Page 5, 7th August 1942

7th August 1942
Page 5
Page 5, 7th August 1942 — What They Told Me at Oxford

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People: Sung Mass, Bath
Locations: Glasgow, London, Oxford


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What They Told Me at Oxford


The impression I carried with me from Wadham College, Ox ford, at the end of the first three days of this week's Liturgical School is mainly favourable. Almost 100 people have gathered from many parts of the country to attend the courses. Lay folk are here as well as monks front Ampleforth, Belmont, Downside and Quarr. Men from as far apart as London arid Glasgow and teachers from the North and South.

I attended Sung Mass on Wednesday morning at Greyfriars, the Church of the Capuchin Fathers, led by the monks and Fr. MeElligott. The school rendered the plain chant almost perfectly. The ceremony, simple and short as it was beautiful, was a model of consciously concerted effort and prayer, Later, in a conversation with Miss Spear, of Bath, Secretary of the Society of St. Gregory, I put art objection. " The layman's part in the Mass as it was shown just now is too perfect. Those voices were trained by practice to a faultless pitch. That sort of thing cannot be hoped for in the ordinary parish. I believe with many that the Dialogue Mass is the first step towards bringing the whole congregation really and truly into the Liturgy. People have little time for attendance to rehearsals, and as a rule they attend Low Mass."

She replied, " Yes, but you seeem to forget tire big difficulty that all admit, namely, the bishops and parish priests don't always allow the Dialogue Mass." She explained that the Society of St. Gregory was having encouraging results in several places. " We find that learning to sing the Mass in monotone is a great help at LITURGY GENERATOR OF ACTION

Many members, she told me, dislike the term Liturgist. " They feel it implies a specialised knowledge, shutting out interest from anything else. Rather, they are Liturgy-minded in realising the importance of the Liturgy as the mainspring of Catholic Action in an age when the Church relies upon the laity."

At the lecture on " The Mass the Catholic Action," I took a back seat. Pregnant morsels from Fr. Connolly's speech were these: " Just as Catholic Action is concerted, so the Liturgy, the source of efficient Catholic Action, should be concerted, each section (priests, servers, people) having its part to play."

" The Mass is the action and affair or each and all. . ."

" The Mass outlooks economic injustice and war. . ."

"The trend seems to be once again. It is the Mass that matters, In penal days the thing to die for, now it is the thing to live for."

I next buttonholed Dom J. B. McElligott, 0.S.B., and discussed with him one or two burning liturgical points close to my heart. " How can the Liturgy become in practice what it should be?" I said, " the common ground on which Catholic Action bodies meet and from which they draw their inspiration?"

He answered : " By breaking down ignorance of what the Liturgy means."

" And how exactly is that to be done?"

" By organised and frequent classes in Liturgy in many places."

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