Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Grand Week

As mentioned below, yesterday I went to Ushaw for the Grand Week Mass and lunch. Unfortunately I underestimated how long it takes to get to Ushaw from here and, although I intended to concelebrate, I arrived ten minutes late and so sat in the benches for Mass. There were about eighty lay people attending, mostly of retirement age. I was surprised to see that we had the Missa de Angelis to sing for the ordinary and the hymns were rather good too. The Te Deum was sung at the end of Mass.
The main celebrant was the newly consecrated co-adjutor bishop of Shrewsbury, bishop Mark Davies. I particularly enjoyed his sermon and thinking I might want to remember some of it took some notes. He spoke about the priesthood drawing on the example of St John Vianney and the Douai martyrs. What I enjoyed about his treatment of St John Vianney was that we didn`t get a pre-amble to say that of course St John Vianney lived in a very different world and very different Church so we can`t take him at face-value. Instead bishop Davies recalled some of the saint`s words about the priesthood especially "Oh, how great is a priest! The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven. If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love". The bishop told us that the priest is to be first in faith, first in fidelity and first in service. As for the Douai inheritance, bishop Davies said `The Douai tradition is not a place, not a programme of study nor inherited ball games [i.e.`cat` an ancient form of rounders played at Douai and Ushaw] but faithfulness to something much more and he went on to recall Pope Paul VI`s words at the canonisation of the English Martyrs that what had motivated them was the Holy Eucharist and the prerogatives of the successor of Peter. Bishop Davies reminded us that Douai was founded at a time when the Catholic priesthood was being discredited as much by erroneous scholarship as by the moral failings of priests. He asked us to ask the prayers of St John Vianney that we may be true to the inheritance we have received.
Having heard all that I was somewhat disconcerted when it came to the consecration of the Mass. No-one had knelt after the Sanctus and while this is not the usual practice in England and Wales I was to say the least surprised when no-one knelt at the consecration as required by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. I knelt anyway. After Mass I saw that the Mass booklet told us that it is the custom at Ushaw to stand throughout the Eucharistic prayer. It is so sad that at the heart of the Mass Ushaw should seek to do something different to the custom of the universal Church. It seemed to me to undermine much of what we heard in the homily.
After the Mass there was lunch. My host had already filled her table but I was glad to find `1569 Rising` was there and so I found a place among his contemporaries who would have been the ordination year of 1970. It was an enjoyable lunch. Afterwards the President, Fr John Marsland, made a speech as did the chairman of the St Cuthbert`s Society. We were treated to the singing of the Ushaw song (which I`d never heard before in my life) and there was a toast to the hierarchy and the college (but no mention of the Pope: maybe he just got included with the hierarchy).

After lunch I was glad to have a brief chat with bishop Davies who recognised me of old. He asked for prayers.

15 comments:

Em said...

Just out of interest, what were the hymns?

Fr. Francis Wadsworth said...

THanks Father for a faithful rendition of Bishop Davies homily. He is a fine preacher and one who is close to the Cuyre D'Ars. He is a great loss to our diocese of Salford, but I am convinced he will do great things for God and Holy Mother Church.

Richard S Rainbow said...

Surely a toast to both His Holiness and to the (English) Hierarchy might be seen as something of a contradiction? Or maybe I am becoming cynical?

Ttony said...

The first half of this post is really encouraging; then, from the Consecration on, it goes downhill really quickly.

Still: ad multos annos for getting this far!

Fr Michael Brown said...

Em, I arrived after the first hymn but it was `By all your saints still striving` by one Horatio Bolton Nelson (1823-1913). Not one I`ve seen before but no problems with the words. At the offertory (whoops that should be `Preparation of the Gifts`) it was George Herbert`s Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life. There was a setting of psalm 23 at Communion (`The Lord`s is the earth and it`s fullness`)and after Communion we had St Bernard of Cluny`s `Jerusalem the golden` which was tricky to pick up. So nothing silly. I was amazed to see the Agunus Dei referred to as such in the booklet. In my time at Ushaw we had to call it `the breaking song`. So all in all thhe music was much better than the average OF Mass: it was just the refusal to kneel at the consecration which really annoyed me. I wonder what they do at Benediction?

PP said...

