Sunday, May 25, 2008

Corpus Christi at SMM

As Jack Benny would say: Well!

Solemn Mass, Outdoor Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, and Benediction at the Church of St Mary Magdalene.

The "Gathering of the Community" omitted the Asperges, but otherwise was the usual Introit-Greeting-Kyrie-Gloria-Collect sequence. The Mass was Willan's Mass 12 (the Gloria and Credo were de Angelis).

After the First Lesson, Gradual verse, Epistle, and Alleluia verse, the choir and congregation took parts in the proper sequence (Lauda, Sion, Salvatorem) from the New English Hymnal. The deacon chanted the Gospel, and the rector/celebrant preached. After some announcements about renovations (moved up in the service because of the ensuing Procession), the deacon led the singing of the Prayers of the People, which was followed by the Kiss of Peace.

The offertory hymn was "Let all mortal flesh keep silence" (Picardy) which was too fast and loud for my liking. The offertory verse was sung in Latin. The motet was Tallis' O Sacrum Convivium. The Orate Fratres was interpolated.

After the postcommunion, the MBS was exposed in a monstrance, which the celebrant held up for all to see. It was taken under the ombrellino, and we proceeded outside, with two of Toronto's finest escorting us down Bathurst Street. We sang several hymns, not all of them Eucharistic-themed.

*Alleluya! sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol)
*Eternal Monarch, King Most High (Deus tuorum militum)
*Jesus, gentlest saviour [Caswall (Wem in Leidenstagen)]
*Once, only once, and once for all (Albano)
*Of the glorious body telling (a familiar but unidentified tune, attributed to St Thomas Aquinas)
*The Church's one foundation (Aurelia)
*(I think the last was) Though art the way, to thee alone (St Magnus [Nottingham])

When we returned, we were treated to Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the motet for which was "Ave Verum Corpus" (Martin). The Divine Praises were said (no Precious Blood, no Assumption, "noble" Joseph). The Angelus was omitted.

I did regret the omission of "Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour" and "One bread, one body," but look forward to singing them at St Matthias, Bellwoods's observance of Corpus Christi next Sunday (they did their Patronal today).

I thought my mother would faint when we were done. "You didn't tell me it was going to be two and a half hours long!" she cried at me. Her initial reaction of "I'm never doing that again!" was ultimately tempered to "Now that I know what to expect, I can handle it once a year." She also agreed that Benediction, which she had been worried about participating in for the first time, worked well.

1 comment:

Tay Moss said...

Yeah, I do miss participating in those liturgies, I must admit. I've got different liturgical challenges at my place!

Interesting that they went down Bathurst this year--that makes more sense. This procession should be as big a deal as possible.

I once attended a Corpus Christi Mass at a Catholic Church built on top of an ancient pyramid in Mexico. It was impractical to process down the sides of pyramid, so instead they went around outside of the church exposing the sacrament to the four cardinal compass points. Being so high above the nearby town of Cholula, this was a breath taking liturgical gesture.