Another wee journey before I hibernate for the winter.
On this occasion it was off to Rome during the first weekend of November to attend the 20th General Assembly of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce which is held every two years. I was one of the two delegates from Una Voce Scotland. The Assembly was held at a simple two star hotel which nevertheless served good food, had comfortable rooms, a chapel and a very fine auditorium with the added benefit of being only 15 minutes walk from St Peter's.
Arriving a day early Fred (UVS chairman) and I took the opportunity to go to confession and Mass at St Peter's on Friday then spent the remainder of the day sightseeing which included finding, after much going round in circles, the church of Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini entrusted to the care of the FSSP by His Holiness Benedict XVI. We purchased a travel pass for the duration of our stay which is very reasonably priced at 11 Euros for three days or 16 Euros for one week permitting you to travel by all types of public transport across Rome.
|One of the many stunning domes in St Peter's|
Saturday dawned and it was off again to St Peter's. On this occasion Mass was to be very special indeed. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel had been reserved for us and no less a personage than His Eminence Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was to celebrate Mass in the Forma Extraordinaria. This was without doubt one of THE highlights of the weekend. His Excellency offered the Mass in a most wonderful prayerful manner with an incredible polyphonic schola providing the music which included Byrd's Ave Verum (sung here by the Tallis singers). A true gentleman of the old school - I felt, and still do, truly blessed and fortunate to have met him.
Lunch was, once again, rather special. His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke graced our gathering by joining us for lunch. Indeed he had delayed his departure for the Netherlands so he could dine with us. Another gent to be sure.
|A Blessing before meal|
|Group photo opportunity|
After lunch it was time to convene the General Assembly. I shall not go into detail except to say I was not overly impressed with certain aspects of the afternoon's proceedings, and, not being noted for diplomacy, I fired off a salvo or two across the bows. How to make friends and influence people - NOT. Notwithstanding that it was a real pleasure to meet with other Una Voce organisations from around the world. Delegates included representatives from Russia, Japan, New Zealand, America just to name a few.
Sunday morning and off to the FSSP church in Rome for Solemn High Mass. When they were first given this church the pews were now overfull but how things change in a short time. Due to full pews some of the congregation had to remain standing at the back of the church. Two priests heard confessions before and during mass, seminarians and visiting priests filled the choir stalls and the schola sang beautifully. To add icing to the cake I was able to chat with Fr William Barker who is one of the assistant priests there. I last saw him during his priestly ordination at Wigratzbad in 2009. (For videos and photos of that event please take this link to my blog entry).
After lunch it was time for the Sunday afternoon FIUV session. We were rather fortunate in having some very good guest speakers including Monsignor Grau, president of the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music. For those who wish to read a detailed account of the General Assembly my I suggest they go over to the St Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association who have posted extensively on the weekend.
As usual I have posted a few photos which may be viewed HERE