On Monday of this week Father Ed Tomlinson posted a short article on his blog about “Singing the Angelus”, on the day after my weekend in London, when I experienced it twice at Most Precious Blood in The Borough, London. He wrote:
“One of the new/ancient customs we have introduced at Saint Anselm’s since becoming a quasi parish in our own right is the singing of the Angelus at the end of mass on Sunday. Something we do at both 9:15 and 11am.
As the Angelus is sung, confiding us to the maternal intercessory care of the mother of Christ, the children of the parish gather at her feet. This is a time for our families to be cherished. Then, as the devotions come to an end, the children are encouraged to light candles and offer their own prayers.
A simple custom but a very moving one.”
My experience at Most Precious Blood is that Fr. Christopher Pearson approaches the statue of Our Lady in the small Lady Chapel and begins the Angelus as near to twelve o’clock as possible. Normally he has taken off his vestments after the 11 a.m. mass. In the picture below, Fr. Chris is vested because it is at the beginning of Saturday’s ordination mass, which began at 12 noon.
On Sunday I was seated immediately behind the front row of young children who had come into mass after their Sunday School, and you can perhaps imagine how surprised and moved I was to see how they joined in all the responses word and tone perfect. When I mentioned this to Dame Joanna Bogle after mass, she made a very valid comment: “This is something that these childen will never forget their whole lives”.
In this version of the Angelus from an Anglo-Catholic parish in the USA, which I found on youtube, the melody of the response to the Hail Mary (“Holy Mary, Mother of God, … “) is slightly different from the one sung at Most Precious Blood. There, in the key of G, the notes are B – E – A – D – G – B – A – G.