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Thursday, August 29, 2013
Solemn Profession in Chelmsford
Last night I attended the Solemn Profession of Br Stephen Morrison, into the Canons of St Norbert, the Norbertines or Premonstratensians. The community in Chelmsford looks after two parish churches; Our Lady Immaculate, used on this occasion, was packed out.
One of the interesting features of the ceremony was the handing over of the cat. At least, it looks like a cat. I couldn't get a good photograph, but Br Stephen now has, as part of his choir dress, a large white fur item called an almutium, worn a little like a maniple, over the left arm. He is given it during the ceremony.
Here his confreres are wearing them.
Here's an old picture from the community's website (though on the other arm for some reason).
The community was once based at Miles Platting in Manchester, but the local population had disappeared and the church building was falling down. They have come to rest in Brentwood Diocese, where Bishop McMahon has also given a very warm welcome to the Ordinariate. The diocese is short of priests, and the Norbertines and the Ordinariate have been a shot in the arm.
In its new home the community is thriving, and there will be more such solemn professions in the coming years, and ordinations too. The Norbertines have their own liturgical 'use', a variation on the Roman Rite, just as the Dominicans do, and I look forward as things develop to the increased use of this once more in English parishes.
Br Stephen is an old friend and Lucy Shaw Cakes provided a suitable edible tribute to the occasion.