Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why choose the Traditional Mass to start an evangelisation initiative?

Why choose the Traditional Mass to start an evangelisation initiative? That is really what we have done by choosing it to open our 150th Anniversary Celebrations. Our celebrations are about inviting people into or back to the Church and to be honest those are coming to speak are coming to explain why we worship and believe as we do.
There is an item on today's Gloria news cast from the Trent diocese newspaper which suggests the exact opposite of what we are doing, I am afraid we ar trying to create a spectacle.
In part we have followed what happened when our curch opened the nave, until then everyone was crammed onto the sanctuary, with altar on the south side of what was to become the Lady Chapel. Then they employed professional singers and an orchestra, they had the Haydn Imperial Mass* (the Nelson Mass), we can't afford that so it is Schubert in G for us. But it seems that they wanted to encourage people to come and gawp or be awed by unfamiliar Catholic spectacle. They simply wanted people to come, to take pleasure in what was happening, to be moved, to find others were praying around them and experiencing our first High Mass as a profound spiritual but also cultural and sensual experience.
We deliberately followed our fore-fathers' example: the structure, the ceremonial are most probably almost as unfamiliar to Catholics today as they were to Brighton Protestants 150 years ago. It would seem that the nave of the church was built for the growing number of Catholics in the town but also to draw in non-Catholics who might be moved by seeing the Catholic Church at worship.
It is easy to forget that so much of the missionary work of the Church was done through its worship and the old Mass; the people of Kent were moved by Augustine's chanting monks, the Jesuits were rowed up South American rivers to the sound of violins, flutes and voices. Engaging the heart and senses seems to have been the first act of missionaries in the past, using beautiful music, stimulating a sense of wonder, causing people to reflect and to be still, to recognise God as Beauty, to look for his presence in their hearts.

In the newsletter last Sunday -space was a bit short- I put this:
Why are we using the Older Form of Mass to open our 150th Anniversary Celebration?

• Because we want you to bring friends along - both religious and non-religious, Catholics and others.
• We want to present worship that is beautiful and part of our ancient liturgical Tradition.
• We want something that presents the essence of the Catholic Faith simply and experientially rather than word based.
• Something which is deeply rooted in our western cultural tradition and where the music will be part of the celebration rather than an adjunct to it.
• Something that can be approached on many different levels by different types of people.
I suppose I should have stressed that people should try and invite youmger people rather those who have had 40 years of having this type of celebration art the arts that surrounded it rubbished.

*We can't afford to put on the Nelson, we are settling for Schubert in G


Supertradmum said...

Praise God and an excellent post. As I shall not be able to be there, you have a prayer that it will be STO.

Michael Petek said...

Might I suggest that the Mass on the 150th Anniversary be offered for the intentions of the campaign 40 Days for Life which is to be held from February 22 to April 1?

Prayer and Fasting for 40 days to put an end for abortion.

Peaceful Vigil outside Wistons Clinic 138 Dyke Road on each of the 40 days.

Community Outreach in the media and by advocacy and public visibility.

Lynda said...

That is wonderful, beautiful - and your post is too! And Amen to the plug to 40 Days for Life - it's spread from the States to many countries, including Ireland, where the sites are outside abortion referral centres (which do what they do despite an explicit ban on the activity).

Barbara said...

Congratulations to Father Blake and parishioners.Many of my friends and relatives, born after Vatican II, have come to the faith through initial exposure to the beauty of the Tridentine Latin High Mass.

Maureen said...

I imagine that the florid music of the past at St John the Baptist's might have been a form of competition with the florid music to be found in the Anglo-Catholic Wagner churches of the period.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Maureen, I think it preceeded it. Catholic florid music seems to have started with foreign visitors to the Prince Regent.

John Nolan said...

Schubert's Masses have the disadvantage that they don't set the whole text. This is particularly noticeable in the Credo of the G Major Mass (although the Agnus Dei is very beautiful). Still, it's not quite such an issue in the pre-1965 rite since the celebrant recites it in full.

Fr Ray Blake said...

We are using Credo 111 for that reason.

Physiocrat said...

The liturgy is the Church's main means of teaching its theology, just as with the Freemasons.

It is the height of ignorance to imagine that words alone can convey the philosphy that the Catholic church is trying to present. It is bad psychology and bad anthropology.

No wonder people have gone away.

Gratias said...

The Traditional Latin Mass is the best way to start the New Evangelization. That is why Pope Bebedict gave the Church Summorum Pontificum. Thank you Fr. Blake.

Pablo the Mexican said...

It is the true Mass, Christ crucified.


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