By i Dialogue Mass in Jotter Co. Offaly WHEN did dialogue Mass originate? I have often wondered, and this week I have received a letter from a very senior and retired priest who tells mc that he was first Westminster priest to have dialogue Mass, and this in the time ot Cardinal Bourne (who, by the way, was born a century ago this yak r)I This priest was moreover instrumental in getting the dialogue Mass said in the Propaganda College in Rome. First it was the English students who adopted it—and with such success that the Rector extended it to all nations in the college. One is glad to be reminded of the fact that the letter columns of this paper were even then a favourite medium for the furthering of a reform which is now part of the Church's normal mode of worship. I must, however, add that it has lately been impressed upon me that dialogue Mass badly done is worse than no dialogue. And success does usually depend on the enthusiasm and continuing hard work of the clergy. I was recently told of a church in Ireland (Edenderry, Co. Offaly) where the parish priest, Mgr, Martin Brenan, has come to the conclusion that the way towards dialogue Mass is through the children. There, at the nine o'clock Mass, 400 or so children have been trained to do the dialogue Mass perfectly. As Mgr. Brenan says, in a few years they will be our adults, and dialogue Mass difficulties will be for ever overcome.
An Irish lead
TALKING of Ireland, I was glad to hear on the telephone the other day the voice of that veteran Ir;sh liturgical pastor, Fr. John Fennelly, parish priest of Greystones. who was in London for too short a time. Many in this country have used his excellent " People's Mass Book ", which provides an alternative to the dialogue for simple, social, and easily intelligible participation in the Mass. Fr. Fennelly has gone further and organised and promoted the idea of the festival of the parish church, a kind of annual cultural and social " gettogether " to promote the sense of parish community. He tells me that the festival or " pattern " (Latin patronus) was an established feature of parish life up to penal times. All the more reason for a revival of a social sense which English and Continental influences destroyed. And why should not his lead be copied here, at any rate in smaller towns?
THIS brings me back to another of my hobby-horses where pastoral work is .concerned. At the recent funeral in a well-known London church of a distinguished Catholic, two-thirds or more of the congregation were probably nonCatholics. "[Though there were attendant priests in the sanctuary, no help was givtn from the pulpit in the way of commenting on the Mass and the beautiful Latin prayers—not even the Epistle and Gospel were read in English: and this though the new English ritual was used for the prayers before and after Mass. As I have suggested before, weddings and funerals would seem to be an ideal occasion for introducing to nonCatholics present something of the significance and beauty of Catholic worship. And the lack of this not
only misses a pastoral opportunity, but may give the impression that Catholic worship is unintelligible mummery.
Sherry for Dr. Fisher?
THIS week, it seem, all grumbles —and here is another. I am told that at the recent unity meeting in the Kensington Town Hall, where an address was given by the Dominican Provincial (fully reported in our columns last week), the hall was packed, but with only about ten Catholics present! One would have thought that before Unity Week especially such a meeting would have been well publicised in the many Catholic churches within reasonable bus or underground distance. From our point of view, there is every motive for the presence of Catholics who, on such an occasion, might make valuable contacts and friendships with non-Catholics, My informant suggests someone ought to organise a " unity " sherry party with Dr. Fisher as the guest of honour.
His Satanic Majesty
T CANNOT resist quoting from a "Church Times" letter on the absence of the Devil in the C. of E. draft Catechism Revision: "At a meeting of the Supreme Satanic Council held in Hell the press and publication executive was able to report that he had succeeded in getting the adverse reference to His vitavedjesty. the Devil . . entirely re "It was felt that it would he much more effective to keep the next generation of Anglicans in total ignorance of the great super-natural and personal pow.r of evil. In this way it could be so much more easily led into really satisfactory ways of wickedness."