Saturday, 30 August 2008

TLM Community directory Part 2: Liturgical and quasi-liturgical activities of a traditional mass community

Yesterday I made some suggestions about what information it would be nice to have about the Mass for a TLM community. Today I want to move on to a few other related issues.

Thinking about the perfect community

Now I want to say that my purpose here isn't really to provide a guide as to where we should move (though I dare say some would find that handy)! It is really more to encourage us all to think a little about what we would really like to see in our own communities, how they could grow in ways other than numbers.

One of the disasters of the forty years has, in my view, been the destruction of the catholic sub-culture - a sub-culture that helped people cope with the swirling currents of secularism that surround us. And so part of our task has to be to rebuild that - in new ways perhaps, for example through virtual communities like blogs, but also providing support structures in real physical communities.

The point is that our ability to progress toward perfection, to contribute to the building up of the Church, and to evangelization are not just individual endeavours, but take place as part of a community. The richer, the more perfect that cultural life the easier it is for us individually to progress - that's why after all monasteries (should) exist, why creating a new Christendom is important.

But in order to do that rebuilding, you have to know what the steps on the ladder toward perfection are; you need to map out where the lines of the ruined walls of Jerusalem run, and how high they need to be built in order that you can sketch out your building plan.

What are the steps on the ladder towards perfection?

If you only have a low mass for example, the next step up is a missa cantata. For that you need a choir. And on this, I read a great article the other day by Jeffrey Tucker, courtesy of a discussion on Mulier Fortis, called How to Start Your Own Garage Schola. Read it, its great. It provides a step by step plan on how to start from nothing. It provides a game plan that will take a long time before yielding results - but it does provide hope that itis possible!

Now yesterday I talked about the Mass itself. But the Mass by itself is obviously not enough - so what are your priorities in terms of other liturgical celebrations and devotions, surroundings, etc?

I did mention yesterday the practical aspects of the Church itself for example - location, shared or not. But there is obviously a whole lot more that could be talked about under that heading (though I think we may have already established a few days back an architectural hierarchy that goes something like Wigwam, Baroque, Perpendicular....!).

But today I want to focus on the other sacraments and devotions. So here is my first stab at a list....


By appointment; before/during Sunday Mass; before/after weekday mass; weekly fixed times; daily fixed times (and maybe I should just mention the St Philip Neri ideal of having a priest sitting in the confessional all day....!).

More than one priest available

Other sacraments

Occasional/Regular first communion/confirmations as required/each year
Baptisms, marriages on request

Divine Office

Sunday vespers used to be a fairly common liturgical function. But it is pretty rare these days. Still, I think it is important... So:

Sunday Vespers
Tenebrae at Easter time
Other regularly sung hours


I suspect this could get to be a pretty long list... and also I suspect the one which most varies between communities.

Benediction - weekly/monthly/occasionally
Adoration - ''
Rosary "
Holy Hour "
First Fridays/First Saturdays
Stations of the Cross (Lent)
Seasonal sacramentals

Other suggestions?


Anonymous said...

A primary suggestion would be to ask why there is no TLM at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne? Has anyone petitioned for it?

(another) Louise said...

I think one of the first things which should be established outside of Mass is regular confession times (we can hope and pray for another Philip Neri of course) at a reasonable time. This could be advertised widely, so other Catholics would also know it is on.

If the only confession time available is right before Mass and there is only one priest and he is always late because he is setting everything up, not many people can go each week, unless they are willing to brave another parish.

Check out the times in all Churches nearby and fill in a blank day (plenty of timeslots even on a Saturday where I am). And then make sure the priest is actually in the confessional for the full hour, not floating around the Church!