Sunday, 3 October 2010

Once an island of saints

It has been a busy few days, liturgically speaking. On Friday, in addition to my morning English Mass, I celebrated a Missa Cantata at the chapel of the Good Counsel Network. Above is a photo (courtesy of the Ecumenical Diablog) taken from one of my previous visits there. You can see that the chapel is quite small, so it was down to the skill of Paul Smeaton, the MC, that elbow-bumping was kept to a minimum.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the dedication of Our Lady of the Rosary at Blackfen. In the morning we had Missa Cantata:

Then (after I had celebrated a wedding) we sang Vespers:

Vespers was followed by Benediction:

Then it was just a question of evening confessions and Mass to finish off the day. Today is Rosary Sunday and so in the morning our Missa Cantata was of the external solemnity. this afternoon, we had the Rosary, a devotional procession of Our Lady, and Benediction. The photos above from yesterday are by Mulier Fortis and I expect she will post some photos of today's ceremonies.

At Benediction, we had the longer Prayer for England, composed by Cardinal Wiseman. Here is the text (Hat tip):
O merciful God, let the glorious intercession of Thy saints assist us, particularly the most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy only-begotten Son, and Thy holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, to whose patronage we humbly recommend this country. Be mindful of our fathers, Eleutherius, Celestine, and Gregory, bishops of the Holy City; of Augustine, Columba, and Aidan, who delivered to us inviolate the faith of the Holy Roman Church. Remember our holy martyrs, who shed their blood for Christ: especially our first martyr, Saint Alban, and Thy most glorious bishop, Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Remember all those holy confessors; bishops, and kings, all those holy monks and hermits, all those holy virgins and widows, who made this once an island of saints, illustrious by their glorious merits and virtues. Let not their memory perish from before Thee, O Lord, but let their supplication enter daily into Thy sight; and do Thou, who didst so often spare Thy sinful people for the sake of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, now, also, moved by the prayers of our fathers, reigning with Thee, have mercy upon us, save Thy people, and bless Thy inheritance; and suffer not those souls to perish, which Thy Son hath redeemed with His own most Precious Blood, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end. Amen.

Let us pray.
O most loving Lord Jesus, Who, hanging on the Cross, didst commend us all in the person of Thy disciple John, to Thy most sweet Mother, that we might find in her our refuge, our solace, and our hope; look graciously upon our beloved country, and on those who are bereaved of so powerful a patronage; that, acknowledging once more the dignity of this holy Virgin, they may honour and venerate her with all affection of devotion, and own her as Queen and Mother. May her sweet name be lisped by the little ones, and linger on the lips of the aged and the dying; and may it be invoked by the afflicted, and hymned by the joyful; that this Star of the Sea being their protection and their guide, all may come to the harbour of eternal salvation. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
I think you will agree that it is a beautiful prayer. I normally have a good British stiff upper lip but this prayer moves me in an unaccustomed way, usually at the phrase "who made this once an island of saints" and I have to summon up a bit of extra backbone to carry on. I nearly lost the battle today.

Now off to celebrate evening Mass ...
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