It is Saturday morning already in Sydney, where the Holy Father will be celebrating Holy Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral, and dedicate its new altar.
Here are some images.
The Holy Father has arrived:
Under the singing of Tu es Petrus, he has gone to adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament:
The entrance procession - the relics to be "buried" in the altar:
Whatever one thinks of the new altar about to be consecrated...
...Card. Pell certainly stressed the centrality of the altar on which is offered the holy sacrifice of the Mass, as he expressly said, and he quoted in Latin the antiphon from the prayers at the foot of the altar "Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam". The Holy Father was evidently pleased:
A young Schönstatt sister addressed the pope, ending with a prayer in German to Our Lady asking Her to inscribe the Pope in Her heart, which obviously moved the Holy Father:
The Vidi aquam:
The responsorial psalm being sung quite beautifully:
The Holy Father blesses the deacon before the Gospel:
The singing of the Gospel - this deacon was one of the very few indeed who actually make the prescribed bow of the head at the Holy Name:
The nave of the Cathedral with the great West (?) window, to which the Holy Father has just alluded in his sermon. Now Credo III is being sung in Latin.
The litany of the Saints is sung:
The receptacle in which the relics have been put is being sealed while Psalm 15 is chanted in Latin:
Now the Holy Father has put off the chasuble and put on a linen gremial and two sleeve coverings for the anointing of the altar:
He pours chrism on the altar:
And anoints it while Unxit te Deus is sung with Psalm 45:
Now he burns incense upon the altar:
And incenses it while Stetit angelus is sung with Psalm 136:
After linens have been put upon the altar - and in fact the traditional three altar cloths, so rarely seen in the context of the Ordinary Form -, candles and a Cross have been arranged upon it in the customary Roman/"Benedictine" manner, and the candles lighted, also in the traditional order:
The Roman Canon:
Holy Communion in the traditional manner now observed at all papal Masses, including tomorrow's closing Mass of World Youth Day:
Now after Holy Communion, Te Deum is being chanted.
The Pope leaving the altar:
Splendid. I think this has been so far the best Mass, liturgically speaking, of Pope Benedict outside Rome.
You can view a video of this Mass without commentary on the WYD website in four parts: part 1 (entrance of the Holy Father), part 2 (beginning of Mass until the collect), part 3 (epistle until preparation of the altar for the Holy Sacrifice), part 4 (offertory to end). The pope's sermon - excellent as ever - can be read here. An excerpt, referring to how the liturgy of the consecration (and the pope in fact uses repeatedly this traditional term) of the altar concerns us:
It is in this truth – this mystery of faith – that we have been "consecrated" (cf. Jn 17:17-19), and it is in this truth that we are called to grow, with the help of God’s grace, in daily fidelity to his word, within the life-giving communion of the Church. Yet how difficult is this path of consecration! It demands continual "conversion", a sacrificial death to self which is the condition for belonging fully to God, a change of mind and heart which brings true freedom and a new breadth of vision. Today’s liturgy offers an eloquent symbol of that progressive spiritual transformation to which each of us is called. From the sprinkling of water, the proclamation of God’s word and the invocation of all the saints, to the prayer of consecration, the anointing and washing of the altar, its being clothed in white and apparelled in light – all these rites invite us to re-live our own consecration in Baptism. They invite us to reject sin and its false allure, and to drink ever more deeply from the life-giving springs of God’s grace.