Friday, May 31, 2019

Get your 2020 ORDO now!

Without doubt, the best ORDO available to western Christians is the one under the imprint of Tufton Books (i.e. The Church Union), still compiled each year by Father John Hunwicke, now of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. It painstakingly provides full information both for the Roman Rite (Third Typical Edition) and the Church of England's Common Worship. There is also guidance for those who use the old Prayer Book.

Friday, May 17, 2019


On Saturday 4th May (when I was busy at All Saints' Benhilton with a wedding), Westminster Abbey, in collaboration with the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, held a day of celebration in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham. The following details are from the Abbey's website. Friends who attended were overwhelmed by the spiritual significance of the occasion, as well as by its ecumenical dimension. At the end of the article below, I have put a link directly through to the powerful homily preached by Bishop Philip North.

At the start of the day, the image of Our Lady of Walsingham was processed from St Margaret's Church into the Abbey for a Sung Eucharist at 11.00am. The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, presided at the high altar.

The sermon was preached by the Right Reverend Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, and Master of the Guardians of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The Baroness Easton DBE DL, Guardian of the Holy House, read Isaiah 7:10-14; Michael Dixon, Lay Pastoral Assistant, St Michael and All Angels with St James, Croydon, read Galatians 4:4-7; and the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon Steward and Almoner, read St Luke 1:26-38.

Visiting Bishops and Guardians of the Holy House were robed and seated in the Sacrarium and many Priests Associate of the Holy House were robed and seated in the Lantern.

Professor Eamon Duffy, Magdalene College, Cambridge, gave a lecture in the Abbey at 2.00pm. During the afternoon, visitors followed a pilgrimage route through the Abbey, and offered devotions in the Lady Chapel, in the Chapel of Our Lady of Pew, at the tomb of Cardinal Langham in the South Ambulatory, in St Faith’s Chapel, and at the image of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Sacrarium.

The day concluded with Solemn Evensong at 5.00pm, at which the Dean offered a welcome and pronounced the Blessing. The sermon was preached by the Most Reverend Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.

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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Mary's Month of May

The procession of Our Lady during the Society of Mary's May Devotion, 2010, 
at S. Silas, Kentish Town and Holy Trinity, Kentish Town, London
(Photo from the Society of Mary Website)

In Australia where May is not spring but autumn, our experience of "Mary's month" is in conflict with the season, and some of the folkish hymns we like to sing in "Mary's month" always seemed a bit incongruous with what was happening around us. (A bit like singing "In the bleak mid-winter" as the Communion Hymn at Christmas Midnight Mass in a heatwave with perspiration running into our eyes and down our backs and legs!) In England, of course, with all the blossoms and flowers of spring, it's very different, and the exuberance and joy of the season makes the May devotion to Our Lady a natural part of parish life for Anglo-Catholics. Before coming to All Saints' Benhilton, one of the great joys of being part of St Luke's Kingston was the Annual May Merrie, a wonderful party for the children of the neighbourhood and their families which began in the church with the crowning of the May Queen [and King . . . an equal opportunity gesture!]. Each year, during that service, the children's choir, under the direction of parish organist Mr Chris O'Neill, would melt my heart as they sang in praise of Our Blessed Lady:     

Bring flowers of the rarest
bring blossoms the fairest,
from garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
our full hearts are swelling,
our glad voices telling
the praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

Their lady they name thee,
Their mistress proclaim thee,
Ah, grant that thy children on earth be as true
as long as the bowers
are radiant with flowers,
as long as the azure shall keep its bright hue

Sing gaily in chorus;
the bright angels o'er us
re-echo the strains we begin upon earth;
their harps are repeating
the notes of our greeting,
for Mary herself is the cause of our mirth