Solemn High Mass for the Dedication of Holy Family, 2019
On Monday, February 25th at 8 p.m. the Oratorians offered a Solemn High Mass celebrating the anniversary of the dedication of Holy Family Church. (On June 13th, 1997, a fire gutted the original Holy Family Church. After a fundraising drive during which Sunday Masses were held in the school gymnasium, construction of a new church began on October 7, 1999. The new building, designed in a Classical Revival style by architect Brian T. E. Atkins, of Thornhill, was dedicated on February 25, 2001 by Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic). Each year on its Feast of Dedication, the consecration candles affixed to the walls of a church are lit to honour the places where the consecrator performed a ritual anointing.
The music of the Mass was Jonathan Dove’s 𝑀𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑎 𝐵𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑠. This work, already a “classic of contemporary liturgical music,” was first performed in Wells Cathedral in 2009. The Toronto Oratory choir also sang Peter Phillip’s 𝐸𝑙𝑒𝑔𝑖 𝐴𝑏𝑗𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑠 𝐸𝑠𝑠𝑒, and Edward Bairstow’s 𝑈𝑟𝑏𝑠 𝐻𝑖𝑒𝑟𝑢𝑠𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑚 𝐵𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑎. Aaron James, organist and music director of Holy Family Church, played Olivier Messiaen’s 1932 organ work, 𝐴𝑝𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑑𝑒 𝑙’𝑒́𝑔𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑒 𝑒́𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒. About his own piece, Messiaen wrote this poem:
Made out of living stone,
Made out of heavenly stone,
It appears in heaven:
It is the Lamb’s bride!
It is the heavenly church
Made out of heavenly stone
Which is the chosen’s souls.
They are in God, and God is in them
For heavenly eternity!
The vestments used at Solemn Mass, a baroque inspired set, as well as the profusion of flowers in the sanctuary, underlined the splendor of this feast of the Lord. In keeping with St. Philip’s desire that the traditions and sacred rites of the Church find full expression in the Oratory, our Brother Sacristan placed wreaths of greenery and flowers at the consecration candles where the Church walls had been anointed during the Dedication. These represent the virtues with which Christ adorns his Church. The soft palette of whites and yellows express the purity and holiness of the heavenly Jerusalem.