Thursday, August 20, 2009

House Mass

Since last Tuesday we have been out of the Church, and having Mass in our Parish Centre, ad orientem of course, not just because of lack of space but in a space that is normally used for pastoral rather sacred purposes and having to use a table lower than an altar, it gives a stronger sense of the sacred.
Because of an administrative error we are going to have to celebrate Mass in my dining room tomorrow, ad orientem of course we collapsed the huge table that normally fills the room and have set up the sideboard as an altar. To accommodate the numbers we are going to have Mass at 10 and 12am. The Blessed Sacrament is also there, so it is a bit narrow, we have covered the mirror behind and I shall place my rosary in the top drawer with its reliquary crucifix, under the corporal. I know with Ordinary Form it is not necessary but at least it makes a piece of domestic furniture more like an altar.
Speaking of house Masses, when I was a deacon, I was sent off to neighbourhoods to organise them. Then the priest would come and celebrate Mass on a coffee table or the telly wearing the minimum of vestments, everyone sitting on sofas throughout - how I hate it.
P.S. as for the relics I have never been able to read the minuscule calligraphy that identifies who they are.


Richard Collins said...

House Masses were an abomination of the 70s; I well recall the embarrassment of sitting around in someone's sitting room trying to conjure up some reverence and, all the while, Christ was left alone in His house.
We are much better off without them (I state this in case some deluded soul thinks that the concept sounds good, it was not, it was awful).

ffn said...

I must agree,what an awful abomination the coffee table & the trendy stole!!! not happy memories

parepidemos said...

Father, I notice that, of late, your posts have become increasing whining/complaining in tone; almost bitter at times. Perhaps you need a small holiday from the parish. I mean this with the greatest of respect.

Fr Ray Blake said...


I am sorry, as far as house Masses are concerned, I am just grateful, it is a fashion that has past!
That is neither whinging or complaining.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Missed "bitter",
Don't think this is bitter either, just grateful we have moved on.

pelerin said...

I agree with both Fr Ray and Shepherd that it is good that we have 'moved on' away from House Masses and the 'embarrassment of .. trying to conjure up some reverence' in front of the Coffee Table 'altar'.

However there did seem to be one good idea behind them whether intended or unintentional.

As a young married couple we attended a number of House Masses having been introduced to a small group of young couples by the Priest who married us. We were all either expecting our first child or were already parents of very young children so had much in common and firm friendships were formed with people whom we might never otherwise have met.

One of the couples later became my eldest son's in-laws! The children 'met' at the tender age of a few months at one of the House Masses and they later gave us two wonderful grandchildren. So while I would not wish to see the return of House Masses I do have cause to be thankful for those of the late 60s.

Richard said...

parepidemos, I don't detect any whining in Father Blake's posts.

Quite the opposite; even when he is objecting to something (such as house Masses) or describing the difficulties in his parish (which I suspect would crush many other priests), he does so in a firm, even positive manner.

That's why I carry on reading him, having given up on some better-known priests' blogs.

Sorry, serious comment over; I shall now keep quiet until I think of another bad pun to share.

FrGregACCA said...

Re: relics.

It is unfortunate that the RC Latin Rite does not make use of antimensia

Crux Fidelis said...

Of course, Fr Ray, in Ireland there is the fine tradition of the Station Mass which dates back to penal times. How would you say this differs from the House Mass of the 70s?

Thomas Windsor said...

I think the house Mass that Father is talking about, is where a room that is usually used in the worship of other gods i.e. profane T.V., is then temporary converted.

This of course is very different to those homes one has seen, where statues and candles are always found on a side board, that is the centre piece of the main family room. I have also seen some very beautiful chapels set up permanently in larger houses.

While these rooms are mainly used for daily family prayers, they also make a great setting for the occasional Mass.

On the other note, I have found Father's posts excellent of late, and very encouraging of further discussion, which is surely what a blog is supposed to do.

nickbris said...

There are millions of people around the World have no option but to use their home as a place of Worship and they are not only Christians.

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