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Reformation - Mass in secret

Because of the Penal Laws the Faith went “underground”. Mass was celebrated in secret, priests couldn’t stay in the same place for long. Here is a description given by Bishop John Geddes (1735-99) from his boyhood memories of the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, a time when the laws against Catholicism were brought back into full vigour because we were seen as supporters of the Jacobite Cause: the priest “said Mass in various places, commonly in barns, and always in the night-time. Towards the end of the week, he bespoke some barn that happened to be empty, in a place proper for the meeting of the people in the night, between the approaching Saturday and Sunday; and some trusty persons were sent to acquaint the heads of the Catholic families of this determination. On Saturday, when it was late at night, the Catholics convened at the appointed place; after midnight a sermon was made, Mass was said, and all endeavoured to get home before daybreak. These meetings were often very inconvenient, from the badness of the weather and of the roads, and from the people being crowded together without seats; but all was borne with great alacrity and cheerfulness. They seemed to be glad to have something to suffer for their God and for the profession of His holy religion.”

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