Sunday, 14 May 2017

Good news from Lancaster

Tonight we went to Mass at the Lancaster University Chaplaincy. The Mass was celebrated by our bishop, +Campbell, and the occasion was the blessing of the new Fresco: a reredos that has transformed what used to look like a barn into something that is palpably Catholic.

The image is of the Transfiguration, and shows Christ in the centre, with Moses on his right and Elijah on his left. Beyond Moses is St John, and beyond Elijah, St Peter and St James.

On each seat in the chapel was a beautifully produced and informative leaflet about the fresco.

The fresco was the inspiration of the wonderful young chaplain, Fr Philip Conner, and was painted by Aidan Hart in April of this year. 

The bishop preached a sermon on the Catholic patronage of the arts, and we were treated to some excellent music, as well.
It was a treat to belt out Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise, and Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, and the choir also performed motets by Bruckner, Mozart and Arcadelt (I hadn't heard his Ave Maria for about forty years, and very moving it was). They found the Byrd Four Part Mass rather harder than they had foreseen: a shame, as it is quite wonderful when well sung. 

This was a very uplifting occasion. It was a treat to be in the eldest 10% of the congregation for a change, and to see the reverence of the altar team, and indeed of the student body in general: the holiness of their chaplain clearly has an effect. And it is inspiring to see an investment in art of real quality to transform the chapel into a place that inspires us to lift our hearts and minds to God by the beauty of the setting.

You can see a time-lapse video of the painting of the fresco (two weeks work in two minutes), here

And here is Byrd's four part Mass, as a treat!


1 comment:

jcawalton.com said...

I'm sorry the Byrd 4 part Mass wasn't up to scratch. As it happened, many members of the choir weren't available and I had to find singers from elsewhere; three even drove up from South Manchester especially and so we'd only managed to rehearse it together once on the afternoon before Mass. It was disappointing, but could have been worse. Will try harder next time! Thanks for blog post.