Just a brief report in to show that I am still alive - I'll load up some photos and give a fuller report tomorrow hopefully (including on what the Pope has had to say) when technology access will improve!
In the menatime, the liturgies at Juventutem are attracting bigger and bigger crowds, and no wonder!
There are not many occasions when you can enjoy a Solemn Pontifical Mass several days in a row, let alone Masses with 20-30+ priests in choir each time - but this is one of them! It is also lovely to see several low masses being celebrated simultaneously if you arrive early enough in the morning (or hang around long enough afterwards), a magical experience, and something you don't normally see outside of the Trad Monasteries!
Wonderful too to see so many religious - four Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church (the group of sedevacantists who recently returned to the Church) have attended all week, two monks from the Cistercian Abbey with an album at the top of the pops at the moment came yesterday, and today there were several Franciscans, led by Fr Terrance, who is playing an active role in the various liturgies. The Ganmain Dominican sisters also arrived in force today, amongst others!
And word is evidently spreading, because more and more people turn up at each one. Today's was packed to the rafters, with very much a full house (500 plus people), and a good one to attend, as there was a particularly nice mix of polyphony (Palestrina's Missa Brevis, and Christus Factus Est in the setting by Anerio) and chant, with Hugh Henry and Scott Turkington alternating on conducting duties. A number of bloggers were in the choir, including The Recovering Choir Director and yours truly (and although Terra doesn't seem to be very incognita any more, I still haven't managed to catch Roman of Et Clamor Meus , who keeps dashing past looking purposeful in vestments on serving duties before I can catch him. But perhaps he'll mingle with the hoi polloi tomorrow after mass and we will yet meet....)!
There are three things that are particularly noteworthy about the event. The first is, it really is evangelising for the TLM - several questions at the catechesis session yesterday came from young Catholics for whom this was their first exposure to the Traditional Latin Mass. And at the other extreme, some corrective instruction was offered on those who questioned the validity of the novus ordo mass!
Secondly, this is one of those rare events these days when traditionalists from right across Australia are gathered - in fact a few old timers looking onto the seas of fresh young faces noted that it had very much the feel of the old Ecclesia Dei conferences from the late 1980s, with many of the same people playing active roles (although with so many new young faces leavening the grey hair!). While there have been some notable absences, it has been nice to see the FSSP represented by Fr Devine and Fr McCaffrey (who has been doing much of the on the ground organisation), Melbourne represented by Fr Tattersall (overall organiser of Juventutem Sydney), Fr Rowe from Perth, Fr Jordan from Brisbane, and many more.
The third thing is the sheer joy the whole thing is generating. While the event is taking its toll on the organisers (and the pilgrims are starting to look a bit more tired), everyone pours out of the Church fired with enthusiasm and joy, and looking forward to the day when the TLM will be celebrated in the main Cathedral as a central part of World Youth Day rather than a separate (albeit integrated) event.
Anyway, more soon.