Bishop George Stack administered the Sacrament of Confirmation according to the usus antiquior... I have to say that I find St. James' to be a very appropriate setting - lots of altars around the church, and gilded statues and votive candle stands... a feast for the senses! The interior is rather dark - they could probably do with more candles - but it just adds to the atmosphere. I did wonder whether any of my photos would come out - I don't use a flash during Masses or other church services, as I feel it is too intrusive. However, my trusty little camera didn't let me down, and, although I had to run the photos through Photoshop to lighten them a bit, the results were quite beautiful IMHO!
Having spotted the post by His Hermeneuticalness yesterday, I was aware that the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (previously known as the Transalpine Redemptorists) were bringing a postulant along to be confirmed, and that Fr. Anthony Mary was planning to say Mass after the service. I spotted one of the brothers among the congregation - he had a very snazzy camera - and promptly went over at the end of the service to find out where the Mass was going to be held.
The Mass quite took my breath away. I had been warned that Communion might not be given out - it was a private Mass - but I was keen to hear Mass anyway, and, as it happened, Communion was given out after all. The Lady Chapel was beautiful and the whole atmosphere intensely prayerful.
There were only a few people present for Mass - maybe because people didn't know about it (sadly, not everyone reads blogs!) I was interested to discover that the Reluctant Sinner had been among those present - but I can't figure out which one! After Mass I went down to the Crypt for a cup of tea - I hadn't planned to go down, but I was chatting to a couple of the brothers, and I figured that the vast majority of people would have left already (I'm not that good in crowds while on the crutches.) It also gave me the opportunity to take a photo of the brothers and Fr. Anthony Mary, FSSR. I was flattered to find out that they knew of my blog, and even got round to reading it on occasion! I was presented with a copy of the Calendar - and it really is beautiful. Advance copies can be obtained for £7 on Ebay, or via their blog.
I can heartily recommend subscribing to their paper - The Catholic Newspaper - which is an excellent read! The subscription button (it's a PayPal link) is in the sidebar on the left hand side of the blog, just above the live traffic feed. The brothers were truly wonderful men, full of joy and faith, and it was a real privilege to be able to meet them (after all, my chances of going over to Papa Stronsay for a retreat weekend are pretty slim...!)
As I left, I encountered Moira (whose blog I plugged in a previous post) and then I bumped into Fr. Armand de Malleray, FSSP... I'd never met him before, despite hearing so much about him, so it was fun to put a face to the name. It's also quite handy, as I shall be going to visit my sister over Christmas, and, since she lives in Pangbourne, I shall have to sort out a Mass to attend for the Sunday. It'll be a treat to go to the FSSP church (and means that I don't need to worry about encountering any happy-clappy liturgy to sour my Christmas spirit...) After I had bemoaned the fact that my sister isn't practicing the Faith, Fr. de Malleray advised me to pray to Blessed Dominic Barberi... as well as receiving Blessed Cardinal Newman into the Church, he also died in a train at Pangbourne Station...
All in all, a wonderful day...