Manchester was, in the past, vastly over-churched. Every shade of Anglicanism had a number of great buildings, Sarum Temples, BCP Georgian Palaces, back street Chapels of every shade and hue and more Anglo Catholicism than you can shake a fancy stick at. Time and secularisation have marched on and maybe there are still too many Churches and small Parishes, although the luxury of finding Parishes small enough to practice traditional incarnational Priesting in is rare. Two great bastions of the faith, Saint Alban's Cheetwood and Saint Benedict's Ardwick, closed down fairly recently, their contents either residing in strongrooms or sold, therefore it was a joy for many to see (although sadly not your scribe, who was in Whitby), the above solid silver processional cross from Saint Alban's in use for the Forward in Faith Chrism Mass at Manchester Cathedral last Tuesday. It is one of only two made, the other being at Saint Alban's Holborn, London. The shaft has been restored by the Cathedral authorities, who also gave Saint Hilda's the fine morse for the Saint Benedict Cope. It may be sensible to have the gold cope so adjusted so that it will be able to be used on that as well, thus meaning it will be used more frequently and for days such as the May Devotions, when many of those who will take joy in its use will see it.
The Chrism Mass was, as usual well attended, if not a little more than before. I am happy to report, as well, that we had the best attended Sacred triduum at Saint Hilda's in memory. On Easter Sunday, extra chairs had to be drafted in!
Here you see the procession out, with the cross from Saint Alban's. We have Canon Peter McEvitt to thank for delivering these pictures to the AW newsdesk.
The Bishop censes the altar, which has on it chalices from both Saint Benedict's and Saint Alban's, the St Alban's chalice being the consecration chalice which the dread Protestant Bishop refused to use all those years ago on account of its inscription exhorting the user to pray for the soul of the donor. That and the fact it was in Latin put paid to its use then really and led to the consecration of the Church many years later by another, less picky Bishop! Saint Benedicts in the dark old days when incense was banned during Mass, used to have two thurifers who would cense the Church liberally beforehand.