An odd thing happened at Mass in Oxford not long ago, and I've not had the chance to blog about it. The thurible caught fire.
I was videoing the Mass because the Schola Abelis was singing and I like to capture the chant. (You can listen to parts of the Mass on the Schola's blog.) I point the camera at the sanctuary, however, since no one wants to look at the singers, do they? So here you can hear us finishing the Kyrie (Mass IV, since you ask) and after Fr Saward added more incense to the thurible flames started licking out of it. I don't think anyone noticed for a while. The thurifer was able to extinguish it without much trouble when he got it back to the sacristy.
I have actually seen this happen once before, at Ampleforth. They had at that time a peculiar thurible which was supposed to be set down on the floor in front of the altar; it just smoked away there, and was nicknamed 'the volcano'. Without anyone doing anything at all to it the incense smoke turned black and flames emerged. One monk grabbed it and took it outside; another hurried after him with a fire extinguisher.
Why does this happen? The explanation offered at Ampleforth was the use of inflammable cleaning fluid. In this recent case it must have had something to do with the incense being added.
Many congratulations to the young man who received his First Communion on this unusually dramatic occasion.
There are more photos of this and Mass for SS Peter and Paul in the same church here.