Friday, 27 March 2015

Requiem fit for a (Catholic) King

Thought I'd post some photos of Mass last night - our Requiem for King Richard III. There was a great turnout, with people coming from across the Pennines in Yorkshire, local folk who had heard about it but were not Catholics and members of the Richard III Society, as well as LMS members and parishioners.  After Mass - with full Umph! from organist David-Scott-Thomas - we all thoroughly enjoyed singing a rousing rendition of Jerusalem! Followed by a themed buffet with such tasty morsels as Yorkshire pudding with venison sausage or duck in port sauce, Pye of pork meat made with paest royall, Ribbes of beef, Quail eggs and roasted chicken calf. So together with Traditional Latin Mass and good food and wine, we felt that we gave King Richard a properly Catholic send off. This was rather the point of the exercise, as my own stand is that wherever he was re-interred, it should really have been in a Catholic setting. He lived as a Catholic (including whatever sins he may - or may not have committed) he died as a Catholic and was exhumed from a Catholic burial site. 


A special mention must be made of the music - the singing Quartet was excellent.

The rest are all photos of the Absolutions and procession out. I think the photographers - Mike and Alan (thank you!) were sensible of not taking too many photos during the actual Mass, while they and others were praying.

Some final points, before any comments get posted:

1. Music and vestments were not an historically accurate recreation of the Sarum Rite circa 1485. We are the living Church not an historical re-enactment society.

2. Yes, I did remove the veils on the sanctuary statues just for this Mass.

3. Yes, there were some flowers in evidence despite Lent and it being a Requiem.

After all, it wasn't a Requiem Mass in quite the usual way and, having consulted others, decided that the occasion warranted such extravagances!


Gadfly said...

A little bird tells me that the Franciscans who buried Richard III would have used the Roman Missal, not the Sarum (which would have been almost identical with the Mass that you offered).

Unknown said...

A fitting requiem for a Catholic King which is what he should have been given instead of what took place in Leicester. Even though it was a requiem it was a very uplifting occassion.Well done to all who made it possible.

The Modern Medievalist said...


I thank you for sharing these. Aside from Jerusalem, may I ask what Mass Ordinary and any other items of note in the musical repertory you used?

I circulated some of these images, with a link to this post, on my own blog in the course of a series of articles relating to the late king here.

And yes, Simon makes a good point that I hadn't thought of before: the Greyfriars proooooobably used the Roman Missal. Good catch there.

David O'Neill said...

Well done Fr Simon. I too would be interested in knowing which Ordinary & Proper you used

Fr Simon Henry said...

The Proper & Ordinary were by the Italian composer Claudio Casciolini (1697 - 1760). Polyphony to enhance the chant and make it more interesting but not too florid. There was a motet at Communion - Byrd's "Ave Verum Corpus". It seemed to go down very well indeed, and was beautifully executed, judging by the comments afterwards.

Anthony Dickinson said...

Thank you for the questions about music. I am Father Henry's ‘music man’ at St Catherine's and I looked after the musical arrangements last evening.

The music was:

Before Mass: an organ prelude by Percy Whitlock.

The full ordinary and proper was sung from Claudio Casciolini's ‘Missa pro defunctis’.

The motet at the communion was Ave Verum by William Byrd.

The recessional hymn was Jerusalem by Parry.

The concluding voluntary was the March Imperial by Sir Edward Elgar.

This very accessible setting of the Requiem contained everything from start to finish for an SATB quartet in the a 17th century style. Anachronistic the music may have been BUT as Father said, we were not re-enacting, we were prayerfully celebrating a Mass for the Repose of the Soul of an English Catholic Monarch. All the music (IMHO) conveyed those sentiments.

I would like to say (before anyone comments) that I am well aware of all the rubrics for music at Requiem Masses. Indeed all other EF Requiems at St Catherine’s are conducted according to those rubrics i.e. no organ, no vernacular hymns etc. Last evening was something quite special and that was why, following the discussions prior to the occasion, we did what we did.

I must also say that the setting was probably the most suitable (apart from the Chant Requiem) for the church building, in which the Mass was celebrated. We are limited by space, acoustic (or lack of) and resources and we provided the very best that we could given all those limitations. The comments after Mass appeared favourable. I only heard one negative comment relating to the setting of the Dies Irae alternating between chant and polyphony.

Fr Simon Henry said...

A negative comment? That I cannot have! The VERY IDEA!