One of the things you can do with a conference, retreat, or Summer School with a bunch of Catholics and some priests, is have all those devotions which are difficult to arrange or fit in during ordinary life. I've mentioned the veneration of a relic and the first blessings we had at the Evangelium Conference; at the Summer School, with a week, we did even better.
Most days we had a Solemn Mass; on the remaining days we had Missa Cantata. So every day there was a sung Mass with Gregorian Chant, with a vested schola of three or four, singing all the propers in full. No half measures!
Each evening we had Sung Compline, in Latin of course, according to the 1960 Breviary (the one in use in 1962). This isn't as challenging as it may sound: we adopt the (traditional) option of singing the Sunday psalms every day, so they whole thing quickly becomes familiar; the service is short, all the psalms are to the same, easy tone (8g, if you're asking), and we have Chant lessons scheduled to go over some of the tricky parts. By the end of the week it was very confident. Our two seminarians were cantors and lector, and the rest of us alternated with them in the psalms.
Twice in the week we had Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. This was something else the boys could be prepared to serve, in a short daily slot of server practice.
|Canon Montjean ICKSP giving us Benediction on the evening he gave us a talk.|
the first blessings of a newly ordained priest, who was there on the Latin Course,
and the blessing of an expectant mother.
The students also had our Chaplain, Fr Andrew Southwell, bless various devotional items they had purchased in the Friary shop.
The Friary boasts a very fine Calvary with Stations of the Cross: we had a devotional afternoon to do this, with St Alphonsus Ligouri's meditations and the singing of the Stabat Mater.
We had the Rosary every day after breakfast, and on Sunday we had this outside on the Friary's Rosary Walk.
This is just one aspect of the Summer School, but it shows what you can do if you take the opportunities represented by this kind of gathering. It would have been too much if we'd done it all in three days, but as it was it fitted in very naturally with the other activities of the week. It was nevertheless an exposure to the liturgy and devotions of the Church of a completely different order to that provided even by the best Catholic schools - how many even have daily Mass or the Rosary? - and something which will not forgotten by either the students or the staff.