Sunday, 29 September 2013

Its a Small World

In our decision as to where we are going on an overseas holiday, one of the decisive factors in my "must have" list, is the availability of the Vetus Ordo.  Why the Old Mass and not the Novus Ordo?  Simply that in all my extensive travels around the world I have yet to be able to fully engage and pray the Mass when surrounded by people responding in their own language.  For example try saying the Our Father when surrounded by say Portuguese, Italians or Germans. Understand the bidding prayers or join in the hymns? forget it.  As a result I have always left those churches feeling undernourished and somehow thinking I had not fulfilled my Sunday Obligation.
When we chose to spend a long weekend in Berlin this was naturally a deal breaker for me.  By the way Berliners will tell you that Christianity is only practiced by about two per cent of the population - yes TWO per cent.  Thankfully there is a wonderful community in Berlin called the Institute of St Philip Neri led by the  indomitable Father Gerald Goesche.
I was kindly given permission to take some photographs during Mass, Fr Goesche belongs to the more publicity the better camp.  During Mass my attention was drawn to one of the gentlemen in the schola who had a "weel kent" face, as we say in Scotland.  Lo and behold after Mass who should seek me out but Frater Marcin Góral whom I had last seen on the small Scottish island of Papa Stronsay when he was with The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.
Fr. Jatzkowski, left   Fr Goesche centre,   Frater Marcin right.
Needless to say we had a good gossip and catch-up of news over a splendid cup of coffee before setting of by taxi to our next appointments.  He to visit parishioners and me to have lunch with she who must be obeyed.  How marvellous that we should meet again thousands of miles away and how wonderful to learn he is now studying for the priesthood. 
Please do go to their website; there is an English version which requires updating, but nevertheless gives a detailed account of the Institute.  One of their fund raising activities of late has been to install a wonderful organ found in England regarding which you can read about HERE
Yes it certainly is a small world.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Universal Church

Earlier this summer my long suffering wife and I took a cruise in the Baltic visiting a number of locations and cities before arriving at our most easterly destination of St. Petersburg; the Venice of the North.  Amongst the many beautiful sights we saw in Estonia and Russia were cathedrals which equal, if not exceed, the excesses found in Baroque churches in European regions such as Bavaria in southern Germany. 

Inside Petershof Church
Church of the Spilled Blood
Conversely in Northern Germany where Lutheranism is predominant the austerity of their churches we visited was stark.  Perhaps a view of the future of Catholic churches in the U.K. where some Bishops and priests seem driven to strip our churches of our patrimony in the name of "the spirit of Vatican II", ecumenism and modernism.
Whatever your preference there is always a constant - the Universality of the Church and our Christian belief.
In St Petersburg I had the great privilege in handing over to Oleg-Michael Martynov, the chairman of Una Voce Russia, a complete set of Low Mass Requiem Vestments including Cope, a small altar stone complete with a saint's relic, ideal for a small travelling altar, birettas and a Missale Defunctorum.  This was a gift from Una Voce Scotland to our Catholic brethren in Russia.  We are both part of the FIUV world wide organisation.
I received an email from Oleg-Michael last week stating that the Altar stone had already been used during their four day 100km St Olaf Pilgrimage walk (see picture below).
Fr Paolo Giancinti IVE offers Mass during the Pilgrimage
Perhaps Ian Fleming will forgive me but rather than "From Russia with Love" I will say "To Russia with Love" from all of us in Scotland.