Tuesday 24 May 2016

Mass in Belgium

 The Entrance Procession of Knights and Dames led by the thurifer.
At least they know how to swing a thurible in Belgium.
Introibo ad altare Dei.

The Grand Priory of the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg held a splendid Mass in the city of Numur, capital of the Province of Wallonia last weekend, to which their Grand Prior, Damien Van Bellinghen had kindly invited me.
There are a few photos below but many more over at the 

 Mass was celebrated by Archpriest of the Cathedral, 
Canon Jean-Marie Huet.

 Grand Masters of the Order past and present.

H.E. Cev. Matthew Jackson, Grand Secretary, reads the Epistle.

Chaplain to the Order, Don Cyrille Bachelfort, 
proclaims the Gospel and preaches.

The Investiture is announced.

 Blessing the Insignia for the new members.

The Grand Master welcomes Abbé Serge de Cauwer as a new Chaplain.

 The splendid Cathederal of St Aubain.
Interestingly, in 1908 it was a Belgian architect,
Charles Ménart,
who used the cathedral as his inspiration for 
St Aloysius Church, in Glasgow
(which has a fine depiction of St Lazarus in its mortuary chapel).

 The music for the Mass was sung by Les Petite Chanteurs de Belgique.

A great pity, as in so many cases, that the architectural splendour of the Cathedral has been liturgically rather compromised by ignoring the focus around which the architect constructed it - the high altar. The usual bland platform and rather mini-altar have been installed, leaving the actual high altar as no more than picturesque scenery, which would be a much more suitable seat for the drama of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Mass setting was composed by this young man,
Mario Macedo from Brazil,
Missa Sancti Lazari.
A wonderful setting based on plainchant
but with added harmonies and embellishments.

 The (surely exhausted) singers.

Statue reliquary of Saint Aubain
Silver beaten and chiselled, Namur 1718.

For those who may not have come across St Aubain before. He was born in 360 in the Greek island of Naxos, Aubain. Around 380AD he visited St. Ambrose of Milan, who sent him into Gaul as a missionary priest in charge of the fight against the Arian heretics who denied the divinity of Jesus and were condemned by the Council of Nicaea in 325. With missionary zeal Aubain worked in France before reaching 404 in Mainz, Germany, always ready to defend the truth of Christ, professed in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed. Hunted by the heretics, he was beheaded at Mainz in 406, and his relics were brought to Namur in the 11th century. It has been said of him that he had died of loyalty to the this phrase of the Creed in particular and especially to the reality it expresses:

“God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father.”

With thanks to François de Ribaucourt for kind permission to use his photographs.

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