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Rose Sunday

March 15, 2009


St Clements, Rose Sunday

St Clements, Rose Sunday

I have always loved the two Sundays of the year when the liturgical colour is rose pink, as it will be next Sunday. I have been in churches where the only bit of pink was the chasuble, while everything else was still sombre purple, and that was fine. But you will not be surprised to hear that at St Clement’s on Mid-Lent and Mid-Advent Sundays everything is pink. The High Mass vestments, the altar frontals, even the cope on the image of Our Lady of Clemency – all pink. And behind the High Altar, the six candles stand in a forest of pink carnations.


The name “Rose Sunday”, however, comes not from the colour of the Mass vestments, but from the ancient custom in Rome, when the Pope blessed golden roses and sent them as tokens of his esteem and blessing to Catholic sovereigns. I got this information from the Wikkipedia article about this Sunday and was most amused to find that it finishes with a link to what they refer to as “a group of Anglican priests” in rose-pink vestments. This turns out to be a picture of the three Sacred Ministers in St Clement’s.

What the picture also shows is the Blessed Sacrament enthroned in a great monstrance, because St Clement’s has for the last few years used Mid-Lent Sunday as a day of Eucharistic Adoration, with the Sacrament being exposed all day for private prayer. I think I can say, with little fear of contradiction, that High Mass in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament Exposed is not the most common of Anglican services (or, for that matter, Roman Catholic), but it is very moving. The ceremonial is slightly different, so no drifting through Mass on automatic pilot that day – and I must never, never invite a Bishop to pontificate on that Sunday – I can juggle, but not with that many balls!

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