Following the inauguration of the Rosary Shrine at St. Dominic’s, a prayer vigil was held that same evening in thanksgiving for the elevation of the Church to shrine status, to ask the the mission of the Shrine to promote the rosary as a way of prayer would be blessed, and for the renewal of the Church in this country.
The vigil began with a reconciliation service during which the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the throne above the High Altar. The evening was hosted by the Dominican Youth Movement who had taken great pains to ensure that the dimly lit Church was ablaze with candles. A choir made up of members of the Dominican Youth Movement, participants of the Spode music week, and the schola of Blackfriars Oxford added to the beauty and prayerfulness of the occasion with their renditions of a range of polyphonic pieces, a duet, as well as instrumental pieces on the organ, flute and cello. Throughout this service priests were available to hear confessions, and there were a number of readings from Scripture and reflections led by lay Dominicans and members of the Dominican Youth Movement.
The reconciliation service concluded with compline, and was followed by a Eucharistic rosary procession which underlined the extent to which the rosary is built into the very architecture of St. Dominic’s Priory Church. The newly erected Shrine has fourteen side chapels, each dedicated to a mystery of the rosary. The high altar completes the set, dedicated as it is to the fifth glorious mystery: the crowning of Our Lady as queen of heaven. The Blessed Sacrament was carried in a candlelit procession around the Church, stopping at each altar to meditate on each mystery in turn and to offer prayers for various intentions. The vigil concluded at just gone midnight with Benediction at the altar of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Lady chapel. While most people went home at this point, a handful of hardy souls stayed on to pray through the night until dawn for the work of the pro-life movement in this country.
Thanks to Sr Mary Catherine, of the Dominican Sisters of St Joseph, for the photographs of the Vigil.