Saturday, 18 September 2010

Mass in Westminster Cathedral...

I had planned to go in to the Media Centre this morning to watch the Mass and blog. Unfortunately, after standing on one spot for over two hours yesterday, my knee has stiffened up, and it was rather painful. I decided that, rather than lugging the computer, camera and mobile phone across London, I'd stay at home and watch it online... after all, the Media Centre was just showing either BBC News or Sky New on their TVs - I think there were a couple of other options, but not much - and I just wasn't in the mood to listen to banal commentary from either of those sources.

There was the added advantage of being able to have a cup of tea. Water was the only beverage on offer at the centre...

So, I settled down with the Papal Visit live webcast, and opened up Photoshop so I could save any screenshots which grabbed my attention, and then I opened up Tweetdeck on my mobile phone so that I could tweet away to my heart's content.


As expected, the Mass in Westminster was marked by beautiful music, and the Holy Father's vestments were simple but elegant. The vestments worn by the concelebrating priests were of a similar pattern, but they had a slight hint of the "horsehair blanket" look about them to me - the material didn't look quite as good.


I did get a little irritated by the cameraman's fascination with Tony and Cherie Blair before the Mass started, and was a little concerned that he'd keep returning to the pair during the Mass, but I needn't have worried. The coverage by the Papal Visit site had the distinct advantage of being without commentary - and, apart from a few glitches where the sound seemed to switch to that of the piazza outside the Cathedral, it was pretty good.


I was amused by this at the start of the Mass - the Holy Father's security detail flanked him as he passed the rows of priests, almost as if they expected trouble, and they looked as if they might even accompany him onto the Sanctuary... did they think that the Bishops of England and Wales might not be his biggest fans?



Pascal Uche had been entrusted with the task of welcoming the Holy Father on behalf of the young people gathered outside - about 2,500 of them, from every diocese in the country - and he gave a stunning speech. The crowd of young people cheered and screamed when the Holy Father appeared, and they really seemed to give the Pope an extra boost. That encounter has to be a highlight of the day for me - and it's definitely a swipe in the direction of all the Holy Father's detractors - non-Catholic and Catholic - who say that Pope Benedict is out of touch with the youth.

Ha! Eat my shorts, as Bart Simpson would say.


The Holy Father finished up by returning to the Cathedral to bless a mosaic of St. David, the Patron Saint of Wales, to light a candle before the statue of Our Lady of Cardigan and to give a short address to the people of Wales (since time didn't allow the Pope to visit Wales in person.)

Very moving.

The Prayer Vigil in Hyde Park has started - I saw a tweet to say that the Parish group from Our Lady of the Rosary has arrived safely - but the Holy Father has returned to the Nunciature in Wimbledon for lunch (and possibly a siesta) before he heads off to St. Peter's Residence, Vauxhall. That's a residential home for the elderly, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

I was planning to pop over to the Vigil for an hour or so, but there wouldn't be anywhere to sit at all, and I figure that I'll be better off continuing to rest the old knee. I'm attending a dinner in honour of the Holy Father's visit this evening, at Chislehurst Golf Club (which was the residence of the Emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie) so I shall be sure to bring my camera along to that...

6 comments:

Dominic Mary said...

As ever, Mac, a first-class coverage, for which many thanks from someone spending most of the day behind an office desk !

(And to be honest, I'm not convinced it could have been better had you been there . . . so a good choice.)

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Someone has to teach me how to make those snazzy screen caps.

Mac McLernon said...

Press [shift] [print screen] and paste it into a photo programme... Print screen is usually a function button to the right of F12 or thereabouts...

nazareth priest said...

Your comment made me want to make not just a "cuppa" but a whole "potta" teah!:-)!
Sounded very cozy for you!!
Like here...we watched every second we could...
just lovely; the Mass at Westminster Cath. was heavenly...and the after-wards; loved it...I believe my Hopkin relatives are Welsh; it meant a lot to see that blessing and prayer before our Lady of Cardiff.
This has been so enriching and powerful for me; I have blood from all the Isles of Great Britain and Ireland; I am so proud of our Catholic heritage, marred by history, but brought forward by this wondrous Pontiff!
Thanks, Mac!

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

...and on a Mac, Mac?

Mac McLernon said...

no, Hilary - I'm a PC girl...

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