Yesterday, for any who might not know, was the pilgrimage to West Grinstead. The sun shone, the breeze blew, and the singing was mighty loud.
Best of all, we were left in no doubt at all that everyone who was there believed Our Lord to be truly present, with us, at Mass and Benediction.
For those of us who have to endure (how to say this charitably?) less than reverent Masses on a regular basis, it is always such a relief to find yourself with like-minded people.
'What?' I hear muttered, 'How rude, what's she on about?' Well let me explain.
It's a relief not to have to change queue to receive the Blessed Sacrament because of the extraordinary ministers. It's a relief not to have the back of your heels trodden on by the person behind because you have chosen to receive not in the hand and your body position takes up more space in the line. It's a relief not to have to walk past the Chalices proffered by more extraordinary ministers after, again, having the backs of your heels trodden on as you genuflect, it's a relief not to see these same lay people purifying the vessels.
It's a relief to see people genuflect, to be silent before and after Mass. It's a relief to see people who truly behave as they believe. Now I'm not saying that those lay ministers don't believe. I'm saying the Ordinary Form Mass is too relaxed, too banal, too over-familiar. And what is it that familiarity breeds?
I've got a copy, it's very good.
The sermon, and the later talk, by Bishop Schneider were also a breath of fresh air. In a nut shell? You know what the Church teaches, whatever is happening around you, whatever rumours of change you hear, whatever innovations are mooted, keep the Faith, the Faith of our Fathers.
Which as it happens is very appropriate at West Grinstead, having as it does a Secret Chapel and priest holes.
It is also great to be able to chat with people at the picnic, share some horror stories and boldly look to the future. In my more miserable moments, I seriously wonder what the point of slogging away trying to get someone, anyone interested in the Extraordinary Form, usus antiquior, Tridentine Mass, Old Rite, whatever tag you wish to give the Mass, is. There is such an ideological divide that it seems impossible that the beauty and richness of it will ever be known more widely.
Then there are days like yesterday, when you realise you aren't a complete weirdo entirely on your own, there are people out there who feel the same way, and who are prepared to get down on their knees, mantilla up, and show it.
Thanks to everyone, especially from our Diocese, who came.