WHEN Cardinal Basil Hume OSB recently celebrated a Solemn Mass at noon, in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Allan Davis, in St Etheldreda's, Ely Place, he spoke in his homily of the standards of excellence set in the liturgy and in music by that Rosminian Fleet Street parish.
The music of the choir and orchestra was superb, Edward Elgar, William Byrd, David Lord T X Tanner, Richard Deering, etc. The tuck of drums and the fanfare of trumpets and brass saluted the elevation of the host and of the chalice with enormous solemnity. The King of Kings gets a veritable Royal Salute on these solemn occasions.
As the Cardinal remarked, in a charming and moving and brief homily, this twelfth century church is a place of great beauty and calm. Fr Kit Cunningham, the parish priest, who assisted the cardinal at the Mass, must be immensely proud of his choir, and of his beautifully restored church.
What I find most moving are the statues of the eight martyrs, all with local associations, who are portrayed, life size, wearing the 'dress of their times. Their names, dates and place of execution are shown in small plaques beneath each statue.
I would like to know more about each martyr, particularly the lady in the Elizabethan hat and ruff and dress, the gentleman in the hat and ruff and Elizabethan dress, and the bargee, John Roche, in his rough jerkin.