By Diocesan John
We are at that time of the year when we remember the Passion, death, and Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. When there were two million Catholics going to Church in the sixties there was no noticeable increase in attendance but now thanks to the Spirit of Vatican II we have less than 800,000 who go regularly, and dropping, but at Christmas and Easter those who are nominally Catholic join us for the services.
So what is the problem that keeps many baptised from Church? The problem is that although they have been taught an intellectual knowledge of Christianity they do not see how Christianity affects their everyday lives. To say today that people who go to Church are no better than people who do not go to Church would be widely accepted even by many within the Church. So why go to Church at all? I believe those who do not go to Church have a feeling that somewhere along the way they are missing out on something. So they go to Church just as they went to School to try to find that something. Now it should be obvious to anyone with honesty that if after 10 years of Religious Education in a Catholic School 95% of pupils leave the Church that maybe something has failed. As someone who has been pointing out this failure for over forty years and been met by the phrase “No they come back”, and as someone who annoyed a bishop by pointing out that in his watch we had lost about 20,000 Mass goers, I count myself as having a right to say this. To some I am just a bloody nuisance.
So it is here we go again. Forty years ago the First Communicants were given a new Programme called “The Greatest Gift” in many parishes. People asked why there was so little mention of the Blessed Sacrament in the programme and were told “The Children are too young to understand such things” Now I will be 80 this year and I do not understand such things either. But one thing I do know is that when I was seven I believed in the Presence of Christ. I was brought to Church jjoften for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and in those days they did not just light candles on the altar but all over the Sanctuary. And when I went for Communion I knelt at the Altar Rails and received on my tongue. The other dishonest story that was being circulated was that time was that we were a Community and went to Communion as a Community and an absolutely ridiculous teaching that receiving Holy Communion was not an act of personal devotion but an act of the whole Community which somehow united us. To cut out the devotion part we were given ‘bread we could chew’. The bread which crumbled in our hands did not last for long. Now let me make my position clear as I made it then. If the host contains My Very God, the Jesus who died for Me, the Real Presence of one who gives himself as food when I receive that beautiful gift I do not give a damn for the Commnity. I will not abandon by beliefs for any intellectual or even ecumenical reasons. The Greatest Gift is Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. And may God forgive those who teach something else and destroy the Faith of little children. As the Jesus of Sctripture said “…It would be better if a halter was put around his neck and he was thrown into the ocean”.
Thursday 13th April: MAUNDY THURSDAY
Prelude: Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele (654) J.S. Bach.
Colloredo Mass (K. 337) Mozart
Ubi caritas Duruflé.
Coenantibus illis Palestrina.
Mass XVIII (Sanctus & Agnus) Gregorian chant.
Hoc est praeceptum meum Guerrero
Pange lingua Palestrina.
Friday 14th April: GOOD FRIDAY
Benedictus Tone 1 Handl.
Christus factus est Felice Anerio.
St John Passion Byrd.
Improperia I & II Victoria.
Crux fidelis King John of Portugal.
O vos omnes Dering.
Ne irascaris Domine Byrd.
Adoramus te Christe Monteverdi.
Lamentations I Tallis.
Saturday 15th April: HOLY SATURDAY
Benedictus Tone 1 Victoria.
Christus factus est Felice Anerio.
Canticles Gregorian chant & Russill.
Missa in angustiis Haydn.
Sicut cervus Palestrina.
Dum transisset sabbatum I Taverner.
Benedictus Malcolm / Hoban.
Grand Chœur in D major Guilmant.
Sunday 16th April: EASTER SUNDAY
Missa Papae Marcelli Palestrina.
Angelus Domini Casciolini.
Surrexit pastor bonus Lhéritier.
Final (Symphony No. 6) Vierne.
Haec dies Sheppard.
Magnificat Tone 3 Robledo.
Surrexit pastor bonus Lassus.
Regina caeli Aichinger.
Prelude in C major (BWV 545) J.S. Bach.