The Rite of Sprinkling

On the following day a Solemn Mass was celebrated to dedicate the new altar and to mark the 6th Anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Archbishop Conti was joined by the Bishops of Scotland and the newly appointed Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, as well as priests and parish representatives from across the Diocese. Members of the St. Mungo Singers and the Cathedral Choir, plus the instrumentalists from the previous evening provided musical support for the Mass.

The Mass began with the singing of the Canticle from Ezechiel “Hear me, my people” as the clergy entered the Cathedral. The Rite of Sprinkling followed, with Archbishop Conti blessing church and congregation from the beautiful new font at the centre back of the Cathedral, while the choirs led the congregation in the singing of Bob Hurd’s setting of Ps. 42 “As the deer longs for running streams”.

In the Liturgy of the Word, the psalm (Noel Donnelly’s setting of psalm 129) was sung by a cantor of the Cathedral choir. The Liturgy of Dedication of the Altar then took place. Cantors led the congregation in singing the Litany of Saints before Archbishop Conti said the prayer of dedication and anointed the altar with chrism as Psalm 121 (May the House of the Lord be at Peace) was sung.

The incensing of the congregation

A fire was then lit on the altar and from this coals were provided for the thurible to enable the altar and all present to be incensed, as the choirs sang “Veni, veni, sancte spiritu”. Then in the final part of the dedication, a light was taken from the altar fire and used to light the dedication candles around the Cathedral, as the chrism was polished into the altar and it was made ready for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Meanwhile, the Canticle from Colossians “Let’s Give Thanks to God our Father” was sung.

The singing of the Preface, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Agnus Dei continued the feeling of celebration and there was a palpable air of happiness at the return of the Cathedral to its people and pleasure in its brightness.

After Communion, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel was inaugurated by the Archbishop to the accompaniment of the well-loved hymn “O Godhead Hid”. As the Mass now drew to a close, Archbishop Conti once again thanked all those who had worked on the Cathedral’s renovation and he presented mementos to members of the team who had not been able to be present on the previous evening, and gifts to Cardinal O’Brien and the Papal Nuncio to mark the occasion.

Cardinal O'Brien welcomes Archbishop Mennini

At this point, Cardinal O’Brien formally, on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, welcomed Archbishop Mennini to Scotland. He also took the opportunity to congratulate Archbishop Conti on the restoration of the Cathedral.

Archbishop Mennini thanked Cardinal O’Brien for his words of welcome and expressed his wish to strengthen relations between the Holy Father and Scotland. More than ever, a united witness by Christians was needed. Justice and peace in the world was the common goal of our Christian brothers and sisters. He concluded with a request for the prayers of those present for the Pope and for himself.

The Mass ended with a solemn blessing before the Recessional hymn, appropriately one in honour of the Cathedral’s patron saint “When Christ our Lord to Andrew cried”. As the congregation made their way out from the service, the St. Mungo Singers sang the joyous Vaughan Williams anthem for the Dedication of a Church “O How Amiable”, a fitting end to the celebration.

John Allen, one of the instrumentalists

The choirs in full flow