Saturday, 6 July 2013

Centenary: Anglican Celebration Mass to Mark 100 Years since Inauguration

The League was founded on 2nd July 1913 at St Mark's, Bush Hill Park in Enfield, but it was inaugurated when a large number joined the patronal festival celebrations at the Church of St Mary, Corringham, in Essex, to subscribe on July 5th.

Representatives of the League visited Corringham for more parish celebrations of the historic centenary on July 14th, but in the meantime 40 or so members and friends gathered at St Magnus the Martyr by London Bridge, for decades the parish of which the co-founder had been the highly evangelistic Fr Henry Joy Fynes Clinton had been rector, and for many more years the spiritual home of the Catholic League.

The mass was celebrated by the present rector, Fr Philip Warner. The rite was that known now as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in English translation. This is the rite that Fynes Clinton believed was the only legitimate rite canonically approved for Catholics - not because he was imitating the Roman Catholics but because of a deep spirit of ecumenical sharing in the hope of complete and corporate reunion in the Catholic faith. For Fynes Clinton, all other rites were either state imposed or the church sanctioned versions with elements of Latin rite usage bore no legitimacy either under canon law or civil statute. It was slightly ironic to worshippers that it was the Anglican centenary celebration that followed the rite of the Latin Church, while it was the Catholic celebration that followed the rite recently approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, incorporating elements of historic Anglican liturgical patrimony. Seemingly, we have got to the point where both are Anglican and both are Catholic.

The preacher was the Revd Canon Dr Robin Ward, Principal of St Stephen's House in Oxford. Fr Ward as a young man had attended St Mary's, Corringham, from his family home not far away in Essex. The text of his homily is in another post.

The mass began at noon by singing the Angelus to the much loved tones familiar to many Anglo-Catholics. The readings for a Votive Mass for the Unity of Christians were Ephesians 4. 1-6 and 13-21, and Jon 17, 1 and 11-23. The Prayer for the Church was offered by Fr Chris Stephenson, Priest Director of the Apostleship of Prayer and Members' Secretary.

The proper and other music were as follows:
  • Introit: Deus in loco sancto - God is in his holy habitation
  • Mass No. 8 in B flat, by Paolo Giorza - including a Gloria 23 minutes long!
  • Gradual: For all they that look for thee
  • Alleluia: The Lord hath sent redemption unto his people
  • Offertory Hymn: Thy hand, O God, has guided, by Edward Hayes Plumptre, 1821-1891, to the tune, Thornbury, by Basil Harwood
  • Communion: Amen dico vobis - Verily I say unto you.
  • Communion Motet: Beati quorum via, by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
  • Final Hymn: Firmly, I believe and truly, by Blessed John Henry Newman, to the tune, Shipston, arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams
At the reception lunch that followed, there were present several who had taken part in the 60th and 75th Anniversary Celebration and who had brought souvenirs of those occasions. We hope to post some pictures of them. We were also delighted to welcome Fr David Rollins, rector of Corringham.

After lunch, Judge Michael Yelton delivered the second Centenary Lecture: The Quest for Unity - 100 Years of the Catholic League. The text is given in a separate post.

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