The altar for All Saints Day.
I was visiting a parishioner from a former parish this week (she is very poorly indeed, please spare her a prayer) when coming down the corridor I was recognised by some other parishioners from a former parish. Once they had reminded me I recalled who they were, as they were not people overly involved in parish activities but just "ordinary" faithful Mass goers. In the course of a little chat, they paid me the great compliment of saying, "Father, you gave us our religion back." What she meant was the experience all those little things that speak of the numinous, of our tradition and call us out of the ordinary to raise the heart and mind to God.
I regale you with this snippet not to enhance my reputation but rather to reflect on a rather sad phenomena - that many people who have persevered going to Mass over these years when so much change has taken place feel that they have "lost" or had their religion taken away. These are the ordinary faithful Mass goers. They may not come to the social events or help out in any special ministries but they simply try to do what they were taught - go to Mass each Sunday and live as good a life as they can manage. It's perhaps many of these who over the years of changing liturgical experience have eventually drifted away. Not confident enough to challenge any errors in the new ways but unable to find solace or beauty in the Mass as they have come to experience it. They do not agitate for the the "old" religion but would willingly see its return. I wonder if it's many of these people who have drifted away over the years and lapsed not because they have given up their faith but because they feel it's moved away from them? The jollifications of the "modern" experience of Mass don't give enough spiritual sustenance to make the experience worthwhile getting out of bed for on a Sunday morning.
It was a good moment for me. After all, giving people religion must be some part of the priest's job.