The Joy of Liturgy

Sometimes we need to tell good news stories.

In these  last two days, I have found great joy and happiness in celebrating the Sacred Liturgy at the parish of St Phillip’s (60 Junction Road, Blackburn North). I wish to commend the people of St Phillip’s for embracing the couragous example set by their new (and young) priest, Fr Nicholas Dillon. I want everyone to know that here something very special is happening.

Yesterday, All Saints Day, was a public holiday in Melbourne (not for the Feast, but for a completely different kind of festival). The people at Blackburn North took the opportunity to turn out in droves for the 9am Mass – there were as many there as there would usually be for a Sunday morning mass. And indeed the mass was celebrated with all the usual gusto of a Sunday Mass, as befits this high festival: a fully chanted/sung mass, with hymns to boot.

Today, if possible, it was even better. Fr Dillon had mass sheets printed (see below) with the Introit (sung by all, led confidently by Fr Dillon), chant Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei (in Greek and Latin as appropriate), hymn by Blessed John Henry Newman, and Salve Regina sung at the end. I marvelled that so many members of the parish remembered all these chants and were able to sing them unaccompanied. The memory has not died, and is living again!

Here is Fr Dillon at the lectern, and the mass sheet he provided. If you are yearning for the Divine Liturgy of the Roman Rite, and have been frustrated in your search, here you will find joy! (click the pictures for full size)

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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15 Responses to The Joy of Liturgy

  1. John Nolan says:

    Nice to see the black vestments and the Benedictine altar arrangement, although I’m not sure what the Paschal candle is doing there. Newman’s hymn is usually sung to the tune Belmont in England; I wonder what setting you used. This evening a local parish is doing a Novus Ordo Latin Mass, and I will be chanting some of the Propers, including the Dies Irae. I suspect I might be singing on my own, which at least means I won’t have to stick with the old Solesmes markings in the Introit!

    • Schütz says:

      Yep, we used Belmont. Is the Paschal Candle not normally lighted on All Souls day? I assumed it was – I would be surprised if Fr Dillon was innovating here. Anyone have any more info? And the vestments were in actuality not quite black – they were a very, very dark violet.

      • Peregrinus says:

        Prior to some time in the 1950s, the paschal candle was never lit at mass outside the Easter season, with one exception and one occasion that looks like an exception, but strictly speaking isn’t

        The exception: if the baptismal font was to be blessed at mass on the vigil of Pentecost, the paschal candle was lit for that mass.

        The near-exception: the paschal candle was, of course, lit for baptisms. And, because Christian burial is an occasion on which we remember and celebrate baptism and the hope of resurrection, it was common for the paschal candle to be lit and placed by the coffin, in those places where the coffin was kept in the church the night before a funeral. In such cases the candle remained lit during the funeral mass the following day. Strictly speaking, though, it wasn’t lit as part of the proper ordering of the sanctuary for the celebration of the mass.

        However people came to think of the paschal candle as being lit for the requiem mass, and the practice grew of lighting the candle for requiem masses even where the coffin is not present – as, for example, a requiem mass on All Souls’ Day.

        • Schütz says:

          That seems like a fair explanation of the custom, Perry. I assumed all these connections. But is there any ruling on this one way or another?

          • Peregrinus says:

            Probably. But I’ve no idea where.

          • Stephen K says:

            David, Peregrinus: my 1960 copy of Fortescue-O’Connell says the following: “During Eastertide – until after the Gospel of the chief Mass on Ascension Day – the Paschal candle is lit at High or Sung Mass and at sung Vespers; it may be lit also at Low Mass celebrated with some solemnity and at other liturgical functions. (3): [O.H.S.I. (Ritus Simplex) IV, ii, ix, 15] It is also to be lighted at solemn Mass or solemn Vespers which are celebrated in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed during Paschaltide.(4):[S.R.C.4383] It is not lit at Requiems, nor at the Office of the Dead, nor at any service held with violet vestments (as Rogation Masses), nor at Mass on the vigil of Pentecost, nor at Benediction. After Ascension Day the Paschal candle is not again used and is removed from the sanctuary.”

            So, does that help? It seems like Father Dillon may have erred.

            • Peregrinus says:

              Well, of course, things could have changed since 1960. Plus, it seems your book footnotes authorities for its statements about when the paschal candle is lit, but not for its staements about when it is not lit, so there may be more flexibility for, um, the organic development of local variations.

  2. Dan says:

    Fr Dillon is an excellent priest! He plays the organ beautifully, has a singing voice just as beautiful, and exhibits a piety and reverence seldom seen by priests.

    • Schütz says:

      While St Phillip’s is lucky to have a faithful and dedicated organist in Br Vincent, it is unfortunate that Fr Dillon, due to a higher calling, is always to be found behind the altar rather than behind the organ. Then again, the instrument that passes for an organ at St Phillip’s leaves a lot to be desired – a generous benefactor might think of opening an organ fund?

  3. matthias says:

    Well Schutz I will be there Sunday at 9am

  4. John Nolan says:

    Every week BBC Radio 3 broadcasts Choral Evensong from different cathedrals and college chapels, occasionally stopping off at a Catholic establishment, in which case it becomes Choral Vespers. On Wednesday, unusually, the 60-minute slot was given over to a relay of Solemn Mass for All Souls from Westminster Cathedral, using the setting by Tomas Luis de Victoria. The celebrant was the Precentor who sang his parts beautifully, and apart from the two scripture readings and a short homily, everything was in Latin. The broadcast will be repeated on Sunday (6th) at 1600 hrs GMT, and for the next few days is available on BBC i-player.

    For many years now Westminster has been generally regarded as the best cathedral choir in England, which means the best in the world. Yet thirty years ago the choir school was threatened with closure. It was saved thanks to the then Archbishop, Basil, Cardinal Hume. He wasn’t always flavour of the month with traditionally-minded Catholics, but he deserves our undying gratitude for this. Requiescat in pace.

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