First Sunday of Lent

The newly cleaned masonry glows in the sunshine
On this first Sunday of Lent the Ordinariate celebrated Mass at the high altar of the Abbey Church. It was on the occasion of the visit of the Cathedral Choir of St Brendan, Loughrea, Co. Galway in Ireland, who sang during the mass for us. The setting they chose was the Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes. We opened with Newman's "Praise to the Holiest in the height". Minutes before the Mass Father Abbot noticed I had made an error on the service sheet, in which I had copied the first verse twice! Was it enthusiasm or insufficient attention to detail? The Abbot's attention to detail means nothing gets past his beady eye!

The choir also sang the psalm by Fintan O'Carrol, the offertory "Ag Croist an Siol" by Sean O'Riada, and then during Communion "The Cloud's Veil" by Liam Lawton, "Renew your hearts" by Jean Paul Lecot, and "Cead Mile Failte Romhat" arr Fintan O'Carroll. The Mass was rounded off by "Praised be Jesus Christ our King" whose music had been written by Dom Sebastian's father, Karl Wolff.

One of the great joys about being a Catholic is that one is part of a truly universal communion from the many cultures of humanity. It was a real delight to welcome our Irish brothers and sisters to mass, not just because they sang so beautifully and they were such a delight to be with, but also that we could rejoice in the diversity of culture and bring it all before the Lord in worship.

It was also a tremendous privilege for Father Abbot to allow us to celebrate mass at the high altar on this occasion. Perhaps because of the space we were afforded, or the beauty and awesomeness of the architecture, but the celebration seemed more prayerful, or rather, I was much more conscious of the presence of God whom I was praying to.

We look forward to celebrating with the community from Palm Sunday through to Easter Day.