Monday, 10 March 2014

Forward planning.....

Not that sort of forward planning, not that sort of forward planning at all (I know how your minds work, you see?).

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.


  1. A shame that you're going at the beginning of May... the Blackfen pilgrimage to Lourdes (all Masses in the EF) is at the end of May...

    1. Mac, yes, I was aware but the timings did not work out.
      Also, I would not like to inflict myself upon the good Fr T. But thanks for the thought.

  2. FSSP is there I think. Check this out

  3. Many thanks Joshua, I forgot Wikimass.


  4. The above link is to the ICKSP pilgrimage to Lourdes the first few days of May. Hope to see you there x

  5. Excellent Chloe, many thanks for that.

  6. My pleasure. I expect you to be wearing a blue linen suit so I can recognise you. ;>p

    1. Chloe, just look out for a zimmer frame and my minder (Mrs L). :)

  7. Chloe, a great tragedy...I see the ICKSP Pilgrimage ends on 2nd May and we only arrive that night.

  8. The obvious thing to do would seem to be to ask at the Information Centre! However I have found enquiries there of absolutely no help at all in the past. I just got blank looks however I termed the Mass. I was on my 3rd or 4th visit before I discovered that the EF/TLM/Latin Mass/ featured under the column of 'Autres Langues' which included Serbo-Croat, Vietnamese etc depending on which pilgrimages were there at the time.

    I understand that such a Mass is normally only celebrated on Sundays there. However during the annual French pilgrimage in August the FSSP are present and there is daily Mass although I have found that occasionally the time or the venue is changed at the last minute and finding information is not easy. I have solved the problem now by approaching the first Priest I see in town wearing a soutane and asking for details but this does not help you if you are going in May!

    I have also attended Masses there celebrated by Fr George Byers (how I miss his Lourdes blog)
    and was amused the first time when he apologised for giving his homily in English as he was still perfecting his French. Curiously I have found that at every Mass I was probably the only person there over about 30 (and well over!) as the congregation for the EF Masses during the French pilgrimage always seems to be composed of young people. And wonderful to see too.

    Fr George was the Chaplain responsable for the organisation of the EF Masses and would suggest that you write to one of the Chaplains there to get the details you require. I presume he has a successor!

    1. Pelerin, yes, I have asked the information office folk in the past and met with the same blank look. I also asked a sacristan once who told me that no EF Masses were available in Lourdes. We attended Fr George's Mass the next day in the Basilica! Thanks for your tips.

  9. PS As to what the EF is referred to in France it seems to depend on the parish. On checking newsletters from Paris parishes where I have attended the EF Mass I see it described as 'en Latin'; 'dans la Forme Extraordinaire'; 'selon le Missel de Pie V'; or 'selon le Missel de Jean XXIII.'

  10. I'd go straight to the SSPX chapel Richard. For the simple reason that you can be sure that those priests have never handed over the body of Our Blessed Lord into the palm of their congregations' hands.
    End of!