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.