Members of the Buckfast Ordinariate Group were invited along to the plainsong workshop yesterday. It had been arranged principally for the voluntary choir, so it was a privilege to have been invited along to it. Perhaps it was unfortunate that three out of the four members of the ordinariate who turned up were perhaps the least musically gifted. However the day was a mixture of teaching and explanation together with much singing. It was incredible how infectious the singing in this ancient tradition became and how quickly we picked up the different notation. At one point the three of us were horrified when it became clear that we should have to sing a phrase of marian hymn (in latin) after teaching it to ourselves using only the notation! The Lord is merciful because our phrase was perhaps the easiest and one of the brethren of the community joined us and very gently built up our confidence. And we did it! It was an enjoyable day, and even provided an opportunity to educate members of the choir about the ordinariate. Thank you to the choir and the Abbey's director of music, Michael Vian Clark.
Fr Colin was principal celebrant and preacher today. In his homily he reminded us that although we have a tendency to regard sin as a private matter, in fact sin was very much a matter for the whole community. Like an infectious illness can spread around families and communities if left untreated, so sin can cause similar effects. He reminded us very helpfully of how in the confiteor we confess sin in the mass not just to God but also to our brothers and sisters. Our thoughts were also drawn to the Lord's prayer when after asking for forgiveness we add the clause "as we forgive those who trespass against us". In sacramental confession the priest is there also symbolising that sin is a matter for the community, as well as a matter for God.
As I listened I recognised my own tendency to privatise my sin as if I could thereby deal with it better by hiding it. The trouble is that we can all too easily think we can hide it away for ever. However it is indeed a disease and unless we have it treated it will not just have negative effects on ourselves, but also those around us. How we should treasure the gift of the confessional in our churches to visibly remind us that we cannot hide away our sins and we do need to sort them out.
The Holy Father also drew on this theme in his address at the Sunday Angelus today:
New Translation of the Mass
Today we used the new English translation of the mass. At the moment we are not singing any setting of the mass and are gradually going to introduce the new simple chant of the mass. With the helpful cards we were able to make all the responses correctly. It will take time for these to become our own. For those of us who are familiar with the Anglican Book of Common Prayer or the English Missal, it was very tempting for us to respond "And with thy spirit" instead of "And with your spirit". I think the most difficult part was the gloria that we "clunked" through, but it didn't flow. However this early days and when begin singing it I am sure it will flow.. I received no adverse comments from the group or any of the visitors.