Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Midnight Mass

Choral Eucharist for Christmas at the Church of the Nearest Sunday, at eleven o'clock at night. The Mass was preceded at ten-thirty by Christmas carols.

Hymn: "While shepherds watched" (Winchester Old)
Choir: I sing the birth (Michael Praetorius arr Philip Moore)
Hymn: "In the bleak mid-winter" (Cranham)
Choir: Wexford Carol (arr. John Rutter)
Hymn: "O little town of Bethlehem" (Forest Green)
Choir Wassail Carol (William Mathias)
Hymn: "See amid the winter's snow" (See amid the winter's snow)

Pontifical Eucharist followed. After "O come all ye faithful" and the lighting of the Christ candle was sung Joy to the world. The retired archbishop who was celebrating did so, bizarrely, in a cope. Ironically, earlier in the day, I was speaking on the phone to an Apprentice who told me that his parish priest would be celebrating Midnight Mass in a cope and told him it would never happen in Canada! The deacon wore cassock-alb and stole and the subdeacon wore cassock and surplice.

The setting was Missa Brevis (Piccolomini-messe) by Mozart, and even the Gloria was sung by the choir to this setting. The crèche, sadly, was not blessed.

"Good Christians all, rejoice" (In dulci jubilo) was the gradual hymn. There was no confession and absolution. The Lord's Prayer, at least, was sung congregationally to Merbecke. At the Fraction, and Invitation to Communion from the New Zealand Prayer Book, based on the Prayer Book words of administration, was said in lieu of the Prayer of Humble Access. Communion hymn (by the choir): "All my heart this night rejoices" (Bonn).

We sang "Silent Night" before the Blessing, which came from Common Worship, then the recessional followed to "Hark, the herald angels sing".

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