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Wouldn’t you know… just as I was feeling that I had nothing to write about tonight, I find that a kind correspondent has given me something to share!  And it is something most wonderful!

Many thanks to Mr. Richard Collins from the UK for giving me this story and photos from a very special Mass that took place in celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and–as he reminds me–the 2nd anniversary of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which has liberated the 1962 Mass, what we now know as the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Latin Mass:

Latin Mass on the Feast of the Holy Cross celebrated in ex Italian PoW Chapel

Mass in the Extraordinary Form was celebrated, on the Feast of The Holy Cross, in a Nissan hut in Henllan, West Wales. The hut is the framework to a small Chapel created lovingly by Italian prisoners of war in the final years of World War II. The original Nissan hut is part of a PoW camp where both German and Italian servicemen were held.

One of the main artists responsible for creating images of St Joseph, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Papal Flag, Mario Polito, died only this year. He and his fellow servicemen made pigments from vegetable juices and painted the aisle arches in a fresco style and the sanctuary area and pillars (made of corrugated cardboard) with a faux marble effect.

Tin, from corned (bully) beef tins was used to make candle sticks which look uncannily three dimensional despite being totally flat.

All artwork in the Chapel leads the eye to the primitive painting of The Last Supper in the apse, a lasting testament to the devotion of men held prisoner many miles from their families and loved ones.

The Missa Cantata, in thanksgiving for the second anniversary of the Motu Proprio was celebrated by Father Jason Jones, Rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady in Wales at nearby Cardigan and whose parish embraces Henllan.

What a perfectly beautiful and fitting way to celebrate this feast day and this anniversary–and to honor men who made something good in a bad situation!  Here are some of the photos:

Italian Prisoner of War Camp Mass

Italian Prisoner of War Camp Mass

Italian Prisoner of War Camp Mass

Well done to those who created that sacred space, and to those who still preserve and use it today!

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This is one of my favorite feast days, dedicated to the Holy Cross that bore Christ in His last trial.  It is a powerful reminder to us that we too are to bear the cross given to us.

At this time of year, we tend to have forgotten last Good Friday (probably the last time we formally venerated the Cross), and we have not yet thought of next Good Friday.  So it’s probably no coincidence that the Church has given us this feast day roughly in between!  Don’t you love the liturgical calendar?

I’ve been struggling beneath my own little cross of late, which is why my blog has been so quiet.  I just haven’t been drawn to write lately, although I do still have future blog posts brewing in my mind.

Tomorrow, I’m going to the doctor first the first time in… way too long.  Hoping that maybe there is some amount of medical help available for what I’m going through.   It’s nothing serious, as far as I know.  But I do need help. I am always so nervous about going to the doctor… nervous about being examined and poked around… nervous about what I might be told.

This feast day does help me in its own way.  It reminds me that the cross is nothing to be hated and despised.  Rather, it is part of following in the Lord’s footsteps, which lead to life everlasting.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Sweet the wood, sweet the nails, sweet the load that hangs on thee: thou only wast worthy to bear the King and Lord of Heaven.
Alleluia.
~Alleluia for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Angelus Press 1962 missal)

Lord, help me to bear my little cross bravely, generously, and joyfully!

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St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!
(Image from a painting at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Metairie, Louisiana)

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