The Presentation of the Lord (2014)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Entrance, Blessing of Candles and Sprinkling Rite Christ, be our Light (Bernadette Farrell)
Gloria Mass of the Redeemer (mcb)
Psalm Ps 23 (mcb)
Gospel Acclamation Here in our Midst (Jones)
Preparation of the Gifts Nunc Dimittis (G.P. da Palestrina, c.1525-1594)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Belmont Mass (Christopher Walker)
Agnus Dei from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Communion Where two or three are gathered (Liam Lawton)
Postcommunion A song of the light (Simon Lole)
Recessional Tell out, my soul

Today was the first time since 2003 that the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) had fallen on a Sunday. The Missal calls for a procession with candles, but with the long-heralded building work finally under way in Cathedral House, it was judged that there was nowhere from which we could have processed into the Cathedral. The creative alternative was a blessing of all the candles (most of them still in their boxes) to be used during the coming year – evoking the annual blessing of the oils at the Mass of Chrism on Maundy Thursday. The candles are a link to our Baptism, Fr Anthony told us, and we underlined the connection with a sprinkling rite. The musical accompaniment was Christ, be our Light, which, I realised when the singing began, is a popular favourite up there with Hail, Queen of Heaven and Here I am, Lord. (A good indicator is when I try beginning with an unaccompanied choir verse, and the people take it up after a few notes. Jesus, remember me, on Good Friday, is also firmly in this league. What is it about songs with commas in their titles?)

Two Sundays in a row dealing with the theme of Christ, our Light, completely exhausted our supply of songs on the subject (though I wish I’d thought of Graham Kendrick’s Shine, Jesus, Shine). As well as the Farrell, we had a swift re-run of Simon Lole’s lyrical paraphrase of Hail, gladdening light, and Palestrina’s four-part Nunc Dimittis, in an edition from CPDL by Adrian Wall with an added editorial polyphonic setting of verse 3. We sandwiched Palestrina’s setting between repetitions of the chant antiphon for the blessing of candles in today’s liturgy, Lumen ad revelationem gentium, itself a line from the Nunc Dimittis:

A light for revelation to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

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