A relatively short post today on this final day of the year, with some photographs to remind us of Christmas 2008 at Our Lady's Chapel, Stronsay, Orkney. As promised in my previous post, I am pleased to show a few photographs of the Crib erected outside our Chapel, virtually at the entrance to the quay, where it offers a Christmas reminder and welcome to those both coming from the ferry, and those boarding it.
These you will find at the end of this post.
Our Lady's Chapel looked particularly beautiful for Midnight Mass which was celebrated there by Fr Michael Mary, Superior of the F.SS.R, with the Rector, Fr Anthony Mary F.SS.R. and the full community of monks from Golgotha Monastery, Papa Stronsay, in attendance. We had a sung Mass with the beautiful plain chant Mass no.2. - In festis 1 classis. 1 (Kyrie fons bonitatis); Credo no.1; together with the full Proper of the 'Ad Primam Missam- in nocte'. Prior to Mass we had carols from 11p.m. to midnight.
The Chapel looked beautiful with an abundance of real flowers, the lovely Crib with the Infant Jesus which apparently had only recently been acquired in Rome, and six magnificent and imposing large silver candleholders with lighted candles on the altar
The Crib was set up on the sanctuary facing the congregation, on the Gospel side and just behind the Communion rail, surrounded by a virtual phalanx of silk flower-heads of mostly gentle colouring, with six lighted candles around. From the impressive ornate sanctuary lamp hanging from the centre of the chapel ceiling, hung four red and gold draperies stretched across the sanctuary, two either side.
This beautiful statue of 'Our Lady of Victories'occupies a special niche in Our Lady's Chapel.
It stands between 3 to 4 feet high.
Outside the Chapel the monks had built a fine Crib, with completion only the day before! It was built using heavy concrete type blocks, with heavy duty roof joists and solid corrugated steel roof, designed and built to withstand the fickle and frequently wild Orkney weather. It was a job very well done, which when lit up and occupied by the Holy Family, shepherds, sheep and cattle, looked very striking - and dare I say it, almost inviting!
Thank you Fr Michael Mary F.SS.R, Fr Anthony Mary F.SS.R, and all you good F.SS.R Brothers, for making our Christmas celebrations at Our Lady's Chapel very special, in particular the lovely Church decorations and the Beautiful Crib, the devout sung Mass and liturgy, the fine singing, and the opportunity to share with all your Community the joys of this great feast-day. Thank you for all you do, seen and unseen, and we thank God and Our Blessed Lady for all the blessings and graces that you bring to us all. This naturally includes Fr Clement Mary F.SS.R. and the F.SS.R Brothers a long way from home in Christchurch, New Zealand. Wishing you all a holy, happy, and blessed New Year 2009.