Descension Day

Our Parish Priest, Fr Ray has written a piece about the depressing nature of Ascension Day shifted to the Sunday

I must say that I felt this year this year the Ascension was particularly flat, we had the Proper chants, together with a couple of 19th century hymns, but actually it just seemed like just another Sunday in the latter part of Easter, the time when are rather looking forward to its end.

I could not agree more with him except I found both Ascension Days equally depressing. The first, on the correct date, was depressing because it was so badly attended. Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary form with Palestrina’s Missa Brevis. We had an organ loft full of singers, plenty of servers on the sanctuary and probably only 25 to 30 in the congregation. I suppose most people cannot see the point of turning up to Mass on the Thursday when they have to turn up on the Sunday again for exactly the same Solemnity. I can completely understand. How can you really sing the texts ‘Ascendit Deus’ with any kind of awe and wonder when you have to do the whole lot three days later again? What goes up must come down, I suppose.. How can you marvel at the poignant symbolism of the Paschal Candle being extinguished when it is back on the altar three days later again, burning bright like an Olympic torch.

The other grievance I have with the ‘transferred to Sundays’ mess we are in at the moment is the cost to the parish of celebrating the same Mass twice. To celebrate a Missa Cantata with a polyphonic Ordinary, and to try and sing it to a reasonably high standard with extra singers costs us on average £100. (I have no idea how much the costs are on the sanctuary are.) Half of that cost is met by the parish, the rest met by the choir. We also have very few sets of music in our music cupboard so I have to rely on good old Choral Wiki and these also have to printed out. This is irrelevant if we are going to have a full church on these important days. If no one is going to bother turn up, there really does not seem much point spending the money.

And so until this daft ‘Mass mess’ is resolved and the Solemnities are moved back to their correct days, I shall be celebrating Corpus Christi on the Sunday because quite frankly I don’t want to sing the Lauda Sion twice in one week anymore. I want to sing it on the correct day and then get on with Ordinary Time.

Ascension Day Resources

This Thursday at 7.30pm, we have a Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form for Ascension of Our Lord. The Mass setting will be Palestrina’s Missa Brevis in F, with Credo III




Agnus Dei:

Offertory – Ave Verum Corpus : Mozart

Communion – Salutis Humanae Sator (Plainsong)

End – ReginaCoeli Lotti PDF

Last year I uploaded links to all the chant. The full choir will sing the Introit, the Alleluias of the Lesser and the Greater Alleluias and the Communion Proper. The Schola will sing the verses of the Lesser and Greater Alleluias and the Offertory Proper.


London Underground Stations of the Cross Update

The artist of the brilliant Circle line tube  Stations of the Cross which I wrote about during Lent, has asked me to publicise these events :-

The original paper-cuts from the Stations of the Cross booklets are now up for sale to raise money for 3 brilliant charities: Mary’s MealsThe SVP, and The Bard School.

Bids can be placed for a (professionally framed) paper-cut via the website, or alternatively everyone is invited to come to an exhibition opening of the originals:

 It’s on the eve of Pentecost, Saturday 26th May, at St Mary’s Church, Somers Town (map) beginning with an ecumenical evening prayer at 7pm, followed by refreshments, live piano music, poetry performances by Sarah de Nordwall, and an opportunity to view and bid for the stations artworks. They would make a very interesting gift – copies of articles concerning the project can be supplied on request, and I can post internationally.

The exhibition and auction will close at the end on Monday 4th June.

Mgr Wadsworth – Has Vatican II stood the test of time?

Last night at St Mary Magdalen’s, the authoritative Executive Director of ICEL Mgr Andrew Wadsworth, questioned  whether Vatican II and its documents had stood the test of time.

Continuing in the series of 150th Anniversary lectures, Mgr Wadsworth considered whether we have ended up with a liturgy that was not mandated by the council by weighing up the positive and negative developments of the liturgy since Vatican II.

Speaking to an audience of both clergy and laity from across the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, he touched on a variety of potentially provocative subjects including a subject close to my own heart, the appalling banality of some liturgical music practices.

You can watch this insightful and thought-provoking lecture in full complete with the audience question and answer session.