Monday, November 22, 2010

Michael's Confirmation ... Traditional Rites ... and family prayer.

First of all a big thank you to Mulier Fortis for 'plugging' my blog. God bless her. We had a very interesting if brief chat after Michael's confirmation yesterday at Spanish Place. It was that kind of event - I saw lots of old friends and familiar faces - and was glad to meet new ones - each and all for a minute or two!

And here is my son shaking hands with Bishop Stack afterwards.  Photo courtesy of his sponsor the Ecumenical Diablogger himself! Michael really rose to the occasion, and I was very proud of him. When, later, my daughter was speaking to Fr Southwell, he asked if she had anyone in the family who was Confirmed. She said 'yes' - her younger brother, qualifying with - 'he was the one who didn't shake the Bishop's hand'. Fr Southwell remembered and said, most reassuringly 'He did kiss the Bishop's Ring though, which was far more important'!

A family member who shall remain nameless told me I was a 'refugee' - someone who attends their own parish all year round, and appears at St James' for Confirmations in the Traditional Rite and other special occasions!

What can I say? He's got a point.  But I've always found it a problem. With young children in the house I felt we needed to be involved in our local parish (as long as there is a valid Mass taking place there) both for our sake as a family in a local community, and (as was pointed out to me many times over the years) for the sake of the parish! But... it's often akin to living on an impoverished diet in some ways.  The beauty of the Mass can be subdued by the hustle and bustle and more and more by the ever increasing number of laity with 'jobs' in the Sanctuary during the service. One of Fr Finigan's hates - 'creative liturgy', and one of Mulier Fortis' -  'inclusive language' also disturb me! As my sister says - if that is 'necessary' now it would suggest that women were never included in the prayers of the Mass for centuries - and that was surely never taught by the Church.

Then too, though I didn't grow up with the Latin Mass, I do love a High Mass - everything about it is glorious. It's like fresh spring water when you're dehydrated...! On the other hand, during the one or two low Masses we have attended over the years, I've found myself lost - not so much unable to follow (sometimes!) but more in the sense that I wasn't aptly prepared to guide my children in a right response.  That's revealing - what is really going through my head at any Mass...??? I did mention this obstacle in brief conversation with Fr Finigan yesterday - and his reply was most helpful - instead of trying to find the New Mass in the Old, recognise it is something very different, and requires a completely different sort of 'participation' and prayer.

Now, I have two children who will travel an hour or two to get to a Traditional Rite Mass (one of whom is a member of the recently started London JuvenTutum; one who has served at both rites, and seems to be leaning toward a preference for the Traditional; and one, the youngest, who has a deep attachment to our parish - not so much a spiritual as a social one perhaps, but none the less!

As I was bemoaning the distance we need to cover to attend a regular Traditional Rite to Fr de Malleray, he cordially invited us to head up the M1 of a Sunday afternoon to go to Flitwick. While this might be an idea - as he suggested - even once a month - I see a flaw in this plan. I take all the children to see their grandmother on Sundays which is in the opposite direction, and that is where we host all kinds of celebrations - birthdays, achievements, anniversaries, memorials, commiserations etc. With an extended, but close family numbering 15, these occur frequently! After Mass of course, from about lunchtime! With the best intentions I can see these foiling our plans....

But I do think we might stretch to Chesham Bois once in a while, so while the impulse is strong, I intend to catch up with friends in that vicinity and enquire about Mass times...! Watch this space!

As the children grow - not ony 'upwards' but outwards in more dirctions than a catherine wheel - our family prayer life is disintegrating.  No-one gets home at the same time anymore, and if we wait for all, family dinners happen later and later, and ... surprise, surprise the one casualty is the Family Rosary.  As I write this, I really see what a pathetic excuse that is.

One family I know get up early and say the Rosary together before everyone disappears off to work/school. My response when I heard this was - oh no, in sound family tradition we would never think of saying a Rosary in the morning when everyone is fresh, and getting ready for the day ahead - no we do it as a penance last thing before bed, with tired, disgruntled youngsters, older ones in a rush to get away to sneak another hour of quiet study or reading (or more likely plugging their ears with MP3 headphones while theoretically tidying their room) and me berating everyone for not smiling cheerfully and running to get the beads and light the candle!

Now after dinner and clearing up it's practically time to head for bed - and before I know it one or more has planted a goodnight kiss on me and flown upstairs...The weekends are no better. Some bright spark pipes up with 'Can we watch a movie?' (why are their favourites all 3 hours long?) - yesterday it was Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and they started watching it at 8.30pm! (After Confirmations, and the after-party, we had gone to my mother's house and spent the rest of the day there.) We finally said one today.

There's no doubt, as this family morphs into whatever shape it is heading for, our family Prayer life is going to have to keep up.....


  1. Thanks for the plug!

    You could always turn up at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen on Saturday 4th December for my Renewal of Vows - we're having a Solemn High Mass starting at 10:30am and the vows bit is at midday followed by the bunfight in the parish hall... it would give you the chance to see the Trad Mass in a real parish context as well...!

  2. Thanks Mac, I would love to attend. We're all over the place on the 3rd though - so I'll have to see what we can do by way of getting organised for the trip. Blackfen is just over an hour's drive from us (according to Googlemaps) on the M25 which I tend to avoid like the plague :( But early Advent is usually the time I most need a strong shot of a spiritual vaccine against losing my mind/soul in material preparation for Christmas!! Thanks for the invitation.
    God bless.

  3. Oh good, look forward to seeing you at Chesam then and perhaps we can secure your attendance with a nice lunch and a glass of something afterwards?

  4. Bribery always welcome!!! :) I've used it successfully as a parenting tool for years.
    Thanks Mari. God bless.