Thursday, November 27, 2008
Whilst on my personal annual retreat earlier this month Fr Abbot readily agreed we could return again next year and the guest-master, Br Gabriel, has already reserved both guesthouses (male and female) for our exclusive use for the weekend of 17th – 19th June 2009. (Place still available should you wish to join us).
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Latin Mass Society Celebrates Its Annual Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral
Father Antony Conlon, National Chaplain of the Latin Mass Society, celebrated a High Mass of Requiem in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 22 November for the repose of the souls of all deceased members and supporters of the LMS. Father Tim Finigan was Deacon and the Sub-deacon was Fr Patrick Hayward. Gordon Dimon of the LMS was MC.
A congregation of about 600 heard the men of the Cathedral Choir sing traditional plainchant.
For the first time in many years, the Mass was followed by the traditional ceremonies of Absolutions at the Catafalque. Many in the congregation said afterwards how pleased they were that this ceremony had been reinstated.
Before Mass, a wreath was laid by Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, and other LMS Committee members on the grave of Cardinal Heenan in the cathedral nave in thanksgiving for the Cardinal’s efforts to preserve the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Father Antony Conlon read prayers for the occasion.
John Medlin, General Manager of the LMS, said afterwards: “The LMS is grateful to Canon Christopher Tuckwell, the Cathedral Administrator, for his friendly help in organising our ceremonies. We feel that the Extraordinary Form now has a settled part to play in the life of Westminster Cathedral and we shall be putting some ideas regarding improved provision to Canon Tuckwell soon.”
Note: The Extraordinary Form has now returned to several of our cathedrals throughout England and Wales and the LMS is actively seeking to introduce further Masses.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
For the full statement by bishop Roche click here.
Monday, November 17, 2008
There is also a press release:
For Immediate Release
17 November 2008
* The lights went out but the ceremonies went on!
* Westminster bishop confers Traditional Rite confirmations
A power cut at St James’ Church, Spanish Place, London threatened to ruin the day for 45 eager Confirmation candidates at the Latin Mass Society’s annual Confirmation ceremony in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Rite) last Saturday, 15 November. However, Bishop George Stack, auxiliary bishop in Westminster, and the children and congregation coped with the difficult conditions and the ceremonies proceeded in the darkened church with the help of many candles!
Bishop Stack administered Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form at the request of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. 45 candidates received the sacrament – 40 children and 5 adults. This was the fifth year of the annual ceremony.
The day began with a ‘get to know you’ meeting in the Lady Chapel between the bishop and candidates. The ceremonies followed with an address from Bishop George in which he spoke of Grace as a gift of God, freely given and inviting our response. In Confirmation we open ourselves to God and strengthen ourselves to go forward in faith.
With no electricity to power the organ or light the choir loft, the choir had to move to the nave and were accompanied on piano. A large congregation of over 500 family and friends joined the choir in singing the Veni Creator Spiritus and other traditional hymns. During the anointing, the choir sang polyphony and plain chant. After the confirmations, Bishop Stack conferred Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and led the congregation in the Divine Praises.
Because of the power cut, the usual reception for the bishop and congregation in the crypt had to be abandoned. Instead, Bishop Stack met and chatted with the newly-confirmed and their families on the church steps.
John Medlin, General Manager of the Latin Mass Society, said, “Despite the unfortunate circumstances, everyone was greatly edified by the occasion. The LMS is grateful to Cardinal Cormac and Bishop George for their pastoral concern for those attached to the Extraordinary Form.”
. . . . ENDS . . . .
For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or James Murphy, LMS Office Manager, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585;
(E mail) firstname.lastname@example.org
However, on the weekend of November 7th-9th, as mentioned earlier, St Mary`s hosted a Gregorian chant study weekend led by the Scottish Gregorian Group. Many thanks to Alan, Fred, David and Bruce for all their work. Posters had been sent by email to all parishes in the diocese by the chancellor. Twenty people had expressed interest and asked for an application form but in the event about ten came, some of whom have been long involved in the Latin Mass.
After an introductory meeting on Friday night the evening closed with Compline in the church. next morning began with a Missa Cantata in the EF which ended with a Cistercian solemn Salve. The afternoon was spent learning the music for First Vespers for the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica which was sung at 4.30pm. Alan had prepared beautifully produced booklets for the services we had. Vespers and Compline were sung following the monastic use so I had to pretend to be a Benedictine and stand for the Gloria Patri`s etc.
The next morning the 10.30 Mass was the Remembrance Sunday Mass so the ordinary, the Introit, Dies Irae, Offertory Antiphon and communion Antiphon were sung by the schola. We also had a cantor for the responsorial psalm ( The Lord`s my Shepherd) and included a couple of hymns. That was the most chant we have ever had on a `Chant Sunday` and I was nervous that it might be too much but I think everyone understood it was a special occasion.
The SGG then did a quick flit over the Tyne to St Joseph`s, Gateshead where they sang the EF Mass for the Lateran Basilica feast. I got there half-way through and sat at the back. The parish priest, (and diocesan liturgist) was the celebrant. Unfortunately it was hard to concentrate on the Mass because of a large party waiting for a baptism at 1pm who were talking loudly but the Mass was beautiful. I enjoy attending the EF almost as much as saying it.
So many thanks to the SGG. I hope they may have planted some seeds to give other people a love of Gregorian Chant.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
A minor theme on this blog has been local architecture. In fact I reached the peak of my blogging career when I was asked to write a piece for the BBC website after writing an item about the notorious Gateshead carpark and why I thought it should be demolished.
