Here, at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and St. Andrew in Hampton, Victoria, Australia, we have a small but dedicated choir of approximately 20 voices. I say "approximately" since some of our members have large families who require their attention in the body of the church at times and so can only join with us on special occasions. They are predominately young people which, by the Grace of God, should ensure that the choir continues on long after weoldies have left this world.
We sing the full Gregorian Chant for the 10 a.m. Missa Cantata every Sunday of the year as well as the High Masses for all of the major Feasts throughout the year. As an example, only last night the Choir sang Missa Cantata for the Feast of Corpus Christi. Despite the fact that many of the choristers (and, indeed, the organist/choirmaster) have to travel vast distances, there was a 75% attendance of the choir and more than 100 people in the church. There had also been a Low Mass said earlier in the day. By vast distances I mean from Ballarat in the west of Victoria (about 100kms.(62 miles)/more than 1 and a half hours travel) and Moe in the east of Victoria (about 120kms.(75 miles)/1 hour and 45 minutes travel) from the church at Hampton. The SSPX College of St. Thomas Aquinas which features in the pages of the SSPX site is also about 50 minutes to 1 hour travelling time from the church at Hampton. These distances might seem astronomical to someone in Great Britain but Australia is a vast country. There are those whom I've met who travel more than 6 hours each way over dirt tracks to attend Holy Mass at Mildura in the north of the State! This is what one must call "real dedication". One would also have to wonder how many would travel such distances to attend the Novus Ordo services!
As well as being fairly proficient in sight-reading from the Liber Usualis the chant for the Proper of the Mass on each day, the choir has a repetoire of several Polyphonic Masses which are used mainly at Solemn High Masses. These include three written by a Benedictine, Dom. S. Moreno, OSB: his Missa Decima, Missa Undecima and Missa Duodecima. Dom. Moreno wrote these whilst at the monastery of New Norcia, Western Australia during the 1930s. The Organist/Choirmaster is presently engaged in the composition of a completely new Polyphonic Mass called "Missa Australis" dedicated to the memory of His Grace, Archbishop Marcel LeFebvre. It remains to be seen how this Mass will be accepted. The choir also has a repetoire of many traditional motets by the masters such as Palestrina, Lambilotte, Ignereri, Allegri, et al. Only three years ago, when the choirmaster had access to the services of two exceptionally talented young boy trebles, Allegri's "Miserere mei" was included during the singing of Tenebrae. Unfortunately, their voices have now broken and they sing as a Tenor and a Baritone. Please God, another suitable treble will surface in the not-too-distant future.
To add that touch of grandeur to High Masses, the Organist will often play a Prelude and a Postlude by the masters including works by Bach, Buxtehude, Handel and others from the Baroque period but also including more modern, but appropriate works by later composers.
Our church dedicated to Our Lady has a small but beautiful sanctuary. Above the Altar is the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour which was blessed by His Holiness, Pope Saint Pius X, who also attached to it a certificate stating that it had been touched to the original miraculous picture in Rome.
Since we have no shrines of apparitions of Our Lady in Australia, during May of each year the faithful of the chapels of SSPX throughout the country journey to Melbourne to make the Pilgrimage to Our Blessed Lady under this title. On the Saturday evening there is a candle-light procession of Our Lady through the streets of Hampton in the vicinity of the Church after Mass to the accompaniment of hymn singing and the recitation of the Holy Rosary. On Sunday morning, after the High Mass, there is a Procession of The Most Blessed Sacrament through the same streets of Hampton - much to the intrigue of the local citizens, some of whom have been seen to kneel on the pavement as Our Lord passes by in the Monstrance. Many of you will have read of these events in the Australian "Catholic", that excellent publication of Don and Andrina McLean, both parishioners at Hampton. Many of you will no doubt, remember taking part in such processions and public affirmations of our faith little more than thirty years ago.
As a schoolboy I recall taking part in processions through the streets of Melbourne where, under the leadership of our late illustrious Archbishop Daniel Mannix, 100,000 people would fill Bourke Street in the central business district of Melbourne on St. Patrick's Day. Another 40,000 would journey about 30kms. northwards, in 7 special trains and many buses, to "Rupertswood" Sunbury - a college run by the Salesians of St. John Bosco - for the annual
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