Celebrating the parish feast day

I am a little tired after the feast day yesterday fortunately it is a quiet day and I have been able to take things fairly easy. For the first time in a long while, I actually went and got some fish and chips. This is something I must do more often on a Friday evening because I had a chance to talk to several parishioners in the lengthy queue at the local fish shop - it seems that Friday fish and chips is still going strong in these parts.

At the morning English Mass in the parish, we honoured Our Lady by singing "Daily daily sing to Mary" and "O Mother Blest" which are both favourites at the parish Prayer Group. In the afternoon, the school Mass was delightful as always. Then in the evening, it was time to gear up for the Solemn High Mass. Frs Schofield (Deacon), Whinder (Subdeacon) and Fra Lawrence Lew OP, the preacher, all arrived in good time, for an excellent dinner of roast lamb which Patricia, the chef de cuisine of our parish Lunch Club manages to make more delicious than any cook I have ever known. I brought out my deliciously unfashionable champagne boaters which date back to the 1930s and are one of the few family heirlooms I possess.

Patrick Sheridan of Liturgiae Causa was MC. This was his first time as Master of Ceremonies for High Mass but Patrick is one of those people who can memorise rubrics as competently as enthusiasts in other fields will memorise football statistics. His expertise and the experience of the Sacred Ministers meant that we could concentrate on the Mass itself rather than worrying about the ceremonies.

There were four priests in choir: Fr Charles Briggs, Parish Priest of St Mary's Chislehurst, Fr Peter Murphy, Parish Priest of St David's, Abbey Wood, Fr Paul Hayward of Opus Dei, and Fr Linus Clovis who is a parish priest in St Lucia and works a lot with EWTN and Family Life International.

The above video slideshow is by Mac of Mulier Fortis. The music on the video is from the Cantores Missae who sang at the Mass. They have just published a CD which can be obtained (£12.99) from the website or by emailing Charles Finch. The singing was superb: it is so glorious to hear this music sung in the setting for which it was composed rather than on Classic FM.

It really was a joy to do all this for Our Blessed Lady on her feast, and I pray that she will continue to watch graciously over our little parish dedicated to her. Having managed to put on such a ceremony this year, we are inevitably looking forward to next year. In 2011, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary will be on a Friday so we will have something similar. We will also need to have something special on Sunday 2 October because that will be the 25th anniversary of the Consecration of the Church. Patrick is looking further ahead to 2012 when the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary will fall on a Sunday. He suggests having First Vespers, anticipated Mattins and Lauds on the Saturday and then High Mass on the Sunday. I think I will have to keep the Friday and Monday free to sleep!

UPDATE: Many thanks to Dominic Mary for his kind post at Libera Me: What Fun!

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