Anne Mahon and her husband Albert sang for many years with the noted Canadian composer and church musician Dr. Healey Willan ('the Doc'). Anne sang in the Gallery Choir and Albert was his Cantor in the Ritual Choir. Both Anne and Albert were received into the full Communion of the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate.
If you have not seen it, the NFB short documentary about Willan, “Man of Music”, is worth watching. At the four minute mark you will see Anne, second from the right in a white sweater. MAN OF MUSIC
Anne died recently and the following homily was preached by Fr. John Hodgins, Parish Priest of St. Thomas More Parish, POCSP, Toronto. The STM Parish Choir was supplemented by family and friends who came from as far away as England to sing the music for the Mass which included:
J.M. Asol, Missa pro defuntis, Dies Ire, Edgar Bainton, And I Saw A New Heaven Healey Willan, Rise Up My Love, At the Close of the Day, Chorale Prelude
A recording of the Mass will soon be available. Watch this blog.
Jesus said: “[the one] who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life.” JOHN 5:24
Today we come first and foremost to celebrate the love and mercy of God in Jesus Christ. We do this because that is what Christians do and because Anne, a wife, mother, grandmother, friend and spiritual mother to many through her love and gentleness, witnessed that she knows Jesus Christ as her Saviour and her Lord first and above all.
The liturgy today is filled with Scripture, which is communicated in song and sacred ceremonial action to affirm just that. Jesus Christ is at the centre of all and, of course, his presence in the Holy Eucharist is at the centre of our life as those who believe and follow Jesus.
Anne was an English girl, an English rose who was transplanted to this country after WW II with her beloved Albert. Blessed with five children, Anne and Albert were committed to raising a family and witnessing to friends that each person is called to, again in the words of her family: “dedicate their lives to Christ.”
Anne dedicated herself to her Lord through her personal example of gentleness and a spirit of harmony which she sought with all. Her personal faith in Jesus Christ was set firmly within the English tradition as you will see from the liturgy today. Though unfamiliar to some, the music and ceremonial of the Requiem Mass is the way that, over the first thousand years of English history, Christians committed their loved ones to the eternal love of God by word, action and music.
For many years, Anne and Albert joyfully sang this music of the Church under the direction of Dr. Healey Willan and so contributed to one of the great sacred art forms, which is a fruit of their witness to the Kingship of Jesus Christ. Anne sang to the glory of God as she lived to be a witness to the love and mercy of Jesus.
And so today we are in communion with Anne and with all the saints who have passed from their baptism in this world to the nearer presence and rest of God through the sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus Christ who is with us in Holy Communion today at this requiem: requiem which means simply, rest. Anne rests in the arms of Jesus until the day of the general resurrection when she will stand with all who choose to follow Christ accepting Him as Lord and Saviour and entering into his life through the waters of Baptism.
Anne’s witness is to affirm the words of Sacred Scripture proclaimed in the Gospel today and to invite all of you to affirm them in your hearts and in your lives:
Jesus said: “[the one] who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life.”