Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Happy Jubilee, Father Ray Blake

Solemn High Mass of at St Mary Magdalen's. Also, check out the circular light near the Tabernacle...spooky!

Last night saw a spectacular High Mass in the on the Feast of St John Houghton and the Carthusian Martyrs, at St Mary Magdalen's, Brighton. It is unlikely that St Mary Magdalen had been witness to anything so majestic for well over half a century. The Brighton Chamber Choir were hired and sung the Mass of Thomas de Luis Victoria's, O Quam Gloriosa, and the St Mary Magdalen Choir, as well as joining in for Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus, sang Gregorian Chant separately.

Deanery Priests sat 'in choro' while Fr Sean Finnegan acted as Deacon and Fr Tim Finegan as Sub-Deacon. What I found interesting was that even though the orchestration of the Mass was so reverent and detailed, the Mass had an incredible fluidity and just glided smoothly from one stage of the Mass to the next. The Choir sang beautifully throughout, which only added to both the splendour of the service and the sense of fluidity.

Fr Sean Finnigan gave a wonderful homily on the Martyrdom of St John Houghton and the Charterhouse, Carthusian Martyrs who suffered the most horrendous deaths as a result of their refusal to sign the Act of Supremacy of the Church in England, drawing, in particular upon the last words of St John, who, when he had his heart removed from his body and was shown it, uttered the words, "O Good Jesu, what will You do with my heart", a prayer of sublime humility, a petition as tender and as vulnerable and as open to the mercy of God, which one can only expect the Prior had uttered throughout his life. The other Carthusian Martyrs were starved to death in the Tower.

Many parishioners commented after the Mass on the beauty of the Latin Rite, the singing and the prayerfulness of the whole service, as well as the impeccable quality of the Altar Servers, of whom there were over a half a dozen, which was striking given how little time they had had to rehearse the Mass.

I was pleased also to meet Fr Tim of Hermeneutic of Continuity fame and Mac McLernon of camera shy Mulier Fortis fame. We had our pictures taken with Fr Ray at the Presbytery door by Fr Tim. My hope is that such liturgical splendour will not be so rare at St Mary Magdalen's as it has been and that visiting Priests saw something of the Glory and Majesty of the Usus Antiquor of which perhaps they may want to learn more.

One altar server, who had not attended a Mass such as the one last night for a long, long time, commented, "It was like being lifted up into Heaven." On that point, I had to agree. The food and drink afterwards was cracking too and it was lovely to be able to chat with different people, some of whom had come from other parishes in the Diocese and beyond.

I echo the voices of a throng of schoolchildren who wished you a happy 25th anniversary outside your door today. Thank you for giving us the chance to worship in the Usus Antiquor. May your ministry continue to bear fruit for many years to come. Click here for more pictures of the Mass at New Liturgical Movement and here for more pictures and video footage to come at St Mary Magdalen's blog.


Mulier Fortis said...

Great to meet you at long last... BTW, I saw the photo taken at the presbytery door, and only my skirt is in it!!

Ha! Escaped again!!

Hestor said...

Mass of Pope John XXIIII had no idea that John XXIII invented the mass!


Fr Ray Blake said...

Thank you Lawrence for singing, and for your congratulations.

The Bones said...

Hmm...I know, Hestor. I'm new to this lark so don't rule out that I don't really know what I am talking about!

Adulio said...

Probably best to say mass according to the 1962 Missal or Extraordinary Form.

The Bones said...

Right you are!

Fr Ray Blake said...

...or according to the Missal of Pope John XXIII.

Fr Ray Blake said...

or better, the Missal of the Blessed Pope John XXIII.

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