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Quiet Masses

2013 August 13
by Gordon Reid

We have twelve people who come to the daily Mass at St Clement’s every week. Of course they don’t all come on the same day, and I have to confess that, when I hand my biretta to the server and see that  we are the only two people there, I feel delighted.

When I was a younger priest, I would not have dared admit that, lest I be accused of not wanting to see the altar thronged at every Mass with hundreds of the faithful! But now that I am older and more experienced, I can admit to this delight – that sometimes it is a joy to be able to celebrate the Mass with just one representative of the People of God.

Why? Well, the Mass can be  said very quietly and in a meditative fashion. Small silences can be observed when one can recite the names of those, living and departed, for whom one wants to pray. The intention of the Mass can be expanded to  make explicit what  I know the server wants to pray about. Some of the “secret” prayers can be said out loud, if quietly, and shared with the server, which is not often possible in a bigger Mass. In all, it is of course the same re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross and the celebration of the Resurrection as it is when there are hundreds of people in attendance, but such a quiet Mass can be, in its own way, just as  joyful an occasion, just as powerful a prayer.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Murray Small permalink
    August 13, 2013

    Dear Fr. Reid,
    Much appreciated your comments on “Quiet masses”. It recalled for me mass of the Immaculate Conception when you were the Celebrant and I the only other.It was following an ecumenical Carol singing at Tollcross, Edinburgh;back in the St.Michael &All Saints days. That particular mass has always stuck in my mind,memorable probably because of the holy quietness when outside it was noisy and very windy that evening.

    • Gordon Reid permalink*
      August 15, 2013

      Dear Murray, That brought back memories. Thank you.

  2. Stephen permalink
    August 16, 2013

    My partner and I both love the Traditional Mass. He prefers the High Mass. I must admit that while I love the intricacy and beauty of the High Mass, there are times when I’m very glad our parish only has Low Masses in the summertime. On the other hand, I used to attend the Sunday evening Low Mass at St Clement’s back in the 80s. It was wonderful, but I used to find myself praying that at least one other congregant would be present.I didn’t feel that I knew your Mass well enough to be the only one offering responses! The result occasionally was that there would be silences in places where they shouldn’t have occurred! LOL. Thank God that Father Winn, Father Laister and Father Swain were all very patient with me!

  3. Pat Cant (Bremner) permalink
    August 18, 2013

    Fr Gordon just had to let you know how much I agree that sharing an early morning Eucharist with a small congregation can be a special time . I was very disappointed when that service was done away with in my last parish because of falling numbers! What happened to “where one or two are gathered together”
    As I get older I appreciate more quiet times although today’s high festival mass at OSP was wonderful!
    Visited St Salvadors a few weeks ago and brought back many happy memories !

    • Gordon Reid permalink*
      August 18, 2013

      Dear Pat, Glad you are going to OSP. It’s where i learned the faith, when Fr Lockhart was Rector. I hope you are doing well. As you can see from the St Clement’s web site, I am enjoying being here. All the best.

  4. Clare Mulligan permalink
    September 1, 2013

    I have begun attending the 12:10 p.m. Low Mass at St. Clement’s at least once a week. Fr. Reid, I must say that it is beautifully quiet and meditative always. Thank you for being there so faithfully.

  5. October 3, 2013

    good comments blogs i like very much

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