What, in Wales would be called a Cwm, a valley, in other words.
The celebrant was an elderly, frail and venerable priest.
A man bent almost double with paralysis and to whom every movement is an immense effort.
|A November Mass for the Dead|
Yet, the Mass that he offered had a wonderful, translucent quality about it, it was not quite of this earth.
That is partly because this priest celebrated the Mass with great dignity despite his physical restrictions.
And partly because pure goodness emanates from him.
He is also, one might say, 'untainted' by the modern Mass.
He elected, in 1970, not to continue with the incoming changes of offering the Mass in the vernacular (as we called it then) and wrote his Bishop a letter stating that: "The changes that you are implementing are aimed at destroying the Church".
Strong words from such a mild mannered man.
Since then he has tirelessly travelled Wales and England, celebrating the Mass of Ages for those who requested it.
Hearing confessions, catechizing the children, anointing the dying.
He ministers, today, to a tiny flock who attend Mass in his private chapel and he counsels seminarians and priests who are troubled by the continuing storms that affect the orthodoxy of the Faith.
While we were there he received a phone call from a very prominent priest who wished to visit him.
This is the 50th year of his priesthood and he maintains that he will continue in his ministry as long as he has the strength to do God's work.
As the Mass proceeded it seemed to me that we were transported back to the time of the Recusants and that, at any moment, we would hear the thunder of approaching hooves swiftly followed by sword hilts hammering on the door.
Such events would not have phased this priest.
After Mass we chatted over cups of tea and he mourned the fact that young priests are not following the path that he chose, the lonely one of only offering the Tridentine Latin Mass.
"They lack Faith" said Father.
"And courage, Father" we replied. "You need both Faith and courage to leave all and follow Him".
Sadly, those two qualities appear to be lacking today.
Perhaps the prospect of losing one's pension scheme overrides the prospect of losing one's soul.