Yesterday I returned from the Latin Mass Society conference at Merton College, Oxford. It was an excellent week, in very good company. I have to say it has given me plenty to think about in the weeks ahead!
I had signed up for the absloute beginners course for the Traditional Latin Mass. My tutor was Fr Gee from the Archdiocese of Southwork ( with some help from Fr Hermanuetic himself!!). They were very helpful in getting me started with a couple of dry runs. I also attended a crash course in Latin - which was rather good.
A number of things struck me during the week.
It seems to me that a real effort is being made by our Holy Father to re-discover reverence in our celebration of the Mass. This is more than just genuflecting correctly, it is abaout being in the presence of the All powerful and living God and His Son Jesus Christ. It how we must worship with everything we have. This was emphasised by the Masses I attended. On Thursday we had High Mass. It may surprise some that this was the first time I had been to High Mass. On Friday we had Pontifical High Mass - this was splendid and ( in my opinion) spectacular. One thing that really struck me was the sign of peace. This began after the fraction of the Host. Then the main celebrant exhanged peace the deacon and then this was passed to the priests. It was all so dignified. I had a real sense that the peace of Christ was being passed on.
I was also struck by the silence especially at the Canon of the Mass - I may return to that on another occasion.
I had also had a great sense that "the genie is out of the bottle" What I mean is things will not be the same again. Its not just that the Traditional Latin Mass is allowed, its the fact that Pope Benedict has ushered in a new approach to the Liturgy that is more in keeping with what the Vatican Council wanted. Something has stated than cannot be stopped.
Finally, I bought a biretta - so the conference had a real effect on me - a photo of this momentous event will appear soon!