Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Report on the Mass in London with the Portuguese Ambassador

A month ago, I posted on this special event, Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory, the Ordinariate parish in that part of London to honor the Portuguese Ambassador to the Court of St. James. The Ordinariate has now reported on the event here:

Several pews were filled with Portuguese children and adults dressed in colourful regional costumes; the music featured works by Portuguese as well as English composers and some of the prayers were in Portuguese.

Also present at the Mass were His Most Eminent Highness Fra' Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who is an honorary vice-president of the Friends of the Ordinariate, and His Excellency Fra' Ian Scott of Andross, Grand Prior of the Priory (Order of Malta) of England.

The church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory - which was dedicated to the life of the Ordinariate in 2013 - was built in the late eighteenth century on the site of a Catholic chapel which had served the Portuguese Embassy earlier that century, at a time when Catholic churches were not generally permitted in London.

The Mass, for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, was celebrated by the Rt Revd Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, who explained in his sermon that embassies built during those penal times - when Catholics were excluded from public life - provided a refuge for English Catholics at their time of need.The embassies, he said, provided priests and opportunities for Mass, which exceeded the particular needs of the Embassy staff. At one point, there were no fewer than five chaplains serving the Portuguese Embassy.

Mgr Newton went on: "I assume they did this because they shared a common faith, were in communion with their Catholic brothers and sisters and expressed that in a tangible way, which was entirely legal but also providential. That idea of communion with each other across the Catholic Church is at the very heart of what we celebrate today; our belief that we worship God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

Read the rest here and view pictures here.

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