Weekly Email – The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Our thoughts and prayers, along with those of our whole nation, surely lie this weekend with Their Majesties the King and Queen as we prepare for the Coronation tomorrow. This is a significant and theologically rich moment in our nation’s life. I ask you all to join with me in keeping the King and Queen, the Royal Family, and our whole country and Commonwealth in your prayers as we ask God’s blessing on the King’s reign and on the society in which we live.
Much comment has arisen as the outline of the liturgy of coronation was finally released last week. We will all have personal opinions about things that have been changed since the 1953 rite, or which remain the same, but for me the most important thing to rejoice in is the unchanging character of two key parts of the liturgy: first that the King will be anointed as a Christian monarch; and second that the service takes place in the context of a celebration of the Eucharist.
Both these important factors point us to the fact that for Christians, any talk of power, authority, or political sway must be set in the broader context of God’s sovereignty. We are created in his image, and it is he who is the ultimate arbiter of our destiny, not we ourselves. Humans are made for eternal life with God, and the society we create must reflect that and orient our life to the one who created us and gave us life in the first place.
Power and authority does not come from our own capacities to control human history, nor the machinations of politics, nor the vagaries of economic might, military force, or opinion polls. Authority over human society ultimately comes from God, its creator, and a monarch is anointed and consecrated to that role to reveal this great mystery at the heart of the society he serves as sovereign.
Set under God’s authority, and accountable to his people, a king must use the sovereignty entrusted to him for the benefit of those over whom he reigns, to promote the common good, maintain justice, and build the unity of all – a vocation of service focussed on the good of the whole community.
The Eucharistic character of the rite of Coronation places this moment of royal consecration and recognition in the context of the greatest act of thanksgiving a Christian can make – celebrating the Mass.
This eucharistic context reveals that all who exercise authority under the King must do so after the pattern of the one who came to serve, not to be served. It places our national polity in the presence of the living God and shows that it is only in Christ that our human dignity can be truly recognised and defended, and a just society established. In receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, the King shows himself to be just as much in need of the life-giving death and resurrection of Christ as any of his subjects.
To celebrate this momentous moment in our nation’s life, the High Mass on Sunday (7th May) will be offered in thanksgiving for the Coronation. The choir will sing the Mass to Howells’ Coll. Reg. Communion Service, we will have the National Anthem and state prayers at the end of the Mass, and the Offertory motet will be Parry’s I was glad.
The High Mass will be followed by a special celebratory parish lunch en fête. The weather forecast doesn’t look wonderful at the time of writing, so in case of inclement weather, the lunch may have to take place in church.
In the evening, a Te Deum of thanksgiving (that of Stanford in B flat) will be offered at Solemn Evensong and Benediction in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. The office will be sung to Dyson’s setting in D and the anthem will be Zadok the Priest by Handel.
Please note that on the day of the Coronation itself, Saturday 6th May, there will be no 12 noon Mass at All Saints’, so as not to clash with people’s watching of the coronation on live television. There will, nonetheless, still be a 6.30 pm Mass in the evening. Please also remember that as Monday 8th May is a Bank Holiday, there will be no evening Mass on that day.
Let us all join together in wishing our King and Queen well in their new vocation and role, and pledging ourselves afresh to seeking justice, equity and the prosperity of all our fellow citizens. And let our joy be this weekend to proclaim with one voice and consent of tongue and heart, “God save the King!”
I am very pleased to announce the acquisition of a new monstrance by All Saints’ in honour of the coronation of Their Majesties the King and Queen. It will be known as the “Coronation Monstrance” and represents a worthy addition to our parish’s patrimony, as well as a noble and beautiful commemoration of the Coronation.
The monstrance has been bought by the All Saints’ Foundation and given as a gift to the PCC using part of a number of bequests which have been left to the trust over the past few years.
It has for a long time been the practice of the Foundation, when a bequest is made to it, to use a portion of the funds to buy something of lasting physical value that can be used in memory of the departed, often as part of the liturgy.
Small portions of a number of bequests which we have received over the past few years have been brought together to make this purchase in memory of the following benefactors: Diana Stonebank; John Welch; Geoffrey Hughes; Robin Fletcher; Philip and Yvonne Harland; Chris Ellis; Marian Eva Hill; Eleanor Chapman; and Elain Bullock. As we rejoice in the purchase of this fine monstrance, we give thanks for these benefactors’ generosity and pray for their souls.
