Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Belmont Abbey Mary Procession of Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima
We arrive tonight quite early, and before it was even dark. The weather just drizzled down which was unfortunate but the several hundreds gathered all looked really happy to be enjoying themselves. There were Sisters of Charity, secular priests, friars and hundreds of people from as far away as Bromsgrove, Worcester, Gloucester, and in Wales from Pontypool, Cwmbrna to Port Talbot, Pontllanfraeth and St Davids. IT was a joyous occasion in spite of the weather, People congregated in the Great Hall, where refreshments and snacks were being sold. The book shop was open before hand with a fascinating range of books and sacramentals.
Finally the order was given and we all moved off towards the front lawn to pick up our Handles and lanterns, which were Lourdes style. People all croded around and we could not understand why they had not been distributed indoors because of the rain.But ours not to reason why..... Anyway, having got the candle we went to join the other pilgrims standing and sitting in the lawn area, Because of the rain the procession had been shortened. Hoever, everyone seemed genuinely happy to be in the rain! There were people of all ages, plus, hearteningly a lot of teenagers.Seeing peoples faces alight in the candleglow was lovely, Christmassy almost. The birds were singing and yu could sell the spring smell, even in the rain.The Abbot said this too had a message for us, life is not always easy.
The evening started with a hymn
This is the image of a Queen
Who reigns in heaven above
of her who is the hope of men
whom men and angels love
Most holy Mary, at thy feet
I bend a suppliant knee
in this thine own sweet month of May
do thou remember me.
Then began the first of the glorious Mysteries of the Rosary and we stayed seated for this.The Master of ceremony directed the pilgrims past the statie amd up into the gardens when the huge procession moved off. The night got much darker and a stillness descended on the proceedings and the words of the rosary seemed to reverberate around the abbey, The Abbot dedicated the rosary and procession to the cause of Life and the defence of life by Mary. They were very beautiful comments,
The giant procession moved off singing 'Immaculate Mary', first six verses. Then we progressed through the Second Mystery to more verses of this hymn.After the third decade we sandg
Holy Virgin by God's decree
You were called eternally
Then he could give his son to our race
Mary we praise you, hail full of Grace
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Every time the 'Ave' sung in the preceding hymns,the people raised their torches high as a single person. The large numbers attending did testify to how much we loved God and Mary, said the monk introducing everything. After the fourth mystery,we sang the beautiful ymn, 'Hail Queen of Heaven' followed by the fifth mystery and
As I kneel before you
As I bow my head in prayer
Take this day, make it yours
And fill me with your love.
Ave NMaria, gratia plena
Dominus tecum Benedicta tu.
Finally there was a beautiful homily from one of the brothers, which the Father Abbot praised as it was full of catechesis and beautiful poetry. The abbot then intoned the litany of Lordeto. Following that, the Litano of Loreto was intoned and following
Bring flowers of the rarest
Bring blossoms the fairesr
From garden, from woodside, from hill and from dale
Our ful hearts are swelling
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveleiest
Flower of the vale.
O Mary we crown thee with flowers of today
Queen of the angels and Queen of the May
O Mary we crown thee
From garden from wodside, from
hillside and dale
O mary we crown thee with blessings today
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May. 2009 Belmont