Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Monday, 19 June 2017: Last Day in Manchester

So, my weekend of relaxing with Michael and Raven ended up being totally packed with wonderful experiences! I slept a bit late Monday morning, and then took a few hours in Manchester just chilling. Here are a few photos in the city center:

Sinclair's Oyster Bar from Plaza in front of Selfridge's Department Store, with tower of Manchester Cathedral in the background.
The Old Wellington

When I landed in Manchester back in 2010, Raven showed me around downtown, and we had a drink here a The Old Wellington, probably an Elizabethan building. I decided to have a good lunch there before going back to the Wenner's to start packing.

My flight home was uneventful. I flew Thomas Cook Airlines for the first time. I found them efficient, and the food was good. My only complaint was that the full cabin lighting stayed on the entire flight! There was no way I could sleep.

This trip spanned June 2nd through the 20th, a total of 18 days, including travel days. I didn't think I should take more time, but I think I really need a minimum of three weeks, including four weekends for future trips. Traveling is always an adventure for me - a balance between planning for some things and being ready for just about anything else along the way! This trip definitely lived up to that!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sunday, 18 June 2018: Feast of Corpus Christi at Manchester Ordinariate

After a really incredible day-trip to London with Fr. Starkie (and some family) and Raven, Sunday morning started early also. Mrs. Starkie drove to pick us up for Manchester Ordinariate Mission's Sunday Mass at St Joseph's Church, Heywood, which is on the other side of Manchester from Broadbottom. (One of the benefits of having both the OF and EF liturgical calendars is begin able to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi twice!)

Front entrance
Side entrance
Side entrance mosaic of St. Joseph
West entrance
Apse mosaic
North transept with choir loft and organ

Organ & console close-up

Mass was simple and elegant, with much singing from the small congregation. The husband/wife cantor/organist duo were very good. All of the music was from "The New English Hymnal" and "The English Gradual". At the end of Mass, we had a Eucharistic Procession to a side Altar for Benediction.

Fr. Starkie, me, and Raven
Mrs. Starkie and two daughters, and other members of the congregation
After Mass, we had some refreshments in the parish library, including tea and scones, served by the Starkie daughters.

Raven & Michael
Then we had a wonderful afternoon dinner and visiting at the Starkie's.

Mrs. Starkie drove us back home to Broadbottom at about 3:30. Once we got there, we had about 30 minutes to relax before Martin was to take us to the opening of "Virtuoso", a play in Manchester about a famous concert pianist, John Ogdon. This was opening night in a very quaint store-front theater/bar. Martin played two parts, one in the first act, and another in the second act. We really enjoyed it. 

Here is an older photo from the Manchester Ordinariate website:

Fr. Starkie (+ son, wife, and3 daughters), Raven, Msgr. Keith Newton

Saturday, 17 June 2017: Anglican Ordinariate Ceremony at St. James Spanish Place

St. James Catholic Church Spanish Place

Friday was a travel day, from Oxford to Broadbottom by way of Manchester. My plan was to just relax with my friends, Michael and Raven Wenner for a few days before returning to Charleston, but that was not exactly what happened. You'll see.

I do like using BritRail, although it is now a number of regional rail systems linked together in many respects, but independent in other respects. If you plan a trip, be careful to calculate how many trips you will use rail for, and compare the prices of individual tickets to any package deal of a "rail pass". In 2010, an 8-day pass saved me a few hundred dollars, but in both 2016 and 2017, I was much better off paying as I went.

I arrived at the Wenner's mid-afternoon, and had a nice visit for a while. Michael's son, Martin, was there until Raven returned from an afternoon at the local Catholic church. Then we walked to the pub for dinner. It being Friday, we all had fish, and it was very good! We retired early for the night since Raven and I needed to on the 7:15am train from Broadbottom to Manchester Picadilly, where we met Fr. Andrew Starkie and his family for the train to London. I had been in email contact with him for a couple of years, and this would be our first meeting.

Now, this was not in my original plan! Raven sent me an email about a week before I left for Milan, advising me that she had promised Fr. Starkie a year ago that she would accompany him to the Transitional Diaconate Ordination Mass, which just happened to be my Saturday in Broadbottom. I could have sat around the house and had dinner at the pub again, but I certainly wasn't going to pass up the chance to attend such a wonder Liturgy! And at St. James Spanish Place at that! So, back to London I went!

We all walked from Euston Station to the church, in plenty of time before Mass began.

Entrance at the side of the west front.
Nave and Sanctuary
The Altar
The pulpit
Cardinal Pell was scheduled to Ordain ten men to the Transitional Diaconate, but couldn't travel due to health reasons. Instead, Rt. Rev. Robert Byrne (Cong. Orat.), Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, performed the Sacrament. Of the ten men, two were seminarians and eight were former Anglican priests. All will be Ordained to the Catholic Priesthood during the next  year. 

