Friday, 29 September 2006


Angelum pacis Michael ad istam
Caelitus mitti rogitamus aulam,
Nobis ut crebro veniente crescant
Prospera cuncta

Angel all peaceful, to our dwelling send us,
Michael, from heaven coming to befriend us,
Breathing serenest peace may he attend us
Grim war dispelling.

(from today's Hymn, Christe, sanctoruum decus Angelorum)

Today is not only an important feast in the Church's year but also the traditional start of Autumn - the autumn term at Oxford, Cambridge and a handful of other Universities is still called 'Michaelmas.' St Michael was an appropriate Autumn saint, protecting the children of God from the growing darkness that will only be broken at Christmas with the birth of the Light of the World.

Today is also the 150th anniversary of the opening of the original church here in Kingsland. The opening was a rather grand occasion - Pontifical High Mass was celebrated by Bishop Roskall of Northampton in the presence of Cardinal Wiseman, who 'delivered a most striking and eloquent discourse from the steps of the altar in which he drew a most eloquent contrast between the angelic administrations recorded in Scripture and the Old and New Testament Law respectively.'

After Mass there was a grand luncheon, followed by Pontifical Vespers, presided over by the Cardinal. Dr Manning (future Cardinal) preached and Bishop Roskall gave Benediction. The Fathers of the London Oratory assisted with the Sacred Liturgy and, as noted before, a hymn specially written for the occasion by Fr Faber was sung (There are many saints above).

Quite a day - with the involvement of three of the great figures of nineteenth century English Catholicism (Wiseman, Manning and Faber). The church no longer exists - a pity since the architect was Mr Wardell, also responsible for the splendid Cathedrals of Sydney and Melbourne.

I shall be celebrating Mass this afternoon in our primary school, which is near the site of the original church, but I've got a feeling the liturgy will not be quite as grand as that of 150 years ago!

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