Thursday, 26 March 2009

Darkness and Light.

The veiling of images being a big job at Saint Hilda's, I made a start last night after Mass and veiled the statues and icons, leaving the altars, crosses and whatever is in the Lady Chapel (which will be used for daily Mass) until the appointed hour. The picture above shows the Mother's Union banner veiled, which makes an impression as this is the first thing one sees upon entering the Church.

Our Lady looks a little forlorn under her veil, but devotion grows no less fervent in this period, if anything more candles are lit to 'keep her company', as someone said to me last year! The High Altar has a great hanging over the reredos, which attaches to a wire running from perilously high on the South wall to perilously high on the North wall, the hanging pulls over, curtain like. As I was up ladders yesterday trying to loop the wire over the second hook, the hook and wallplug yanked out, flying into the nether darkness, never to be found again. 'Bother', I said, trying not to say anything blasphemous while suspended above the Sacrament House. I will have to go to the DIY shop today and get another hook and ascend the ladder again. It's not quite a Lenten pilgrimage, but it feels like it.

Happier times on Wednesday evening for the second Mass of The Annunciation, celebrated in the Lady Chapel with vestments made from the wedding dress of a long deceased patron. They languished, grubby, in the back of the cupboard for years until I had them cleaned, now they look splendid, a cut in between full and semi Gothic, quite my favourite shape, with a long maniple and stole, trimmed with blue braid. The set is interlined with a sacking fabric which stiffened slightly in the dry cleaners, giving the chasuble excellent folds where it falls. I will stop talking about vestments now and say that the Masses were well attended, with an equal turnout for both.

And here stands Our Lady before the evening Mass. How the evenings are brighter now! With the clock going forward this weekend, Sunday's stations and Thursday's prayer group will be in glorious light, as opposed to the darkness we have been used to. This is good and bad, really, I rather prefer a moody light setting for stations, illuminating the aisles where the stations lie and just lighting the shape of the sanctuary, with the two pavement candles and the candles by the XIIth station burning in the gloom. On the positive side, people can see where they are going. Ah well.

Finally, a note about Egmanton. We are going to reach capacity for the Church building soon and we are already past capacity for the Lunch. Please let me know if you intend coming and have not already applied your name to a list. There are a handful of spaces on the North Manchester coach and the probability of a few on the South.