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.