation with the 'extraordinary' Ray: catechist, sacristan, Franciscan Tertiary, occasional joker and raconteur.

The banner procured from England for the Christus Rex pilgrimage. This was unfurled yesterday at a Mass for pilgrims and again today as a reminder of the pilgrimage.

The latest sighting of a mysterious cleric in capello and cassock, whom I have on good authority has also been spotted in Rome. We are yet to identify this figure but assume from his attire he is either a supporter of the Missal of 1962 or Father Brown impersonator, albeit without the umbrella.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tearing through Sundays

We're running out of Sundays after Pentecost! I'm not ready for November envelopes.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Heaven Let Down on Earth

The beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-90) may be a step closer courtesy of the cure of an American deacon who had suffered from a spinal injury which left him bowed over and who had invoked the intercession of the Cardinal. So in honour of this good news I present a quotation from Cardinal Newman's Occasional Sermons which presents a vision which I am sure all those supporting Juventutem would themselves entertain:

The fair form of Christianity rose up and grew and expanded like a beautiful pageant from north to south; it was majestic, it was solemn, it was bright, it was beautiful and pleasant, it was soothing to the griefs, it was indulgent to the hopes of man; it was at once a teaching and a worship; it had a dogma, a mystery, a ritual of its own; it had an hierarchical form. A brotherhood of holy pastors, with mitre and crosier and uplifted hand, walked forth and blessed and ruled a joyful people. The crucifix headed the procession, and simple monks were there with hearts in prayer, and sweet chants resounded, and the holy Latin tongue was heard, and boys came forth in white, swinging censers, and the fragrant cloud arose, and mass was sung, and the saints were invoked; and day after day, and in the still night, and over the woody hills and in the quiet plains, as constantly as sun and moon and stars go forth in heaven, so regular and solemn was the stately march of blessed services on earth, high festival, and gorgeous procession, and soothing dirge, and passing bell, and the familiar evening call to prayer: till he would think it all unreal what he beheld and heard, and would conclude he did but see a vision, so marvellously was heaven let down upon earth, so triumphantly were chased away the fiends of darkness to their prison below.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fidelis servus, quem constituit Dominus super familiam suam

Today was an extra special day here at Caufield as we celebrated the birthday of our very own "man for all seasons" - Omar. In addition to his duties as a master of ceremonies and server, Omar is a sacristan, member of the Schola, custodian of the sacred vestments, and possessor of arguably the most amazing memory for all things historical and liturgical.

After the morning Mass, Perpetua organised a wonderful chocolate cake for the occasion and then it was off to lunch at a nearby Italian restaraunt.

Omar setting out and taking great delight in a Roman set for tomorrow morning's Mass.The cake which Perpetua procured for the occasion and which went down particularly well.

Omar doing the honours of blowing out the twenty candles on the cake. (It's so hard to believe that he is no longer a teenager now.)

Omar with one of his many young admirers, who are a testimony to the generosity and joy which he brings to the sacristy and sanctuary.

The luncheon party at Uffizi.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Dialogue on Church Music

When Sister Consolata told her that she had been drafted to take over the children's choir she had promised to go to Father Cooney and lay down the law about what kind of hymns would be sung.

"But you can't just tell the pastor, can you?" Sister Consolata had asked.

"Yes. Doesn't the Pope want the right kind of music? And isn't the Bishop doing his best to get it?" Sister Gervaise replied.

"Yes, but ..."

"If a higher superior commands something it is the duty of the inferior to enforce it. That's right in the Rule."

Armed with the Holy Rule she went forth to do battle with Father Cooney in the cause of Sister Consolata and the motu proprio. The only difficulty was that the pastor had anticipated her and bore down on her, his usual smile of greeting at half mast.

"I understand that you have asked Sister Consolata to take over the choir. She will if she can have the proper hymns."

The pastor interrupted her, "What kind of way is that to stack chairs?" he called.

"What way?" How did she know how they were stacked? She hadn't turned the lights up again in the auditorium. She could trust Mrs. Doyle.

