Thursday, 17 February 2011
A prayerful "St John's Day" at the Seminary
Earlier this week I stayed on at the Seminary at Wonersh for an extra day in order to take part in the celebration of St John's Day. The feast day of the principal patron falls on 27 December when everyone is away, so each year another day is chosen to venerate him during the term.
On Monday evening there was solemn first Vespers with the Rector, Mgr Jeremy Garrett, as celebrant, and two cantors in copes. After supper there was an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, concluded by sung Compline and Benediction with one of the recently ordained Deacons as celebrant. For Lauds on the morning of the feast, the Rector was again celebrant for the solemn sung office. At the Mass, Archbishop Peter Smith was celebrant, assisted by several other Bishops and priests, with silver jubilarian Fr Rags Hay-Will preaching.
The Sacred Liturgy was a model of dignified celebration of the revised Roman rite. The Divine Office was given its proper part in the liturgical celebration of the feast with the psalms being sung to simple tones suited to the accents of English sentences. There was a peaceful and familial atmosphere of prayerful preparation for the Pontifical Mass.
At the festive lunch, it is traditional to have a jubilarian give the speech. This year, Canon Joseph Collins of St Mary's, West Croydon, who celebrates his Golden Jubilee this year, shared his memories and his experience of the sacred priesthood.