Patronal Festival

I don’t know why I allow myself to get wound up by Patronal Festivals: they should be (and indeed are) a reflection of the charism of the parish. I should just go with the flow on them, and enjoy them more; but I just want it to be right.

Joined in the Sanctuary by a host of Deanery Clergy, a guest preacher – Fr Phil Ritchie from St Wilfrid’s, Chichester (and a fellow survivor of the College of the Resurrection), a whole host of young servers and a newly ordained deacon in the shape of Fr. Steven Threadgill. Add to that an augmented choir, and the sanctuary was full.

We went to town on the glitter of the evening – lights and incense ++

However, having gone through a serving rehearsal, we got to the offertory and spotted that no-one had thought to get out the elements! No host, no wine, no chalices, no – thing!

The MC hurries into the sacristy and starts throwing it together. We have another first verse of Amazing Grace, the offertory hymn, and it comes together! Just like the rest of the charism of St Thomas the Apostle: a little unplanned, slightly ramshackle, but with a good heart and it simply comes off and works. We are truely a parable in action. I can’t believe that I didn’t spot it, and neither can Liam. It was just one of those things, and at the end of the day, I thought the Mass was simply lovely: Christ centred, Spirit filled and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

The patronal-festival service sheet is in PDF format (so the pages might look out of order, but they print okay.)

Music was:

  • Gathering – You Raise Me Up
  • Introit – Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones
  • Gloria – Inwood Gathering Mass
  • Alleluia – Celtic
  • Offertory – Amazing Grace
  • Sanctus & Benedictus – Inwood Gathering Mass
  • Agnus Dei – Thorne
  • Communion Hymns – O Lord Hear My Prayer & Be Still for the Presence of the Lord
  • Choir Anthem – Day by Day
  • Recessional – Praise My Soul the King of Heaven

Solid, dependable choices which most people would know.

Fr. Ritchie preached well, and entertainly told us of frightening cats in his underpants whilst speaking of the visceral honesty of St Thomas as illustrated by Carravaggio:

Visual Intercessions – which went down very well. As the images led the prayers, so Zoe added a sprinkle of incense to a large balti dish of charcoals which filled the small sanctuary.

From the inside cover of the Mass book:

Was ever another command so obeyed [as “Do this in Remembrance of me? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacles of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because a father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetish because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna; for the repentance of someone; for the settlement of a strike; for a son for a barren woman; for Captain so-and-so, wounded and prisoner of war; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of S. Joan of Arc. One could fill many pages with the reasons why people have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the priests have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei – the holy common people of God.

Dom Gregory Dix, OSB The Shape of the Liturgy

I just love this. It was inside my first mass book.

Finshed with fresh coffee and doughnuts. Hurrah! Deo Gratias – as always – Deo Gratias!

Am knackered now, how will I feel after Saturday’s Summer Fayre. Will be looking forward to shoulder surgery next week as a rest!