Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fr. Tim Finigan gives an inside view of the Oxford U.A. Sessions

Fr. Finigan of The hermeneutic of continuity has been recently updating his site with some reports of what is going on at Merton College, Oxford and the training conference for clergy and seminarians interested in learning about the ancient Roman liturgy -- he is there.

The NLM's own Fra Lawrence Lew will also be on the scene again today capturing some photographs, so we hope to bring some of those to you soon.

In the interim, I thought it would be interesting to hear some of Fr. Finigan's reports. Here are some excerpts which come from three posts on Fr. Finigan's blog.

Liturgy at Merton

First place at the Latin Mass Society's training Conference is given to the celebration of the sacred Liturgy. Each day, Lauds and Vespers are sung according to the breviary of 1962. Yesterday we also had Compline in the fading light between 8.30pm and 9pm with the choirstall candles lit. This evening, Vespers will be celebrated more solemnly as Pontifical Vespers with an Abbot presiding.


Wednesday, the Mass was celebrated by Fr Andrew Wadsworth in the more simple form of the Missa Cantata, without incense. Today we have solemn High Mass again, and tomorrow Pontifical High Mass with the Abbot.

Lectures at Merton

On the first three days of the Conference there was a lecture in the afternoon. On Monday, Dr Laurence Hemming spoke on "The Theology of the Liturgy", taking up some of the themes in his recent book "Worship as a Revelation". On Tuesday, I spoke about "Summorum Pontificum in a Parish Context", addressing some of the concerns that parish clergy have about the problems of introducing the usus antiquior into the parish. Yesterday, Dr Alcuin Reid spoke on "Summorum Pontificum one year on", surveying reactions to the Motu Proprio and drawing on his own work on the organic development of the Liturgy.

These lectures are to be published by the Latin Mass Society in due course.

Classes at Merton

The "working" part of the Conference has been carried on through classes adapted to various different needs. The first three days focused on the celebration of Mass. Several of us took small groups of "beginners", going through the Mass carefully, and explaining and demonstrating the rubrics of Low Mass. Another, larger, group has been learning how to sing the various parts of the Mass.

From yesterday afternoon, we began with other sessions, looking at the sacraments, the breviary, Latin, the calendar, funerals, vespers, and benediction. The priests could sign up to whatever they wanted and the various tutors have shared out the classes... Yesterday afternoon, I went through the sacrament of Baptism with a group of about 25 priests.

Everyone has commented on the really good atmosphere of the conference. The priests have enjoyed being together, celebrating the Liturgy, learning more about it, enjoying some good laughs and swapping stories about parishes and dioceses. I have been through Low Mass about a dozen times with different priests either in group or individually. There is a real sense of joy in the priesthood and hope for the future of the Church.

Congratulations should go out to all involved for a very successful, ongoing conference. Priests and seminarians, including those from North America: I would heartily encourage you to begin now saving up your pennies so that should this be offered again next year, that you go to it. You will never regret it and I can assure you that it will be an experience and something you will take with you for the rest of your days.

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