Thursday, 9 April 2020

Maundy Musings...

For a few years now, most (if not all) of the Dioceses in England & Wales had transferred the Maundy Thursday Chrism Mass to another date in Holy Week, because the Triduum was deemed too busy for all Parish Priests to get to their local Cathedral Church and back again in time for the Mass of the Lord's Supper. And, as in most years, the first part of Holy Week is still term time, I haven't been to a Chrism Mass for ages. I used to go because I was involved in what was an annual "demo" at Southwark, thanking our Priests for all that they do (not, I hasten to add, the one calling for women priests!) and started by me and Joanna Bogle in 2003. So, for a few years now, Maundy Thursday has, as far as I was concerned, started with the Mass of the Lord's Supper, in the evening.

This year, what with everyone in lockdown and all the churches being closed anyway, I have been able to give the day a bit more thought. Resisting the impulse to check emails, Twitter or WhatsApp when I woke up, I started off with making a quick coffee (so as to avoid falling back to sleep) fed Miaowrini a handful of Dreamies (my attempt to ward off kitty-related distractions), and settled down to pray Lauds. I then checked the Latin Mass Society listings to see what time Tenebrae was occurring in different places.

To my horror, I discovered that the listing had pretty much disappeared, apart from links to a small number of Masses in the evening. The FSSP LiveMass page only appeared to show links for Mass. Fortunately I had bookmarked a few of my favourite YouTube channels, and so was able to set up a reminder for Tenebrae from the ICKSP Dome of Home, New Brighton. I then amused myself by tweeting, checking the headlines and so on.

The reminder duly chimed in, and I promptly switched to "do not disturb" mode on my phone and opened up YouTube. Alas, technology is truly wonderful, but only if it works. For some reason there was no sound. Initially I assumed they were just a little late starting, but then noticed people praying. I assumed it was my phone and scooted over to my laptop. Still no joy. I tried to find some alternative places, but was wary of relying on the feed from Warrington which had proved temperamental earlier in the week due to sheer weight of traffic. A quick plea for information on Twitter revealed that the LMS site had recovered from pre-Triduum nerves, and was listing everything again, and another friend told me that the sound from New Brighton *was* working for him. Further investigation showed that the sound was working on their Facebook feed. I am no longer on Facebook, but some pages are more public than others and work even without a Facebook account - though you can't "like" the page or video.

For some reason, the Facebook video had a much narrower field of vision, which meant that you couldn't see either the priest or the server when they were at the side of the Sanctuary. I reached a handy compromise by playing the Facebook audio stream while following the video on YouTube. There were a few laggy bits - and Facebook's streaming quality was of a much lower quality than that of YouTube, but at least it meant I could access Tenebrae.

Facebook Video Stream

YouTube Video Stream
When actually watching I was able to go full-screen to remove distractions. I was also able to follow the texts on my mobile phone... and then I discovered that Matins was immediately succeeded by Lauds, which meant I got to pray it twice!

Obviously Tenebrae is more beautiful if you are actually present - and you really need far more (and younger) altar servers in order to appreciate the "thunder" once the last candle is extinguished. For some reason, altar boys get really enthusiastic with this bit. I was hoping we'd actually get to sing it this year at St. Augustine's Shrine, Ramsgate. Alas, it was not to be... However, it was definitely an amazing start to the celebration of the Triduum, especially given the circumstances this year.

After 2 hours of Tenebrae I was ready to play with the cat, and she was definitely ready for some more treats. To my distress, I found that I only had about quarter of a bag left. Knowing the sheer impossibility of getting an online delivery to arrive before the weekend, I decided to risk popping out to the shops.

I only intended to go to the nearest supermarket that sold the varieties Miaowrini likes - she won't eat the cheese ones, though she does eat real cheese. Unfortunately I saw that the two venues nearest to home had very long queues - made even longer by the two-metre distance between each person. I didn't mind having to wait, but baulked at the prospect of walking to the far end of the queue on crutches, making my way slowly back to the shop, standing for however long it took and then walking around the shop itself. I figured out that, even if the larger supermarkets in Westwood Cross were busy with queues, they at least provided mobility scooters, and so off I went.

There were many more people out shopping compared to Sunday, but they appeared to be queuing very good-naturedly from what I could see. The supermarket shelves were better-stocked, though there were still gaps, and items such as UHT milk and pasta were still being rationed. It is possible that some people were shopping for the Bank Holiday weekend, and some were also shopping for others (they were the ones with lists, frantically searching for items they don't normally buy!) Anyway, by the time I got inside it seemed to be a good idea to get a few fresh items for myself as well as the Dreamies. I was extremely amused to note that Dreamies are now sold in claw-proof boxes as well as in bags. So they aren't just Miaowrini's favourites.

I didn't bother to buy toilet paper.

Finally arriving home, I unpacked the shopping (I had to use lots of bags and carry them in one at a time from the car, so it was quite good exercise!) and showed Miaowrini her share of the goodies...


I think she was pleased...

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