Sunday 1 June 2014

Yesterday's Mass

Yesterday we were joined by our Bishop, +Michael Campbell, for High Mass in the traditional Roman Rite, at the beautiful Pugin church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid, in Warwick Bridge.

The music was sung by an impromptu choir of four, who sang both the polyphonic Ordinary (Victoria's Missa O Quam Gloriosum Est, and the accompanying motet at communion) and the chant Proper.  They were very talented, but under-rehearsed. The music was good, but there were some dodgy moments, and with a little practice it could have been truly excellent.  For some reason, people imagine that chant is easy, because it is monophonic: then when they sing it, they realise that it is not, and that each person is interpreting certain neumes differently...

The altar team was kept in order by MC George Steven of the LMS: no mean feat with thirteen people (including the Bishop and his secretary) in a very small sanctuary.

One of the peripheral treats of the Mass was the vestment worn by the principle celebrant: it is reputed to be one of three embroidered by Mary Queen of Scots when she was imprisoned in Carlisle Castle. All three are in the possession of local parishes, and all date from the right period.  You will notice that St Andrew features prominently on this one (also on the verso).

The bishop preached well (after an unfortunate lapse at the start, when he greeted everyone with 'Good morning everyone' as though at a school assembly - and like Pavlovian puppies many responded...).  He preached on martyrdom as witness, as we were celebrating the feast of St Petronia, an early virgin martyr; and he called us to be brave in witnessing to the faith in these difficult days.

I managed to kiss his ring after Mass, but unfortunately he had a busy schedule and had to rush away fairly promptly, after making time to thank everyone who had contributed to the celebrations. But it was good to hear how positively he spoke of the Mass, unlike a bishop I remember who visited another Latin Mass community and was appallingly rude...

So please pray for him, and for all our bishops, that they too may be courageous witnesses to the Faith, even to martyrdom.

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