I’ve spent the last couple of days in scenic Portland, Maine, where I gave the keynote address to the Northeastern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchreof Jerusalem.
They held the investiture Mass Saturday afternoon at Portland’s lovely Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Before Mass, we gathered in the cathedral rectory to vest. I noted that the doorframe in the dining room bore the markings from Epiphany. :-)
I have never seen a bigger sacristy in my life.
But it almost wasn’t big enough for the crowd of clergy.
It was a liturgy that I can only describe as awe-inspiring. (I told someone after, “It was so good, it was almost Anglican!”)
The celebrant and homilist was Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
The processional was “Lift High the Cross”; with hundreds filing in, including numerous concelebrating clergy, it took us through all 10 verses—most of which you never hear, including the triumphal conclusion:
“Worlds to be born and children yet to be, Come, take up this song into eternity…”
But a high point for me was the recessional, which was a piece of music that was new to me—though, I suspect, not new to many members of the Order or to a significant number of Protestants, who know this as part of their canon.
It’s“The Holy City,“ by Stephen Adams and Frederic Weatherly. Wikipedia describes it as a “Victorian hymn dating from 1892.” You’ll find a lot of recordings on YouTube, from people like The Three Tenors and Charlotte Church. The rendition I heard in Portland knocked it out of the park, with full choir, timpani and trumpets. But here’s a good runner up, from The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (Hear how the soloist, evidently overcome with the emotion, chokes up in the last two minutes.)
The day concluded with a celebratory dinner.
My generous and gracious hosts for all this were the Lieutenant, Sir John Monahan and his wife, Lady Cynthia. I’m not overstating it when I say it was a weekend I’ll never forget. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of it.
Deus lo vult!