The acquisition of this monstrance was made in response to comments made quite widely that our present monstrance is difficult to see from the back of church. Our magnificent new monstrance is nearly twice the height of our present one and will make it easier for everyone to participate more easily in Eucharistic adoration. It is expected this new monstrance will be used on high feast days, beginning on Sunday evening in honour of the Coronation.
The new monstrance itself is of outstanding quality and in excellent condition for its age. It is French in origin, dating from the years of the Bourbon Restoration. The silver is hallmarked with French stamps from the years 1819-1838. It will cohere with all our current altar requisites and is of the same 19th century baroque continental style. The monstrance’s substantial size (87cm / 2 feet 10 inches high) will make it eminently visible when used on our High Altar.
I am so pleased and grateful that the trustees of our All Saints’ Foundation have made this exceptional gift to our parish in commemoration of the Coronation. It will be a worthy adornment to our Eucharistic worship and an aid to our proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I look forward to the monstrance’s first use on Sunday evening.
Please note that there will be two bring-and-share parish lunches over the next few weeks on Sunday mornings at All Saints’ after the 11.00 am High Mass: this Sunday 7th May in celebration of the Coronation; and three Sundays later on 28th May in celebration of our Friends’ Sunday.
We are encouraged to bring along a dish of some sort to share on both occasions. Please be in touch with Kate Hodgetts and/or Chris Self to find out what things we need and to let them know what you intend to bring.
We look forward to two splendid celebrations and encourage everyone to make a special effort to be present on these two occasions.
Bank Holiday Monday – no evening Mass
Please note there will only be one Mass on Monday 8th May, which will be at 12 noon. There will be no evening Mass on that day. This is because Monday is a public Bank Holiday in honour of the Coronation.
Society of Mary May Devotion
Fr Peter and Fr Alan will be taking a group from All Saints’ to the Society of Mary’s May Devotion at S. Silas’, Kentish Town, on Saturday 13th May. This begins with a Solemn Mass at 12 noon followed by a joyous procession through the streets of Camden Town to Holy Trinity, Hartland Road, where there is a lunch, followed by Vespers and Benediction at 4.00 pm. It is a wonderful way of celebrating and proclaiming our faith. Let Fr Alan know if you are interested and wish to come.
Eurovision Song Contest Party
In the evening of Saturday 13th May, Fr Alan will host a Eurovision Song Contest party at his home for our young adults. This will involve watching the Song Contest and having supper together as we enjoy an evening of Eurostrash fun! Please be in touch with him if you would like to come.
Walsingham National Pilgrimage
The National Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham takes place on Monday 29th May 2023. As usual, we will be organising a coach for the day to take pilgrims to Walsingham and back. It will depart from Margaret Street at 7.30 am, and return to London, setting off around tea time, and arriving back in London by the late evening.
The cost is £20 per head. In order to book a place on the coach, please contact the parish office and make a payment to our office administrator, Jonathan.
Dates for your diary
Ascension Day High Mass
Thursday 18th May 2023 – 6.30 pm
Preacher: The Revd Steven Brookes, Chaplain, The Royal Hospital Chelsea, and Deputy Priest in Ordinary to His Majesty the King.
Friends of All Saints’ Sunday High Mass followed by parish lunch.
Sunday 28th May 2023 – 11.00 am
Preacher: The Revd Steve Rice, Rector, St Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
National Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
Monday 29th May 2023
Coach departs Margaret Street at 7.30 am and returns later that evening.
Corpus Christi High Mass, Procession and Benediction
Thursday 8th June 2023 – 6.30 pm
Preacher: The Revd Philip Warner, Rector, St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge.
St George’s, Paris, annual Friends’ Mass, followed by dinner
Monday 26th June 2023 – 6.30 pm
My journey of Faith
We continue with our series of articles from those who were baptized and confirmed at our Easter Vigil, in which they recount their journey of faith. We hear this week from Bhaven Patel, who took the name Ignatius at his baptism:
Cultural identity and duty of tradition had been the foundation of my Hindu upbringing. Festival celebrations and family visits to India were hallmarks of “a way of life” rather than formal religion. In the pantheon of Hindu deities, Krishna was the focus of family devotion and at a personal level cultivated a belief in God and joy of spirituality.
