Liturgy for the housebound
SIR – In the last few days, my husband and I have managed to watch Mass at three of the cathedrals where he has played the organ. He has played for over 60 years in many churches, having started at the age of 16. However, we have friends who do not have access to the internet. All they have is a television and a telephone.
Firstly, can the hierarchy not approach the BBC or ITV and arrange to have at least one Mass per week?
If they can’t arrange that, perhaps some of the celebrants could telephone a parishioner who is housebound and has no internet connection, and put the phone on the altar so that the parishioner can at least hear Mass.
Thought for the Day is good, but it is not the Mass; and these very elderly men and women were often the ones in the pews.
If you have a friend who has no internet access, please ask them to get in touch with their parish priest. (You may have to look up the parish phone number for them, as now there are no home visits, the priest may not have everyone’s phone number.)
Dr Olive Duddy
Getting used to life without Mass
SIR – When I receive our Lord in the hand, I feel that he is consecrating my hands for that day. He is blessing everything I do. Then, when I receive the Host on my tongue, I know that he is consecrating my tongue to his service. Every word I say matters to him. St James’ admonition about the use of the tongue!
Unfortunately, as St James knew, we aren’t always in control of our tongues. Perhaps the coronavirus will make us more aware of what we say. When I swallow the Host, I believe he is taking possession more fully of me each day. I am not receiving him, Jesus is taking possession of me.
Now that virtual attendance at Holy Mass deprives us of the physical reception of Holy Communion, I am painfully aware of the loss, but believe with utter conviction that Jesus is not bound by outward signs. He comes to me spiritually, but just as really as before. I can only pray that afterwards I remain more aware of the reality of his presence within me.
SIR – The Catholic Herald is doing a heroic job and once this is all over, I am becoming a subscriber.
We are a small community in the English countryside, exactly the part of the country where Catholics are few on the ground. Oxfordshire did not experience the massive inflow of the Irish faithful in the 19th century, although the sterling work done by recusant families kept the flame alive. Our congregation at St Teresa’s, Charlbury is about 40 strong, older, but in this period I have seen real commitment and determination by individuals to keep going despite all the obstacles.
Corporal works of mercy abound from all sides, perhaps reflecting that country people are naturally less isolated from each other. There is much anxiety but also a turning to the Lord and His Mother. I believe we will emerge chastened, shriven even, but more faithful.
Deacon Clive Dytor
Which services count as vital?
SIR – It is interesting to note that abortion clinics are still functioning because the Government say they are vital. Compare this with the Church which suspends all services and locks the door.
Alternatives to a Mass conference
SIR – Due to the present pandemic, it has been necessary for the Latin Mass Society to cancel its training conference for priests wishing to learn to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form that was due to take place this April. It was fully booked, so I know that many priests will be disappointed.
May I suggest that these priests (and indeed all priests with an interest in the Extraordinary Form), consider using any spare time resulting from the need for self-isolation in studying the the older form of the Mass on their own. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter have produced an excellent series of videos
which explain in great detail all the intricacies of Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form. They are available for free on the internet.
For those (possibly the majority) who feel they require more personal tuition, the Latin Mass Society expects to be able to reschedule its training conference for later in the year.
Latin Mass Society
Fond farewells to Luke Coppen
SIR – First of all, thank you for your efforts in continuing to publish the Catholic Herald against all odds at this time of global pandemic.
I would like to thank Luke Coppen, the outgoing editor, for the tremendous work and effort you have put in, in sustaining to bring together the thoughts and minds of all the dedicated readers. And a warm welcome to Dan Hitchens who will lead the magazine into the future. Thank you.
Epidemics such as this do test our faith and all that we relied on in our daily lives. But times such as these help us to realise our vulnerability and brevity of human lives and make us aware of our continual presence in front of the divine. Times like these have enabled me to strengthen my faith in God and to explore new pathways in reaching out to my students (as lecturer) through online digital platforms and to those in need near and far.
May God continue to sustain our faith in these testing times and bring healing to wearied souls from on High! May we all have the courage to face the future with hope.
Albano da Costa
Yarra Theological Union, Box Hill, Australia
SIR – I enjoyed reading Luke Coppen’s farewell article (Diary, March 27). I have nothing but admiration for the man because of his integrity and dedication to his work as editor for the past 16 years. He and his team have managed to turn the Catholic Herald into the impressive publication that I do not wish to miss any week.
Even though I regret not having met Luke, I feel as though I know him because of the many times we corresponded, and the numerous articles I have contributed to the magazine over the years. He was always respectful and understanding.
I wish him well on his new assignment and to extend my best wishes to his promising successor Dan Hitchens.
Dr Joe Seferta
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