Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Mass, Confession and then more Mass!

Last week I attended a Latin Mass in honour of Eileen O'Conner, potentially the next saint of Australia, a small, disabled woman who lived in the late 1800's and started an order of nuns for the care of the sick and disabled. Her body is incorupt. Apparently Our Lady appeared to her through a statue in her bedroom, I got to have a look at it, it was beautiful and very well painted, a couple of girls I was with and I spectualated on whether it was incorrupt too...but it may have just been repainted.

The Mass was very interesting, it took place on a Novus Ordo sanctuary with two very cramped sub-deacons. Eileen's tomb was opened for the anniversary of her death, and a special blessing. The sisters are now very modern, but they were very gracious in opening up their chapel to the Latin Mass community. The Mass was very beautiful and solemn up to the point where the fire alarm went off. It wasn't a fire...well not a big one. The thurifer pulled a face somewhere between "opps" and "I'm so pleased!". The fire alarm climbed pitch quickly, and the priests voice followed as he intoned the Sub Tuum. I saw him and the sub-deacon next to him laughing quietly as congregation sung so loudly it seemed like they were trying drown out the alarm. During the blessing of the tomb afterwards a tall fireman appeared at the door, but took a step backwards as he realised he'd be interrupting something. They finally stopped it just before the end of the service.

Before I went to the Mass I attended confession at the Cathedral, it was on the way. I had such a heavy load on my shoulders, I really felt that my sin was getting in the way of my relationship with God, it was the most tangible in a long time. I remember seeing a really good metaphor that the NET team that was in my parish gave to some teenagers at a local high school. They had one person standing there next to "God", and they give each other a high-five. They then told a story about a teenager who sins a couple of times venally, they stand a couple of volunteers stand between the first person and "God", they try to high-five, they can, but it's more difficult. The story then goes on and the protagonist sins mortally, another person is put in between and then the person and "God" can't high-five at all. It was going through my head days before I went, probably trying to counteract my resistance. I had to ask where the confessionals where from a security guard, he was nice enough to check the times and then point me in the right direction. The priest was really wonderful, I was behind the curtain, but he had the kindest voice and recited the reflections beautifully. I felt so much better afterwards, and a little teary, although I swear that always happens after confession! I felt so good receiving communion afterwards, I'd been washed clean. how good is the Lord! Giving us such an amazing sacrament!

At Mass on Sunday we sung some hymns and a round, which was the first time for me. It was interesting learning to do it, I'd done terribly at them in the past, but I pulled it off this time, probably because it was so simple. Thankfully I knew the hymns, or at least the tunes. I find it difficult sometimes because I don't know the hymns, and thee seems to be this assumption that we all do (especially since the sheet music is rarely given). It was the same while I attended the NO, so at least I'm used to it. I think that's the sad part of not being a cradle-Catholic, I missed out on the culture in a lot of ways, but now I'm on my way to regaining it, so praise God for that!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Getting lost - The Joys of the Public Transport System

O10 Jan 2012

So far I have been lost in Sydney twice. The first time on the train to the Latin Mass at Lewisham. I ended up in tears while on the phone to my friend who had to keep getting up to go out of Mass and call me. I missed the station twice. On the third try I had a ticket to central in my hand as I tried to get back down the trainline. Just my luck and the ticket cops came through. One of them checked my ticket and I immediately said 'I know how it looks but...' and in the most inarticulate way I tried to explain. He saw that I was about to start crying so he handed it back saying 'this is your lucky day' and made me promise not to cry. I at least waited till he left.

I finally made it, after stumbling though the backstreets of the old suburb. My friend has a way with words and ended up describing it to me clearly enough that even through my confusion I found it. I awkwardly walked in and felt the eyes of a lot of potentially judgemental traditionalists (face it, some of us are snobby). The Sanctus started moments after and I knelt in bliss. So pleased to have actually made it and hear such beautiful music and see awe-inspiring liturgy. I felt so calm.

After Mass my friend drove me home, after dinner with him and a few of his friends which cheered me up. He also put the Epiphany blessing with the specially blessed chalk over my door. It was nice to indulge my Catholicism.

