St Michaels's College and the church of St John Berchmans in Brussels
I spent last weekend in Brussels for a gathering of the Order of St Lazarus as the Commandery in Belgium was raised to the status of a Grand Priory. (More on that at that here.) Members gathered in the church of St John Berchamans for the celebration of Mass celebrated by Chaplain General of the Order in France, Rev Fr Claude Girault, Rector of the Cathedral of Orléans. Mass was greatly enhanced by the singers of the Petits Chanteurs de Belgique, who sang the Missa Brevis de Léo Delibes (you can here the Kyrie from it here.) Together with the Investiture the Mass was quite long but the boys of the choir were as professional in their behaviour as in their singing.
The church is part of the Jesuit College of St Michael.
The interior of the church.
On the Sunday, I managed to find a Missa Cantata offered by the FFSP in the Church of St John and St Stephen at 62, Rue Minimes. I couldn't follow much of the 20 minute long sermon (!) in French but at least I could join in with the chant and responses of the Mass. Once again, it struck me as such a strange thing that in an era when people travel more than ever, that the universality of Latin would be so appropriate and helpful to bind us all together. What a pity that so little use is made of the Church's ancient language. Even in my own very small parish in Britain, there are several nationalities represented, with not everyone's English being excellent. We have families from Egypt, Ghana and the Philippines - particularly when they first arrive, being able to take part in Mass in a way that is familiar to them would be a great help. If only we used the language we were directed to by the Second Vatican Council and other papal pronouncements since. Not by chance did Saint John Paul II recall that:
“The Roman Church has special obligations towards Latin, the splendid language of ancient Rome, and she must manifest them whenever the occasion presents itself” (Dominicae cenae, n. 10).In continuity with the Magisterium of his Predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, besides wishing that there would be a greater use of the traditional Latin language in liturgical celebrations, especially during international gatherings, wrote:
“Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant” (Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 62).
Archbishop Andrew Leonard of Archdiocese Brussels-Malines celebrated Mass in the church in 2011.