Today Fr George Grynowski said a Votive Low Mass for the Blessed Sacrament for the school children of his local primary school, ages 8-11. Over 120 people were in attendance;
The Mass started out as a casual comment from myself to Melanie Bullivant. I said something like "wouldn't it be great if the school had the opportunity of experiencing the Extraordinary Form so that they can appreciate something about the richness of the Church's traditional liturgy, which is after all part of their heritage". This would have been as recently as about December last year. I didn't expect much to come from it, certainly not in the immediate future. Melanie mentioned it to the headteacher, and to my great joy I was told that she was quite happy for one of the regular scheduled school Masses to be in the Extraordinary Form. We decided on today, 3 March, to give time to prepare for it.Active Participation in EF Low Mass
Melanie and I did the preparation for it. I concentrated on the commentaries, of which there were three: one given before the first hymn, one after the homily and one after the people's communion. We followed the guidelines given in "Musica sacra" (1958). They were given from a lectern in front of but outside the altar rails.Latin mass commentary
Three hymns were sung: one at the beginning of Mass, one at the offertory, and one at the end, after the Last gospel. Melanie prepared a beautiful Mass booklet with traditional illustrations.
I went to the school and spoke with the children last Monday to explain the main differences between this form and the Ordinary form, and why those differences exist.Traditional Latin Mass
The Mass went well: there was a beautiful atmosphere in Church and the children were reverent and attentive. One of the boys, an 8 year old, had been trained to serve, and he did well. Many parents and governors and other parishioners also assisted. The Mass was well publicised at school and in the parish. I have not, as yet, received a single adverse comment, but several praising the initiative. The idea for the future is that there will be one or maybe two of these Masses each school year. It goes to show that children can appreciate the beauty of the Extraordinary form: its not something high-brow or sophisticated and only for liturgical or antiquarian geeks!
Today has, I think, been one of the most rewarding days I have had in my life as a priest. I just felt such a tremendous uplift in spirit that I had the privilege of celebrating Mass for those children and, I pray and hope, helping to open their eyes to a different, older and yet refreshingly new way of worship. Its been one of those days when its really felt that God's been at work! Thank you to the LMS!
Melanie Bullivant, teacher at the Primary School and a regular at Fr George's Friday Evening Low Mass;
I was so pleased with the children's behaviour - they really seemed to enter into the spirit of the liturgy, so to speak! I have asked lots of the children what they thought of the Mass and there has been 90% positive feedback! A few said things like it was a bit loo long or they didn't like all the kneeling. But a hugh majority say they really liked it. I asked why and they said things like, they enjoyed listening to the Latin and they liked joining in with some of the reponses. Some said they liked the quiet because they felt close to Jesus and one girl said she really liked kneeling for Holy Communion because it was more special! One of the children said she wants to learn more Latin! Staff feedback has also been positive, they seemed to enjoy the Mass and were pleased with the children's behaviour.