Tomorrow's blogpost will contain photos and a report on today's Ordinariate Chrism Mass, which took place at St James's this morning. However, today's blogpost reports on what went on yesterday, when at Spanish Place as elsewhere, the Holy Week journey into Jerusalem began with Palm Sunday. This photo shows the procession setting off on its way.
The particular nature of the Palm Sunday and Holy Week services make them very prone to bring memories of previous years and comparisons to previous celebrations of the same day. Memories of outdoor processions from St Barnabas Pimlico to St Mary's Bourne St were certainly not that far from our minds as we gathered before Mass in the place where the procession was to begin. Last year, all three of the first members of the Marylebone group were heavily involved in the marking of Palm Sunday at Bourne St, one of us as churchwarden, one of us as an acolyte and one of us as subdeacon (and hence chanting the Chronista part in the Passion). This year, we were simply in the congregation, but felt very much at home and as if we had been a part of this for years.
Here are some photos of yesterday at St James's, followed by a photo of last year's Bourne St procession, for old time's sake.
This first photo shows a little seen view of St James's. It is taken from Manchester Mews, and affords an excellent chance to see the outside of the beautiful apse of this stunning building.
Still having a very Anglican habit of turning up too early, we were amongst the first to arrive. However, even at that point all had been readied.
Father Colven presides, with Fr Irwin and Fr Kavanagh dressed ready for the later concelebration, and Monsignor Jamieson in choir dress.
The procession sets off on the short journey round the corner and into the main door of St James's.
A rare shot of the renowned St James's choir. They do a stunning job, as many readers will recall from the Solemn Evensong and Benediction held to mark the Ordinariate's first anniversary.
The congregation makes it way along George St and towards the door of the church.
Two shots of the sanctuary after mass, the tranquility before the 12 noon Mass only preserved by the throng leaving after the 1030 Mass keeping the incoming crowds back.
The 2011 Palm Sunday procession held by our former Anglican parish, St Mary's Bourne St. Two members of the Marylebone Ordinariate Group are visible in this photo.
A photo I did not take, but which in some ways wish I had, would have been of the Canon being said. There, at the altar, were three former Anglican clergyman, now priests in the Catholic Church, who had made the very same journey we had into the Church, and who now shared with us the fact of being in communion with the Successor of St Peter and with over a billion others. It was a powerful moment for ex-Anglicans experiencing their first Palm Sunday, their first journey into Jerusalem, in the Catholic Church. For some rather good words of encouragement for others who might be considering the same journey, click on this link to read a pastoral letter from Monsignor Steenson, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, the Ordinariate for former Anglicans in North America.
The choir pictured and praised above were on very good form, not least in the beauty of the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei of Palestrina's Missa Aeterna Christi Munera. Hymns are always an important part of ceremonies that involve processions, and we did indeed sing All Glory, Laud and Honour yesterday as we walked to church, just as we had a year before at Bourne Street. After Mass this year, we had the opportunity to sing one of the most powerful yet gentle hymns in the book, My Song is Love Unknown. The John Ireland tune is tremendously affecting, and full of the most beautiful harmonic moments, not least the B flat resolving onto the A in the tenor part of the penultimate line.
Having avoided a link to a video of the well known hymn setting of All Glory, Laud and Honour, it seems only right to include those well known words in what will probably be to most people a less familiar form. With thanks to the Let Nothing You Dismay blog, here is a youtube video of how the procession is done in Rome.