Feast of St. Matthias, apostle and martyr, 2010

Friday, 14 May 2010

Entrance Ecce Sacerdos (Edward Elgar, 1857-1934)
Christ is made the sure foundation
Kyrie Missa de Angelis (Mass VIII)
Gloria Missa de Angelis
Psalm Ps 112 (mcb/Steel)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Alleluia (chant)
Preparation of the Gifts My soul proclaims the Lord my God
Sanctus, Acclamation A, Amen Missa de Angelis & Missal tones
Agnus Dei Missa de Angelis
Communion Come to me (Martin Barry/Diane Murden)
Ave Verum Corpus (William Byrd, c. 1540-1623)
Postcommunion O Bread of Heaven
Recessional Hail Queen of Heaven

The cathedral was packed with priests and people for a farewell visit from Bishop Mark Davies, of these parts, recently appointed as Coadjutor Bishop of Shrewsbury. We greeted him and Bishop Terence with Elgar’s Ecce Sacerdos. It’s a delightfully understated and thoughtful setting – surprisingly so for Elgar – of what could simply be a moment of bombast. I’d have felt much less comfortable greeting the new Bishop with Bruckner’s version, trombones and all.

The feast of St Matthias perhaps isn’t at all a bad day to greet someone summarily appointed to high office. The responsorial psalm from the Lectionary gave us pause for thought at the planning stages: should we stick with the Lectionary response The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people, or go with the response appointed for this psalm when it occurs on a Sunday (the twenty-fifth in Ordinary time of Year C) Praise the Lord, who raises the poor? We stuck with the response of the day, but we still had to sing the verse

From the dungheap he raises the poor
to set them in the company of princes.

The lesson, I'm sure, was not to take any of it too personally.

Many of the musical choices were those of Bishop Davies. The people sang the Missa de Angelis with gusto, showing that it’s by no means extinguished from popular memory.

Credit, finally, to the new bishop, in his priestly days a refusenik from the celebrant’s sung role, but now counting the requirement to sing among the responsibilities of office. And turning out, what’s more, to have a fine singing voice.


  1. I believe that the same dungheap psalm (though a different setting) will be sung at the Mass for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman in September.

  2. Yes, that's right - the Beatification Mass is due to take place on the 25th Sunday in ordinary time. My sources tell me the music will include a new setting of the psalm by Paul Wellicome.