A Requiem Eucharist was held for Br William Gatewood Sibley, OHC, at the church of St John's, West Toronto, yesterday, followed by a reception at Holy Cross Priory. Bishop Ann Tottenham, visitor to the Priory, who is freaking awesome and needs to have my babies, offered the Holy Sacrifice. Br Christian Swayne, OHC, Prior, functioned as deacon.
This was as modern as modern can be. The Mass was celebrated in white at a nave altar. Loaf bread was used for the sacrament. The church was devoid of kneelers, and there was no altar rail: communicants had to stand assembly line-style. Nevertheless, I was touched that the requiem form of the Agnus Dei was used.
There were no liturgical books on hand, which led to the comical sight of the censing of the leaflet from which the Gospel was to be read.
"Come and journey with a saviour" (Beach Spring) (the organist missed the last verse)
"The Christ who died but rose again" (St Magnus)
"Sister, let me be your servant"(Servant Song)
"You are Salt for the Earth" (Bring forth the kingdom)
Br Robert Sevensky, OHC, Superior, preached, or eulogized rather. Although I did not know Br William I was moved by the Superior's words and glad to be with the community at this time. At one point Br Robert mentioned Br William's drift away from Anglo-Catholic orthodoxy (in fact characteristic of the Order as a whole), illustrating his point by referring to the deceased's distaste for "cookie worship." I was amused that the rector of the only church in the diocese with regular Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was in the congregation.
Bishop Ann allowed me to kiss her ring, and there was a very lively reception next door at the Priory, where I got to touch base with the brothers. It had been too long since the last time I was there, and I was starting to feel like a wayward associate. I had a chance to meet the superior and the newest brother at the Priory, a recent transfer from the mother house in upstate New York.