Services with the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre

Friday 16th September and Saturday 17th.

The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre held their Investiture Vigil and Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, on 16th and 17th September.

Archbishop Conti presided at the Vigil service, held on the first anniversary of the Pope’s visit to Glasgow in 2010, and appropriately reminded the Knights and Dames of the special charism and responsibility they shared ‘to have a care for the Holy Places and a devotion to the Passion of Christ.’ In the substantial Liturgy of the Word the readings were divided by 3 psalms which, surprisingly, were spoken rather than sung. This was unfortunate since it meant in fact that rather than containing 3 readings and 3 psalms, the liturgy had 6 readings which, for an occasion such as this, might be deemed superfluous, unsalted as they were with the variety and beauty of song. ( Its extraordinary how we, who would never think of speaking a hymn or a ‘national anthem,’ sometimes think nothing of speaking a psalm!) To his credit, Archbishop Conti took the initiative in leading the congregation in singing the Alleluia and everyone warmly responded.

Jane McKenna was the organist for the occasion, and the congregation of Knights and Dames sang well in the opening hymn, Praise to the Holiest, and in the recessional, O Lord, my God.

The Mass on the 17th was concelebrated by Cardinal O’Brien and Archbishop Conti, and several priest members of the Order. The St Mungo Singers led the assembly in song and introduced some of the music written for the New Missal. There was a special Mass for the Investiture. The psalm (99) was one which would also have fitted the alternative celebration of the feast of St Robert Bellarmine, and the choice of acclamation seemed very appropriate: ‘Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.’

The Cardinal linked the deep commitment of Baptism with the further calling to support the Church in the Holy Land. Marie Cairns of St Bride’s Church, Bothwell, was invested as a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre. It was nice to note how useful the Cathedral Garden is on such occasions for mingling and for group photographs – and the weather uncharacteristically co-operated.