Sunday, 1 April 2007

Uganda Chiefs visit the Cathedral - 1914

In 1914, Stanislaus Magwanya, one of the three regents during the minority of the young king of Uganda; Prince Joseph, cousin of the King, Alexis, Chief of the Province of Buddu, and Benedict, the regent's son, visited the Cathedral for Holy Week. It was, as the Westminster Cathedral Chronicle records, "an event of considerable interest in the development of Catholicism in the British Empire."

Educated by Mill Hill Missionaries, the Ugandan party were on a visit to London and Rome. Each morning they attended 7 o'clock Mass in the Cathedral, and several mornings Prince Joseph and the Regent's son served Mass with great devotion.

On Palm Sunday, they came in the their robes of State. The Chronicle records: "After the blessing of palms the Chiefs were led to the sanctuary to receive their palms from the Cardinal's hands immediately after the priests, such being the honour usually accorded by the church to those of royal rank. The immense congregation was surprised by such an unwonted sight."

After the ceremony, the Chiefs visited the Choir School. The Chronicle continues: "the choir boys, who were naturally delighted at such a visit, gathered round and said they would do their best in the singing during the week to give them pleasure. Our picture (above) shows Prince Joseph telling the choir boys how much he is enjoying his visit to England and the Cathedral."

On Tuesday of Holy Week, the party met the Colonial Secretary, and attended a debate on the House of Commons on the Government Bill for the Development of Uganda. The remainder of the week was devoted to attendance at the Holy Week services. The party then visited Rome, where they were presented to the Holy Father. The Cathedral Chroncile is struck by "their gentleness, refinement and kindliness of heart."


Hebdomadary said...

That's wonderful and remarkable. Have you uncovered any pictures or accounts of the (I think it was) 1908 Eucharistic Congress held in the Cathedral? It was indeed another wonderful and remarkable event. A painted iconostasis was drawn across the sanctuary, and the Divine Liturgy of St. John was sung by the Cathedral Choir in the language of church Slavonic, this from the memoir, "Westminster Retrospect," a reminiscence of Sir R.R. Terry's years as director of the Cathedral Choir. I came upon it twenty-five years ago in the library in San Diego, Ca, and it has inspired much of my sacred music making ever since.

Hebdomadary said...

P.S. You might want to bring that to the attention of Fr. Schofield, the archivist. He might know where the pictures are!

Mark Langham said...

Yes, we are planning some large events next year to mark the centenary of the Eucharistic Congress and we have quite an amount of literature and pictures on it (watch this space...). The information about the Divine Liturgy of St John is, however, news to me, and fascinating - many thanks.