3 July 2018
As is our custom, and somewhat inevitably given the Church year, we have had a number of liturgical highlights in the three months since Easter. A great theologian called this period “The Crown of the Year” and he was not wrong. It seems a long time ago now that we marked St George’s Day with a Mass with some of Mozart’s heart-stopping music. Bishop Robert, the first English Oratorian Bishop for 150 years, was with us once again to confirm 17 friends in May. You will remember Corpus Christi being kept as the big outdoors festival. But of course, day by day – from early morning to late at night – the chapel’s pulse has ticked along sometimes with two or three there, sometimes with hundreds.
For the third and final time I would like to pay tribute to Matthaeus, Timo and Jonas in their absence for their tremendous contributions over the course of the last year as well as years gone by. One of the marks of a successful leave-taking is to make sure that your work does not collapse the moment you are gone. As this morning’s sanctuary party shows, they have succeeded admirably in that aspect of leadership.
We have not awarded sacristy ties for a little while now and we must get back into the swing. They are awarded for a sustained commitment. There will be more awarded at Christmas so keep turning up and working hard next term but, for now, ties are re-awarded to Matthaeus and Timo; astonishingly awarded to Jonas – making up for an oversight years ago – and awarded to Ollie Martin and Tom Grenfell from the Lower Sixth; to AJ Okocha, Ollie Monye, Max Nugent, James Sieyes and Michael Greg-Uanseru from the 5th form; and to two younger sacristans who responded to the Upper Sixth boys’ invitation to serve on Sunday mornings with great enthusiasm: Seb Ferranti and Oskar Jordan-Barber. Please come up in a second. I would also like to thank Albert Stark, the SPH Head Sacristan and Jaime Rivera who was a very enthusiastic deputy, particularly this term. Every boy in the house served. There is no SPH sacristans’ ties but there is a little thing for you here.
It remains to announce the Head Sacristan for next year will be Oliver Martin and the Deputy Head Sacristan Tom Grenfell; and the Head Sacristan for St Philip House will be Edmund Tyler. Would you all please come forward.
And I would like to award a Sacristans’ tie to a server who has served the early morning midweek Masses come rain, come shine, faithfully and with a minimum of fuss for over a decade now. That must add up to thousands of occasions. Mr Forster, thank you very much indeed for all that you have done. “Agimus tibi gratias” as one might say.
Day 1 – Philip’s Humility
If Philip heard of anyone having committed a crime, he would say, “Thank God that I have not done worse.”
At confession he would shed abundance of tears, and say, “I have never done a good action.”
When one of his spiritual children said to him, “Father, I wish to have something of yours for devotion, for I know you are a Saint,” he turned to her with a face full of anger, and broke out into these words: “Begone with you! I am no saint.”
To another who said to him, “Father, a temptation has come to me to think that you are not what the world takes you for,” he made answer: “Be sure of this, that I am a man like my neighbours, and nothing more.”
He avoided all marks of honour. He could not bear to receive any signs of respect. When people wished to touch his clothes, and knelt as he passed by, he used to say, “Get up! get out of my way!” He did not like people to kiss his hand; though he sometimes let them do so, lest he should hurt their feelings.
He had always a dislike to speak of himself. The phrases “I said,” “I did,” were rarely in his mouth. He exhorted others never to make a display of themselves, especially in those things which tended to their credit, whether in earnest or in joke.
As St John the Evangelist, when old, was continually saying, “Little children, love one another,” so Philip was ever repeating his favourite lesson, “Be humble; think little of yourselves.”
Philip, my glorious Advocate, who didst ever follow the precepts and example of the Apostle St. Paul in rejoicing always in all things, gain for me the grace of perfect resignation to God’s will, of indifference to matters of this world, and a constant sight of Heaven; so that I may never be disappointed at the Divine providences, never desponding, never sad, never fretful; that my countenance may always be open and cheerful, and my words kind and pleasant, as becomes those who, in whatever state of life they are, have the greatest of all goods, the favour of God and the prospect of eternal bliss.