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Saturday, 13 June 2009

Liturgy wars

I started a friendly fight with St Mary Magdalen's, Brighton the other day over the provision of good liturgy. Above you can see our Mass for Corpus Christi with the peculiarity that the second ablution is carried out just by the corporal rather than at the epistle side of the altar, on account of the Blessed Sacrament having just been exposed.

Here you can see the incensation of the Blessed Sacrament just before we begin the Procession. Note the second thurifer in action on the gospel side:

St Mary Magdalen's had High Mass with some magnificent vestments. Fr Sean Finnegan was celebrant, Dr Alcuin Reid Deacon, and Fr Ray Blake (parish priest) subdeacon. Fr Ray comments in his post (Corpus Christi at SMM) on his own mistakes but these are magnified when you are ministering alongside the author of the latest revision of "The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described" and I'm sure Fr Ray did well.

He throws down another gauntlet in saying that they had more doctorates among the servers. Well I'm working on that but it will take a few years on account of the fact that some of my servers still have to finish KS2 ...

Last night I was subdeacon at High Mass at St Mary's, Chislehurst on the occasion of Fr Charles Briggs' 50th birthday. The Blackfen contingent supplied a set of High Mass vestments for the occasion. I did instruct our servers to scavenge the sacristy at Chislehurst for some nice things to take away, but the vigilance of the Chislehurst team was such that we only managed to sneak away a corporal (forgotten inside our burse) and I chivalrously returned it this morning.

Perhaps the Blackfen-Chislehurst alliance should mount a challenge to the Brighton-Shoreham team on neutral ground.

Seriously, though, I do love High Mass. I don't really mind whether I am celebrant, deacon or subdeacon (singing the Missa Cantata every Sunday means that I am familiar with all the chants). The co-ordination of ministers in the offering of the sublime sacrifice is something wonderful and one can participate spiritually whether ministering, serving, singing or assisting in the congregation. Fr Faber was right - it is the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.

On Friday, there is Mass at Chislehurst at 7.30pm for the feast of the Sacred Heart. I'm free to assist - is there any other cleric available to be deacon or subdeacon so that we can have High Mass?
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