Saturday, 28 January 2012

Another Angle, and Another New Catholic

Since the celebrations on 15 January, when the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham marked its first year of existence with Solemn Evensong, Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction at St James's Spanish Place, many of us have seen a good number of rather striking pictures of this fine church.

The set of pictures that can be found through this link are stunning, and as Fr Colven remarked in his Rector's Parish Notes for St James's last week, make the church seem even more beautiful and even larger than it is.  Fr Edwin Barnes has posted some photos taken from his vantage point at the front of church that night which are also very much worth looking at.  We still hope that we will be able to put up some further photos of the service itself, and of the reception that followed, and will keep you posted. 

There are some many other fine photos of St James's in circulation, including on the parish website and here in one of our previous blogposts (including some video footage).

Lovely as all of these pictures are, they all focus on the admittedly rather stunning chancel and on the main body of the church.  There are of course other parts of this fine building that merit a closer look, not least the very beautiful Lady Chapel. 

The church tour section of the parish website includes a short description of the Lady Chapel thus:

Described as being " without a peer in the land " the chapel contains a reredos of the highest artistic merit. Designed by J.F. Bentley, the architect of Westminster Cathedral, the delicately carved and gilded wood with its angels and their musical instruments, its vine plants and grapes, provided the perfect setting for the painting of the Immaculate Conception. This painting, a copy of the Murillo, was presented to the church by the Count de Torre Diaz. Beneath it the nine panels contain representations of outstanding Old Testament figures.

On the right of the entrance is a statue of St Anne bearing on her arm the Virgin Mother and Child. This wooden statue is 15th century German.
Earlier this week, as it were "live from St James's", we spotted some rather good pictures of the Lady Chapel at St James's being posted on Facebook by friend of the Marylebone Ordinariate Group, keen supporter of the Ordinariate, Knight of Malta and parishioner of St James's, Eoghain Murphy.  The photos were taken at a Mass on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, one of the Masses held regularly by the Order of Malta (whose help was so gratefully received at the Ordinariate's recent anniversary celebrations) at St James's.  Many thanks to Eoghain for his kind permission to reproduce his pictures.

The Celebrant seen in the pictures is Fr David Irwin, one of the St James's parish clergy, who happens to be the former Vicar of the Anglican parish of St Andrew's Willesden.  By co-incidence, this week's parish notes at St James's announce the imminent reception of another former Vicar of St Andrew's Willesden into the Catholic Church :
Thursday of this week (2nd February) is the feast of the PRESENTATION of the Lord in the Temple, often known as CANDLEMASS. The usual Masses will be celebrated at 7.15am & 12.30pm, and the 6pm will be sung by the choir: candles will be blessed before each Mass (please gather at the back of the church beforehand). During the evening Mass a former Anglican priest will be received into the full communion of the Church: it will be a joy for us to welcome him.

Do please try to come along to support Scott Anderson as he joins the Catholic Church, and if you cannot, please do offer intercession for him, and for all those preparing to to join the Catholic Church in the next few months.

The Ordinariate has started well, and will continue to grow.  How blessed we all are to have as Holy Father a man such as Pope Benedict, whose vision for Unity and whose profound knowledge of Newman and of Anglo-Catholicism are helping us all to achieve such great things.

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