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Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sacra Solemnia

The picture shows my little statue of Pope Urban IV, kindly given to me over 30 years ago when I was at Corpus Christi College in Oxford. From early in the 13th century, Juliana of Liège received visions of Christ instructing her to petition for the feast. Fortunately, the Archdeacon of Liège, Jacques Pantaléon, became Pope Urban IV. Spurred on additionally by the miracle of Bolsena, he instituted the feast of Corpus Christi in 1264, the year he died. It is said that St Thomas Aquinas and St Bonaventure were both invited to compose an office for the feast. Pope Urban asked St Thomas to read his first; as he did so, St Bonaventure quietly tore his to shreds since he felt his effort was so inferior.

I'm not sure we did as well as St Mary Magdalen's Brighton (High Mass) this evening but I think we ran them close with our Missa Cantata. You can see the splendid vestments that Fr Blake procured: but we also had some rather fine ones recently acquired on long term loan from another Southwark parish although the set is not complete. (We'll use them on Sunday and I'll make sure to get a good photo.) Brighton had the Byrd 4 part Mass. We can't manage that yet but I have some youngsters working on it. Nevertheless, Mass II (Fons bonitatis) was sublime; and I bet we had more servers (11) and candles (36) than Brighton :-)

Friendly rivalry aside, I'm sure Brighton had as enjoyable and uplifting an evening as we did. It was glorious to have a procession and Benediction after Mass as a fitting end to the celebration. Gaudia were certainly iuncta to the sacris solemniis. (relevant google search)

Tomorrow I'll be assisting Fr Charles Briggs at Chislehurst for High Mass which he is celebrating on the occasion of his 50th birthday.
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