But it was a time of flux and the faithful (as well as the clergy) were confused and somewhat dazed at the disparate way that the liturgy was being chopped up and reconstituted.
|Not a Bass Guitar - a Mass Guitar!|
After two years of marriage, my wife announced that she was interested in being catechised in the Catholic faith. This was something of a shock to me but, recovering swiftly, we made our way to our parish presbytery (where the incumbent priest was the Diocesan Catechist no less). Explaining the situation at the door we were met with the response: " Why don't you go away and find some books to read on the Catholic faith". Not so good and very humiliating for me the alleged Catholic partner. Next, we phoned up a neighbouring parish under the control of the Discalced Carmelites. There we were met with the rolling Irish accent of Fr Patrick who welcomed us with open arms. This was more like it.
We attended the Lord knows how many sessions with Fr P who had a most infectious laugh and, after making some outrageous statement such as: "I don't think anyone commits mortal sin these days" would turn to me and say: "Was that heretical?" "Yes, Father", I would reply and we would all fall on the floor laughing hysterically. We were very young, all of us.
After my wife was received into the faith (and was subjected to no less than four sacraments that night) we attended the 'house Masses' that were all the rage then. Somehow, it was deemed desirable to forsake the church building and take the Mass into the village community; it does have a certain attraction, but, let me tell you, it soon wears off. Kneeling in Mrs Boddington's front parlour with the television set in the corner and Mrs B's cat purring around one's nether regions is not good for the soul.
Now house Masses are a thing of the past; a bit like Peter and Gordon - they were great pop singers at the time but, eight weeks after they started, no one could remember them.
After some years, the Novus Ordo became an established and well loved Mass. With small children at heel we found ourselves on the fringes of Ross-on-Wye, where, just a couple of miles away was the Mill Hill Fathers' base of Courtfield and a beautiful chapel with a Welsh name (Ty Mair) - Mary's House. For a few years, all was sweetness and light; the Novus Ordo was celebrated with extreme reverence by Fr Hughes and we even formed our own choir under the strict eye of John Bevan (Catholic Books).
And there, I shall leave it. This was meant to be a snapshot of Catholic life in England in the 1970s and it will remain precisely that.
Not contentious, just a small fragment of Catholic history that may be worth recording or, alternatively, no worries, may be chucked in the round file!
Posted By Richard Collins - Linen on the Hedgerow