As you will recall from my previous posts, my beloved the RC is alternating her attendance at her Roman Catholic church with our visits to the Episcopal Cathedral of San Diego, as she continues to explore where she belongs. This was an Episcopalian week, so off we trooped to the 10.30 Mass, which being a Cathedral service is quite impressive with a full choir, lots of people in procession (and VERY well attended by a wide demographic). We appreciate it for its warm welcome, about which I have posted previously.
Now, the Cathedral has lots of interesting events throughout the week, but especially on Sunday. However, because it is rather inconvenient for us to get there, and because we have BP's son with us Sunday nights, we usually can't go to any evening events. But this week, the Boy was off on a college visit, which meant we had the luxury of time to go back down to the city and attend Evensong at 5pm. I've always enjoyed Evensong (my years in England gave me a taste for it) and the Men and Boys choir at the Cathedral that sings this service is really outstanding. There is something unworldly about a boy soprano's voice. Although not as crowded as the morning Mass, I counted about 60 people there. We appreciated the service, and then decided to grab a bite to eat in the neighborhood and come back for Compline at 8.30.
I have never attended a Compline service, and neither had BP, so we didn't quite know what to expect. We returned to the Cathedral to find it dark inside, with only a few candles lit on the altar and no other lights. At first we wondered if the service was cancelled but then our eyes grew accustomed to the dark and we saw scattered shadows in the pews of others, sitting quietly. We found our way to a pew and sat, waiting.
Then, three people in black cassocks came out, each lighting a candle , and sat in chairs at the front. Holding their candles over their choirbooks, they proceeded to sing a cappella, polyphony, harmony, and plainchant, some in Latin and some in English. Between each piece was an extended quiet period for reflection. It was intensely beautiful and contemplative. When they finished, about 30 minutes later, they extinguished their candles and disappeared. We made our way out of the darkened church to be met by the cacophony of night-time city streets, unexpectedly garish under fluorescent lights. We headed for the freeway and the drive home, both of us feeling peaceful and refreshed in our own way.
BP, who is a brilliant punster as well as beloved partner, dubbed it our High-TEC Sunday.