Saturday, 8 February 2014

A Tale of Three Liturgies

Twice year at Ampleforth Abbey, there is an Orthodox Liturgy (of St. John Chrysostom) one of which takes place around the time of the week of Christian Unity. It's a rather unique event, since it takes place in a Catholic monastery – with the permission of both Abbot & Bishop of the Diocese – and the choir, who come from a variety of different church denominations are directed by Fr. Alexander McCabe from the abbey. It is really rather wonderful, and I would encourage more people in the Yorkshire Region to go and experience it for themselves. The Liturgy itself, is sung in English with music taken largely from the Russian & other Slavonic liturgical services & translated into English. The post Liturgy Lunch is also highly recommended. The Beef Stroganoff this year was simply amazing and it was hugely tempting to go back & have some more, but one has to make room for pudding you know!

Sadly, I don't have any photos for this year, so here are a few from previous years to hopefully whet your appetite – in more ways than one. :-)

The day after this, saw the very first (we believe) Gregorian Chant Sunday Mass – in either Form of the Roman Rite – sung at St. Wilfrid's church in York. We can't prove definitively that it was the first, so if anyone has conclusive proof of one taking place previously, I'd love to know. Following the many very favourable comments received from people (not all known to me!) I've been asked to form a Schola to sing for the EF Sunday evening Mass at St. W's each week – starting from 23rd February. There are 17 people (so far) who've expressed an interest in singing for this, and whilst I don't expect everyone to turn up week by week, I think that's more than enough to make a weekly sung Mass viable. Frustratingly, this means I'll have to drop out of the main choir that sings at the OF Mass in the morning, for the sake of my health (which isn't that great atm) more than anything else, as I know I can't manage 2 Sung Masses a day, especially when I have to organise the music and take any necessary rehearsals for one of them! That said, I've already indicated to others that I’ll be supporting the main choir indirectly, by pointing singers who don't wish to sing chant (most of the time) in their direction, and also by sourcing suitable music. However, this is a fantastic opportunity to get a Gregorian Chant Schola established in York independently of the Rudgates which will remain separate & sing for Rudgate services only, and one which I can't possibly turn down!

The final liturgy, was the following weekend, the Feast of Candlemas, and was for me, the most enjoyable of the three. This, I'm sure will come as a surprise, possibly even shock, to some of you who know me personally as it was an Ordinary Form Mass with the Darlington Ordinariate up in Gainford with a few ex C of E bits added to reflect the Anglican Patrimony of course. A marvellous Mass with Mozart, choir anthem (Eccard – When to the temple Mary went) and hymns sung superbly by both choir & congregation. This was followed by a parish lunch, which I hadn't intended staying for but nevertheless got talked into it. The community there are really rather wonderful, and very persuasive! Here's a link to some photos from the day. If you're ever free on a Sunday morning, do consider going to their solemn Mass at St. Osmund's, Gainford. You'll be made very welcome.

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