Saturday, 28 April 2007

St George's Day - Mass and Reception

Some images from the Feast of St George, last Monday. Mass was celebrated in the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs, by Dom Cuthbert Johnson, Abbot of Quarr. At a reception following Mass, the polite conversation and tinkling glasses of guests were suddenly interrupted by the clarion tones of Geoffrey Streatfeild delivering the great Agincourt Speech of King Henry V ("...Cry God for Harry, England, and St George!!). Geoffrey will play King Henry V at Stratford in the Royal Shakespeare Company's autumn production.

We were then addressed by Clare Asquith, author of the bestseller Shadowplay, about Shakespeare's Catholic roots. Clare demonstrated how many of the Bard's poems only make sense if one understands the coded references to Catholicism in them - a sort of Da Vinci Code in reverse.

Tom Phillips (here seen on coversation with Abbot Cuthbert) then spoke about the influences behind his design for the mosaics of the chapel, which you can view here. The designs focus on Eric Gill's altarpiece, where the crucified Christ yet reigns triumphant. From this image radiate rays of light, emphasised by the inscription drawn from the Martyrs' picture in the English College, "I have come to send fire on the earth." Accordingly, the names of the martyrs who bore witness to the call of the Lord appear in flame on the ceiling. On the back wall, the image of the Tyburn gibbet echoes that of the cross in the altarpiece, and reminds the worshipper of the proximity of this place of execution, where so many of our martyrs suffered.

It was a thrilling evening, and a fascinating tribute to the men and women who gave their lives for their Catholic faith, and an exciting launch to the appeal for the mosaics.


Your correspondent even ended up being serenaded by two of England's fair daughters!
mmmm

7 comments:

Joee Blogs said...

Great fiddlebacks! I'm doing a photo-diary of Quarr of my visit a couple of weeks ago! It was absolutely brilliant! Quarr's cool.

st columba said...

Clare Asquith was on our local Catholic radio station talking about her book and theory. I must say that she was very convincing.

RP Burke said...

Very interesting, the use of the old-fashioned "Roman" vestments. In my visit to your cathedral quite some time ago (mid 1980s) I had the impression you were more classical than traditional, and here in the states only hard-core traditionalists -- the sort who are frothing at the mouth at the thought of a new papal decree allowing any priest to say the 1962 Mass anywhere regardless of what his bishop says -- use the old-style vestments.

John the organist said...

What was the serenade? "Only a rose"?

Administrator said...

John, I certainly felt like a thorn between two roses!

Judith said...

Or Cinderella and the Ugly Sisters? I can say this with impunity as I am the Dark Lady of the photo and have known the Mystery Blonde for nearly twenty years.

n&j said...

So did you get back to Clergy House before the clock struck midnight? ;-)