Friday, April 22, 2011
I went to the Holy Thursday Mass and the Good Friday Liturgy at Blessed Sacrament Church, Malvern, Johannesburg. I am used to the more formal Mass with plainsong or good polyphony at the Jesuit Church in Johannesburg, Holy Trinity, Braamfontein.
Malvern has everything that I should dislike. Words flashed on a screen, guitars and an electric organ and excruciating "hymns" such as 'The Old Rugged Cross', 'Amazing Grace' and worse but there is a sincerity and devotion that is palpable. The Church is obviously very popular as they had to hold two Good Friday Liturgies and at the second one, 3,00pm, the overflow had to pack into the hall with the liturgy on the Big Screen!
The congregation is really all sorts and conditions of men and women of all ages, colours and nationalities. On Maundy Thursday we had some sing-a-long hymns in Portuguese as the Portuguese Community chaplain concelebrated with the parish priest, Fr Tony Daniels OMI. I have always been a bit suspicious of the OMI (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) as I interviewed their Superior some years ago and when he said that if the Pope said it, it was good enough for him I wondered how much dissent the Order allowed! Fr Tony has an entertaining sense of humour that the congregation obviously enjoys. The average age is probably mid thirties with as many men as women. Tomorrow is the finale of the Triduum and it will be interesting to see how many are baptised and received into the Church.