4 December 2006

1st Sunday of Advent, St Francis Major Seminary, Carmelites

Well the 1st Sunday of Advent began for me by watching 1st Vespers celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI at St Peter's Basilica and telecast live on EWTN. It not the best example of Vespers, and the "Quia tuum regnum est.." followed straight after the Pater Noster, which should not have been the case at all. The Pope however was wearing a rather interesting cope.

And well for the 1st time in a very, very long while, I attended the Sunday Morning Mass at 9am. I should have arrived earlier to go for confession, but I am really not a morning person. Fr Suyono was to celebrate Mass, so he was not able to take my confession before Mass started. Surprisingly however, after the Mass started Fr Anthony came out to take confessions. It being the 1st Sunday of the Mass, the "Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water" was used. So as Fr Suyono was going round with the aspergillum together with the altar boy carrying the holy water vat, I slipped into the confessional. Finished my penance just in time for the Collect.

In the evening I went all the way up to Pungol for the Feast Day for St Francis Xavier Major Seminary, since 3 Dec is the Memorial for St Francis Xavier. For once the chapel in the seminary was completely filled and additional chairs were needed on the outer parts. Bishop celebrated the Mass and I guess there was a record number of concelebrants. Personally, the choice of hymns was far from ideal and having hymns in so many different languages just was simply a mess. Sacred Music is to be used in the Mass, and it should in the the first place Sacred. There is to be active participation in the liturgy but choosing hymns just so that those from the different language language can sing at least one song to be is not a good idea at all. Being able to sing a hymn in one's own language is far from actively participating in the liturgy. Active participation means in the very first place understanding that the Mass is a Sacred moment where the Son offers himself up as a pleasing sacrifice to the Father. This part of the Mass is the most important, not the hymns and not the homily. And well personally I feel that 'Christ will come again' is really a nonsensical response to the Mysterium Fidei. It does not take a genius to realise that more accurately 'Christ has come again'. To my surprise however, there was the announcement that a book that compiled the vocation stories of various Diocesean Priests had been published and for those intending this Mass, they would distribute it for free. Hmm...being present at Diocesean events does have its privileges. The reception was also not bad.

After this I then dropped by the Carmelite House that was just nearby and stayed on for their Compline. Flos Carmeli was sung in Latin as the closing hymn. Yet I still prefer the old Monastic Breviary. The English Translation of the current Divine Office is just far from ideal really.

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