As we Catholics love things to come in threes, especially at the Epiphany, I thought it was only appropriate that I got a third Mass under my belt in so many days and headed up to St James, Spanish Place to sing with their Gregorian choir at the 7pm yesterday evening.
It is incredible what Candy Bartoldus, has done with Gregorian Chant at St James. She arrived less than two years ago at a church which already has a superb established music tradition and said she wanted to start a Gregorian group to sing once a month at the then Low Mass at 7pm on a Sunday evening. Well, the group just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Last night there were at least forty singers and still new members were approaching Candy after Mass. It really is astonishing. At this rate Candy will have all the congregation in the choir in a few months.
Mass was celebrated in the ordinary form by Father Irwin with much of the Mass sung in Latin.
He preached a brilliant sermon using the Ravenna mosaic of the Three Kings as his starting-point , coincidently also on Fr Ray Blake’s blog yesterday, speaking of our tendencies to approach our faith more like shepherds than as wise men.
The liturgy was appropriately stuffed full of wonderful Gregorian hymns and responsories. Corde Natus ex Parentis, Hodie Christus Natus Est, Puer Natus in Bethlehem, Resonet in Laudibus, Alma Redemptoris Natus and Ecce nomen Domini. These can all be found in the Parish Book of Chant. Candy provided beautiful sheets for the congregation with all this music on them so they could join in if they wanted. We also sang the Introit, and my Schola sang the Alleluia verse and the Communion.
Two of the schola. Martina is the cantor at St James and Leutgeb, who also already had two Epiphany Masses under her belt had hot footed it from Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen.
And after Mass, what better way to celebrate this great Solemnity than have a party.
One of the wonderful aspects of Candy’s Gregorian Chant group is the incredible mixture of nationalities, which is why Latin is such a perfect language to sing in. You can imagine the wonderful array of food that had been made prepared for the party.
And the centrepiece was ‘The Gregorian Bocadito.’
which carried the inscription, “Specially created for the Gregorian Club only to be taken just after confession when the heart is full of gratitude.”
Happy Epiphany everyone!
More photos HERE