My evolving interpretation of Hindu philosophy soon became a moral compass as an adult, offering guidance when called upon – but was ultimately unable to show ‘true north’ when needed most.
My unanticipated involvement in a notable sports investment deal in March 2022 soon became an all-consuming pursuit of money, ego and power. Seeking God’s mercy, I turned to Our Lord Jesus Christ in a ‘road to Damascus’ moment – he offered immediate protection and a gateway towards new vision. Upon reflection, my journey of faith to becoming a Christian has a sense of predestination.
Baptism and confirmation at the Easter Vigil Mass (coinciding with my birthday) felt like the culmination of a long series of life experiences – e.g., attending an Anglican school in Australia; visiting Walsingham with my wife and young children during a Norfolk holiday; the warm welcome of Fr. Alan Moses when we first met at midweek Morning Prayer at All Saints’, Margaret Street, in 2019.
I pray that through faithful presence in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, I will be strengthened to walk in newness of life as a Christian.
The treasures of Castel Gandolfo
Whilst on the Bishop of Fulham’s recent clergy conference just after Easter at Villa Palazzola, near Rome, we were offered a short day trip to Castel Gandolfo on the final day. Castel Gandolfo is the summer residence of the popes and lies on the other side of Lake Albano from Palazzola. I have to confess it ended up being one of the unexpected highlights of our time in Rome as I had never visited this delightful town and its Apostolic Palace before.
Pope Clement VIII acquired Castel Gandolfo after it was bought by the Apostolic Camera in 1596 from the Savelli family in partial payment of a debt to the Holy See. It was under Pope Urban VIII that the villa was redesigned, renewed and expanded so that popes could make use of it as a summer retreat. Castel Gandolfo is so high up in the hills around Rome that it is usually a few degrees cooler than the city, making it an ideal summer residence for the popes.
The palace itself is probably built on the location of an earlier residence of the emperor Domitian. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens which one can now visit in the mornings as part of a private tour. If you have seen the film The Two Popes, largely set at Castel Gandolfo, you will get some sense of the beauty of the gardens.
Many popes have spent their summers here, though the present pontiff, for some inexplicable reason, prefers to stay in Rome for August. I cannot conceive this arrangement will last for long and am convinced the popes will return to Castel Gandolfo once this present pontificate comes to an end.
The palace has the legal status of an extraterritorial property of the Holy See. This means it is not under the control of the Italian Republic and acts as a sort of tiny exclave under Vatican control. In the summer you can take a train which used to be reserved only for the popes from the Vatican railway station directly up to Castel Gandolfo, linking these two portions of territory belonging to the Holy See.
The main courtyard of the apostolic palace is fascinating, because the visitor can view a substantial collection of papal limousines and pope-mobiles. There is even a small papal golf buggy which pious visitors can view.
From here one enters a series of gracious state rooms full of portraits of every pope since Clement VIII. Excellent displays reveal the uniforms of the papal court from yesteryear and even the sedia gestatoria and papal flabella, which I was particularly delighted to see.
The most exciting part of the tour is being taken from the state rooms into the papal apartment. After an impressive throne room which looks out over the lake, you are taken through to the pope’s personal rooms.
You see the desk Pope Benedict worked at, the bed he slept in, and the studies of Archbishop Gänswein and his assistants. It is impressive to think that this will have been the desk at which some of Pope Benedict’s greatest works of theology will have been written during the summer months of his latter years. The pencils and rubbers are still laid out on the desk as Pope Benedict left them – a user, like me, of Bavarian Staedtlers, one discovers! Two personal chapels of the pope can be seen – both tiny baroque wonders.
In the bedroom one can see Pope Benedict’s bed. The visitor is reminded this is the room in which both Paul VI and Pius XII died. During the Second World War, Pius XII opened up the palace for refugees fleeing flighting around Rome. Many of these were Roman Jews and non-Catholics. It is said 12,000 people passed through the Palace of Castel Gandolfo during this time. In total 36 babies were born in the palace whilst it housed these refugees, and every single one of those children was either given the name Pio or Eugenio by their parents in gratitude to the Pope for their safety. In fact, the Pope’s bedroom was turned into a nursery and maternity ward!
