On a wet and windy evening in Bedford, Fr Gabriel Diaz celebrated the first Traditional Ash Wednesday Mass at Christ the King since 1969. As well as many of the usual Sunday morning Latin Mass congregation, we were joined by many other parishioners from Christ the King, including some of this year’s Confirmation candidates, and so we numbered around 100 people. For some of them, this was likely their first experience of the Latin Mass.
Fr Diaz has a sonorous voice, and the words “Memento, homo, quia pulvia es, et in pulverem reverteris … ” rang out loud and clear, over and over again, solemnly and unmistakably reminding us of our mortality, as each of the congregation went forward to receive the consecrated ashes on their forehead. There was an awesome silence as we listened to the words of the prophet Joel, reminding us of our sin, but also of God’s mercy towards us if we repent.
Fr Diaz paused before giving Holy Communion to explain to those not familiar with the method of reception, that at the Latin Mass, this is always received kneeling and on the tongue.
There was something special about this Mass which made it a memorable start to the season of Lent, and I hope some of the congregation for whom the Latin Mass is unfamiliar will come back and learn to love it more.
“Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” Eek!