Archives January 2016

My Funeral Wishes

This is the document in my Evernote, but just in case my children don’t think to look in there. Here are my Funeral Wishes

To my beloved children: Liam, Emma and Zoë

Although I have spoken of this often, and you all know my funeral wishes generally, this is where I write it out.

My faith in the victory of Christ and the promise of the resurrection is total, and therefore I want my funeral to reflect this conviction. Whether there are 5 people at my funeral or 500, the message that they should all hear is that of John 10:10 – Christ came that we may have life, and life in all its fullness. Hold onto that. I want you to know that I love you, that I have had a good life, filled with the joy of marriage, children and loved being a priest. I know I moaned a lot, but that’s because it mattered. Don’t think about the last bit of my life, but look over the whole of it and see a life fully lived and a life fully enjoyed.

I would like a full Requiem Mass, with as much outrageous celebration as possible: acolytes, thurifer, invite as many people to concelebrate as they wish: this is all about the resurrection, so WHITE vestments.

I don’t want a coffin: it shields us from the reality of death, which comes to us all and is very much a part of life. Wrap my body in a hessian sack, or even better used coffee bean sacks, which is an irony which will continue to tickle me for ever. You don’t therefore need to have me carried in: use the trolley. Inside the sack, dress me in my cassock, alb and if it is still there, my first mass WHITE vestments: it was my greatest privilege to celebrate the Holy Mysteries and when I see my Redeemer face to face, I hope that he will forgive my many sins and recognise how much I loved him in his Holy Eucharist. Put my biretta on the top and a single red rose. No other flowers, because I trust that whatever church this happens in will have it all sorted by Sunday. If I die in Lent or Advent, then you shouldn’t have flowers in Church anyway.

This bit needs to be passed to the principal celebrant, as it might sound a little bit prissy, but the priests will know what I mean. It’s their Mass, but I would prefer the 2nd Missal  (1998) Roman Eucharistic Prayer III because it was what I always used for a Requiem, and the words are so lovely. The Preface and Collect of Christian Death from the same Missal would be nice, but as was my practice, frame it within a Common Worship structure; but no collect for purity (use it as the vesting prayer) and definitely no prayer of humble access: I always hated that prayer.

Bring me into Church the night before and say the Vespers for the Dead over me.

Readings:

Philippians 2:5-11 – the kenotic hymn – God loved us so much that he poured himself out for me. And you.
John 14:1-6 from “do not let your hearts be troubled” to “I am the way, the truth and the life” – take both of these ideas to heart… it’s all true.

Mass Setting: James MacMillan St Anne’s Mass (which will remind me/us fondly of St. Thomas the Apostle, Elson my first Incumbency), but that doesn’t have a Gloria, so use David Thorne’s Gloria from the Mass of S. Thomas. These are congregational mass settings and people know them. For a Requiem you can still use a Gloria in Lent/Advent.

Hymns
(very much a work in progress)

Introit – Christ Triumphant
Gradual –
Creed – to the tune of Blaenwern/Hyfydol (I always get them confused)
Offertory – Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Communion – Let all mortal flesh keep silent
Post Communion – We want to see Jesus lifted high (actions are mandatory!!!)
Recessional – Sing my tongue the glorious battle. Take my body out to Pangua Ligna, just like Maundy Thursday.

I would prefer to be buried, anywhere convenient. However, if that isn’t practical, then go ahead and cremate me: if you do that, then perhaps you might like to dispose of my ashes around Walsingham – a place so central to my faith. You can go to the field where we did the Youth Pilgrimage for so many years, and put me there: never feel you need to return to my grave/ashes because by then I am in Christ and with Christ and be very assured that it’s okay.

After the Requiem Mass, much Plymouth Gin, Malt Whisky, Wine and Real Ale should be drunk: remember me fondly, forgive me my failings, my insensitivities and shortcomings as a person and a priest, tell some funny stories (usually at my expense) but most of all remember that Christ has defeated sin and death and know the promise of the resurrection: God wipes away every tear from your eyes, so do not be sad: know that I love you all and in the presence of the Lord, I will be praying for you. Forever.

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Epiphany Proclamation 2016

Dear brothers and sisters,
the glory of the Lord has shone upon us,
and shall ever be manifest among us,
until the day of his return.

Through the rhythms of times and seasons
let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year’s culmination,
the Easter Triduum of the Lord:
his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial,
and his rising celebrated
between the evening of the Twenty-Fourth day of March
and the evening of the Twenty-Sixth day of March,
Easter Sunday being on the Twenty-Seventh day of March.

Each Easter — as on each Sunday —
the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed
by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.
From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent,
will occur on the Tenth day of February.

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on
Thursday, the Fifth day of May.

Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter,
will be celebrated on the Fifteenth day of May.

And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be
on the Twenty-Seventh day of November.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ
in the feasts of the holy Mother of God,
in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints,
and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come,
Lord of time and history,
be endless praise, for ever and ever.

Amen.