Sunday 5 November 2017

Saints of England

Back in the day there was in the Church of England's Calendar a celebration on November 8th for "Saints and Martyrs of England". The propers for that day came under "Group Commemorations" in 'Lesser Festivals and Holy Days' .. and you might have used those same propers just nine days earlier to celebrate (commemorate?) The Reformation. The Collect was unspecific: "Almighty God, you call your witnesses from every nation and reveal your glory in their lives. Make us thankful for their example and strengthen us by their fellowship that we, like them, may be faithful in the service of your kingdom.' Luther, I suppose, and Zwingli and the rest. So far, so bland.

Alolng Offa's Dyke
It is perhaps part of our Patrimony that has us (in the Ordinariate) celebrating a Feast on Wednesday next called simply "All Saints of England" (or if you are across Offa's Dyke "All Saints of Wales"). So I started researching the propers for the day. Maybe the Ordinariate web site could help? That simply announces Whilst we await the publication of the Divine Worship Missal, Ordinariate Groups and Missions have access to the Order of Mass and the Ordinariate Calendar but not to the Propers
The Ordinariate Missal is kept in St Osmund's, to which I do not have ready access, and the Lectionary is an American publication so misses out anything specifically English (such as the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham); not much joy there, I suspect. If there ARE propers in the Ordinariate Missal I shall, of course, use them. Meanwhile a little liturgical ingenuity (another part of the Patrimony?) might be required.

Now the Irish are pretty good at keeping up their national end. They have, in the Roman Missal, propers for All Saints of Ireland on November 6th. Readings, Psalm &c can happily be lifted from this, recast in RSV (American Catholic) usage and printed off. Prayers will have to be 'thee-d' and thou-d' to fit in with the Ordinariate's notion of Tudor English, but it will probably work.

Someone's notion of Tudor architecture
Still I have a conundrum over the collect. There are two given us in the Customary, a third is in a collection called "supplement of Canticles and Collects", then there is the Irish one. Here they are for you to compare and contrast.
1. (Ireland) Lord, grant us your grace more abundantly as we keep the feast of all the saints of our land; we rejoice to be their countrymen on earth, may we merit to be their fellow-citizens in heaven.
2. (Customary #1) We beseech thee, O Lord, to multiply thy grace upon us who commemorate the Saints of our nation:that, as we rejoice to be their fellow-citizens on earth, we may have fellowship also with them in heaven.
3. (Customary#2) O God, whom the glorious company of the redeemed adore, gathered from all times and places of thy dominion: we praise thee for the Saints of our own land, and for the lamps that were lit by their holiness; and we beseech thee that, at the last, we too may be numbered among those who have done thy will and declared thy righteousness.
4.(Customary supplement)  Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God; that we may in all things be comforted by the intercession of holy Mary, Mother of God, of all the holy Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors and Virgins, and all the Saints of England; and that like as we do call to mind* their godliness of life; so we may be effectually defended by their help.

No D----d merit
I expect Fr Hunwicke will tell me exactly what I MIGHT have done; and I expect Mgr Andrew will instruct me in what I SHOULD have done. And others will complain that I am washing linen in public (though it seems pretty clean to me).
If I had a choice, I think 2 is favourite: just a straightforward bit of half-timbering applied to the Irish collect, with no mention of MERIT (it was King Edward VII, I think, who said he liked the Order of the Garter above other decorations because "there was no d-mn-d merit in it".) 4 is altogether too florid and wordy, and makes the Saints of England (whom we are celebrating) just an appendage to the Glorious Company of the Apostles ktl. But I expect I shall use it, since it seems to be the one we are meant to use at Mass that day. Oh dear - Cranmer was alway so much more succinct.

*'as we do call to mind' indeed! Very Tudor-bethan; very half-timbered. Why not just "as we recall"or "as we remember". And what does "effectually" add to the sense in this prayer? Grrr.