On 2 February, the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (as the day is known in the traditional, 1962 calendar), or Candlemas, a Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form was offered by Father Gregory Mitchell, CO, of the Port Elizabeth Oratory, at St Bernadette's Church in 8th Avenue, Walmer.
This was the first occasion that a Sung Mass, as opposed to a Low Mass, was offered in the traditional rite, in a diocesan parish in Port Elizabeth, since the issue in 2007 of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
The Mass was offered at the parish's usual 5:30pm Mass time, and was attended by between 30 and 40 people, mainly parishioners of St Bernadette's, but also a few from further afield.
The ceremonial of the Candlemas blessing of candles and procession was followed completely (as completely as possible in the absence of deacon and subdeacon). The small schola consisting of two accomplished adult men, rendered Missa de Angelis, as well as all the Propers very professionally indeed. Members of the congregation also joined in the singing of the Ordinary and the responses.
Grateful thanks must be given to the Oratory Fathers, and in particular Fr Gregory, for this Mass, as well as the faithful server and schola, for a moving experience. We hope and pray that this will be only the first of many such sung, and eventually High, Masses, offered in the Extraordinary Form in Port Elizabeth, and that the people exposed to the traditional Mass for the first time, or the first time in many years, will be encouraged to attend these Masses regularly.
Another step forward for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum!