On Friday I was pleased to get a call from Ian Graham suggesting we go for lunch. Ian is the director of the Schola Gregoriana of Northumbria and we have worked together in matters of liturgy since 1993. Ian has just created a blog for the schola. Lunch was happily at the Black Door restaurant just opposite the cathedral. Fr Charles Briggs was coming to stay with me for the weekend and this afforded me the opportunity to get in some practice for the weekend`s meals.
My links with the schola have not been as strong recently since I left Gateshead and have now very limited opportunity to celebrate sung Mass in the traditional rite. However we have had a few `private` sung Masses at Forest Hall and Ian has tried to introduce Gregorian chant at the main Sunday Mass on three occasions. Participation by the congregation steadily increased with each Mass but we have not had a `chant Sunday` for a few months now.
The purpose of the lunch was to discuss our future plans. We hope to revive the chant Sundays at Forest Hall, starting with very simple Mass settings to get people familiar with what is going on. It is unfortunate that the church organ lies in ruins in the choir loft, but we can manage without it for the time being. So I hope that in the New Year we can start with a regular Sunday each month to get this project up and running again. The two ladies of the parish choir have been keen to be involved and I hope that in time others may make their way upstairs to join the group.
Apart from that Ian suggested that we have Mass in the traditional rite every day during the Octave of Christmas, although probably not on Sunday. We hope to have a couple of sung Masses among them. These Masses will be at 11am each day apart from Saturday when it will be at the usual 10am. I don`t know why I`ve never thought of trying this before.
Maybe by then, if the Holy Father gets back safely from Turkey, we will have the new indult and life will be much easier.