Sunday, 25 March 2007

A minor dilemma

I think it's important, if at all possible, to go to Mass in one's own parish and to be a real part of a parish community. So last year, as part of my research on this area, I went to Mass in three or four different parishes - had I not liked the feel of a parish or the way the Mass was celebrated, I would instantly have discounted any houses that fell within that parish.

The parish I settled on is very pleasant - I've already got to know a few people (not always easy for a single person moving into a parish where the majority of parishioners seem to have children), I generally like the hymns we sing (except at the monthly 'Yoof Mass' - why do so many people assume that if you're a teenager, you must like to sing utter drivel?), the priest preaches a good sermon, and it's a reasonably nice-looking little church. The choice of house came second, and I live ten minutes' walk from the church.

A couple of miles away, halfway up a steep hill, is another church which I have admired a lot from the outside. It's a very attractive little building (see photo) - but I couldn't have afforded to live in that parish, and it's not within easy walking distance of any station, so it wasn't included in my little research tour last year.

Well, as I mentioned last night, I had to go to early Mass this morning, so I Googled for Mass times nearby (the only choice in my parish is 10 am or 6 pm). It turned out that the church on the hill had a 9:00 Mass, so I drove up there this morning.

The church is as beautiful inside as it is out - it has proper pews instead of nasty modern chairs and a lovely stained glass window above the sanctuary. As I walked in, there was none of the social chit-chat that you get in a lot of churches before Mass begins - instead, the congregation were being led in the Rosary, and the atmosphere was calm, prayerful and peaceful.

The Mass was celebrated reverently, the hymns were traditional, Gregorian chant was played during Communion, and as I left the church I felt at peace with the world.

So here's my dilemma: I feel I ought to be part of the parish I live in - a parish with which until this morning I was perfectly happy. I also don't like to use my car for short journeys, but the trip to this church is a bit too long to do every Sunday without the car (I'd cycle if it weren't for the hill, but the hill is steep). But this lovely little church ... did I mention they also have a Tridentine Mass at 10:30?


Mac McLernon said...

Easy... go to the trad parish and throw yourself into its activities, thus making it "yours". Geographical location is just a technicality!

Sharon said...

I can remember when it would be unheard of for anyone to regularly attend Sunday Mass at any parish other than their geographical parish. It didn't matter which church you went to, the Mass would be the same - reverent and the people worshipful.