Interactions with Scottish Catholics


Well… my immune system finally imploded with the new environments I’ve been in for the past week, and I’ve come down with enough misery to keep me lying in bed for the last day and a half. But… the good news is that while I’m lying in bed, I have time to waste for writing!

Now, I did manage to drag myself to Mass this morning as there was a priest here, Fr. Morris, who’s reputation goes all the way back to The States! He’s the only priest who celebrates the Latin Mass in Glasgow (at least that’s what I’ve heard) on Sunday. Thanks to my new contact in New Brighton, I was able to learn that his parish is the Immaculate Heart of Mary and what time Daily Mass (in the Novus Ordo) was. So, I trudged to the bus stop wearing 3 layers of clothes, a scarf, and carrying a bunch of tissues (I’m not exactly sure what the other bus-goers thought of me…) and managed to wander around until I found the church.

It was a really small church; maybe fitting 50 people tops, and only about 8 people came to Mass (including me), and like usual I was the only one there under the age of 55. Fr. Morris there picked me out right away, since I was wearing a mantilla and asked me if I was expecting to attend the “Extraordinary Mass” as he called it. I told him I was just coming to Mass in general and had heard about him and his parish. He had to go since he hears confessions before every Mass (yay!), but before he did, he gave me the previous Sunday’s bulletin, which was handwritten, and he showed me that the Latin Mass was said a few times during the week as well, but in the evenings.

During Mass, it was interesting to hear the difference in phrasing of the words said in the Novus Ordo. Even though the English translation was revised in the UK too, there were still some differences. For example, instead of saying “Lord hear our prayer” they said “Lord graciously hear us”. There were a few other times where I wasn’t sure what they were saying since their brogue is so heavy, but it definitely wasn’t what I was saying. It was also interesting to note that even though it was the Novus Ordo, only the Eucharist was distributed, and because of it they didn’t use any Extraordinary Ministers. My Aunt said it was the same at the Mass she went to, as we split up to attend different Masses this morning. So, maybe this is how the Scottish do things, rather than have a small army of Eucharistic Ministers at a daily Mass in the US (at least, that’s how it is near my house).

Now, the bus ride back got very interesting. American’s (well… at least St. Louisan’s) aren’t always outgoing, friendly people, but I especially usually try to avoid talking to people in public and just go about my business. However, in Scotland, I think people make a point to say hello to everybody on the bus. I’m certainly polite and say hello back with a friendly smile, but and as soon as people ask me one question and hear my accent, trying to keep to myself is most definitely impossible. So, like usual, a friendly lady decided to talk to me, and I eventually told her that I had just come from the Immaculate Heart of Mary for Mass. Apparently, that used to be her parish! Unfortunately, the key phrase in that sentence though is “used to be”. We talked a bit about the priest there and the Latin Mass, but it was rather disappointing she did not have very kind things to say. She told me that when the priest came and implemented all his “changes”, about half the parish (including her) left, and she doesn’t really attend Mass anymore as the other parishes are “a bit too far away”. She specifically did not like that the latin made it too hard for her to understand, she felt excluded that the priest had his back to the parishioners, and had quite a lot to say about how the Latin Mass seemed to elevate the priest to a higher position than the lay people.

I kept smiling a bit while she talked because most of what she said I actually, kind of, agreed with! It’s just she saw it all in a negative and somewhat bitter light. I’ve never talked to anybody so against the Latin Mass before, and I didn’t really know what to say, but I was also thinking back to Sursum Corda and Canon Stein’s talk on street apologetics. Quite conveniently, I had actually stumbled upon my notes from his talk just yesterday as I was re-organizing my suitcase. I guess my situation wasn’t quite applicable, but I tried anyway. I told her I could understand how she could feel that way, but then I showed her my missal, which she slowly admitted that she never had, and told her about the Institute and Latin Mass in the US, and just kind of explained how much I loved it. Hopefully I didn’t speak too forcefully, or just make her confused, as apologetics is most certainly not one of my strengths (at the moment). However, it seemed to end on a decent note.

If you would, say a prayer for her! Canon Stein also mentioned that the first and foremost step to any type of spiritual conversion is prayer:

“Prayer, words and action — the greatest of these is prayer” (I’m not entirely sure if he was quoting someone else. If so, I’d be grateful to know who!!)

After today, I’m very curious to meet more Catholics and learn about where they stand and what’s happening within the Church over here. It’s been interesting that I’ve managed to run into them, as they are supposedly few and far between.

I’m off to Dundee tomorrow!

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8 Responses to Interactions with Scottish Catholics

  1. Marc says:

    Perhaps you will be so kind as to give a post onto Canon’s notes from that talk? Old guys like me do not qualify for Sursum Corda but I’m sure I could benefit :)

  2. Glad to hear you’re fighting the good fight with all your might! Always great to get a post from you, Nikki! God bless! Keep in touch!

  3. The response to the petitions may be varied. What you heard is the translation of, “Exaudi nos, Domine.”

    And if you merely are thinking that the saying of Canon Stein sounds familiar, that is because is (most likely) modelled off of 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”

    Is this the American priest we were talking about a few months ago? :) You have to send me one of those hand-written bulletins . . .

    • Maria.Nicole says:

      Yeah, I knew it was based off that, but I thought that he attributed the clever quote to someone else. I just wasn’t sure. Maybe some of the others who attended the National Sursum Corda (and actually took their own notes hehe) could help out?

      I will have to send you a copy. :)

  4. Dixi says:

    I do not have my notes on me, but I think that quote may have been attributed to St. Bernard :)

    I also liked what Canon Huberfeld stressed during that “Street Evanglization” Conference. He said we have to “preach, not debate.” You sharing your love for the mass, and for the Institute was a great way to evangelize. Praying that her heart was touched by your sincerity!

  5. I think that what you did sounds just right. Sometimes it’s hard to know if we are forcing our opinions on others, but it’s so frustrating when people bash the Latin mass, even though they really haven’t made much effort to understand it. So, surely our duty is to explain how *we* have come to understand it and that those means are available to everyone.

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