Monday 9 November 2015

The Bishop in Black

I was trying to remember the last time I saw a bishop vested in black: I am not sure I ever have, before yesterday.

At +Campbell's arrival in the Church, before Mass, we sang Ecce sacerdos magnus; and continued with the Christus vincit as he prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, and then proceeded to the Sanctuary and vested for Mass.

The Mass was a Requiem for Remembrance Day; a Low Mass in the traditional Roman rite, and the bishop said his Latin very well, which was impressive. He also preached well - off-the-cuff, I was told. He took the Lesson from Maccabees as his theme, and stressed the importance of the traditional practice of offering sacrifice for the dead, including the supreme, unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass.

At the Offertory, we sang a responsory from the Matins for the Dead: Credo quod Redemptor meus vivit. This was where the limitations of a two-man Schola started to show, as my voice was giving way (I have a lingering cold...). However, we got away with it.

Mass proceeded largely in silence, with Fr Millar as MC assisting the bishop (and carrying his candle - again something I have not seen for a long time).

At Holy Communion we sang (or to be more accurate, Jonathan sang, with occasional support and some croaks from me) O Sacrum Convivium, and then Adoro te devote.  After Mass, we sang the solemn Salve Regina, and then a vernacular hymn: Help Lord the souls that thou hast made.

After Mass, the bishop greeted people as they left, so we were able to kiss his ring and thank him for his support. He said a few kind words about the singing (very kind, in the circumstances) saying that the chant had taken him back 50 years. 

So remember him in your prayers: a sacerdos magnus indeed!

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