Celebrating the feast of Christ the King at "Our Lady of Victories"

John Ray

It has from time to time been said on this blog that if you want to live in an entirely white society, you need to move to Eastern Europe. In Brisbane you can do that with relative ease. This Sunday morning, I attended a mass at "Our Lady of Victories" church -- Brisbane's major Catholic church with an entirely Polish congregation. The service was mostly in Polish but, being a bit deaf, I found it hardly more incomprehensible than the service at the Metropolitical Cathedral of St. John -- a marvellous stone Anglican church to which I also occasionally go for the music. Being a great fan of early church music (the Missa Papae Marcelli by Palestrina is my favourite in that department) I am often to be found in places where few atheists go.

Anyway, the service at "Our Lady of Victories" was overwhelming. The congregation was of course entirely pink-skinned and mostly elderly. There was Gregorian chant even before the service began and young nuns in wimples were much in evidence. The service began with a magnificent ecclesiastical procession with all sorts of flags, banners and uniforms -- with the distinctive caps of the heroic Polish armed forces much in evidence. There was no order of service or prayer-book handed out. People KNEW what to do and when to do it. Sanctuaries were opened and closed, bells were rung and trumpet fanfares were sounded. And best of all was the heartfelt singing of Polish hymns. And, quite amazingly, after the service was over and we left the church, we all processed right around the church and resumed devotions while standing outside it -- with the clergy officiating from the entrance staircase. There was a definite reluctance to let go of a great community occasion. It was all pretty foreign to my poor old Presbyterian heart (the lady I was with was also of Presbyterian origins) but the power of the occasion was still very evident to me nonetheless.

So, yes. I do appreciate the ways of my Volk -- with that term VERY broadly defined -- and I believe that they are so powerful that they will never go away. That the Poles have endured so much and still emerged victorious in all the ways that matter is proof of that.

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