Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Parliamentary Links

Today sees two events that bear witness to our links with Parliament. At 5.30, we celebrate Mass in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft. This medieval fragment of the old Palace of Westminster was orginally the crypt chapel of St Stephen's, long since replaced by the present Houses of Parliament. It is an enormous privilege to be able to celebrate Mass there, as we do several times a year for MPs, Peers and and staff in the Palace of Westminster. As ever, the Mass provides a link not just with the Church throughout the world, but in every age, and we recall our forefathers who once worshipped at Mass in this chapel.

To arrive at the chapel, one passes through Westminster Hall, whose layers of history are especially poignant for a Catholic: St Thomas More, the Cathusian Martyrs, St Edmund Campion and so many others were tried and sentenced here.

The second event is a concert given in the Cathedral tonight by the Parliament Choir. Composed of members and staff in both Houses of Parliament, it is good to know that they can, when required, sing from the same hymn sheet! Or oratorio sheet - tonight they are performing Mendlessohn's Elijah.

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