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November 04, 2006

All Souls

The feast of All Saints is followed by the commemoration of All Souls in the Church's calendar. So what is the difference? All the Saints are remembered on the one and all the departed are remembered on the other to be sure, but, if the promise of the Gospel is that all those who are baptised in the name of Jesus Christ are also saints, then surely there is no difference. True - but only God Himself knows who are truly His and who are not.

The commemoration of All Souls is always marked at the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin in Tewkesbury with a sung Requiem Mass and this latest was no exception. In the weeks preceding the Mass the congregation is invited to place on a list the names of those they wish to remember in the Mass and these are read during the prayers of Intercession by the Sacred Ministers, each reading out ten names in rotation. The Mass was sung by the boys and men of the Schola Cantorum at Dean Close School and the setting used was Gabriel Faure's stunning Requiem. For those who know this setting there is not much more I can say - and for those who don't know it, I can only say you are missing something of great beauty.

Between the three ministers last night we remembered over a hundred people who have gone before us into the company of the Saints. I dare say that some of those remembered may, in life, have been surprised that they would be included. For myself I had added several members of my family, several friends and several people who were important to friends of mine. May they rest in peace - and rise in Glory.

Posted by The Gray Monk at November 4, 2006 08:43 PM

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