|Not that sort of forward planning|
Nothing of the grave and final judgement here.
But, instead, a booking pour deux, as they say, for glorious Lourdes for the first week of May, month of Our Lady.
This will be our fourth visit to the blessed town and, despite the flashing statues and glow in the dark rosaries that proliferate in tacky shops everywhere, we love it.
We actually miss the place when at home in Wales and bathe (both figuratively and literally) in its ambience when we are there.
Now, cut to the main course. Will we find a proper Mass there?
Should we ask for information regarding: La Forme Extraordinaire, or La Messe Vetus Ordo (will anyone know what we are talking about? I doubt it.
Or should we stick to La Messe Latin?
I wish that someone with authority in the traditional Catholic Church could come up with a proper title for our Mass.
Personally, I go for the good old plain 'Latin Mass' but then some folk get confused with that and OF Latin Mass which is not quite the same bus, if you get my drift.
But, back to Lourdes. I know where the SSPX chapel is located and, some 22 years ago it was the only source of a Latin Mass in Lourdes.
As a family we attended the Easter Mass at dawn there with a priest who had, on Holy Saturday, marched into Lourdes having crossed the Pyrenees on foot. He was a great hulk of a man and would have made an excellent Don Camillo.
He appealed for altar servers and my son stepped forward (still sporting a rather spikey student haircut). Don Camillo pinned him to the sacristy wall and flattened his hair with one massive paw.
Afterwards my son (who is six foot two inches tall in his socks and frighteningly tough) told us that the priest was the only man in the world that could have done that to him.
As his father I certainly would not have dared.
And, on our last visit, five years ago, Mrs Linen and I attended Sunday Mass in the Basilica.
There was no server and so, with much trepidation I went forward at the last minute and stepped into the role.
Despite my mature years I was annoyed to find my knees knocking and my voice rather uncomfortably higher than I would have liked.
The Basilica was full and it was probably thirty or so years since I had served with such a large congregation and, yes, I do know that this should have made no difference and that my thoughts should have been on the Body and Blood of Christ but, sorry to surprise you, I am human and I am a sinner and your spiritual spine does go a bit flaky at such times.
I think that it was the first time that I have ever served wearing civvies and the celebrant, I discovered much later, was Fr George Byers, now a hermit in the USA.
So, Lourdes is full of great memories for us.
But, I wonder....will we find a Latin Mass in the Lourdes of today?
Or, will we have to take the steep path to the Society Chapel once more?
A question that is occupying the minds of many traditional Catholics right now.