Cor Ad Cor
Dear Friend of Our Lady:
A number of our members have been inquiring as to what the life of our clerical members will be like. With that in mind, I thought it might be useful to review for you a typical day in the life of a clerical member. Each day will be characterized by two periods of meditation, one in the morning before the chanting of Terce, the other in the evening before dinner. As in the case of a number of the customs of the new community, you will see here the influence of one of the special patrons of the "Opus", St. Philip Neri, the apostle of Rome. He was aware that the easiest thing for a cleric to neglect is daily meditation, so he built periods of meditation into the community he founded. (You might be mindful of some more famous disciples of St. Philip Neri: Fr. Frederick Faber and John Henry Cardinal Newman.)
The morning meditation is followed by the Chanting of Terce, one of the "little" hours of the Divine Office, and a suitable liturgical preparation for the daily conventual Mass. Some might ask, what is the conventual Mass?
The clue to the idea is the word convent. In the English speaking world, a convent has come to mean the dwelling place of female religious. However, in other areas of the world it signifies the home of either male or female communities. So the conventual Mass is the Mass of the entire community, celebrated at the liturgically appropriate time, after the chanting of Terce around 9 AM. The conventual Mass is celebrated with as much solemnity as the resources of a given community will allow. Of course, Masses are offered at other times of the day when possible, to satisfy the needs of the faithful.
After the conventual Mass, until the noon meal, accompanied by reading, members of the community engage in the various apostolic works assigned to them. The same applies to the period after lunch until the evening oratory at 5:30 PM, the second period of meditation followed by a litany. During this time, one of the priests is available for confessions. It should be noted that the lay faithful are absolutely welcome to take part in the various community functions including the conventual Mass and periods of silent meditation.
On Sundays and great feasts, Vespers are chanted in the evening, followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Evenings are also a time for apostolic work, study, etc., etc. You can see from the above that the day is rather full, as befits those who have dedicated their lives to Christ and the Church.
As in the case in every similar enterprise, prayer is the essential ingredient, without which the new community would not prosper. But, as is also true in such endeavors, your financial contribution is of great importance as well. A number of priests will soon be joining us. We would hate to say "no" to them solely because of the lack of material goods. Your contribution and pledges in this regard are deeply appreciated and will be richly rewarded.
In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Fr. William Ashley