On the Octave Day of S. Wilfrid, the Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite in Europe launches a new website to facilitate the Daily Mass Online apostolate, www.dailymass.co.uk as referred to in the Metropolitan of Europe’s Pastoral Letter last week.
The apostolate was originally begun by the Metropolitan, Msgr Jerome Lloyd OSJV in August of 2008 to facilitate the ill and housebound to hear Mass and members of the Sussex Mission unable through distance to attend Mass, but it gradually came to include viewers at work or people who’s schedules prevent them from attending Mass, particularly on holydays of obligation. Episodes of the broadcast Masses now attract an average of 1’400 viewers per month. Visitors to the website are now able to watch the Mass live and see previous archived episodes categorised by month and Solemnity.
The new interactive website, it is hoped, will enable viewers not just to watch the daily broadcasts of Mass but also register membership of the site to engage with each other and form an online worshiping community. A discussion Forum has been included to enable viewers, some of whom being housebound have little interaction with other members of the wider Church, to introduce themselves and discuss their faith. Those who use the popular social website Facebook will also be able to join using their site membership.
The Mass is offered according to the Gregorian or Tridentine Rite and Kalendar codified and promulgated by Pope S. Pius V in 1570. Due to the proliferation and variance of liturgical Kalendars since then, the broadcast follows the 1570 General Kalendar more or less “as is” saving national and local custom. The Mass continues to be broadcast from the Brighton Oratory of the Sussex Mission, during the week from the Metropolitan’s domestic chapel and at weekends from the Mass centre hired by the Mission in central Brighton. Msgr Lloyd employs recorded music during those moments, aside from the Canon, where there would otherwise be silence, in part to enhance the experience for the viewer and he preaches a homily daily too. He said,
“The apostolate is very much more than just a gimmic! Its meant to be a very real opportunity for people who would otherwise be without opportunity, to experience worship, feel part of the wider Church and receive spiritual nourishment and encouragement. It is a pity that so many are unable to make a daily Communion, but many Saints have extolled the virtue of a Spiritual Communion, unifying intentions with those of the Church in her ultimate offering of prayer and praise to God in, through and with Christ.”
Prayer requests and Mass intentions may also be posted online for celebrants to collect both for broadcast and private Masses (a donation towards the running costs of the website rather than the customary Mass stipend is suggested). Celebrants are drawn from the Oratory of St John Vianney, a mixed congregation of religious and secular priests desiring to emulate the example of the saintly Curé d’Ars.
On Saturdays a new service called “The Vigil” will be broadcast replacing the more conventional First Mass of Sunday with something akin to the “little Oratory” of St Philip Neri i.e. a slightly more informal service of hymns and prayers and an informal “Q&A” teaching session. Viewers will be able to send prayer requests and questions via SMS text messaging for answering live during the broadcast. The service will end with Holy Communion for those attending and an Act of Spiritual Communion as usual for viewers.
“The Vigil” is conceived as an introductory medium for enquirers of Catholic Tradition for whom a full Latin Mass may be intimidating or confusing. The hymns, readings and prayers will be in English, reassuringly employing the vernacular for those unused to Tradition. The Holy Communion Rite will be in Latin according to the Rituale Romanum and will itself be a gentle introduction to the traditional Latin of the Mass.
Msgr Lloyd said, “The Traditional Mass is not directly of itself, purposefully an evangelistic tool, people may well be moved by it to desire to know Our Lord Jesus and through previous generations many have! But the Mass is primarily an act and participation of worship by the faithful, that is, those already confirmed in the Faith and the historical formulation and development of the Mass indicates this, for example the “Mass of the Catechumen”. “The Vigil” we hope will be a gentle introduction to the Traditional Mass, that experiencing something of it but not quite “it” will draw and encourage people to want to know more about the Mass and discover it gradually, more appropriately as a means of desiring it, developing a deepening faith and understanding about the Sacred Mysteries.”
Suggested, in part, by Pope Benedict XVI’s “Year of Faith”, “The Vigil” is part of a wider vision for evangelisation conceived by Msgr Lloyd supported by other activities designed to invite people to experience the beauty of Traditional worship. Inspired by the formula of the Ordinary of the Traditional Latin Mass, i.e. the first half of the liturgy traditionally called the “Mass of the Catechumens” and the Early Church practice of Dominical Vigils (the popular Easter Vigil being the best known remnant) Msgr Lloyd hopes to engender and reawaken a heightened sense of expectation concerning the Sacred Mysteries, most especially for those enquiring about the Faith.