For the first Mass of Christmas, the monastics of Christminster were joined on Christmas Eve by several dozen friends of the monastery. One of the gifts of being here in Canada now nearly four years is the friendships that have grown between the monks and visitors. Their presence with us for this feast is always a joy and a treat.
We were blessed again this year by the presence of the Chant Schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada, under the direction of Dr. William Renwick. This choir rehearses at the monastery on Tuesday nights throughout the year and provides music for various concerts and liturgical events in the greater Hamilton area. This year Bill Renwick – a music professor at McMaster University – provided chant propers from his scholarly edition of Sarum chant in English. This was, so far as we know, the first use of h
is Midnight Mass Propers in a liturgical setting. The Ordinary of the Mass was the Missa de Angelis (in English). The Schola and congregation sang traditional carols; and the Schola, with Dr. Renwick on the organ, sang the motet Tollite Hostias from the Oratorio de Noel of Camille Saint-Saens.
Following the Mass a festive buffet was served in the refectory, provided by Lillias Sherwood, widow of our recently deceased deacon and benefactor, Fr. Robert (Polycarp) Sherwood, and in his memory. Our good friends Tammy Wheeler and her sister Lea prepared the food and served it amid suitable decorations.
We ask your prayers for all who helped make our Christmas celebration a memorable one; and we ask for God’s choicest blessings on all our relatives, friends, oblates, and benefactors in this holy season and throughout the coming year.