Today, Saturday, the London Eucharistic Octave begins, with His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop celebrating a Votive of the Most Blessed Sacrament at noon (hurry!) in the church of Corpus Christi in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden. Then, throughout the week, there is Mass in various Uses at 6.30 in the evening in the same church: Monday, in the Usus Authenticus of the Roman Rite; Tuesday, in the Divine Worship form of the Roman Rite (i.e. the Ordinariate Rite ... basically the Usus Authenticus in Tudor English with some additions from the Anglican Tradition); Wednesday, in the Usus Novus of the Roman Rite; Thursday, in the Ukrainian form of the Byzantine Rite; and, on Friday, a Solemn Requiem for those who have died of Covid.
On SUNDAY (NOTICE THIS CORRECTION OF MY EARLIER CULPABLE ERROR) 19 September, at 3.30, there is planned a Blessed Sacrament Procession from the Assumption and S Gregory in Warwick Street: which was originally the Portuguese embassy Chapel in the 'penal' days when the only Catholic Worship legally offered in England was in the extra-territorial embassies of the Catholic powers. The Marquis of Pombal ... a sinister figure if ever there was one ... will have worshipped there!
Later, it became the Bavarian embassy Chapel, and so it has housed a number of Jacobite liturgical celebrations while the House of Wittelsbach has been de jure the Royal House of the Three Kingdoms. It then fell upon hard times, as the home of "Gay Masses"; these caused some disquiet in Rome, with the result that the church was, instead, handed over to the Ordinariate, where it houses our splendid liturgical heritage.
The Procession will make Stations at the Jesuit church in Farm Street and at the Ukrainian Cathedral in Duke Street ... before ending up at S James, Spanish Place for Pontifical Benediction. This is yet another former embassy Chapel; I understand that it still possesses a Spanish flag so that, if the Rector suddenly hears of an imminent visit by the King's Majesty of Spain, he can sprint into his church and instantly haul up the Spanish flag in honour of His Most Catholic Majesty. The Rector, incidentally, is the same Father Christopher Colvin whom many readers will remember as Administrator of the (Anglican) Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!!!
The Procession will be led by the Ukrainian Eparch, and by Mgr Keith Newton, Episcopus quondam Rutupiensis, Ordinary of the Ordinariate.
What a potent symbol ... what a magnificent prolepsis of Unity ... all this is! Together with Catholics who worship according to the Missal of S Pius V, there will be Byzantines in Full Communion with the See of S Peter; (former) Anglicans now in Full Communion with the See of S Peter; and even Bergoglians in Full Communion with the See of S Peter.
And the unity implied by these celebrations will be diachronic as well as synchronic: the churches hosting the beginning and the end of the Eucharistic Procession are churches dating from Recusant days ... before there was any such See as that of Westminster, founded in 1850. Farm Street, also, dates (just) from the era of the Vicars Apostolic. Bishop Challoner, pray for us all! Maiden Lane, on the other hand, was built after the Restoration of the Hierarchy, and so could be seen as a splendid representative of Flaminian Gate Catholicism. Cardinal Manning, pray for us all!
The Procession will be led by the two hierarchs who represent within the glorious unity of our English Catholic Church the liturgical inheritances of Byzantine and Anglican Christianity.
At a time when it has quaintly been suggested that there is only 'unicus usus' of the Roman Rite' and that liturgical diversity implies disunity, or even a schismatic mentality, it is good to have such a public demonstration that the Church's Unity, in fact, is expressed by her great diversity and by the manifold variety of her rites.
As the authentic Magisterium of Roman Pontiffs has repeatedly and consistently proclaimed.