“Well done, indeed, on this event, a splendid occasion and a good start for what I hope will be a regular pilgrimage to the Shrine” commented Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, last Saturday after the High Mass of Reparation at the Shrine for the Irish Referendum outcome.
Arrangements had started as long ago as July, when the Society had approached the Guardians to see if such an event could be held as the third in a national series of Masses of Reparation. After kind agreement by the Rector, Canon Seamus Keenan, a date was set for Saturday 10 November 2018.
The day dawned bright and sunny. It was believed to be the first Latin Mass that had been held at the Shrine for 16 years. There was great interest and the Mass was well attended. In the sanctuary were celebrant Fr Patrick O’Donohue FSSP, Deacon Fr Michael Cullinan and Sub Deacon Brother Albert Robertson OP, supported by an experienced team of servers. In the choir loft was Matthew Schellhorn, Director of Music, along with Joseph Shaw and other singers from Oxford. The Knights of St Columba were helping as usual in practical ways around the church.
The liturgy ran smoothly, the music took us heavenwards and a thought-provoking homily was given by Fr O’Donohue about the history of Ireland from its being a great Catholic country to the sorry state it is in today with the decision on abortion. He reminded us, however, that the powers of evil do not have the last word.
The congregation had come from far and wide, and amongst them was Carmel Jordan, who is currently living in Birmingham, but is originally from Southern Ireland, and therefore follows closely what is happening there. She shared this information with us over refreshments and referred us to the SPUC website. Some of the proposed changes in legislation would make the Irish abortion laws some of the most liberal in the world, including unsupervised abortion, killing a baby at birth and hiding the body. Carmel also told us that as a result of an initiative in Ireland, many people round the world were fasting in the period 8 – 14 November, so by a happy coincidence our Mass of Reparation fitted in with that.
Many positive comments were made about the Mass: Canon Keenan said to Matthew Schellhorn “Come again!”. Already the organisers are looking at possible dates for 2019 when another Latin Mass at the Shrine could mark a significant date in the Church’s calendar.