Saturday, 10 December 2011

The 1st Profession and Ordinations

Sunday is really a day of rest for me, particularly after the last few days! I’ll separate these into sections, because otherwise it’s a little complicated and long-winged (more-so than usual).
The 1st Profession
I was a little nervous before the Mass, but my choir director was the most out of all of us. Poor thing had to put up with me asking stupid questions. I watched the family of the sister-to-be come in from the parlour. I noticed a couple looked upset and even a little confused. They aren’t Catholic and I just tried to imagine how puzzled they must be about this woman who has so much potential sacrificing it all to God, marrying a Man they’d never seen and will never meet in this life.
Our choir
There were five priests concelebrating, with our youngest priest leading it. The Kyrie went well, the drones sounding good (even after my friend had to negotiate with one who tried to tell her what the traditional way usually was). I was one of only three sopranos who sung the responsorial psalm. I prayed to Jesus all the way through, in that wordless way where it comes as a soft cry from the heart, begging Him I wouldn’t stuff it up. Our Lord listened and granted me that favour, it sounded beautiful! Father asked the sister what she wished of the Church and she answered, I loved the great “thanks be to God” the congregation responds with. The main tenor, (who we had imported from Sydney) sung a different Alleluia and my friend shot him daggers. It turned out later he had made a legitimate accident.
My priest gave a passionate homily about technology and the need for the contemplative orders. Then the sister professed in the most joyful tone her desire. I nearly started crying, I really hope for that joy one day. Father then handed her the constitution of the Carmelite order and a small wooden cross through the little door on the sanctuary.
The O, Sanctissima sounded great with me out of it, although I almost felt like joining in because I still love the hymn. Our Ubi Caritas was great, especially with the very talented tenor singing parts.
Afterwards, I went with Mum and saw the sister in the parlour. I hadn’t been able to see her the whole Mass because of where I had been sitting, she was wearing a wreath of white flowers. They turned out to be real, and the smell was beautiful.
In-between Time
After morning tea I set off home to cook chocolate, almond and ginger parcels and a flourless chocolate cake for the ordinations. I went in for a quick Centrelink appointment  (with a very nice woman for once!) I then went downtown to find some new bling.
While there I ran into a friend, we had a great chat and this is really where I noticed the Holy Spirit moving. We had some awkwardness between us since WYD, which had been a kind of negative spiritual experience for both of us. She apologised for being angry with me and I apologised for how blunt I can be sometimes. We both forgave each other. To confront this I think was a big challenge for her because she is so gentle and kind and she hates conflict, but I really feel like the Holy Spirit filled her with courage (and how could He not? She so faithful to Him and Holy Mother Church and she had obviously prayed hard about it). He helped me forgive and apologise myself. It also gave her an opportunity to debrief about WYD, which I think she’d really needed to do.
After we caught up with some of the seminarians for lunch. I love watching them joke around with each other, they are truly like brothers, even across cultures. Many are Filipino, but our Australian and Australian-Polish ones joke and tease just as much.
I was very lucky because I got to sit up the front for this one. We had all our cantors for this one, including a professional singer, who has done opera. She sung Ave Maria, hitting the high notes so clearly. I want that voice! I didn’t get teary for this Mass, I sat there making the occasional comment to a new friend of mine, who sings for the Traditional Latin Mass in Sydney. She told me about how the tradition of the corporals being wrapped around the hands of each priest, was from the old rite, and later, how they are given to the priests mothers who have them wrapped around their hands when buried so they can show God the great sacrifice they gave for Him.
Laying on of hands.
My favourite part was the Kiss of Peace, where all the priest go in for that group-hug, starting with the bishop. He couldn’t have looked prouder! One of the newly ordained really got into it, and laughs rang out from all over the Cathedral as he bear-hugged one of his closest brother priests.
I think I stood for most of those two hours, my legs ached, but I didn’t want to miss a moment. It was a bit awkward when our parish administrator thanked the choir and I was still standing, and most of the church could see me. I just resisted the temptation to wave.
Afterwards I ran into so many people I knew and I was on such a high. The Filipino community laid out a huge spread. I made sure get my first blessings, include in a group of my friends, there was about ten of us. It was a truly wonderful night, I only got home at 12, and I had to get up for the next morning at 6am for the first Masses.
First Masses
I ended up being dragged into singing for the earliest Mass. It wasn’t so bad, but I really didn’t care as much as the day before. My friend was helping direct, a lot of the music being the same as yesterday. The Kyrie was slightly stuffed up, but nobody really minded, herself included who gave us an ‘oh, well’ look.
I went to the next two, one down in the cathedral, the other half-an-hour away. I didn’t receive the Eucharist for either because of I was so tired and not in the right-mind for it. The next morning I had to get up for the Saturday morning Mass, celebrated by one of the new priests.
Again, the Holy Spirit moved. Mum got a blessing for the new priest. She really got up her courage, because she felt like she was intruding. She got a little teary, I tried not to as I prayed looking directly at the tabernacle and asking Jesus to watch over her specifically. She felt a little embarrassed as she needed help up, but I really feel it was the Holy Spirit sitting heavily on her shoulders. Mum has come to every Mass over the last few days. I’m so pleased. All the graces from the Mass no doubt have washed over her, and it always helps when the person you’re praying for is right there.
Institution of the Acolytes
Two of my friends from the seminary were instituted as acolytes at this morning’s Mass. Afterwards I got to speak to the bishop finally about quitting altar-serving. He was quietly supportive, especially as I said I’d like to an all-male sanctuary, but thanked me for my help, even saying that the girls are very good and ‘always show up with clean fingernails’.  Mum also spoke to him, he had trouble remembering her at first, but she re-introduced herself and mentioned she wasn’t Catholic. He told her not to worry at all and that she was more than welcome. I’d actually prayed that he would do that if she had to opportunity to speak to him! Once again, that beautiful Spirit of God, that Love of the Father and Son, has been rushing through our lives!
The bishop wanted me to take pictures, which was a little nerve-wracking, I always get nervous around him anyway, in case I say/do something utterly stupid. But despite my shaking hands, I got some good shots.This is my favourite.

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