Monday, 15 September 2008

The Triumph of the Holy Cross II, Solemn Evensong and Benediction at St Cuthbert's Darwen.

Woken up after having a snooze.

The altar.

Singing the psalms.

During evensong.

Censing the altar at the Magnificat.

Preface of Benediction.

Assuming the humeral veil.

Before Benediction is conferred.

Benediction is offered.

The altar party.

The end of a long day.

After High Mass I cleared up, went home and cooked lunch for five. There was smoked salmon, then roast chicken (which I poached the night before so it would roast up crisp and even and quickly) with stuffing, Yorkshire puds, gratin dauphinoise, creamed leeks, carrots, broccoli and gravy followed by chocolate cake. Marvellous. After tidying up I went with a car full of albs to Darwen to Fr Lee's palace of Catholicism for solemn Evensong and Benediction. Fr Douglas, the Parish Priest, had hurt his knee so we called on the assistance of Anglican Wanderer Fr Philip Knowles to help out. Once again I reflected on how much better my red Pugin alb looks on other people than on me.

We had a lovely, intimate service in the choir followed by Benediction with devotions to the Blessed Sacrament. How lucky we are to live in this enlightened age on the one hand, but so unlucky to have to feel the tarnish of false liberalism all over our beloved communion. How we yearn for the freedom to practice the faith without this tarnish, besmirching us all like a vinyl veneer on rosewood. Only God can lead us through to whatever we may find over the hill, but we must keep on walking and, as St Augustine enjoined us, singing Alleluia all the way. We have probably all been to meetings with Bishops now which have given great hope. With prayer and application we can make those hopes reality, to the greater glory of God.

Our day finished late in the Clog and Billycock pub, near Blackburn. In my case with toad in the hole, mash and a pint of Thwaites Wainwright Ale. Our day in the heat of the sun will finish many years in the future, but I have hope, for God is, I have no doubt, with us.