Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oxford Pilgrimage 2012

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The Mass: a Solemn Mass in the traditional Dominican Rite, in the spacious and airy sanctuary and choir of the Domincan church in Oxford, the Priory of the Holy Spirit, Blackfriars.

I don't want to get too nerdy about the ceremonies, particularly because I don't know much about them, but the overall effect was very moving. The number of servers was very small: only two acolytes and a thurifer, no MC (Dominicans are supposed not to need one!). They place themselves with great elegance in the sanctuary, their profound bows and gentle lifting of the thurible are a subtle contrast to the Roman Rite, it is something terribly serene and peaceful. Great credit is due to the Sacred Ministers: Fr Thomas Crean, the celebrant, Br Gregory Pearson, deacon, and Fr Richard Conrad, subbeacon, and the servers, all of the Dominicans, who were calm, prayerful, and seemed to know what they were doing.
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The Epistle, during which the Chalice is placed on the Altar, and the deacon washes his hands: something which doesn't happen at all in the Roman Rite. The preparation of the Chalice takes place while the choir sings the Responsary (Gradual) and Alleluia.
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The Gospel. The Dominicans don't swing the thurible to incense the Gospel, above, or the celebrant, below, but simply lift it up.
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A characteristic gesture of the Dominican rite, the hands held up.
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A very restrained elevation of the Chalice, which is only just visible over the celebrant's head.
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Kissing the pax brede, a silver disk with a handle on the back, for the Kiss of Peace.
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Using a 'houseling cloth' for Communion of the servers.
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And of the Faithful, since the church no longer had an Communion rail. IMG_1249
The blessing, while the minsters make a profound bow, which tends to be used instead of genuflections.

More photos here.  Tomorrow I'll have a post about the procession.

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