St Gregory or St Pius X?
Today, I posted on my Facebook page that I was about to say the Mass of St Gregory the Great, but a quick-witted parishioner swiftly pointed out that I was wrong: I was about to say the Mass of St Pius X. (No relation to Malcolm, by the way).
The confusion arose in my mind because I say the Daily Office from the modern Roman Rite, which has a different calendar from the English Missal and the Anglican Prayer Book.
When I was ordained in 1967, I carried on my practice of at least 7 or 8 years’ standing of saying Matins and Evensong from the Scottish Episcopal Prayer Book. This lasted till I became Vicar-General of the Anglican Diocese in Europe in 1992 . I lived for a couple of years in the Clergy House of St Mary’s, Bourne St, in London, and there attended the morning and evening office every day. They had the odd practice of having the modern Roman office in the morning and the old Prayer Book office in the evening. So I met the new office, and rather liked it.
Then I went to be Dean of Gibraltar, and carried on saying the whole Roman office privately, while singing or saying Evensong daily in the Cathedral. I started to say the private office in Spanish, but the Gibraltarians did not speak Spanish (being proudly British) and so that rather petered out, since I had no one to practise with.
But when the Bishop asked me to be Archdeacon of Italy & Malta in 2000, and I knew I would be living in Milan, immediately I switched to saying the office in Italian as the best way I knew to learn the language, and I have never stopped. Well, that would have been true till last month, when I switched back to saying it in Spanish, since Spanish is the second language of the USA and the first of many countries to the south.
So my present illogical prayer life consists of Morning Prayer and the Office of Readings in Spanish; Mass in English, sometimes with the Roman Canon, sometimes the 1929 Anglican one; Midday Prayer in Spanish; Evensong publicly in English; and finally Compline (by heart) from the Scottish Episcopal Prayer Book.
It makes no sense, except to me – and, I hope, God.