The St. Mungo Singers held their annual requiem Mass for deceased members of the choir at St. Leo the Great church on 28 February. This service is an opportunity for choir members to take time out from their busy schedule and remember those who have sung with them over the years and who are no longer with them. This year is special as it is the 45th anniversary of the choir’s founding. The concelebrants of the Mass were Mgr Gerry Fitzpatrick and Fr. Hugh O’Donnell.
It was a beautiful and moving service. As Mgr. Gerry said in his homily, the choir has so many memories to look back on: so many services at which it has sung and so many places it has travelled to. The ethos of the choir has always been to pray as it sings, and this has shown clearly in its singing. Beautiful music, he said, should be a tool of prayer, not a substitute for it.
He referred to the comment of St. John Paul II that choirs should not displace the congregation in the liturgy. The important point in church music is “what do the words say?”. The aim of the choir has always been to help the words live for people and to encourage them in prayer. He thanked everyone who had been involved in making this happen through the St. Mungo Singers.
At the Intercessions which followed, the names of all deceased choir members were read out as a candle for each choir section was brought forward to the altar in memory of them. At the end of the Mass, the Commendation “Receive their souls” was sung. However the joys of the choir fellowship and of our Christian belief that death is not the end were also remembered in the final hymn, a joyous rendition of “Thine be the Glory” with the words in its final verse “Bring us safe….to Thy home above.”