Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mailings going out: Latin Course announcement

This morning I delivered a full mail bag to the Woodstock Post Office, with the spring mailing of the St Catherine's Trust and a mailing to local LMS members. Luckily my children enjoy sticking things. I stuff the envelopes...

The LMS mailing was simply to tell members about our local events, which are very numerous this quarter, as I've already noted on this blog.

The St Catherine's Trust mailing was particularly complicated this time because we are advertising not only the long-standing Family Retreat and Summer School, but a Chant Course (we had the first one last year) and, for the first time, a Latin Course.

Mr Philip Goddard, a Latinist well known to LMS members, will be the director of a week-long Latin Course, running in parallel with the Summer School, 1st-8th August, at Ardingly College, Haywards Heath, Sussex.

Who wants to learn or improve their Latin? Well, anyone who wants to dig a little deeper into the Catholic Tradition. Even a limited knowledge of Latin makes it possible to follow the liturgy, and understand some of the poetic force of the prayers of the Mass, which is never completely conveyed by a translation, and this degree of knowledge is not beyond anyone. For the more adventurous a fluency in Latin puts one on proper speaking terms with the Tradition, opening the door to its riches. Both for those who know no Latin, and for those who know some, this course is for you.

So what does this mean to you?

offerimus praeclarae majestati tuae de tuis donis ac datis hostiam The sign of the cross.puram, hostiam The sign of the cross.sanctam, hostiam The sign of the cross.immaculatam, Panem The sign of the cross.sanctum vitae aeternae, et Calicem The sign of the cross.salutis perpetuae.

You don't have to be an Olympic Latinist to get the gist - knowing that 'hostia' means '(sacrificial) victim' will help (not, as ICEL translated it, 'sacrifice'); some people will recognise that from the hymns they sing at Benediction. Knowing that the '-imus' ending on a verb indicates 'we' are doing whatever it is - obviously offering something, in this case - is another clue. But with a couple of school-boy memories like that you can see the beauty of the phrasing even if you can't translate every word.

This, an extract from the Roman Canon, is a staggeringly beautiful piece of prose which has got to seen in the original Latin - but don't panic, this is not Ugaritic! Practically all the words have English descendents, the grammar couldn't be simpler. Isn't it just singing to you? Come on, you know you want to learn a bit more!

More information is available from the St Catherine's Trust website.

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