A low mass was sung here at 10:30 am with the Very Reverend Vicar General William Starrs officiating.
The altar was covered with black cloth, with a white Maltese cross in the center. The pulpit was also hung with black. The mass was for a nation in tribulation.
The music was very solemn. During the mass, the 51st Psalm, Miserere Mei Deus, was sung, "Have mercy on me, God, according to your great kindness, and according to the multitude of your mercies..." Italian composer Gregorio Allegri wrote the hymn in the 1630s for use in the Sistine Chapel during Easter week. Here is the psalm as sung by the King's College, Cambridge choir:
Reverend Starr presented:
This being the day appointed for the obsequies of our late President in Washington, we have assembled here in our churches for the purpose of expressing our deep sorrow and profound regret at the great calamity which has lately fallen on the nation.
It is our duty as citizens of this great Republic to sympathize with the nation in all her troubles, and at this particular time it is more especially a duty incumbent on us all to bow down in humble submission to the inscrutable ways of Divine Providence, and to supplicate for our beloved country; to supplicate the God of Mercy in her behalf.
How true is the saying, “Man proposes, but God disposes.”
A week ago, who could have imagined what has since taken place. A week ago there was nothing but joy and exultation throughout the land at the great victories which had been obtained, and at the near prospect of peace.
Man proposed to rejoice, but the day appointed had not yet arrived when sorrow and grief struck at the very heart of the nation.
The head of the nation has been taken away by the hand of an assassin at the moment when the country was expecting peace. He was taken away in the midst of his glory in this world, and it is a lesson to teach us that God alone can give us peace. And it is our duty to pray now to God, in this peculiar state of our affairs, that he may protect and bless our country.
The choir then sang: “O Lord save the Republic and hear us in the day that we call upon thee.”
The prayer for all in tribulation was said:
“Blessed, O Lord, be thy name forever, who has been pleased that this trial and tribulation should come upon us.
We cannot fly from it, but must of necessity fly to Thee, that thou may help us and turn it to our good.
Lord, we are now in tribulation, and our hearts are not at ease. We are much afflicted with our present suffering.
And now, dear Father, what shall we say? We are taken, O Lord, in these straits; O save us from this hour.
Give us patience, O Lord, at this time also. Help us, O Lord, and we will not fear how much we may be oppressed.
And now in the midst of these things, what shall we say? Lord, thy will be done”
Edited report from New York Sun, April 20, 1865.