Monday, February 2nd, at 6:00 pm, Fr Peter Mottola will celebrate a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple (Candlemas). This will take place at the beautiful country church of St Bridget in Bloomfield (15 Church St, East Bloomfield). Following ancient custom on this feast that celebrates Christ as the light of the world, candles will be blessed at the beginning of Mass; anyone who wishes to arrive early and bring candles for this rite is welcome to do so.
The music for this Mass is of special note: for the Candlemas service, not only the Ordinary of the Mass but also the propers (Introit, Gradual etc.) will be sung to polyphonic music by William Byrd. It is very rare for a Mass to sung to polyphony throughout in this manner, and Byrd's music is of particular importance to the English Catholic tradition. His Mass for Five Voices and his Candlemas propers were written for use at clandestine Masses celebrated by Catholics during the Elizabethan era, who could not worship openly, and they were published in a scrambled format to disguise their true liturgical function: only in the mid-twentieth century did scholars crack the code of Byrd's Gradualia and discover that what appeared to be an innocuous collection of motets was in fact an encyclopedic collection of polyphonic propers for use at Mass during the complete liturgical year. Aaron James will direct a small schola of singers from the Eastman School of Music.
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