Bishop George Stack, auxiliary in Westminster, administered Confirmations in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at St James’s church, Spanish Place, London, on Saturday November 20.
Thirty-nine candidates received the sacrament – 30 children and nine adults. This was the seventh year of the annual ceremony organised by the Latin Mass Society (LMS).
Permission for the old rite Confirmations had been given by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. The candidates’ day began with a meeting in the Lady Chapel with Bishop Stack. The bishop greeted each candidate individually and then spoke about the importance of Pope Benedict’s speech to youth on September 17 at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, on the theme of “I have come so that they might have life and have it to the full”. The bishop also gave each candidate a prayer card.
The Confirmations then followed. During the ceremonies the bishop was assisted by Fr Christopher Colven, rector of St James’s, and Fr Andrew Southwell, LMS national chaplain. Also on the sanctuary, among others, were Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, Fr Simon Leworthy FSSP, Fr Tim Finigan and Fr David Irwin.
The liturgical ceremonies concluded with Pontifical Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The choir and organist of Spanish Place provided the music, and a large congregation of almost 300 family and friends joined them in singing the Veni Creator Spiritus (with alternate verses in the setting by George Malcolm) and the Veni Sancte Spiritus. During Benediction the traditional hymns “Christus Vincit” and Tantum Ergo were sung and the choir sang Elgar’s “O Salutaris in F”. The vernacular hymns sung were “Come Down O Love Divine” and Blessed John Henry Newman’s “Praise to the Holiest in the Height”.
After the ceremonies, a reception for the bishop and congregation was held in the crypt. All those present thanked Bishop Stack for his pastoral concern for those attached to the Extraordinary Form by means of an enthusiastic round of applause.
Bishop Stack then spoke briefly and cut the celebratory cake. While having a well-earned cup of tea, he chatted to the newly confirmed and their families.
On July 31, Bishop Peter Doyle confirmed nine candidates in his cathedral church of Our Lady Immaculate and St Thomas in Northampton and later in November St Philip’s School, Kensington, had its own Extraordinary Form Confirmations with Bishop Alan Hopes, auxiliary in Westminster.