Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday (St Thomas Aquinas)

The time demands of the morning were merciful, which allowed me to arrive at St Clement's Church, about two blocks from my hotel, well-rested at 10:15ish. Even though I had no actual role in the liturgy, I was graciously invited to "dress the part" and sit "in choir," donning some items that were my own and some that were provided by the parish, which has a quite idiosyncratic liturgical tradition and therefore accustomed to dressing visiting dignitaries that they consider appropriate in their milieu. The liturgy was splendid, with a choir and orchestra offering Mozart's Coronation Mass. The preacher was the sometime Bishop Suffragan of Long Island, Rodney Michel, who quoted a quite moving passage from a letter of the Royal Martyr to his son, written on the eve of the King's execution. Bishop Michel made that point that, were it not for the King's courageous and resolute witness in defence of the Church's Catholic order, even to the point of shedding his own blood, much of what latter-day Anglicans take for granted in the practice of our religion might not exist today. 

The liturgy was followed by a wonderful luncheon, featuring foods such as might have graced a banquet table in the time of King Charles. (I found the savory meat pies particularly interesting.) I had the afternoon as a tourist, this being my first ever visit to Philadelphia. Naturally, I sought out Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, both of which were worth the rather long wait in line. The evening featured dinner in the suburb of Media with Fr Jonathan Mitchican, rector of Holy Comforter, Drexel Hill.

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