Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sodality of Our Lady retreat

As he remarked in this post last December, Melancholicus feels the need for a retreat in order to clear away the cobwebs and let some sunlight into his benighted soul.

As to the contents of such a retreat, he expressed a preference for, naturally, daily Mass (usus antiquior), silence, wholesome spiritual conferences, examen and of course confession.

Members of the Sodality of Our Lady have now organised such a retreat scheduled to take place in Mount Melleray Cistercian monastery in April, and Melancholicus will be going. He can forward details to any of his Irish readers who are likewise interested in participating; just get in touch. The traditional Mass will be offered each day and, circumstances permitting, perhaps one or more of the traditional breviary offices will also be sung.

Melancholicus much misses the chanting of the office, particularly that of vespers, and more so the grandeur of first and second vespers of Sunday and of major feasts. The beauty of the Roman office chanted in choir is sublime; every now and then in maudlin mood he opens his Liber Usualis and fondly reminisces over one of the best parts of what it was like to be a seminarian in a traditionalist community. Sometimes he even goes so far as to chant the office alone. But it’s not the same.

The closest that one can come to a celebration of the traditional Roman office in Dublin is, paradoxically, solemn evensong at St. Bartholomew’s church on Clyde Road. This is an Anglo-Catholic church, which means that the liturgy is Anglican use—essentially Cranmer’s prayer book but with an admixture of Romanising elements, such as the office hymn, the plainsong antiphon at the Magnificat, the thurible, the incensing of the altar, the choir and the congregation, and the gregorian tones employed for the psalms. Driving back to Dublin on Sunday evenings for the start of his working week, Melancholicus occasionally calls in to St. Bart’s, marvelling at the beauty not only of the church itself but of the liturgy, and how strikingly it reminds him of the traditional Roman office as he knew it in seminary. It is sad that such beauty is too often alien to the liturgy as it is celebrated in Roman Catholic churches in this archdiocese.

Anyhow, I shall leave it at that, otherwise this post will descend into yet another sarcastic and bitter screed against the bugninists and the liturgical ‘reform’.


Anonymous said...

As a fellow exclaustree, I too sometimes enjoy singing the office alone. Alas, it isn't as beautiful; but I don't have to listen to the mismatched voices.

Melancholicus said...

Ah yes, I remember the mismatched voices... when one has been away for so long one tends to have a romanticized memory of all the good things.

I still miss choir, though.

Were you with the same community as myself? Do we know one another?