Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


The Conventual Mass on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul was celebrated by Father David Irwin as a sung Mass in the (rather crowded) Lady Chapel of St James's Spanish Place, in the presence of the Grand Prior. A schola of members of the Order and Companions was led by the Chancellor, Fra' Duncan Gallie. 

The Mass was said for the intention of the repose of the soul of Fra' Richard Cheffins, and the intention for the living for a friend of a member of the Order in great distress. Your prayers are requested for both.

As this feast closes the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, a cause so very dear to the heart of the Sovereign Pontiff, the Octave prayers for all those Christians outside Holy Mother Church were said after the Mass, before the singing of the Inviolata.

In the oecumenical spirit which befits this glorious Feast, it is worth recording that at the customary Papal Vespers on this day at the basilica of St Paul without the Walls, the Anglican representative was a member of our separated brothers in the Venerable Order of Saint John, Canon Richardson, who attended in his Order choir dress, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury. Vatican television has a recording of Vespers available HERE.
Canon Richardson sits below the papal throne at the left, while on the far right is
His Eminence Metropolitan Gennadios, representing the Oecumenical Patriarch.
It is worth noting that Vespers was sung entirely to the traditional gregorian chant, and the Faithful joined in throughout singing alternatim with the choir. No patronising concessions were made to congregational singing, for instance the very complex tone of the office hymn was sung by everyone, and it was thus proven how well the Faithful will sing even unfamiliar tones when encouraged to do so. It is a joy for the Grand Priory of England to have such a noble lead to follow in the excellence of the Sacred Liturgy and music!
Let us pray: O God, in Thy mercy thou dost set aright those who have gone astray and Thou dost save those whom Thou hast gathered together. We beseech Thee to pour down upon all Christian people the grace of union with Thee, so that putting aside disunion and attaching themselves to the true shepherd of Thy Church, they may be able to serve Thee humbly and lovingly. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

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