Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Southwark diocese Chrism Mass... St George's Cathedral. It is always rather moving to see priests that I have known for years  - including the parish priest of  Wallington, where I grew up - plus many other friends, at the Chrism Mass at Southwark. The Cathedral was packed, people sitting and standing on the floor in the side chapels and at the back...

The Chrism Liturgy is beautiful, and it was touching to see the oil for anointing the sick being brought up accompanied by two nurses in uniform, and the Oil of Catechumens being accompanied by candidates for baptism, etc.

But oh,at Southwark the music is always ghastly. The Cathedral has a fine organ, but some of the hymns were instead accompanied by a tinkling piano. And the words were beyond banal. During the Offertory we were meant to sing: "We place upon your table, a gleaming cloth oif white/The weaving of our stories, the fabric of our lives/the dreams of those before us, the ancient hopeful cries/the promise of our future/our needing and our nurture lie here before our eyes".  Does any reader of this blog have any idea of what this drivel could possibly mean? I think it is simply tripe.

It is unfair on the priests, deacons and seminarians, whose special day it is, to have this nonsense foisted on them.And people who have brought their children to this sacred liturgy - there were a good many young families there - deserve the best. This is a day on which to teach something of the beauty and mystery that is at the heart of the priestly sacramental ministry.

The Cathedral has a splendid choir, which for some reason is banned from the Chrism Mass. There are some superb school choirs in the diocese, and it would be splendid to have one sing for the Chrism Mass: a Missa de Angelis, or some special Mass learned for the occasion something beautiful for the Offertory and again at Communion, a couple of good hymns for the  long priests' procession in at the beginning...this is a day for glorious music...

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