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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Adoration at Parkminster

Above you can see a view of the Brothers' Chapel at St Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster. Above the altar to the right is St Bruno and above the altar to the left is St John the Baptist. This is my route into the main choir (through the doors between the altars) after I have given my class. Today I joined the community for Vespers of "St Michael and the Archangels". As it is a major feast, we had the proper antiphons from the Antiphonale Diurnum, a heavy, vellum bound volume studded with brass and large enough for three monks to view together. Again because of the solemnity, incense was used at Vespers. Fr Vicar in cuculla incensed the altar, and a brother incensed each member of the choir. The thurible is a little shorter than one that might be used in a parish and it is used with one hand only - one swing for each member of choir.

Today there was also a short period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament after Vespers. Between the choir stalls and the bookrests in choir, the floor slopes and there is a penitential strip of wood about 1/2" x 1/2". I find it difficult to keep still during the preces but I do like the custom of kneeling for the initial Gloria after the Deus in adiutorium and then kissing the bookrest as a sign of penance. The monks have to do this if they make a mistake in chanting - sometimes a group of three all kneel down together at the end of a verse - someone has probably put the other two off but they all take the blame.

For adoration, we all moved down the choir towards the altar so were sideways on and had to kneel at about 45 degrees on the slope. I'm afraid I made a rather poor job of trying to do this with dignity. Fortunately, for the major silent part of the adoration, the community sits half-facing the altar. That was a relief!
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