Saturday, January 24, 2009

Video: Christmas Eve Mass with Dom James Deschene

What a joy and blessing this video is! Here is a condensed video of Christmas Eve Mass celebrated by Dom James Deschene at the Church of Our Lady of Glastonbury. Reader Polycarp Sherwood, who posted the video, writes, "The Church of our Lady of Glastonbury is attached to Christ the Saviour Benedictine Monastery (Christminster)...The Church and Monastery maintains a close relationship with the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate and its various Parishes, some of whom have Oblates under the spiritual direction of Christminster and its Abbot Dom James Deschene."

Dom James has this to say on the church/oratory's website:

This year’s feast of the Nativity of our Lord was the first in our new monastic home in Canada, and was celebrated with great joy.

We were blessed to have with us as guests over the holidays Father Michael Phillips, a monk from the California Monastery of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco – and a former visitor to our previous home in Rhode Island; and first-year seminarian Aaron Oliver from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in New York. With our own Father Joseph having arrived three weeks earlier, we were a full and happy house.

Our Christmas Eve Mass was a crowded celebration – the first time we’ve seen the church completely filled. (Emphasis added.) Visitors included familiar friends and faces, including several Orthodox and Anglican clergy.

The chant schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada, under the direction of Dr. William Renwick, professor of music at McMaster University, provided the Latin chants for the Mass, as well as traditional carols in which the congregation joined. The service was videotaped and recorded and should be available on our websites in the near future.

A festive collation followed in the monastic refectory, compliments of Bob Sherwood and Ken McRae. As visitors left, snow was falling. We have been told that the old calendar Christmas is always marked by snow in Hamilton – we will have to verify this by more Christmases here.

To all our friends elsewhere, we wish you a blessed Nativitytide and a New Year filled with God’s grace and blessings.

+Fr. James


The fact that the church is filled is evident in the video, but the glory of this celebration of the Liturgy of St. Gregory is ethereal. It's far more beautiful than the Mystery Worshiper report could convey. :) Many of our readers and correspondents have asked for a video of a Western Rite Mass for a very long time. Here, at last, it is. (Any chance we could prevail upon Reader Polycarp to post a bit more?) Our deepest thanks to those who shot and posted the video, the choir director and singer, and above all, the monks of Christminster Monastery for manifesting the full Benedictine charism and showing a Western Rite Orthodox monastic life is possible - as well as how beautiful life in the Western Rite is.

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