A Saturday Farewell & a Sunday Celebration

On the last Sunday of September the Diocese of Amiens in northern France celebrates in honour of its first Bishop, St Firmin, whose relics are kept in the cathedral (which is, I think, the largest Gothic cathedral in France). In the parishes Mass is celebrated on Saturday evening and the priests and people assemble in Amiens for Mass on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday – weatherwise a glorious day – the Bishop of Amiens concelebrated Mass in the Cathedral with his clergy and a congregation of about 1,000. From 10.30 in the morning there had been music, drama and dancing in the square at the west end of the Cathedral, and a shared lunch.

The participation of the congregation was devout and enthusiastic, aided by the French custom of the ‘animateur’ who leads the singing indicating the notes to the people and where they should join in. I find though, that I miss the hymn singing tradition of the English. Most French liturgical music comes from the period after the Council, and there is a certain ‘sameness’ about it. I recall attending the Grande Messe at Notre Dame de Paris in 1969, when the Ordinary of the Mass was still the Latin de Angelis setting, once so well-known in France. A small choir in the west gallery sang the Gloria and the Creed alternate verses with the people. The mighty Cavaille-Coll organ shook the building as it accompanied the singing of the vast congregation. I wished we had heard more of the Amiens organ, and rather less of the electric piano. Still, it was quite an occasion and Mgr Leborgne presided and preached with his usual enthusiasm and verve.



About Scott Anderson

Formerly an Anglican priest (ordained 1975) received into the Catholic Church in February 2012, and ordained to the Diaconate on 27th July 2013. I took early retirement, and divide my time between London and northern France. I am deeply committed to the Ordinariate as a gift of the Holy Spirit in the search for unity. Like many Ordinariate members I feel a personal gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict, together with loyalty to our Holy Father, Pope Francis. My blog tries to make a small contribution to the growth of the Ordinariate by asking questions (and proposing some answers) about the 'Anglican Patrimony'. I have always been fascinated by the whole issue of growth and decline, and therefore concerned for appropriate means of evangelisation in western Europe. I believe that the Holy Spirit is constantly renewing the People of God and that we must be open to him. My love of music and motorcycles will occasionally surface in my posts. On Saturday 19th October 2013, I was ordained to the Priesthood at Most Precious Blood, Borough, by the Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, for the service of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. I continued to serve the Ordinariate group and Parish at Most Precious Blood until the end of 2014. Subsequently, I helped in the care of the Ordinariate Groups at Hemel Hempstead and Croydon, and in the Archdiocese of Southwark, until the beginning of September 2015. With the agreement of my Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, the Bishop of Amiens appointed me Administrator of the Parish of Notre Dame des Etangs (Pont Remy) in Picardie, France. This appointment is to last for a year, to give the Bishop the opportunity to assess the future of the parish.
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