A further intriguing character of Castel Gandolfo is the presence of the headquarters of the Vatican Observatory. In the 1930s, this was moved from Rome to Castel Gandolfo because the light pollution created by the city was making scientific observation of the heavens difficult. By the 1960s, the same problem started to afflict Castel Gandolfo, and with the advance of better telescopy, the observatory’s scientific work was moved to Arizona. The old “equatorial rooms” (i.e. those strange domed telescope hangars) which used to contain the telescopes are still in place at Castel Gandolfo, however, as a reminder of this fascinating chapter in the palace’s history.
I would heartily recommend a visit to Castel Gandolfo if you are ever in the environs of Rome. The town is not very large at all. It’s basically just a main square with a few restaurants. There is also the tour of the famous gardens of the Palace which I was unable to do because of constraints of time. You could profitably spend a day in the town, see the Palace and gardens and have a nice lunch before returning home.
What a beautiful gem this little town is, and what a fascinating concatenation of of papal history, art and politics the palace and its gardens represent.
Attendance last Sunday
Links for Sunday
The links for the livestream and service sheet for this Sunday’s High Mass are at the end of this email.
Evensong and Benediction takes place at 6pm this Sunday. Music will include Dyson’s Evening Service in D and Handel’s Zadok the Priest.
Fr. Harry Hodgetts, Amanda Barrett, Greg Loveday, Don McWhinney, Martin Berka, Pete Turner, James Rodger, Andrew Rodger, David Craig, Charles Thompson, Elizabeth Lyon, Ray Oram, Carol Lyman-Pryce, Keith Bevan, Marion Duggan, James Pearson, Eddie Bund
Anniversaries of death
May 7th – Odo Flunt, Norman Sandwith, William Faithfull, Phyllis MacKenow, Dorothy Faithfull
8th – Florence Hope, Richard Masheder Pr., Fred Bramma, Charles Cunnington, John Mather
9th – Marygdd Snowden, Martin Cooper
10th – Gertrude Thorpe
11th – Barbara Watson, George Corbett, N.P. Williams Pr., Ellen Markey, Beverley Ward
12th – John Finnie
13th – Edith Cooke, Douglas Laing
The Friends of All Saints’
May 7th –Yvonne Craig, Kirill Dashkovskiy, Christopher Davies, Robert Davies, Jack de Gruiter, Peter Dennis
8th – Laura Denton, Suzanna Eaton, Linda Edwards, Pamela Edwards, John Eldridge, Terrence Ellsworth
9th – Sue Enoch, Carolyn Farrar, Sue Feakin, Adrian Felaar, Daniel Fielden, Janice Fielden, Julia Fielden
10th – Nigel Fisher, Mark Fleming, Stuart Fletcher, Christopher Forman, Anthony Fox, Charlotte Gauthier
11th – Margaret Goddard, Paul Golding, John Goldsmith, Genevieve Gomi, The Ven. Thomas Greene, Canon Michael Gudgeon
12th – Sheelagh Gudgeon, Ginger and Del Hall, Roger Hancock, Canon Richard Handford, Jill Hargreaves, Christopher Harrison
13th – Patrick Hartley, Canon Jeremy Haselock, Eoghan Healy, Fr. David Hobden, Canon Graham Holcombe, James and Gwendoline Holdcroft
Service times this week
Saturday 6th May – Feria
6.30 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday
Sunday 7th May – The Fifth Sunday of Easter
11.00 am High Mass with thanksgiving for the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III
5.15 pm Mass
6.00 pm Evensong and Benediction with thanksgiving for the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III
Monday 8th May – Feria
12.00 pm Mass
Tuesday 9th May – Feria
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass
Wednesday 10th May – St. John of Avila
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass
Thursday 11th May – Feria
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass
Friday 12th May – St. Pancras
12.00 pm Mass
6.30 pm Mass
Saturday 13th May – Our Lady of Fatima
11.30 am Rosary
12.00 pm Mass of Our Lady
6.30 pm Vigil Mass of Sunday
Sunday 14th May – The Sixth Sunday of Easter
11.00 am High Mass
5.15 pm Mass
6.00 pm Evensong and Benediction