My induction into the Society of Mary has been postponed again. Last year, I was prepared for admission, until at the last minute it was revealed that I hadn't been to enough meetings. This year, due to a confluence of a number of things not going as planned, it wasn't able to take place on the Feast of the Visitation once again. It was too bad, since Bishop Victoria Matthews was there this time. I've been told I can be admitted in the fall, but I prefer to wait until next Visitation. (Technically, the Visitation won't occur next year as it is displaced by Pentecost. In practice, I suspect SOM will keep it on the last Saturday of May as usual, and bump Roberta Elizabeth Tilton, Founder of the Anglican Church Women). In any event, I was glad to get to St Mary Mag again for another outdoor procession. The weather cleared up just in time!
I will note briefly (now that I've seen it twice and know that it's not a one-off) SMM's odd practice of switching the places of the Te Deum and Benedictus at Morning Prayer.
Detail of the Solemn Mass and Outdoor Procession below.
The Mass was Willan, of course: Mass 3 (except Gloria and Credo, de Angelis). The motets were also Willan. Two motets preceded the Mass: "Fair in Face" and "Rise up, my love."
The Mass itself began with the Introit, not the traditional one, but a generic one of unknown provenance ("Rejoice we all, and praise the Lord, celebrating a holy day..."). No smoke, as the principal celebrant was in the nave for the wreath ceremony. He blessed the wreath and sprinkled it, and placed it around the base of the statue of Madonna and Child.
The Ritual Choir had the wrong gradual with them, but improvised valiantly. The sequence hymn, which blew me away, was "Virgin-born, we bow before thee" (Mon Dieu). Offertory hymn was "Sing we of the blessed Mother" (Abbot's Leigh). Another Marian motet by Willan: "I beheld her, beautiful as a dove."
In addition to the principal celebrant, deacon, and subdeacon, there were two concelebrants. And when I say "concelebrants," I mean they wore discrete chasubles and extended their hands in a vague, Anglican fashion during the dominical words (which one of them, but not the other, murmured along with the principal celebrant).
The Communion proper was sung as an antiphon on the Magnificat. After the post-communion, we embarked on a procession with the statue of Our Lady. Lots of favourites for the hymns:
*"Sing of Mary, pure and lowly" (Hermon)
*"Hail Mary, blest Mother" (French)
*"Hail, O Star that pointest" (Ave Maris Stella)
*"Now in holy celebration" (Oriel)
*"Ye who own the faith of Jesus" (which during the May Festival is sung to "Daily, daily")
*"Sing how the age long promise of a Saviour" (Coelites Plaudant)
*"Tell out, my soul" (Woodlands)
*"Be joyful, Mary" (Regina Caeli - sung more slowly - and with an odd pause - than the way I learned it. "Alle-luuuuu-ia.........Rejoice, rejoice", etc.)
*"For Mary, mother of Our Lord" (St Botolph)
Upon returning to the church, we repeated "Sing of Mary, pure and lowly" and said (alas) the Angelus before being blessed and dismissed.