Sunday, 11 May 2008

Pentecost Sunday and an Unexpected Gothic Chapel.

The Altar before Mass with the twelve tall candles symbolising the fire of the Holy Ghost alighting on the heads of the Apostles.

The Offertory.

'Te Igitur, clementissime Pater...'

At Lunch.

St Huberts Altar.

The Sanctuary roof.

Chancel and Sanctuary.

Some of the Stations of the Cross.

Our Lady's Shrine.

The lych gate.

The tomb of one of the members of the Townley family.

West end.

The Church from the road.


Today, after a reasonably well attended High Mass for Pentecost and a baptism, once everything was put away, I went off for lunch on the far northern edge of the Trough Of Bowland, near Lancaster with, amongst others, my parents who came visiting this morning. After some excellent aged Bowland beef we drove through the Trough, down a dip in the valley where the wild garlic grows and the smell was quite overpowering, mingling with the hundreds of bluebells to provide an experience so narcotic as to give credence to the fact that we then passed a tiny wayside chapel which is one of Edward Pugins masterpieces!

To find a Roman Catholic Chapel in these parts is in itself remarkable, to find one of such age beggars belief, however to find one so beautiful is unique. St Huberts was opened on the 2nd of May 1865 on land owned by the Townley family. You can see many representations of a stag and cross motif, deriving from St Huberts patronage of hunters and the fact that the Forest of Bowland, which still belongs to the Queen, was once a royal hunting ground. Any of you wo have ever drunk the noxious brew known as Jagermeister will be familiar with the stag/cross design, for it is emblazoned on the bottle, in replication of the vision apparently seen by Hubert who later, in 705, became Bishop of Liege. This motif is also upon the modern nave altar, paschal candlestand and lectern, made from wrought iron, the altar mensa being carved from local stone. They were not to my taste, but so little is....

Mass is celebrated in this idyllic place every Sunday, with the Saturday vigil Mass being celebrated in the local Methodist Church. It is set in the valley wall, with beautiful views to the hills bordering the Trough. The Churchyard must be one of the most peaceful places to rest your bones in the country and what a delight to find such well preserved decoration in such an unprepossessing building. Back to the humdrum of study, work, Church and Chaplaincy tomorrow, however. Keep praying for Simon, our newly 'qualified' Ordinand as he looks for the right place to train and for the continued success of our Sunday School which made some wonderful 'flame' headbands today for their heads and once again was very busy. Our search for a new organist still goes on, with, it seems, some light on the horizon at the moment. Next Sunday is Trinity Sunday as you will all know and there is our Annual May Devotions in association with the Society of Mary afterwards at six PM.

May the fire which burns come upon you all and guide you in the paths of peace and justice.