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Latin liturgy day at OLEM to feature Bishop and Mass

Canon Harkness and the Parish invite all to a special liturgical day, organised by The Association for Latin Liturgy. The event features Mass, a talk by Bishop Emeritus Alan Hopes, and concludes with Vespers and Benediction, all focusing on the role of Latin and active participation in modern Catholic worship. Paul Henriksen reports.

Canon Harkness extends a warm invitation to all to join him and the Parish in the celebration on Saturday October 7. The day is being organised by “The Association for Latin Liturgy,” and it begins with Mass offered by Father Anton Webb with singing led by Nigel Kerry, Director of Music at “OLEM,” and the Association for Latin Liturgy choir directed by Fr Guy Nichols.

Following lunch in the hall (please book online at, Bishop Alan Hopes, Bishop Emeritus of East Anglia, will speak about “Fully conscious and active participation in the Liturgy.”

The Day concludes with Vespers and Benediction, with singing led by the Association.

The Association believes in “Latin Liturgy and Gregorian Chant for the Church of Today.”

Vatican II is just something in the history books to most Catholics today. Those older people who do remember it tend either to think that the changes it brought in were a good thing or to think that the Mass was fine as it was, and that the changes are the main cause of the big decline in the numbers of people going to Mass each week.

As usual, though, the answers are not so simple. We are where we are in the history of the Church and of the world, and the A.L.L. believes that the answers are not to be found in going back to how things were before the 1960s. All the younger Catholics who attend old rite Masses by preference obviously have no first-hand memory of what religious, or indeed secular, life was like in those days; they do not, for example, fast from all food and drink from midnight on the day before they go to Communion at Mass.

The A.L.L. is a modern organisation but has roots reaching back deep into the past, as its mission statement, “Latin liturgy and Gregorian Chant for the Church of today,” shows. ‘The Latin Mass’ or ‘the Traditional Latin Mass,’ as we often hear the old rite called, is false terminology. We don’t call the contemporary Mass not in the vernacular either of those things; we just call it ‘Mass in Latin,’ which is what it is, today’s Mass in the Church’s ancient language – ancient but paradoxically modern as well.

And in belonging to the Catholic Church, we do not just belong to the Church of today but are in communion with the untold numbers of Catholics who have gone before us, for whom Latin was their universal language.

Last year at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, the Association had an outstandingly successful day, with singing and participation by young and old. This year, when we visit OLEM, Bishop Emeritus Hopes will speak on “Fully conscious and active participation” in the Liturgy, and that is the key: at Mass, we are not spectators or passive presences, but we’re actively taking part, which is what Vatican II wanted us to do as contemporary Catholics. Mass, Vespers, and Benediction will all be sung in Latin on October 7 at OLEM, and we invite you to come and join with us in doing so.