Friday, February 29, 2008

Lenten Practices

We are now half way through Lent so we feel it is a good time to tell people about two things we are doing during Lent to emphasise the importance of the Season.

The first is something we do every year which is to have no accompaniment during the Office. Two members of staff take it in turns to be 'Chief Hummer' sitting next to the Cantor and humming the Psalm tone in his ear so he stands and sings a perfect antiphon and first line of the Psalm. This is beautiful and we tend to find that the singing is a better quality than with the organ. Something one or two of us miss from previous years is the lack of a monotone for the incipit, Concluding Prayer and Blessing and Dismissal, but hey, you can't have everything.

The second thing is a new addition to our traditions. At Ten O'Clock every night the Angelus Bell rings, all students stop what they are doing and pray then Magnum Silentium begins and is broken at Breakfast (8am). The Student Common Room is exempt from this so the pessimists among us thought everyone would simply go down there, but no it is empty, every student keeps the silence. Some of us are campaigning to make this a permanent feature.


James M said...

Can I ask a question about UK seminary life? Is Holy Mass at the same (early?) time for at least 5 or 6 days of the week (probably a but later on Sunday)? Or does it vary from day to day so there is no pattern?

I ask because I've lived in parishes where Mass from Mon-Sat is always at the same time...and this seems to imply that Mass is the most important thing in the day, and everything else is arranged around it. But in other parishes, the Mass times can change day by day, as if it is being pushed around the schedule for 'more important' concerns.

Now I understand there may well be some good reasons for a little variation, but isn't uniformity a virtue in the case of Mass times?

By the way, the 'Great Silence' sounds fantastic (pun unavoidable!)...

Orthfully Catholic said...


Obviously different seminaries observe different timetables but we have Mass at 7:30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 6pm on Tuesday and Thursday. On Sunday Mass is at 10.

In parishes Mass has to fit in with the priest's timetable. Sunday Mass must be fixed and times can only be changed with permission from the Bishop (at least in my diocese) but because the modern parish priest is so busy the daily Masses have to work around him rather than the other way around. In my experience daily Mass is generally fixed every day except for when the priest needs to change it because of a prior pastoral engagement.

I hope this helps!

James M said...

Thanks OC