Oh dear...

Ushaw's powers that be posturing against the GIRM (again). Surely it is time for them to crawl out of their '70's bunker, adjust their eyes to the light and smell the incense. The absence of the reigning Pontiff from the toasting speaks volumes!

Good that the music there seems to have taken a turn for the better since the last century. Kitson in D was the only musical high point of the year during my time. I shudder when I remember all the drivel by Huub Oosterhuis et al that was foisted upon us.

The consecration of Bishop Davies was a sign of hope.

1569 Rising said...

Father..

You are too kind describing the congregation as being of "retirement age". Certainly my contemporaries sharing lunch with you could be best described as portly, balding and broken down by age and other things, but a jolly crew nonetheless.

The Mass was conducted with considerable devotion and dignity, the music was good, especially the plainchant, and to put PP's mind at rest, there was plenty of incense! It was good to have an organist who knew how to accompany plainchant.

I sgree, Father, about the "custom"(?) of standing throughout the Canon. If that is a custom, then it is a new one. I was present at a Grand Week Mass some 10 years ago, and have no recollection of it being the custom then, Inexplicable.

It was interesting to note that a few received Communion on the tongue, including at least two of the seminarians. Hopeful?

Bishop Davies' sermon was excellent, and his celebration of Mass was quite exemplary.

Could I ask for the prayers af all Forest Murmururs for one of my class, Brendan Moran, who was present,in a wheelchair, and is suffering from cancer?

Augustinus said...

Bishop Davies is, indeed, a great hope for the Church in this troubled land. He is worthy of all our prayers. Salford's loss is most definitely Shrewsbury's gain.

seminarian1 said...

Fr. Brown... Please remember that it is not the will of the seminarians to stand, but the a so called 'tradition' of the college. For if we do stand - then we 'stand out' and it then becomes a formation issue.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Seminarian1 I wouldn`t expect a seminarian for one minute to go against the rule of the college because as you say his career would be cut very short. We had other obstacles in my day which required similar obedience. However two things strike me out of this. While someone may survive the course at Ushaw the six years can take their toll. I know in my own case: although I `got through` I think I missed out on a lot from which I could have benefitted in those years.

Secondly I am interested in the appeal to `tradition` for such practices. 1569 Rising said it wasn`t going on ten years ago so it can`t be much of a tradition. However that tradition is appealed to as an authority is certainly different to my day. All the stuff about `cat` with game equipment on display in the ambulacra shows a similar tendency. I was so glad when bishop Davies said that the Douai traidition is about more than a ball game. It seems that tradition is being appealed to for either the erroneous or the trivial but at least people have noticed the concept. This gives me hope. Maybe one day Ushaw will rediscover some deeper liturgical and spiritual traditions if it survives long enough.

Be assured of my prayers

Anonymous said...

Why is it called 'Grand Week' and what does it comemmorate?

seminarian 2 said...

I had an awful time at Ushaw a few years ago as a seminarian! I can still remember one of the (many) problems with the place: whenever guests were present,the MC would come out and tell them they could not kneel at the consecration, that it was the 'local custom', ie for Ushaw. Unfortunately I was one of only a few who saw the irony/contradiction in this.

The best, of course, was first year philosophy: not Aristotle and Plato; but the 'wonderful' things Vatican III would do in the future. I don't need to say any more....

Fr Michael Brown said...

Anonymous, I don`t know why it is called Grand Week but it has always been the name of the reunion of Ushaw alumni. I was heaing at lunch that in the 1960`s hundreds of priests used to attend to such an extent that the seminarians had to eat in the museum rather than the refectory. It was still a week until not that long ago but now starts on Sunday and finishes on Tuesday.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Seminarian 2, I had hoped that things were better at Ushaw than in my time but they seem to have got worse!

EFpastor emeritus (Email: Pastoremeritus@aol.com) said...

What a diabolical tradition or custom......I refer to the Standing from Consecration onwards. It might , just might, have been justified in penal times in order to facilitate a quick escape if necessary.
My memories of Ushaw are excellent...but I only experienced less than one week there, at the recent Latin Mass study of the Extraordinary Form with you, Father Brown, as my tutor and a beautiful preserved chapel. What more could I ask for!