Picture: members of the St William of York, Reading congregation served by the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, commemorating their 10th Anniversary
It is worth taking a look at the picture, what is so noticeable is the number of children, and although there are a few grey heads, they are in the minority, there aren't any at all amongst the clergy, which is most probably the most significant of all.
But as I say it is the presence of children that is most noticeable, which indicates that the congregation is either very wealthy and afford children or more likely that they are willing to make sacrifices for them. It is also an indication that the families here are stable, and committed enough to the Gospel to be open to the Church's teaching.
From the little I know, the Reading congregation started with just few families and has grown and grown. Its growth has been by 'supernatural' generation, a few people being received into the Church but more being attracted by what they find there; the Traditional Mass and clear Catholic teaching. However the real growth has been through 'natural' generation; Catholic parents having children.
We Catholics of course believe 'grace works on nature', we seem to have forgotten the importance, and the duty, of begetting children. 'Trad' Mass communities seem always to create an environment that says 'children are welcome', they are open to nature. They also create an environment that is open to what the Church the 'education' of children. By 'education' we understand it to mean more than what is learnt at school, we mean the sacraments and the moral and spiritual education of children, helping them to become spiritual adults. In 'Traditional' communities, though this is obviously the primary work of parents, networks and supports form naturally.
Here in Brighton our own Traditional Mass congregation is growing, at times it seem to have more babies and younger children than all our other Sunday Masses, despite the centre of the city not being the best or easiest place to bring up children.