Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mass in Portsmouth Cathedral with Bishop Egan

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On Sunday Bishop Egan presided at Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the Latin Mass Society. Mass was celebrated by Fr Phillip Harris (a priest of the diocese), with the assistance of deacon (Rev Stephen Morgan, a permanent deacon of the diocese) and subdeacon (Fr John Maunder of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, based at St Agatha’s, Portsmouth) and Bishop Egan was present on his throne, giving various blessings in the course of the Mass, including the blessing of the people at the end.

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Mass was accompanied by Chant, provided by a big group of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, directed by Christopher Hodkinson.

The bishop presiding, but not himself celebrating, was the most common form of Episcopal involvement in public Masses in the old days; the bishop celebrating Mass himself, Pontifical Mass, was for special occasions, and the elaborate ceremonies reflect this. Instead they would more commonly have celebrated Pontifical Low Mass, perhaps privately. Over the last couple of years we've had Bishop McMahon celebrate Pontifical Mass at the Leicester Priest Training Conference, and Bishop Drainey preside at Mass in York, as well as Masses celebrated by auxiliary bishops in Westminster Cathedral and, going back further, by Bishop Schneider and other bishops from overseas.

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I think this is the first time in England and Wales a bishop has presided at a Mass in the Vetus Ordo in his own cathedral since the liturgical reform. This made it a particularly special occasion.

If you compare the photos of this and Bishop Drainey's Mass in York you will see that Bishop Drainey used a slightly more solemn form of the ceremonies.

Mass on Sunday was well attended, despite the dire weather warnings, with well over 100 people present.

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More of my photos here; yet more photos here.

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