Last night I went to the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead to listen to John Grundy talk on the theme of `Architecture and the Media` which was an account of how he moved from being an English teacher to working for the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (English Heritage) on the National Re-survey of Listed Buildings in the 1980`s, before becoming a broadcaster on local television making very enjoyable programmes on places of local interest. The talk was very entertaining and the hour flew by.
Since moving to North Tyneside I have developed an obsession with Seaton Delaval Hall whose future is up in the air at the moment. Here is John talking about the interior in this YouTube extract. The Hall has no Catholic associations but I always find it hard to separate the baroque and Catholicism in my mind.
Unfortunately the recent changes at ITV have meant that Tyne-Tees Television will be almost entirely devoted to only news programmes and so we will not be seeing anymore of John Grundy`s wonderful programmes for the short-term.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I knew that a couple of priests from our diocese were out in Lourdes and we were hoping to meet up to go for a drink. I caught sight of them at the Sunday night Rosary procession but they didn`t spot me. We did bump into one another the next day. However Fr Swales had caught sight of them the previous day in the SSPX Blessed Sacrament procession! They were looking for us and thought that might be where we`d be. I don`t think they were very clear about the irregular status of the SSPX but they enjoyed Vespers and Benediction. Fr Swales and myself had meanwhile joined the official procession: the one with a host the size of a dinner plate.
Also in the procession was a large group from the Camargue in South East France. Their participation is unique in that they have a horse-back section: the only people allowed to process on horses at Lourdes. I took some pictures. The costumes were interesting and the women looked as if they had stepped out of the chorus of a production of Carmen. The horses went in front of the Blessed Sacrament which made some difficulties for those of us following. Do I need to go into detail? It was hard to imagine something like this happening anywhere in England. Could people from the South East of England dress up and process in their local costumes for any event? What would the English wear?
The SSPX had had the use of the underground basilica. On the Monday morning while lining up for our official photo some of our group spotted another EF Pontifical High Mass in the Rosary basilica. We spotted the blue biretta pom-poms of the Institute of Christ the King among the clergy in choir. Apparently this was a pilgrimage by the Domus Christiana ( if I`ve got the name right: I can`t find them on Google) which is a group promoting Catholic family life. We couldn`t find out who the bishop was.
We had hoped to have the EF mass at the grotto during our stay. Our organiser had even been in touch with the Ecclesia Dei commission in Rome who had sent a fax to the Rector of the Shrine regarding our request. I don`t know how it works but I imagine that at the grotto there is Mass in a different vernacular at fixed times and groups are invited to attend OF Mass in their own language and priests to concelebrate. However we did find that the grotto was free for Mass at 6am on the Wednesday. We would have been no trouble as we had all our own gear but we were told that the EF Mass could not be allowed at the grotto. This was a great shame as we had had no trouble anywhere else. I heard a rumour that the SSPX are allowed to have Mass at the grotto but I didn`t see that in our time there and can`t confirm it but that would be a strange irony indeed. Let`s hope that this situation can be sorted out soon.
`I didn't want the Mass to end tonight as I felt so at peace and I find it so much easier to converse with God without all the distractions of the ordinary daily Mass`
Another bonus on Sunday night was that I finally got to meet Madame Evangelista! You can read her impressions here (where she is very generous about my sermon).
Monday, November 03, 2008
Masses had been arranged for everyday in the EF. There was to be one public Mass each day with sermon and the other priest would say a private Mass which people were free to attend too. Fortunately most of our chapels were booked for two hours so that allowed us to say one Mass after the other.
We had Mass on Sunday in St Michael`s chapel, Monday in St Ann`s, Tuesday in St Gabriel`s and Wednesday at the delightful church at Bartrès. On the last morning we had Mass in the hotel bar at 6 am!
Our group was quite diverse. the youngest pilgrim was Teresa who was fourteen months old (with her parents who had only become Catholics a couple of years ago) and the eldest was Anna who at 94 was sprightly and full of fun. Anna had been on the 1929 Hexham and Newcastle diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes! In all we had 38 pilgrims in the group and most were from the North-West. Many attend the Masses said by Fr Hudson in that part of the world. Conversation often included accounts of liturgical horrors. The one that sticks with me was the account of the parish priest who changes the words of the Mass so that people are to say before Communion `Lord I am worthy` rather than the normal response. However I believe he has given up on that experiment now. Another was the priest who felt that the large outdoor crucifix in front of the church needed repair and wondered whether something else could be put there instead of the crucifix. He had been heard to remark about the crucifix that the figure wasn`t even smiling!
Here are some photos. Our Masses were all Low Masses as while, as chaplains, we had taken many things for the celebration of Mass (missal, vestments, altar cards, chalice, ciborium, Communion plate) including a thurible and acolyte candlesticks was more than we could manage. However we had a hymn before and after Mass and at Bartrès the congregation sang the ordinary to the Missa de Angelis.
Here I am celebrating the Sunday Mass in St Michael`s chapel.
I was particularly pleased to get this photo during Fr Swales` Mass as it demonstrates an aspect of Catholic life on the continent that has always fascinated me. Why is it that whenever I attend a Mass there is always someone who decides to stand for the whole thing and blocks the view of the priest? Do these people never think that there might be anyone behind trying to see? It happens all the time and even during the consecration.
This is a very indistinct picture of Fr Swales celebrating Mass at Bartrès, taken with my mobile phone.
There will be a full report in the next issue of the LMS magazine, with, I`m sure, better pictures. Many thanks go to Ann Archer for organising the whole pilgrimage