Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates Requiem Mass for King Richard III

Leicester, United Kingdom (Friday, 03-27-2015, Gaudium Press) King Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, was killed at Bosworth in 1485 and his remains were found beneath a Leicester car park in 2012. On Thursday, March 26, at Leicester Cathedral, the king’s coffin was lowered into a vault below the cathedral floor during a reinterment service.

On Monday 23 March, Cardinal Vincent celebrated a Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of King Richard III at Holy Cross Church, the current Catholic parish church and Dominican priory in Leicester. The Mass was concelebrated by Bishops from across England and Wales.Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates Requiem Mass for King Richard III.jpg

Cardinal Vincent wore a chasuble that dates back to the time of Richard III. Known as the ‘Westminster vestment’, it was made in the latter half of the 15th century and could have been worn by priests at Masses attended by the King. The chasuble today forms part of the heritage collection of Ushaw College, the former seminary near Durham.

‘This evening we fulfill a profound and essential Christian duty: that of praying for the dead, for the repose of their eternal soul,’ said the Cardinal in his homily.

He went on to explain that ‘the of the offering of the Holy Mass’ is the best prayer as it is ‘the prayer of Jesus himself, made complete in the oblation of his body and blood on the altar of the Cross, present here for us on this altar.’

Acknowledging that ‘Richard was not a man of peace’, the Cardinal noted that he lived during a turbulent time. Despite this, he was ‘a man who sought to offer to his citizens justice through the rule of law’.

Cardinal Vincent spoke of Richard’s legacy to the administration of law, which included ‘the institution of the Court of Requests at which poor people could bring their grievances to law. He improved the conditions of bail, enabling people to defend their property in the period before trial and he ordered the translation into English of written laws and Statutes again to make them more widely available.’

Noting that the king’s ‘actions did not always match those words,’ the Cardinal prayed that ‘the merciful judgment of our loving God is extended to him in every degree, for we know that it is only the gift of God’s mercy that protects us from the demands of God’s justice’.

The music for the Mass was selected from a range of composers from across the British Isles and from the plainsong tradition, which characterises the daily life and prayer of the Dominican friars of Holy Cross Priory. Some of the pieces were performed by the Choir of Saint Barnabas’ Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Diocese of Nottingham, the choir of Holy Cross Priory and the choir of English Martyrs’ Catholic School, Leicester.

Embroidered Funeral Pall

King Richard III’s embroidered funeral pall was revealed at a reception service for the monarch at Leicester Cathedral yesterday (Sunday 22 March)

Created by artist Jacquie Binns, the black pall is beautifully decorated with an intriguing mix of images. Alongside a knight in armour, King Richard’s queen in heraldic robes are the faces of archaeologist Richard Buckley and the Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith.

The Pall was draped over the lead-lined oak coffin by the descendants of four peers who fought both for and against King Richard at Battle of Bosworth in August 1485.

With information from Catholic Diocese of Westminster and kingrichardinleicester.com

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