Sunday, September 25, 2011


External Solemnity of Our Lady of Ransom

Alas, the last early Sunday Tridentine Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, a quick, perfect way to start the day and really like stepping back in time. The Mary altar was all decked out much like an altar of repose with yesterday’s feast-day statue. And I didn’t bring a camera! (I was going to Mass, not working.) Fr James wore a 19th-century-looking cream chasuble with the Immaculata’s face and the Mercedarian shield on the back (the good medieval Spanish-founded, Italian-based friars who took over OL of Lourdes a few years ago and high-churched it).

The Mass wasn’t Pentecost XV or even Salve, sancta parens (Common of the BVM, which you don’t usually hear on Sunday anyway) but a Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, the order’s Mass for the feast, so my Maryknoll Missal didn’t help. It’s Not About Latin™ but my understanding of it got a workout.

What’s this all about?

While the friars do much good running a few parishes, they were originally the good kind of badass. As Father’s sermon said, in the Middle Ages if you were captured by Muslims (BTW you don’t want to live in a Muslim country, run by people who believe in an irrational God) you had two choices: be killed or convert to Islam. These Spanish friars (and a similar order, the Trinitarians) volunteered to take the captives’ places. I used to know a novice, who told me they hadn’t done a ‘redemption’ since the 1700s. Considering the news of American hikers being captured and long jailed in places like Iran (the most recent two fellows were just released), let’s talk about ‘returning to the original charism’ of the order and mean it (not some BS about getting rid of habits, which it usually really meant) and revive this as a sort of spiritual Marines/Navy SEALs willing to take on the worst the infidels can throw at them, for the sake of saving the innocent. (Note to new readers: I understand the real grievances behind 9/11 and don’t want the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. We leave them in peace; they leave us in peace.) Greater love hath no man than this.

Afterwards a few people knelt at the rail as Father blessed scapulars and enrolled them in the order’s sodality of Our Lady under this title.

BTW it seems (seemed?) to be the parish custom for a man in street clothes to serve that Mass.

Starting next Sunday I think the Sung Mass will be Tridentine and Low Mass shifted to noon.

BTW although the Last Gospel, John’s Prologue, was added in the Middle Ages to fight the Catharist heresy, very old-school (before the 1962 Missal) there were sometimes changing Last Gospels. Might this be an occasion for one? (The order has its Mass of Our Lady but the Last Gospel would be that of Pentecost XV, the suppressed Mass in that parish.)

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