Today the bishops of England and Wales set off for Rome for their ad limina visit where they submit reports about their dioceses and discuss them with the various Vatican departments. I`m sure our prayers will be with them that the whole process will be helpful in strengthening the Church in England and Wales. The Scottish bishops follow next month.
As bishop Seamus Cunningham goes off he has two saintly predecessors who made the journey before him when travel was not quite so easy: St Wilfrid and St Benet Biscop. These two Northumbrian saints made many visits from this part of the world to the Holy See. St Benet Biscop mainly seems to have gone for the shopping in that he brought back items to enhance the life and worship of the monasteries of Jarrow and Monkwearmouth. His greatest coup was to persuade John the arch-cantor to leave St Peter`s, Rome and come to these Monkwearmouth to teach the monks how to sing chant in the authentic Roman way. This is a recurring obsession of mine and I see I blogged about it just over a year ago.
Well, this weekend at St Mary`s Forest Hall the words of Mgr Marini, the papal MC were heard at Mass. I read out part of the talk we had heard at the conference: the part on active participation. I`ve been keen to share something of that talk with the parish since getting back and the Mass readings at the OF seemed to lend themselves to the topic as we had St Paul`s first letter to the Corinthians on the complementary roles of the members of the Church while the first reading from chapter eight of Nehemiah and the Gospel from Luke chapter four (14-21) laid the ground for talking about the liturgy.
I mentioned in a previous post the whole talk can be found here.
Why I mention this is that I was quite tacken aback by the reaction afterwards. Normally I don`t get much reaction or if I do it is people wanting to disagree with me. This morning it was different, people were queuing up (well not quite) to say how much they enjoyed it. Even one of my regular critics said it was so good to hear something like that from the pulpit. (We don`t have a pulpit but it, like altar rails, seems to have stuck in popular ways of referring to church life.)
I was so glad that there was such a warm response to Mgr Marini`s words. I`m now thinking of sharing what he said about music and adoration and may get on to his section on orientation and liturgical prayer.