Father Aaron Spinelli came over today to offer a first Mass. Unfortunately I couldn't find my camera, this is a photograph I took on his ordination day.
Today he offered a votive Mass of the Martyrs, it was an occasion to bring our treasures, a red roman chasuble embroidered with the crucified on the back, an antique lace alb, a golden chalice decorated with diamonds, which is normally used just twice a year. I offered Father Aaron the option of celebrating either ad orientem or ad occidentum. He chose the former so we dressed the altar with our relics, including St Mary Magdalen, though Mass was in the Ordinary Form.
Rather than concelebrate I thought I would leave him to celebrate by himself, I knelt on the altar step, it was beautiful to see him offer Mass in such a recollected and prayerful way. He celebrated the Mass exactly according to the rubrics, saying the black and doing the red.
I felt a little like a proud older brother, I have always been impressed by him, I knew him before he went to the seminary, I have prayed for him, worried about him just a little and watched him grow in all kinds of virtue. Today I saw the result of God's grace as he offered the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Altar.
His sermon was well constructed; brief and to the point and worth saying but it is was the way he celebrated the Mass that was so edifying, he let the Mass itself speak. He did nothing to obscure that this was act of grace itself. It was a great privilege for me to have witnessed it, I pray he never looses the sense of awe he had today.
One thing that touched us both was an American reader of this blog, a retired priest sent a card and a cheque, for me it underlined the universality of this holy brotherhood of the priesthood that God in his great love has conferred on us.
After the Mass he gave his blessing to my people and I took him to see of them who is suffering from motor neurone disease. Keep Peter and Father Aaron in your prayers, and me and all priests too.