Here in the sacristy before Mass are the clergy. On the left is Fr Emerson, the UK superior of the FSSP. I first came across Fr Emerson in 1983 when he was celebrating Mass in the Station Hotel just across the road from the cathedral for the Society of St Pius X. It was good to have made it across the other side of the road to the cathedral at last! It was hard to imagine in 1983 that that day would ever come twenty-five years later. On my left is Fr Phillips, the parish priest of Stella, who often takes the role of subdeacon on these occasions. Also pictured are Fr Angus and the cathedral curate, Fr Warren, who also preached at the Mass.
There are plans at the cathedral to move the altar further back from the front of the sanctuary. In its present position it made the arrangements for the EF a little difficult but I`ve managed in more restricted spaces. (A nuptial Mass at St Joseph`s Hartlepool many years ago comes to mind.)
Unfortunately very few pictures appear to have been taken of the Mass. Here is the best.
Here is a somewhat shakier one.
The vestments were a lovely set acquired from the Poor Clare convent at Darlington. The decoration is eighteenth century mounted on material in the 1930`s.
Unfortunately very few singers turned up for the Mass and the choir of three and an organist were rather stretched to make an impact in the cathedral. If we are fortunate to return to the cathedral I hope that we can make sure there is a large enough choir for the Mass.
Fr Warren preached very well on the theme of Humanae Vitae. I hope I`ll be able to get a copy of his sermon.
The Mass was very well attended with a large number of young people there. Madame Evangelista has given her own impressions here. It was somewhat strange that a number of Latin Mass stalwarts from the diocese were not there but maybe the thought of coming into town on the night that Newcastle United fans were angry about the situation at the club deterred them.
We had a full team of servers and it was also good to see that three of the cathedral`s own serving team came along too.
After the Mass there was a dinner at the Assembly Rooms where at a rather late hour three talks were given. The last speaker only finished at 11.30pm which was beginning to feel well past my bedtime. The longest talk came from Mr Pollard who spoke vigorously of the demographic danger arising from the lack of young people in Western society.
Many thanks go to Fr Leighton, the cathedral dean for giving his permission for this Mass. I hope it can become an annual event as a sign that Pope Benedict`s words in France yesterday hold true in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle:
No one is too many in the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never (must he feel) rejected.