The annual Mass for the Catholic Association of Performing Arts (formerly the Catholic Stage Guild) took place at the Catholic Actors Church, Corpus Christi, in Covent Garden on Sunday.
During the Mass, celebrating the church's feastday, a Victorian petit point tapestry depicting Christ crowned with thorns, and donated by Robin Marchal was blessed by Fr Chris Vipers CAAPA's National Chaplain and parish priest at Corpus Christi's, in memory of deceased members of the association.
A book of remembrance was taken up to the altar and prayers offered for members who had died during the last year, including Danny La Rue, Joan Turner, Joan Campion, former chaplain and Vice President Fr Brian O'Higgins and John Buffham, Northern Branch Treasurer.
Frank Cornerford, Chairman and owner of The Stage newspaper and parishioner Clive Chapman read the Scripture readings and actor Robin Marchal read the Actors' Prayer which includes the following words:
Whether I draw tears from the audience
Or make them laugh
Off stage let me be serious minded,
Yet keep my sorrows behind the scenes.
May I be undeceived by success
and undismayed by failure.
Make me generous towards the work of others
and a good influence wherever I may go
Let me always return to the Sacraments,
However often things go wrong.........
Members of CAAPA joined the parish choir and Michael Slater was master of ceremonies Canon Christopher Tuckwell, Administrator at Westminster Cathedral was guest preacher, saying that the church in the heart of theatreland and bustling Covent Garden presented an oasis of prayer.
A guest preacher is usually invited on the church's feast day - the most prominent perhaps was Monsignor Ronnie Knox who gave the homily for twenty years and these were published as a collection “Window on the Wall'.
This little gem of a church is tucked away in Maiden Lane, almost hidden from view, opposite the famous Rules restaurant and has two interesting statues of Roman martyrs - St.Genesius, the actor's patron who refused to perform in a satire against Christianity, and St Tarcisius, a boy who in order to protect a priest took the Eucharist to the sick, was waylaid and consumed the host before being killed. It has been the Catholic Actors Church since the Catholic Stage Guild was founded in 1911.
Following Mass the Blessed Sacrament was processed around Covent Garden Market, led by the London Angolan girls' choir wearing traditional dress and singing Angolan hymns to the Blessed Sacrament in Portuguese, concluding with Benediction in the church and a reception.
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