London: Catholic performers celebrate their faith

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.

Photos: Robin Marchal

Tags: Catholic Actors Church, Catholic Association of Performing Arts, Catholic Stage Guild, Corpus Christi, Danny La Rue

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.