London: Confirmation by candlelight

 A power cut at St James' Church, Spanish Place, London threatened to ruin the day for 45 eager Confirmation candidates at the Latin Mass Society's annual Confirmation ceremony in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Rite) last Saturday, 15 November. However, Bishop George Stack, auxiliary bishop in Westminster, and the children and congregation coped with the difficult conditions and the ceremonies proceeded in the darkened church with the help of many candles!

Bishop Stack administered Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form at the request of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. 45 candidates received the sacrament ­ 40 children and five adults. This was the fifth year of the annual ceremony.

The day began with a 'get to know you' meeting in the Lady Chapel between the bishop and candidates. The ceremonies followed with an address from Bishop George in which he spoke of Grace as a gift of God, freely given and inviting our response. In Confirmation we open ourselves to God and strengthen ourselves to go forward in faith.

With no electricity to power the organ or light the choir loft, the choir had to move to the nave and were accompanied on piano. A large congregation of more than 500 family and friends joined the choir in singing the Veni Creator Spiritus and other traditional hymns. During the anointing, the choir sang polyphony and plain chant. After the confirmations, Bishop Stack conferred Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and led the congregation in the Divine Praises.

Because of the power cut, the usual reception for the bishop and congregation in the crypt had to be abandoned. Instead, Bishop Stack met and chatted with the newly-confirmed and their families on the church steps.

John Medlin, General Manager of the Latin Mass Society, said: "Despite the unfortunate circumstances, everyone was greatly edified by the occasion. The LMS is grateful to Cardinal Cormac and Bishop George for their pastoral concern for those attached to the Extraordinary Form."

Source: LMS

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