The main organ and choir gallery in the south transept (Epistle side)
Antiphonal organ in the west gallery.
The musicians were from St. James. They sang the Mass setting "Collegium Regale" by Herbert Howells, originally composed for the chapel and choir of King's College Cambridge. The congregation joined in on the hymns:

Procession: "Praise to the Holiest in the Height" (tune: Somervell)
Offertory: "Crown Him with Many Crowns" (tune: Diademata)
Communion: "Soul of My Saviour" (tune: Anima Christi)
Final: "O Jesus, I Have Promised" (tune: Wolvercote)

We also joined in the chanting of the Gradual and Alleluia, both from "The Plainchant Gradual" (Wantage, St. Mary’s Press), which is what most of the Anglican Ordinariates are using for Propers.

The Candidates lying prostrate during the chanting of the Litany of the Saints
The Sacrament
The Recessional
There was a very nice reception in the undercroft, where I had a chance to chat briefly with Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary in the UK. We had met at Sacra Liturgia London in 2016, and been in contact via email.

Then we were all off, walking back to Euston Station for our return train to Manchester.

One parting shot - the entrance door:
Now, that's a hinge!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thursday, 15 June 2017: Feast of Corpus Christi at Oxford Oratory

Having set aside just one night of my 17-night trip for Oxford, and arriving mid-afternoon, I spent a couple of hours just taking in the sights. I did do some shopping at Blackwell Music Shop.

I had also figured out that I would be there for the traditional Thursday after Trinity Sunday feast of Corpus Christi. I also knew that there is an Oratory in Oxford, so I should be able to attend a really nice Mass. Indeed!

Oxford Oratory Church of St Aloysius Gonzaga.

The Oxford Oratory was originally a Jesuit church, built soon after the Catholic Emancipation Act in the mid 19th century.

The Sanctuary. (not quite as many statues as the Duomo!)
The pulpit.
Entrance doors' artwork: English Martys (L), Jesuit Saints (R).
Marian side chapel.

As to the Mass, I was definitely not disappointed! Once the prelude music was over, the Procession began with more organ music. As the ministers reached the Communion rail, the choir began chanting the Introit. I was absolutely in heaven, as I immediately recognized the organ accompaniment to be from Nova Organi Harmonia! The entire Mass was quite beautiful. I don't remember what Ordinary was sung - it may have been polyphonic. But the entire congregation joined in on the Credo III, which is traditionally paired with Missa XVIII, de Angelis. The surprise was that the organist accompanied it in a very romantic style, with lots of registration changes, varying in loudness and intensity. He began much like I would, but built a bit until the "incarnatus est", where he changed to the quietest Voix Celeste stops. From "Crucifixus" on, he built by adding stops, until at the "et unam , sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam" which he played in octaves, manuals and pedal. There really wasn't much more building he could do through the "Amen", but the whole experience was intense!

The choir loft and organ.

I met the organist afterwards and greatly complimented him. It turns out he has original copies of all seven volumes of Nova Organi Harmonia! He also kindly gave me a ride over to Christ Church, so I could make a 12-bell ringing practice. The bells in this tower were unringable back in 1980, so this was another new tower for me, and another new pub afterwards!

Thursday, 15 June 2017: London to Oxford

Early rise today! I had taken two loads of laundry Wednesday morning to be done about a half-mile away, and needed it for packing. It was during these morning hours that I decided that any future visits to London would be a minimum of seven nights - five just doesn't cut it! Once I was packed, I needed to leave my luggage at the front desk while I did two more errands: stopping at a bank and then Watts & Co., to be measured for the choir cassock I've wanted for a few years now.

Watts & Co., London
St. Barnabas Choir Cassock - except that mine will have yellow as a contrast, and I will be calling it my "Walsingham Choir Cassock".

J. Wipple & Co. is right next door.

Both Watts and Wipple are next door to each other, only a couple of blocks from Westminster Abbey.

Next step was to get to the Paddington Station to get a train to Oxford. I didn't get to Oxford till mid-afternoon, and I only had one night booked at St. Hugh's College, on the north side of the city.

Entrance and main building of St. Hugh's College, Oxford.
My room, a bit larger than London, very nice.
View from my room looking towards Banbury Road.
Chapel with organ loft.
The organ.

I really enjoyed my one night at St. Hugh's College. The all-you-can-eat breakfast is included in the B&B price. I had spent a fair amount of time in and around Oxford during my first trip abroad in 1980, but had skipped returning there in 2010 and 2016. It deserves at least four nights. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017: Hotel in Belgravia

I usually try to stay in university housing being provided as B&B when the students are gone. But school is still in session during the month of June, so I found an inexpensive hotel in Belgravia. This is a very up-scale area, and very convenient to everything in London. My hotel was only two blocks from Victoria Station, and just around the corner from Victoria Coach Station.

My room in the red circle. 70 steps - no elevator!
My room - very small, living out of my suitcase, computer on my bed, but still very convenient.

My view, directly across the street.

Another view with the National Accounting Office in the background.

The NAO, a local icon. Immediately behind this building are the tracks coming from Victoria Station.

I really cannot complain about my stay. The staff were very helpful, and the location was incredibly convenient. But, the next trip when I cannot stay in university B&B, I will go for a bit more expensive. I also learned a lesson: I really cannot do all I want to in London over a 5-night stay. I need a minimum of a week!