Father Benedict's first Mass of Thanksgiving was an awesome sight. Some of the commons were sung from one of Mozart's Masses (I'll try to find out which one) by a local choir and small orchestra, while some of the propers and other commons were chanted by the monks' choir.
I am thankful to have been able to serve in this Mass as well as yesterday's ordination as a torchbearer (the altar boys back home will love to hear that!)
The Mass also had all the readings chanted (in Italian but with the same tones as the Latin), and the Gospel was chanted by a Byzantine Deacon. I think with a little practice I could possibly do the readings at our parish as the tones really weren't that hard. (Someone will have to nudge Father for me! [wink][wink])
We also had a lot of Fraternity of Saint Peter priests from Australia, so it was kind of cool to see several private low Tridentine Masses being said early this morning (and some of those priests were not Fraternity priests either).
Then today, I met Father Richard Cipolla (whom I'd met once before since he is a friend of Father Benedict) and I also got to meet and talk a little with Father Uwe Michael Lang! And I'll mention again that all the North American College seminarians that I met were solid guys too. So keep them in your prayers, so they can become ordained and the Church can get more good priests. I also got to see an Italian friend whom I'd met back in 2001 through Father Clement and hadn't seen since then.
It's been really great to have so many Catholics from different countries, languages, and even Rites, be able to come together. It was really easy training for Mass when everyone there was on the same liturgical page. And many of these people are in the know and have rather authoritative positions in the liturgical scene of the Church. I have to say it was a great experience.
As for some of the more trivial things: the Pranzo (lunch) today was particularly good. Some really good prociutto crudo, and a tartufo risotto. Tartufo is a truffle that is a regional specialty and delicacy. It's a bit of an acquired taste as the black tartufo is pretty strong. I don't usually prefer it, but the rosotto that it was in today was particularly good.
Oh, I have gotten to see a few relics. There was Saint Benedict's tooth (which I unfortunately did not get a picture of because it is held by the commune and they are very possessive of it, so it got taken away by the polizia municipale almost immediately after Mass. However, I did get pictures of a small relic from Blessed Columba Marmion, a part of the forearm bone of Saint Scholastica, and a part of the cincture of Pope Saint Celestine V. Not only are Saint Scholastica and Saint Benedict important to Norcia, but so is Pope Saint Celestine V. But I'll talk about that some other time.
And I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I have officially counted 15 churches in Norcia. Eventually I'll get the list up, several are in disrepair or practically ruins, and one has been decommissioned and turned into a concert hall, but still, seven are used on a regular basis, and Father Cassian told me that another one was just renovated recently.
So, as of this posting it's getting close to compline, then a dinner up at the guesthouse of the Benedictine Nuns here in the city.
Sightseeing begins tomorrow.
Oh, and jet-lag finally went away Friday.
Anyway, ciao for now.