In London we loved going to the Midnight Mass at Saint Ethelreda’s, that beautiful gothic church in Ely Place, Holborn. The setting was magical and the sung Masses from Bach to Rossini were of a high standard.
To enter into Christmas day here with equal harmony we attended the midnight Mass at il Convento dell’Angelo, a former Passionist convent set high among the hills of Ponte a Moriano near Lucca and certainly Nottolini’s masterpiece.
The setting of the pure neo-classical architecture with music of the highest standard in this wonderful place is awesome:
Before the proper of the Mass the soloists training at Kuhn’s academy in the convent gave a short concert displaying their brilliant talents.
The Mass followed interspersed with appropriate vocal items for the respective sections. It was wonderful to hear the newly restored organ participate.
Here is the programme for the evening.
The celebrating priest, for his homily, surprisingly took out a cell-phone from his pocket. “No, I’m not going to do an urgent phone call, even to God. It’s just that the Pope has sent us ALL a message for Christmas.”
Part of the message he read out from his phone was the following:
“The Christmas tree is you, standing firm against the trials of life. The guiding Star is the hope within you to strive to higher things. With all my confidence that this special night becomes even more special. Because you are special, your are the best presents”.
“I can’t add anything to what the Pope said”, commented the priest and the Mass continued to its joyous conclusion with “Silent Night” sung by the vocal soloists in German, English, Irish, Chinese and Japanese according to their first languages. The world appeared united here and we were moved.
I, too, can’t add anything to what I’ve already written except to wish all my blog readers a Very Joyous Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
(Part of our christmas crib)