The St.Mungo Singers celebrated their annual requiem for deceased members in St. Leo’s church on 25 March 2011. They were joined by friends and family members for the service. It was a warm and loving memorial, not a sad one, as they remembered with affection those they had known, sung and prayed with over the years.[audio:how-blest.mp3]
As they gathered, piper Jacqueline Riley (daughter of the late Mrs. Mattie Riley, a much loved member of the choir) played outside to welcome them, and Dr. Noel Donnelly played some gentle harp music inside. Then the choir sang “How Blest are those who have died in the Lord” before the names of deceased members were read out as four candles, one for each section of the choir, were lit and placed on the sanctuary at the foot of the Lenten Cross.
Mass then began with the plainsong “Requiem Aeternam”. As the altar was incensed, the Introit for All Souls “Just as Jesus Died and Rose” was sung, followed by the Byrd Kyrie Brevis. The readings were from Isaiah 25 and Romans 5, with the Hurd setting of Psalm 42, and the Gospel was the hope-filled story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Mgr. Gerry Fitzpatrick, the choir Director, in his brief reflection, acknowledged with gratitude the work of all who sang, played, conducted or helped in the St. Mungo Singers over the 40 years of its existence. He noted with pleased surprise that the choir now numbers over 90 members.
Before the Intercessions, Jacqueline Riley played a haunting lament, and at the end of the prayers, the choir sang Noel Donnelly’s “May the Souls of the Faithful Departed”.
As the gifts of bread and wine were brought to the altar, the choir sang “O Love that will not let me go” which has been sung at many choir funerals. The Eucharistic Prayer was sung, finishing with a resounding triple Amen. During Communion, Dr. Donnelly again played some harp music. The Mass finished with the sung Final Commendation for all the deceased choir members and then the singing of the joyful “Thine be the Glory”, a fitting end for what had been a lovely service.