Saturday, 12 November 2011
Confirmo te Chrismate salutis
At the last minute, Bishop John Sherrington stood in for Bishop Alan Hopes to adminster confirmation in the usus antiquior to 31 candidates at the Church of St James, Spanish Place. (This is organised each year by the Latin Mass Society.) He told me that he had been studying the rite with the help of a priest friend last night - he has only recently been consecrated Bishop and was rather thrown in the deep end. His preparation paid off and he managed very competently with the discreet help of Fr Andrew Southwell, together with Gordon Dimon, the Latin Mass Society MC.
This year there was one boy from my parish, one of my nieces, and a lady I recently received into the Church, so it was a joy for me to be with them. The combination of a beautiful Church and a superb parish choir makes for an impressive celebration which, I am sure, helps the disposition of those receiving the sacrament.
In advance of any function that I am assisting at, I make it clear that I am happy to assist in any capacity. Normally this means Deacon or Subdeacon. Today I joked in the sacristy that I was to take my now customary role at the Confirmations as Bombaceus Bearer ("bombaceus" is the Latin word used in liturgical books for a ball of cotton wool.) After the candidates have been anointed, a priest wipes the chrism from their foreheads with a ball of cotton wool - these are burnt after the service. I graduated up to subdeacon for Pontifical Benediction which followed the Confirmation.