One day, two ordinations. A day of congruities and contrasts. To Westminster Cathedral for the ordination of four priests. The opening procession was a tidal wave of concelebrants. The music was Victoria, Missa Ave maris stella sung by the men’s voices of the choir. The Litany of the Saints included Sts John Henry Newman, Mary Mackillop, Josephine of Bakhita, and Theresa of Calcutta to attest to the backgrounds of the ordinands. It lasted 2.5 hours which included every concelebrant laying on hands and, similarly, offering the ordinands the sign of peace individually. The cathedral thundered at the recessional: Grand choeur dialogué by Gigout on the grande orgue. The Cardinal Archbishop preached a fine sermon, as did the Bishop of Fulham later in the day at the ordination at St Andrew’s Holborn. The musical thunder came early with the Messe Solennelle by Vierne. Although among my favourites, did Vierne ever wonder whether God appreciated being shouted at so loudly in the Kyries? Were He not the final tribunal, God may have had a case for musical harassment. Here the laying on of hands by the clergy was shared with the bishop in the loose scrum that passes for Anglican liturgy. It did, however, save time and we were out in 1.5 hours. Congratulations to the newly ordained.


Another day, another ordination. This time three new deacons were ordained in S. Andrew’s Holborn: Andrew Bailey for St Peter, London Docks; John Hillman for St Mary the Virgin, Stanwell and St Matthew, Ashford; Stephen Miller for St Luke, Hammersmith and St Matthew, Hammersmith. The Archdeacon of London presented the candidates, among them his son, to the Bishop of Fulham, who was a contemporary of the Archdeacon at S. Stephen’s House, where two of the three neophyte deacons trained. The presence of the present Principal of the House made an impressive trinity. This time the setting was Herbert Howells, Collegium Regale. The Director of Music was James McVinnie; the organ was played by Matthew Jorysz. Another musical as well as liturgical feast. A tip of the biretta to Fr James Wilkinson, MC and only begetter of the seamless choreography. One of the good things about both ordinations was that the necessary oaths and declarations were made before the service. Like so much of quasi-state liturgy, however sonorous the prose, it stultifies and stupefies.