Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Installation of Vincent Nichols to Westminster to be Celebrated at Original High Altar

Those of you who have a particular interest in the upcoming installation of Archbishop Vincent Nichols as the new archbishop of Westminster, will be interested to know that the archdiocese of Westminster has setup an "installation blog":

With interest in the forthcoming Installation of Archbishop Vincent Nichols as the Eleventh Archbishop of Westminster growing, the webteam at the Diocese is starting a blog which will allow you to find out about some of the interesting planning and behind the scenes activity going on at Westminster Cathedral . The installation will take place on Thursday 21 May at 12 noon, with a Service of Vespers taking place on Wednesday 20 May at 7.00pm.

The entry for today -- which appears to be the first entry -- details the removal of a false wooden floor where the free-standing altar is usually placed.



With the platform removed, the "forward altar" (as they have termed it) has been moved back and you can see where the false floor was. Whether this is intended on a permanent or temporary basis is not clear.

At the same time, they have built an "extended floor/platform" around the original High Altar.



The mention of the high altar is particularly of note because of the fact that the Mass of Installation, we learn, is not being celebrated upon the forward altar, but rather upon the original high altar beneath the grand ciborium of Westminster Cathedral:

The Mass of Installation will be celebrated at the High Altar of Westminster Cathedral... A small wooden floor has been added around the High Altar on which Archbishop Vincent Nichols, together with the four Auxilliary Bishops of Westminster, will stand during the celebration of the Mass of Installation.

While it would be additionally wonderful were the Mass to be celebrated ad orientem (it will be celebrated versus populum) the use of the original high altar with its ciborium is a spectacular bit of news.