Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A Reverent, Simple, Beautiful Palm Sunday

An almost poig... nah, absolutely, a poignant blog from non-musician, (non-liturgist? or so I believe,) Amy Welborn on a blessedly simple Palm Sunday.
The poignancy comes not just from our knowledge of the events in her life in recent months, but from the knowledge that there are millions of souls out there thirsting for the same thing, with no way to have it.
Almost every parish Palm Sunday Mass I've attended for the last...decade(s)..has been... awkward.

Well, the blessing and distribution of Palms and the procession has, anyway. The reason for the
awkwardness is almost always because of the difficulties of singing/chanting in procession,
especially when you have a big crowd. It is apparently impossible to keep everyone on the same page...or the same measure...past the first verse of King of Glory or whatever you're supposed to sing
So I decided I wasn't up for that today, and headed for the convent instead.

The convent being Casa Maria - the retreat house run by the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word, which is really closer to us, I discovered today, than any regular parish.


A group of about...75-100 gathered, not counting the sisters. Some were on retreat that weekend, others were just there.

The music was as you'd expect - chant and traditional hymnody either a capella or very lightly accompanied on a small organ. Hosanna filio David - the Antiphon...All Glory, Laud and Honora during the brief procession (up and down a hallway before we entered the chapel..and everyone stayed on course, pretty much)..a wonderful version of the Psalm, with the sisters singing the verses in a simple harmony...Christ's Banner Guides Us on Christ's Way (Vexilla Regis Prodeum) at the Presentation of the Gifts...Latin Mass parts..O Sacred Head Surrounded, Christus Factus Est at Communion, Hail Redeemer King Divine at the closing.

Such a relief. Not because it was Latin or traditional, but because it was reverently and simply done and was organic without anyone having to self-consciously "lead" us or do elaborate instrumental intros of any sort...

The Gospel was proclaimed by the priest and two sisters. The homily was quite brief and focused on the possibility of martrydom and drawing strength from Christ.

There were a slew of servers who acted as torch bearers at the Eucharistic prayer - kneeling before the altar with their (I think) 8 tall candleholders. It was the first time I had seen this, and it was quite striking and effective - an iconostasis of sorts? Is that the idea?.

That's why meddling/messing/interfering/s**** with the liturgy is so wrong. not because you're getting your own way -- do what you want elsewhere, if your devotions consist of you dancing naked while reciting the psalms backwards and whacking your fellow-devotees with feathers, have at it!

But when you do that during the Holy Sacrifice of the MASS you deprive others of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to which they are entitled.

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