Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Solemn High Requiem at Westminster Cathedral

As I mentioned in an earlier post I went down to London for the LMS` annual requiem on November 17th. Today I received these pictures of the event together with an account of the Mass. One of the reasons I went all the way to London was to hear Victoria`s Requiem sung in a liturgical context (the press release doesn`t make clear that this was sung) .

Here is the text:


For Immediate Release

29 November 2007

Bishop John Arnold of Westminster Becomes First English and Welsh Bishop to Celebrate the Traditional Rite in Westminster Cathedral Since the Liturgical Changes of 1969

Bishop John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster, celebrated a Pontifical High Mass of Requiem in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 27 November. He did so at the request of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. The Mass was organised by the Latin Mass Society. Bishop Arnold’s Assistant Priest was Fr Andrew Wadsworth; the Deacon was Fr Andrew Southwell and the Sub-deacon Fr Benjamin Durham FSSP.

A large congregation of over 700 heard the men of the Cathedral Choir sing traditional plainchant. The bishop also preached. His theme was preparation for death as an access into new life in the knowledge that “Jesus died and rose from the dead in order to complete His plan of redemption for all.” At Requiem Masses Catholics have the privilege of offering prayers for the dead and the chance of imitating in this life the goodness which many of those who have gone before us embodied. Death is a sign of hope that one day we might enjoy “eternal life in the presence of a God who loves us more than we could dare to imagine.”

Before Mass, a wreath was laid by Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, and other LMS Committee members on the grave of Cardinal Heenan in the cathedral nave in thanksgiving for the Cardinal’s efforts to preserve the Extraordinary (Traditional) Form of the Roman Rite. Father Patrick Hayward was chaplain for the occasion.

John Medlin, General Manager of the LMS, said: “The LMS is grateful to Cardinal Cormac and to Bishop John for their pastoral charity towards those many Catholics attached to the Traditional Roman Rite. We are also very grateful to Mgr Mark Langham, the Cathedral Administrator, for making us welcome in the cathedral. We look forward to celebrations of the Extraordinary Form in many more of our cathedrals throughout England and Wales.”

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or Yvonne Windsor, LMS Office Administrator, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585;
(E mail)

1 comment:

Alnwickian said...

This was indeed a splendid and historic event and I thought it well worth the day trip to London.

It is a pity that the LMS press release should be inaccurate about the music.

This was not 'traditional plainchant' sung by the Men of the Cathedral Choir.

It was Victoria's glorious six part setting of the Requiem, one of the greatest masterpieces of renaiassance polyphony.

And the choir was not the Cathedral Choir but a group calling itself the "Westminster Cathedral Special Service Choir", which included women. They were very good but could have done with twice the number of voices to cope with the Cathedsral's cavernous acoustic and the remote place from which they sang.