The poor old Dutch must be tired of being mentioned so often in blogs touching on Catholicism and Anglo-Catholicism. All this talk of the Dutch Touch : few enough people know about it in England, it must surely be perplexing for any native of the Netherlands that so much space is given to this topic.
Well, today, we can make amends. We can talk about the Dutch who don't touch.
Why today? Today, Maundy Thursday, the Holy Father washed the feet of 12 priests during the liturgy at the Basilica of St John Lateran, reflecting the Gospel passage where Our Lord washes the feet of his disciples. For many centuries, this was also the custom of the English monarch. It remained so until the overthrow of the Catholic King James II (King James VII of Scotland). The Dutch usurper, the staunchly protestant Prince William of Orange, had no wish to continue such practices.
A few photos then of this evening at Spanish Place. The main body of church was impressively full, although there was space left in the side aisles. The liturgy was well executed and the choir were on good form.
The photos of the Altar of Repose have worked particularly well, so much so that we will include one of them first.
The Altar of Repose is situated in the beautiful Spanish Place Lady Chapel, which has featured on this blog before. Before we put up the other photos of this evening, here is a hymn ideal for today that is in fact dear to the members of the Marylebone group, since it was sung at the Ordination Mass of the three Ordinariate monsignori in January 2011.
O Bread of Heaven, beneath this veil
Thou dost my very God conceal:
My Jesus, dearest treasure, hail!
I love Thee and, adoring, kneel;
Each loving soul by Thee is fed
With Thine own Self in form of Bread.
O food of life, Thou Who dost give
The pledge of immortality;
I live, no 'tis not I that live;
God gives me life, God lives in me:
He feeds my soul, He guides my ways,
And every grief with joy repays.
O Bond of love that dost unite
The servant to his living Lord;
Could I dare live and not requite
Such love - then death were meet reward:
I cannot live unless to prove
Some love for such unmeasured love.
Beloved Lord, in Heaven above
There, Jesus, Thou awaitest me,
To gaze on Thee with endless love;
Yes, thus I hope, thus shall it be:
For how can He deny me Heaven,
Who here on earth Himself hath given?
A most blessed Triduum to you all, and a joyful Easter when it comes.