I'm reminded by a comment from Wendy Doyle that I haven't said anything about last week's Mass for Ascension Thursday at the Birmingham Oratory. It was great to meet Matt, Wendy and Madeleine. Matt's account of the Mass is here.
The Mass was wonderful in every way. The church itself is beautiful, with a calm, prayerful atmosphere. The singing was outstanding, the Mass celebrated with true reverence and the homily was both thoughtful and thought-provoking. (And yes, Jackie, the two little altar boys were very cute!)
Now, I've said before that I like being able to participate in the Mass - in a Novus Ordo Mass, I actually hate it when the choir take over and the congregation are unable to join in with the hymns, or when new settings are constantly being introduced so that we can't join in with the sung bits of the Mass.
In a Tridentine High Mass, however, it felt perfectly right that most of the singing was not participatory. With the beauty of the music, the majesty of the decor, the solemnity of the ceremonial, and the scent of the incense, it was a true feast for all the senses, but somehow this feast didn't distract but deepened the prayer experience.
I'm not sure I would want this sort of feast at every Mass, and I still enjoy being able to sing a selection of well-chosen hymns at a properly celebrated Novus Ordo Mass, but this was amazing.
I was also very grateful to have the opportunity to attend a Mass for Ascension Thursday ON Ascension Thursday.
Thanks very much to Matt for letting us know that it was happening.