It’s me again – now for the continuation ………………… after a somewhat hectic week the time was drawing nearer and people started to arrive at 4pm to make sure that they had the best seats in the house – hope no fighting took place?
Well as time went on and 5pm drew nearer and nearer there was a real sense of expectation and happiness of what was coming up……. as people were settling into their places WE the community were gathering outside of the workroom with lighted candles. The clergy vested in the workroom and the community led the procession with the clergy following behind, I slipped into my procession place in front of the Archbishop (of all things) and His Grace the Archbishop was the last. Peter on the Organ excelled himself once more with the music opening up with a fan fare followed by the 1st Hymn – I chose: I the Lord of Sea and Sky……, this meant a great deal to me for various reasons but 2 are that it was one we learnt of by heart when i first came into the church and we had a youth meeting at our Cathedral in Nottingham, the 2nd is because we sang it in Lourdes on one visit and i was then discerning a vocation and it stuck in me like anything!
Well i then slid into the prepared prie-deux in the middle of the choir (with all eyes on me – centre stage or what), we then had 4 Old testament readings and sung responsorial psalms, followed by the New Testament reading and Gospel. I had to try and space out everything evenly and i think we did so, i had various people from other Benedictine houses doing two of the readings, one person who is an Oblate of our did a reading also. Our own community had various parts to play. After all this the Archbishop said his Homily which included:
Tonight we keep Vigil in a liturgy that is reminiscent of the Easter Vigil we celebrated on Holy Saturday seven weeks ago. Then we were at the beginning of Eastertide and now we are approaching not so much its end as its fulfilment. In our Vigil at Easter we reflected on our journey with Christ through baptism into his death and resurrection. On the Eve of Pentecost the Church once more offers us an itinerary of faith accompanying the People of God through specially chosen scripture readings.
St Mary’s Abbey has never been hidden away or remote from the needs of the Church and the world, but the concerns of Church and world have been at the heart of its daily life of prayer. That is why the diocesan family is united with you at this time of blessing in gratitude for all that has been achieved through your prayers. We realise that you are united with the Church in her mission to bring God’s Holy Spirit to all the peoples.
Pentecost Eve is a most appropriate occasion for an Abbatial Blessing and I am grateful that Mother Davina and the monastic community here were happy to agree to this feast for our gathering with them. The presence of the Holy Spirit makes the blessing of the Church the blessing of God. The readings of this Vigil give us some significant insights into the nature and the fruitfulness of the blessing which we will call upon Mother Davina and her sisters tonight.
This is only just a few lines of what was said, then i was presented to the Archbishop and has to answer some short questions before recieving the Holy Rule of St. Benedict, the Abbatial ring, and the Crozier. After this the Archbishop then led me back to my Choir Stall and Mass continued as usual. The Hymn during communion – I chose: Be still for the Presence of the Lord……
At the end of Mass all the community then had to go to the front of the choir with their lighted candles ~(yet again), and little me had to go with the Crozier and the community led the clergy out in procession, then the clergy followed by me (with crozier) and then the Archbishop! The end Hymn was another old time favourite – due to Lourdes and everything that meant to me it had to be none other than the Lourdes Hymn : IMMACULATE MARY! Then a sigh of relief! But despit all in all i wasn’t that nervous, Solemn Profession was more nerve wracking than this (well you do have to know your words off by heart and sing them all)…..
This won’t capture the general atmosphere but it’ll give the general idea and of course the Holy Spirit was certainly hovering above us at all times…….. next time watch out for the pics………