“Time, like an ever rolling stream, soon bears us all away…”

What you see here is the view from the sanctuary in my parish this afternoon, moments before we began the procession for the Mass marking our 100th anniversary.

To put it simply: I’ve never experienced a liturgy quite like this. It was, in every sense, grand: from the entrance procession that included members of various parish groups and committees; to the army of altar servers (there must have been at least 20, probably more); to the (unprecedented in recent memory) presence of three bishops concelebrating; to the additional presence of seven other priests, including two who were graduates of our school; to the phenomenal music that included a bracing blend of trumpet, organ and timpani. The nave was packed — I’d guess there were about 1200 people there, maybe more — and the overall effect was just stunning.

Below is a shot someone snapped of Your Humble Blogger proclaiming the gospel.

I was especially moved when we sang the final hymn, just before the recessional: all the verses of “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past.”  You usually don’t hear more than one or two stanzas, and it’s usually while you’re running out the door to beat the mob out of the parking lot.  But it was great to give this glorious hymn its due:

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Soon bears us all away;
We fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our God while life shall last,
And our eternal home.