a new church
The Fr. Plummer progress
DRIVING down to the coast for a frozen bathe. my eye was caught by the brilliant sun-reflecting whiteness of a Catholic church. I had just passed the centre of Uckfield where many years ago I heard Mass from time to time in a convent chapel. Despite traffic and shortness of time, I had to stop and inspect. What it is that takes one's eye in architecture is as difficult to express as why one's eye is caught by a picture or a face. But here was something I had so far looked for in vain in the new churches I had seen—simplicity, originality, proportion. (The Holy Apostles. Pimlico, is another such.) I should not have been as surprised as 1 was to find the interior as gripping as the exterior. In it, reverence, otilits, and, above all, the dignity of a liturgy with and for the people were clearly the guiding motifs. From every angle in the church, the eye was drawn to the detached severely plain stone altar with the golden tabernacle in the wall behind it—a wall on which hung three devotional and instructional paintings, the crucifix in the centre. The rich colouring matched the severity, thus giving the impression of the people's joy in the austerity and seriousness of the Holy Sacrifice. The parish priest, Fr. Cyril Plummer, tells me that his start was as a professional choirboy in a London church before the first war. "One famous church at that the choir during the sermon— otherwise the singers would not have returned from the local in time for the Credo!" Under the liturgical inspiration of St. Pius X he has travelled forward to Our Lady Immaculate and St. Philip Neri, Uckfield, Sussex. Who says we have not progressed 1
ONE of the liveliest priests I have met for a long time is Fr. Manik Muttukumaru, who for some years now has been the editor of the only Catholic weekly in Ceylon, the "Messenger". We had great fun over lunch arguing about the differences and different difficulties of running a lay Catholic paper in competition with other lay papers and running a single Catholic paper under direct ecclesiastical rule. I think that we roughly agreed in the end that there were advantages and problems both ways. Naturally one asked about liturgical problems in Ceylon. Thank heavens, we are spared one difficulty here which is outstanding in Ceylon. namely the currency of three vernaculars: English, Ceylonese and Tamil. In one place even the prayers after Mass have to be said in Latin -a point for the Latinists which I must courageously concede. More disappointing perhaps is the reluctance of most of the Catholics in Ceylon to he attracted by sacred art m the native tradition. "They prefer the bright Western highlypainted madonnas and saints," he told me, "to a Ceylonese Our Lady in a sari." This seems to be in contrast with the feeling in Africa. and presumably is due to the long period of association of Ceylon with Britain and Western civilisation. I remember an archbishop in India telling me that masses of non-Catholics would follow the
Daily Mass Guide
SUN., JUNE 19. SECOND AFTER PENTECOST. d. comm. S. Juliana. Creed. (Green).
MON., JUNE 20. Feria. comm. S. Silverius. (Green).
TUES., JUNE 21. S. Aloysius Gonzaga. d. (White).
WED., JUNE 22. St. Alban. dm. comm. S. Paulinus (Red)
THURS., JUNE 23. Vigil of St. John (Purple).
FRL. JUNE 24. THE SACRED HEART. d. I. cl. Creed. Proper Preface (White).
SAT., JUNE 25, BIRTHDAY OF S. JOHN THE BAPTIST. d. 1. el. Creed. (White).
SUN., JUNE 26. THIRD AFTER PENTECOST. d. comm. Sts. John & Paul. Creed. (Green). traditional statue of Our Lady of Fatima when carried in procession simply so beautiful. pisy becausfeulthey thought she was