Scenes at Westminster
By a Cif. Reportir
On Monday over 3,000 people filled Westminster Cathedral. They sang the Mass for Peace. The celebrant of the Mass was Mgr. Myers, Bishop of Lamus. The Cardinal was present.
The singing, which was of a unanimity and conviction unequalled by that of any of the previous People's Masses for Peace, was conducted by Dom Bernard MclElligott, O.S.B.
The Mass sung was Plainsong Mass No. 1, Lux et. Origo., which dates from the tenth century. Many nonCatholics were present, for the Mass marked the finale of the London Musical Festival.
As last year, women greatly outnumbered men.
From the brilliant and empty street I entered the Cathedral when they were singing the Credo. The great nave, the aisles and the chapel and galleries were full of men and women singing their belief.
Three thousand people stood and declared their faith, without timidity, without circumspection, yet without the shrill pride springing from individualism. The unity and conviction of their voices were overwhelming.
After the vast act of faith there wan the brief confusion of noise made by the movement. of chairs, and dresses, and shoes. hands, hooks and of coins clattering on other coins in brass plates,
There were rowa of schoolgirls in straw hats, with their attendant nuns; there were rows of girls belonging to the Young Christian Worker Movement, in green berets with full white tassels.
There were three times as 7)6(112 women as 1 t,•3n, so that women. besides filling their own side of the Cathedral appropriated about half of the side belonging to the 171e11.
The relative strength of voices of the men and the women did not however, seem affected by the disparity in numbers.
In singing the Ordinary of the Mass the congregation was helped by a schola of seventy seminarians—and it was vigorous help indeed.
There was no uncertainty in the singing of the Responses. The clear voice of Mgr. Myers was answered with unhesitating strength and precision.
The Consecration came with . all solemnity, and in silence except for an irritating quaver from the organ. The people knelt. The Cardinal went to his faidetool before the altar, his great cloak spread behind him down the altar steps like the blood of sacrifice. There was the sound of bells, and then the adoration.
Afterwards the stillness with a huge unconscious restricting of breathing is shattered, and there is the singing of the people again, praising God with all strength and beauty.
The high doors at the back of the Cathedral are opened. The sunlight of the street is raw and foreign to the subdued colour of the Cathedral, the greyness of stone and window and floor and incense, the shadow by arch and pillar.
Dona Nobis Pacem, sing the three thousand people with fervour and trust. And then soon the Mass is ended. There are ceremonial Improvisations from the organ as the Cardinal leaves in procession, the altar. The candles of the servers who precede him are dimmed in the pools of sunlight which cover the altar steps.