The second time I got lost was on the way put to Mulgoa for another Latin Mass. I wonder if the enemy was behind these, but I think also I was overdue for confession. I was driving this time, trying to find my friend's house. I took the wrong turn and ended up the wrong end of the city and with a few E-tolls I'll need to pay for. I paid a toll where you could pay cash and accidentally started off in the wrong gear. Feeling intensely embarrassed, and slightly frustrated, but waiting to get out of the sight of the toll person, I burst into tears again. Then when I'd finally made it out to Mulgoa, as I was too late to make it to my friend's house, I went too far past the church. Tears again, and a few curse words which you can't say aloud on public transport. Of course I was out of range too. I turned around and finally find it with my friend standing outside. I was amazed when I recognised the woman she was standing with, I'd sung with her at a Confirmation Mass months earlier back in my old diocese.

It turned out it was just the two of them singing and they immediately dragged me into their modest choir. I was a little worried because I'm slow at pronouncing Latin, let alone singing it. But I took the chance and it paid off. Everyone was so relaxed. We made a couple of mistakes, but ended up stifling laughter over it. One of the altar servers incensed the congregation way too early, and he had a look on his face like he had realised what he'd done, which was funny. The priest even made a mistake, but my friend picked it up. They're hoping to have more Missa Cantatas in the future and I've decided that Mulgoa is exactly where I want to be singing and helping. It's so easy to get to by car. Lewisham is beautiful, but I don't think it would be as relaxed. I'm needed at Mulgoa too. I have so much to learn, but I'm really looking forward to it!


9 Jan 2012

Well, I'm finally in Sydney. It's taking me a while to get used to the fact that it's now my home, it still feels like I'm just visit my friend.

I got up at 5.30am, finished packing and then went to Mass. I was so blessed because my favourite priest who'd I had worked along side most my life in the parish was celebrating. The responses were mostly in Latin and he chanted it beautifully. I started getting a little teary during the final prayer and as I knelt to pray the tears really started coming. It was so embarrassing! When I went outside I got hugs from friends. Then father came over and offered me a blessing for myself and my car. 'Any blessings for criers?" my friend asked. 'no, none for criers' he laughed. The blessing was beautiful and included the Our Father (which I had to mutter because the tears had started again) and a psalm he read. We then went over to my car and my friend's dad opened it to give it a final check. Father said to leave it open, and he ended up sprinkling the holy water over it. My friend joked about exorcising it.

I then headed off, still in tears and sobbing. I visited my friend swho are a married couple to drop something off and it cheered me up incredibly when they had to run from the lounge, where they had been sitting in their undies, to the bedroom to cover up. I don't think they'd been expecting me that early. I wonder if it'll make them paranoid. After a huge laugh and a couple hugs I was off again.

I was a little bi-polar on the way down for the first few hours. I'd smile or laugh to myself about the old times, and the burst into tears as I got further away. I made a mental note of when I got to the end of my diocese. When I saw the turn off the Pacific Highway to Sydney I almost started up again. I was so glad when it was over. My friend helped me unpack quickly, and we sat in the air-conditioned loungeroom and played chess (I won :D) and had my first dinner, tuna curry, in Sydney. After a nice chat and catch up I collapsed into bed, exhausted. I got a call from Dad, and then went to sleep quicker than usual.

Back online!

I'm finally back on the Internet, my own too! I feel so grown up!

I'll put up the entries I've been working on offline.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Last day...

Nine hours till I leave... It's been an exciting last few days too.

Sunday was my last Mass in the Cathedral. I got a little teary during Mass, and afterwards. I'll miss it, it's such a beautiful building and holds so many memories.

Yesterday my friend invited me for lunch, and then it turned out to be a surprise party. She'd invited my friends and favourite priest. They even made a beautiful pavola with the letter 'B' in M&Ms in the middle. It was a lovely afternoon just chatting and joking. It really made me feel re-invigorated, I started to really look forward to moving to Sydney and excited about my future. Prehaps finally saying goodbye to my friends helped.

Today I packed up my ca. I've covered in bruises and dirt and my fingers hurt, but I'm glad I got it done early. The most difficult part was fitted my desk in, I even wondered aloud who the patron saint of packing was. I went out to tie up losse ends and said goodbye to friends I forgot I had, most comfortable, some awkward. In the evening I had coffee with friends and went to see Happy Feet 2. We had so much fun. As I drove out of town I realised that this was the last time I'd probably ever drive out to my place. I became really aware of every turn, and especially the lights that sit across the hills of the valley like an elaborate necklace.

Tomorrow I'll be up for Mass. I'll ask my priest for a blessing and to bless my Benedictine Cross I found last week while packing. I'm so excited! My future is beginning!