We'd been planning yesterday evening, as a memorial Mass for the deceased friends and family of both the House and the Frassati Society, for several weeks. We weren't able to do something together on All Souls, so made sure we found time later on in November. We've also been praying for those on our November dead list at lauds and vespers every weekday.
Tragically, on Wednesday night, one of the community members heard that one of his friends from school, and a fellow student here at St Mary's, had died in particularly distressing circumstances. So needless to say, our already-planned memorial Mass immediately became a Mass for the repose of his soul.
As expected for such a well-liked and much-loved young man, a significant number of people joined us for our Mass last night: the chapel was mostly standing-room only, and even so, about half a dozen had to stand outside. It was a deeply profound and moving occasion - even for those (like myself) who never met the young man involved - presided over by Dom Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB of Douai Abbey. A good number of our grieving friends were able to join us for a drink and something to eat afterwards. And we shall be keeping them, their departed friend, and his family and other friends, very much in our prayers.
Monday, 8 November 2010
‘It is no use saying that we are born two thousand years too late to give room to Christ. Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late. Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts. […] But now it is with the voice of our contemporaries that He speaks, with the eyes of store clerks, factory workers, and children that He gazes; with the hands of office workers, slum dwellers, and suburban housewives that He gives. It is with the feet of soldiers and tramps that He walks, and with the heart of anyone in need that He begs and longs for shelter. And giving shelter or food to anyone who asks for it, or needs it, is giving to Christ. […] Not because it might be Christ who stays with us, comes to see us, takes up our time. Not because these people remind us of Christ […] but because they are Christ, asking us to find room for Him, exactly as He did at the first Christmas.’ (‘Room for Christ’  in Selected Writings, 94, 97)
'New York's Mother Teresa' (l) chats with her close friend 'Calcutta's Dorothy Day' (r)