"Right plank up against the stage. How do you expect us to get the head table there for the CYO supper?"

It was incredible that ... If you wanted something done right you had to ... What could she say?

Father Cooney sighed and shook his head. His chin settled into the fold of his neck. "If you want something done right you have to do it yourself," he said. "Now I've got to get those blackguards of boys to take all those chairs out of there. We never had this trouble when we ran the parish shows. The men always did up the chairs after, and we had a nice dance for ourselves, too."

"I know. Mr MacGill told me."

"He was right. Well - wasn't he?"

"Yes. I ... I think he was."

"So now I'm telling you - I'm not asking you, mind you - you'll have a dance after the St. Patrick's show, and I'll see to the way the chairs are stacked myself."

Who said there was going to be a St. Patrick's show?

"Look, Father," she said, "if there's going to be a St. Patrick's night, then the young people can do it themselves. They won't need me. They can put on any old thing they want."

"Oh, they can, can they? Not while I'm around here, they can't. There'll be supervision of things in this parish while the Bishop keeps me here. And that's what you're supposed to be doing."

"I'm [only] supposed to put on the high-school plays."

"... and you with a vow of obedience, I hear."

"All right, Father," she replied, "I'm sure it'll all be very well nice, and I am very sorry about the chairs, but as far as obedience goes, that's just what I cam to talk to you about."

"You did, did you?"

"I did, Father. It's about this church music. I told Sister Consolata I would speak to you. You see, if she has the children's choir, they've got to sing the right things."

"Of course they do. Don't they?"

"Well, they don't now. That's sure."

"They sing better than the big choir. At least the kids don't stop me when I'm getting to the Consecration. Now you take that Gregorian. You have her teach that."

"Why, I didn't know ..."

"There's a lot of things you don't know about me. Tell her to teach them a Gregorian Mass - that Mass of the Angels, for instance. That's a nice short one. But no Credo."

"You like Gregorian because it's short?"

"There's worse reasons. If you've got to get the people in and out of church, there's things you have to think about if the next crowd's going to come in. That young fellow there of mine - he preaches too long."

He did. But at least Father Rolfe was interesting and he had a nice voice. This was getting nowhere. "I'll tell Sister Consolata you said to go ahead, then."

"You'll tell her no such thing. Just what I said. She can have them learn that Mass, but we're not going to throw out all the good hymns that kids get a lot of devotion out of. No, sir! Only tell her to pep them up a little bit. They sing'em too slow."

"Indeed they do. And if you pep them up, they'll all sound like what they are - fox trots."

"Fox trots, is it?" he laughed "Well, that's better than bo-peep or whatever it is the kids do nowadays, anyway."

From The Lively Arts of Sister Gervaise by Fr. John Bonn SJ (New York: Echo Books, 1966)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Easy Registration Page now Online

Please register here.

Requiescat in Pace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Archbishop Ambrose De Paoli, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, who has died. It's rather sad news, but one gives thanks for reports that His Grace died a happy death - Deo gratias. Requiescat in pace.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Register for World Youth Day with Juventutem

Pilgrims wishing to register for World Youth Day with Juventutem can now do so. All pilgrims are requested to join group #770 'Juventutem'. This is for the sake of sanity.

Please note: There are two steps in registering as a pilgrim with Juventutem:

First, please register for World Youth Day following the link above, and when prompted, the group number. The World Youth Day registration fee is AU $395, which can be paid at a later date.

Secondly, there will be a 'Juventutem fee' of AU $300 for the two week program, or AU $150 for Sydney only. The bulk of this fee will cover pilgrim transport to Sydney by coach, and the rest will contribute to the general costs involved with planning an event of this magnitude in conspectu Dei et hominum.

The Juventutem fee will be payable on the Juventutem Australia website, again, that too can be paid at a later date, and payment facilities and applicable information will be available in the coming fortnight.

Less than ten months to go. Dear Little Flower, pray for us.