Thursday, October 12, 2006

Two Liturgical Treats

On Tuesday I went on a mini-pilgrimage to Chesterfield, Missouri to attend Mass at the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem. This is a small, traditional, semi-monastic clerical community with a rigorous educational and formation program, living according to the Rule of Saint Augustine. They celebrate the Tridentine Latin Mass in an austere, precise manner.

The Canons Regular celebrate daily Mass in their priory's chapel, which is small, simple, traditional, and beautiful. Unlike the massive Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, Latin Mass at the priory is intimate: you are right there, next to the altar. While the Oratory is becoming famous for its splendid liturgical arts and growing army of altar boys, the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem instead have distilled the external form of Mass to utter simplicity. I highly recommend a visit.

On Wednesday, I attended Vespers and Benediction at Mount Grace Chapel of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, also known as the Pink Sisters, due to their rose-colored habits. The beautiful chapel, constructed in the 1920s, is located in the north part of the City of Saint Louis. This is a cloistered, contemplative missionary religious order founded in 1896.

The Liturgy is sung and chanted in English, and the Sisters provide copies of the Vespers liturgy for visitors, just inside of the grille enclosure at the front of the chapel. Praying the Psalms is a requirement for the religious life, but this has been virtually forgotten by the laity. Visit the Pink Sisters to discover this great prayer!

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