Liturgical and Spiritual Musings from a Unique City Parish
Monday 5 July 2010
Procession of the Relic of S. Thomas of Canterbury
This Sunday at S. Magnus we kept the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of S. Thomas of Canterbury. After a Sung Mass, a relic of the Saint which was kindly lent to us for the occassion was transferred from the High Altar to a Feretory and Bier, and taken in Procession, carried by two Subdeacons, to London Bridge. The Old London Bridge, whose thoroughfare formerly went under the bell tower of S. Magnus, once had a chapel dedicated to Saint Thomas of Canterbury where pilgrims on the medieval pilgrimage route would gather before heading over to Southwark and on to Canterbury. This chapel, which is depicted in a window and model in S. Magnus church belonged to the Parish of Saint Magnus the Martyr, and so we have inherited that saint's special patronage.
The Mass was Sung by the Vicar, Fr Philip, who wore a red chasuble featuring the Arms of Saint Thomas.
As the Procession left the church, the choir began singing the petitions of the Litany of the Saints.
Here you can see the beginning of the Procession. You'll notice that S. Magnus maintains the venerable tradition of the Verger, who carries a mace and wears a distinctive verger's hat.
The Procession goes up the steps from Lower Thames Street onto the Bridge.
At the approximate place of the former Chapel, the relics made a station, and the Office of Sext was sung. This was followed by the Anthem of the Benedictus of the Office of S. Thomas of Canterbury, using the Sarum chant. On the return to the Church, the "praise psalms" 148, 149 and 150 were sung. On arriving at the church, the choir sang the Antiphon of the Magnificat of the aforementioned Office, followed by the versicle and collect. The reliquery was then removed from the Feretory, and place on the High Atlar, then censed, and the faithful had an opportunity to venerate. The reliquery also contained a fragment of the True Cross, among other relics, which explains the genuflections made by some. After Benediction of the Relic, the dismissal was given and all retired to a delicious curry lunch in the sun.