lördag 13 april 2013


I have been thinking a bit about funerals these last few days. I was asked to prepare the Requiem Mass for Anne Furse, a member of my old parish in Brighton, who died a couple of weeks ago. By chance (?) I had a couple of her drawings on my computer, one of which was of Mary Magdalen with her pot of ointment, anointing the feet of Jesus with her hair, and the other was an illustration of the Holy Spirit. They were perfectly suited for the service sheets and much admired by her relatives. She had never realised her potential "in the world", due to epilepsy and other conditions, but she was in a way the spiritual heart of parish. I would have liked to have been present in the choir to sing, though she would probably have preferred for me to be serving at the Mass. Ann used to compliment me by saying how nicely I served Mass at funerals.

Tomorrow, 13 April, is the eighth anniversary of my mother's death; the funeral took place on the following day. Next week is Margaret Thatcher's funeral, a state event with military honours. In my view it is a mistake. Given how divisive she was and how divisive she remains, a quiet event would have been more in order, with a memorial service.

No doubt my own funeral will be a quiet event, but I would hope it will be a full sung Mass, on a modest scale, preferably in the Extraordinary Form, and including the Dies Irae, and followed by a burial, not a cremation. I don't want a pean of praise. Please just pray for the repose of my soul.

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