You might remember that I posted news of a solemn TLM in York, England.
Here is a debriefing:
Dear Fr Z
Many thanks for posting the information about the Solemn Mass in Honour of Our Lady, which was celebrated yesterday at English Martyr’s Parish in York, England. Here are some reflections on the Mass that might be of some interest to your readers.
1/ Master of Ceremonies: A very kind young gentleman came in from outside of the city to act as MC and what a difference it made! A calm and assured MC instantly put our regular servers at ease, knew how to keep out of the way, but also knew how to reduce the duties of the priest so that he could concentrate on prayer. It made all the difference to the celebration of the Mass and the synchronicity of all the servers was incredible. For communities just starting the EF Mass, the training and encouragement of a head server should be a top priority.
2/ Young vs. Old: It was apparent that many of the newcomers were of an older generation while some of the regulars were younger. It was quite interesting that it was the younger crowd who knew when to stand/sit/kneel/respond while the older worshippers came to follow their lead. I thought this particularly interesting because so many of liturgical battles in the Church seem to divide along generational lines. I do not doubt, based on some of the stories that I heard, that many older people rejoiced at VII because of abuses and lack of reverence that crept into the celebration of the EF. Now that it is celebrated by priests and people who are genuinely interested in it, perhaps it becomes the role of the young to humbly re-introduce it to the old. Rather than rail against them for an attachment to the OF or look at them in perplexity when thinking how they could abandon the EF, perhaps we should, with joy and humility, re-evangelise the older generation who came to dislike the EF so much. In this regard, one of the most inspiring comments I heard afterwards from an older worshipper was "Well, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be."
3/ Music: The Rudgate Singers provided a full schola with beautiful polyphonic chant, which made the sense of holiness all the more apparent. I won’t comment on this too much as I know our friends at NLM discuss it regularly. I will only say that we think we made history at this Mass. A Solemn Salve, composed for the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary’s York, was sung – which the schola leader thinks is the first time it has been sung in York after a Mass for Our Lady since the Reformation!
We continue to thank you for your many encouragements and work, and pray for your safety on your many travels.