Deo volente, I shall be celebrating a High Mass of the Assumption on Monday at 7.00 p.m., in the Central Ordinariate Church of the Assumption and S Gregory, Warwick Street in London. The Mass will be in the Latin Tridentine Rite; it would be jolly to meet any reader who happens to be in London on Monday for the Assumption (in England, the actual Obligation is transferred this year to Sunday August 14).
Since it will be the Solemnity of the Titular of a Parish Church, our Blessed Lady Assumed into Heaven, you could also kill two birds with one stone by collecting the available Plenary Indulgence suetis condicionibus!!
Many will know that this historic church was once the Bavarian Embassy Chapel, and has therefore hosted down the years many celebrations related to our de jure Royal House. It had the great distinction of being sacked during the Gordon Riots.
If the Sanctuary looks a bit familiar, that is because the architect of Westminster Cathedral, J F Bentley (1839-1902), rebuilt that end in what looks like a trial run for the Cathedral. If you like that sort of thing, you may very well like it. The rest of the church (as well as its unassuming frontage to the road) looks, with its galleries, reassuringly like a Methodist Chapel.
However, what I particularly enjoy is a relief of our Lady's Assumption, which is a relic of the Georgian or Regency fittings before Bentley started striking blows for Revived Byzantine. This relief was originally over the High Altar but now lives over the door to the left of the Altar, which leads to the sacristies. It is pure nineteenth century neo-Classicism, carved by John Edward Carew (1785-1868). Yes ... I know you've heard of Flaxman and Chantrey and Westmacott, but ... Carew ... ?
However, if you've been to the majestic stately home at Petworth, in Sussex, you will certainly have met Carew there. He was an extremely talented but irascible Irishman whom the third Earl of Egremont (1751-1837) employed from 1822. There, just North of the South Downs, Belloc's beloved Eternal Hills, you will find naked nymphs, as smooth and icy as anything by Canova or Thorvaldsen, with Regency ringlets and names like Arethusa or Hebe; as well as Vulcan and Venus and Cupid; Prometheus and Pandora; Adonis and his boar ...
I don't know whether Carew did many other Catholic ecclesiastical commissions, or how he came by the Warwick Street job. But I think it's worth making the effort to come and look at it.
And, of course, on Sundays you could combine a visit with an experience of the splendid Ordinariate Rite.