The Requiem Mass of Elizabeth Fallon

31st Dec 1977 to 15th Jan 2011

Audio of my homily can be found on our Podcast site, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

This was the liturgy

Pastoral Introduction

This may be read by those present before the service begins.

God’s love and power extend over all creation. Every life, including our own, is precious to God. Christians have always believed that there is hope in death as in life, and that there is new life in Christ over death.

Even those who share such faith find that there is a real sense of loss at the death of a loved one. We will each have had our own experiences of their life and death, with different memories and different feelings of love, grief and respect. To acknowledge this at the beginning of the service should help us to use this occasion to express our faith and our feelings as we say farewell, to acknowledge our loss and our sorrow, and to reflect on our own mortality. Those who mourn need support and consolation. Our presence here today is part of that continuing support.

The Preparation

Elizabeth has rested in her Parish Church overnight. We gather with her in our midst. To the music of Elgar’s Nimrod, the Priest and servers enter. Elizabeth’s coffin is censed and a cross, the holy scriptures and mementos of her life are placed upon her coffin.

We may make the Sign of the Cross + as the priest welcomes and greets the people.

In the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

We say together these words:

Give her eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her for ever.

4 Esdras 2:34-35

The priest introduces this Requiem Mass

The Penitential Rite

The priest invites us to confess our sins.

I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Lord have Mercy Lord have Mercy

Christ have Mercy Christ have Mercy

Lord have Mercy Lord have Mercy

The priest gives us God’s absolution and we may make the Sign of the Cross to remind ourselves that it is through this that we are freed from our sin

Liturgy of the Word

The priest says the Collect or Opening Prayer, after which we may sit.

Almighty God, our Father,

You have called your daughter, Elizabeth from this life.

Father of all mercy,

fulfil her faith and hope in you,

and lead her safely home to heaven,

to be with you for ever and ever.

We ask this through our Lord,

Jesus Christ your Son

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Ame

I am standing upon that foreshore

I am standing upon that foreshore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, ‘There! She’s gone!’ ‘Gone where?’ ‘Gone from my sight, that’s all.’

She is just as large in mast and spar and hull as ever she was when she left my side; just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at that moment when someone at my side says, ‘There! She’s gone!’ there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, ‘Here she comes!’ And that is dying.

Victor Hugo (a passage often attributed to Bishop Brent)

Eulogy

Memories of the life of Elizabeth are shared by Owen, Terry and Catherine

A Reading from the Book of Wisdom

The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God,

no torment shall ever touch them.

 

In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die,

their going looked like a disaster,

their leaving us, like annihilation;

but they are in peace.

 

If they experienced punishment as men see it,

their hope was rich with immortality;

slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.

 

God has put them to the test

and proved them worthy to be with Him;

he has tested them like gold in a furnace,

and accepted them as a holocaust.

 

When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out;

as sparks run through the stubble,

They who trust in him will understand the truth,

those who are faithful will live with him in love;

for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.

Wisdom 3:1-9

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

We stand  in preparation for the Gospel as an Alleluia is sung.

We may make the Sign of the Cross as the Gospel is announced

 

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

Glory to you, O Lord.

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me

 

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Homily

Fr. Simon Rundell SCP, Vicar of S. Thomas the Apostle, Elson

Intercessions

God of mercy, Lord of life,

you have made us in your image

to reflect your truth and light:

we give you thanks for Elizabeth,

for the grace and mercy

she received from you,

for all that was good in her life,

and for the memories of her we treasure today.

Lord, in your mercy

hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, you promised eternal life to those who believe.

Remember for good this your servant Elizabeth

as we also remember her.

Bring all who rest in Christ

into the fullness of your kingdom

where sins have been forgiven

and death is no more.

Lord, in your mercy

hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, your mighty power brings joy out of grief

and life out of death.

Look in mercy on all who mourn.

Give them patient faith in times of darkness.

Strengthen them with the knowledge of your love.

Lord, in your mercy

hear our prayer.

We join our prayers with the angels, saints, prophets and patriarchs and especially Our Blesséd Lady of Walsingham as we say

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death

God of mercy

entrusting into your hands all that you have made

and rejoicing in our communion with all your faithful people,

we make our prayers through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.

 

Peace

The priest introduces the Peace

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Let us offer one another a sign of peace.

You are invited to share a sign of peace – a hug or a handshake with those around you as a reminder we are connected as the Body of Christ

The Offertory

Bread and wine are brought to the altar to be offered by the priest. As this hymn is sung, a Collection is taken to support the mission and ministry of the Parish of S. Thomas the Apostle, Elson. Please give generously in memory of Elizabeth, a faithful member of this congregation. Towards the end of the hymn, the priest censes the gifts, the priests and then the people. As the thurifer bows to you and censes the congregation, you are invited to return the bow.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

Words: William Blake
Music: Charles HH Parry

Pray, my brothers and sisters, that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.

May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his Church.

The priest then says the Prayer over the Gifts

Lord, receive the gifts we offer
for the salvation of Elizabeth.
May Christ be merciful

in judging our sister
for he she believed in Christ
as her Lord and Saviour.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

The priest sings the preface, after which we sing together the Sanctus:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord,

God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

X Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

The priest continues with the Eucharistic prayer.

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died: Christ is risen:

Christ will come again.

At the end of the Eucharistic prayer

…  for ever and ever.

Amen.

The Communion Rite

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

The priest says these words

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

We continue

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ

Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share the one bread

As the bread is broken, all sing together:

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:

grant us peace.

The priest invites us to receive communion:

This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to his supper.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.

Communion Antiphon

As we receive communion we reflect upon this line of Scripture

May eternal light shine on them, O Lord, with all your saints for ever, for you are rich in mercy. Give them eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on them for ever, for you are rich in mercy.

4 Esdras 2:34-35

Taize chants are sung during the distribution of Communion.

After Communion, the Priest concludes the Eucharist with the following prayer

Lord God,

your Son Jesus Christ gave us

the sacrament of his body and blood

to guide us on our pilgrim way to your kingdom.

May our sister, Elizabeth who shared in the Eucharist,

come to the banquet of life Christ prepared for us.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Before we go our separate ways,

let us take leave of our sister in Christ.

May our farewell express our affection for her;

may it ease our sadness and strengthen our hope.

One day we shall joyfully greet her again

when the love of Christ, which conquers all things,

destroys even death itself.

Prayers of Commendation:

We stand

Into your hands, Father of mercies, we commend our sister Elizabeth, in the sure and certain hope that, together with all who have died in Christ she will rise with him on the last day.

We give you thanks for the blessings which you bestowed upon Elizabeth. in this life: they are signs to us of your goodness and of our fellowship with the saints in Christ.

God our creator and redeemer,
by your power Christ conquered death and entered into glory.
Confident of his victory and claiming his promises,
we entrust Elizabeth Anne to your mercy
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who died and is alive
and reigns with you, now and for ever.  Amen

Elizabeth’s coffin is sprinkled with Holy Water: the waters of Baptism that brought her into life with Christ now carry her on the next stage of her life’s journey.

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who suffered for you, in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.

Go forth, faithful Christian! May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,  with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with Joseph, and all the angels and saints.

May you return to your Creator who formed you from the dust of the earth. May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life. May you see your Redeemer face to face.

In peace let us take Elizabeth to her place of rest.

The Mass is ended. Go in the peace of Christ

Thanks be to God.

Elizabeth’s coffin is taken from Church to Bach’s “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”. Her committal will take place at Portchester Crematorium in a private, family gathering.  You are invited to gather at the Jolly Roger  pub down on Hardway, and the family will join you all shortly.