Friday 27 March 2015

Mass fit for a King

Yesterday evening, on the same day that the mortal remains of King Richard III, last of the Plantagenets, was re-interred at Leicester Cathedral, the Order offered a Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul.  The events surrounding the finding of the King's remains in what was once the Fransiscan Friary in Leicester, has certainly caught the popular imagination and the great turnout of people at the Mass bore witness to that wide interest. 

After Mass - with full Umph! from eminent local organist David-Scott-Thomas - we all thoroughly enjoyed singing a rousing rendition of Jerusalem! Followed by a themed buffet with such tasty morsels as Yorkshire pudding with venison sausage or duck in port sauce, Pye of pork meat made with paest royall, Ribbes of beef, Quail eggs and roasted chicken calf. So together with Traditional Latin Mass and good food and wine, we felt that we gave King Richard a proper send off. 

The Mass was celebrated in the Parish Church of the Chaplain General, St Catheine Labouré in Leyland, Lancashire.The whole evening was made possible by the generous support of friends and members of the Order.

We offered the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite (what we now call the Extraordinary Form) to be a little closer in context to the sort of Mass King Richard might have experienced in his day.  Recent scholarship has questioned whether there really is any evidence to portray him as the wicked hunchback of Shakespeare's play and found that such evidence is wanting in so far as being able to convict him of the crimes attributed to him by the Tudor dynasty that defeated him at the battle of Bosworth. In any case, the whole purpose of a Requiem Mass is to pray for the forgiveness of sins, so there was no real conflict there.

A special mention must be made of the music - the singing Quartet was excellent. The music and musicians were overseen by Chev. Anthony Dickinson, KLJ.

The rest of the photos below are of the Absolutions and procession out. In the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite, the body of the deceased can be represented by a catafalque, over which the priest chants the words of absolution, as if the body were present. This pastoral practice dates back many centuries, presumably born out of necessity to allow those who had lost loved ones - for example, in battle or abroad or at sea - to have a concrete experience of witnessing the act of forgiveness for the souls they were praying for. The catafalque is blest with holy water and incensed.

Cons. Margaret Lawler and Conf. Daniel Lawler in the procession.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

King Richard III Mass

A reminder that we are offering High Mass (Requiem) for King Richard III this Thursday - the day of his interment at Leicester. While it is styled as being “in the manner of his day”, the intention is not to create an historically accurate re-enactment, like some set piece of theatre preserved forever in aspic. We are the living Church, not an historical re-enactment society, praying for one who was baptised into that Church. 

Not that I would be adverse to wearing a Sarum vestment loaned by the V & A or Sir Harry Christophers turning up with the Sixteen but we will manage a good showing, none the less.  In fact, I'm very pleased that the singing and chant is now being provided by a new young singing group based in Manchester - the Manchester Singers - an exciting new a cappella vocal ensemble whose members include talented young artists just embarking on their professional careers. The evening is being sponsored by members and friends of the Order, including music, food and other assistance. I'm delighted that the three sacred ministers are all Chaplains of the Order. 

There is a buffet and wine afterwards - again with a Ricardian theme, although I can't guarantee there might not be some more prosaic fare amongst the swan stuffed with widgeon!

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said at his Mass for King Richard this week:
"We know that Richard was a man of anxious devotion who kept and marked his own book of prayers and who must have attended Mass throughout his life.
During this week, Mass is being offered in many Catholic Churches for the repose of the soul of King Richard III. Rightly so. That is exactly what he would have wished."
So, its the intention to offer King Richard Catholic rites that more closely resemble what he might have expected on the day of his death. Those we hope the Fransiscans at Leicester gave him, no matter what the defeated and unceremonious arrival at their gates.  Our intention is to offer the grace of Christ’s sacrifice that every soul would surely wish for and stands in need of in approaching the Gates of Heaven and the Judgement Seat of the Creator.

Thursday 26th March
At St Catherine’s Church
Stanifield Lane
Farington - Leyland - PR25 4QG
(Off Junction 1 M65 or Junction 28 / 29 on M6
& between Farington Park & Kew Gardens locally)

A Requiem Mass in the style and manner of his day.
Sung High Latin Mass
with the Manchester Singers.

A light Buffet with wine will be served afterwards.
All Welcome.

For any further details 
Telephone 01772 421174   

Sunday 8 March 2015

Cardinal Burke

His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke is in the UK at the moment popping up all over the country. This morning he Offered Low Mass with motets at the Shrine Church of Ss Peter and Paul & St Philomena in New Brighton, my home parish where I made my First Holy Communion. It was good to see the rather vast church pretty full of parishioners and visitors. 

It was great to meet Cardinal Burke. He's very serious in saying Mass but warm and charming in person.  I was explaining a little to him about the work of the Order of St Lazarus in the UK and our associations with his brother Cardinals in Prague and Sri Lanka.

A few more photos of the Mass at Offerimus tibi Domine.