Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If you`ve never been to Ushaw.... are some more pictures.

Here is the high altar:
A view from the ante-chapel:

The English martyrs` picture in the cloister:

It is so sad that only 20 students rattle around in a building made to accomodate 300. In my time in the 80`s there were over 160 students. `Nous devons refonder l`eglise` as I think a Canon of Gap said to me on the Chartres pilgrimage a few years ago.

Many thanks to Leo Darroch again for the photos.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sad News

The Catholic Truth Society has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. When I was at Ushaw I remember a seminarian who always referred to it as the `Catholic Lies Society` because, he said, if you compared its publications before the Council with those after, the things it had assured you would never change it now sought to demonstrate were open to change. However in recent years the CTS has produced some impressive stuff: I enjoyed the Evangelium course and the schools RE syllabus, The Way, The Truth and The Life. This is a vast improvement on the Here I Am course used in most Catholic schools. It comes with the imprimatur and approval of the former archbishop of Birmingham. I had hoped when we got a former priest of Birmingham to be our bishop that he might have promoted the course but unfortunately, in his short episcopate, that didn`t happen. Some have said that The Way, The Truth and The Life is deficient for use in schools. I hope they have told the future archbishop of Westminster.
This makes it all the more sad that we will soon be losing the Catholic Truth Society shop in Newcastle. I shall miss it very much. It closes on May 8th. That leaves the Pauline Book shop at the cathedral as the only Catholic bookshop in Newcastle. It is not as accessible to the average shopper in Newcastle as the CTS site was just off Northumberland St., the main shopping street.
At least in these days of the internet there are always Southwell Books and Family Publications as well as the CTS website to provide sources of useful Catholic material.

Ushaw 2009, a few more.

Here are photos of the Fathers relaxing, eating and one of them listening to a talk in the hall. Also a photo of the procession out of the chapel. Thanks to Leo Darroch for the pictures.

I loved the daily routine of last week. In the combox Fr Elkin has written interestingly about life as he knew it at Ushaw in the 50`s. I enjoyed having sung Lauds and Vespers every day and a sung daily Mass. My enthusiasm for the religious life which has lain dormant since I left the novitiate of the Discalced Carmelites in 1983 came back to life! I remember at the time wondering whether I shouldn`t be a Benedictine rather than a Carmelite. Too late to worry about it now. Here are the pictures.

Mass at the Little Sisters of the Poor, Newcastle

Tonight there will be a Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at the chapel of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Westmorland Road, Newcastle at 7pm. This is in response to a request from a group of residents in the home. It has taken two and a half years of negotiation to bring this about so we hope all goes well. Thanks to David O`Neill for working to bring this about.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Madame Evangelista

I`m delighted to see Madame Evangelista is back. You can find her new blog here. The first few posts are a little on the ranting side as Madame admits. (I`m glad to see Forest Murmurs manages to get a vote of confidence however.) As usual there is plenty of food for thought and Madame offers an interesting perspective on Catholic life.

Schola Borealis

Just a reminder that the Schola Borealis will be singing at Brinkburn in Northumberland next weekend when they present a day of Benedictine office.


(10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)


TEL: 0191-520 3231OR BY E-MAIL FROM:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

After dinner

The Fathers and other conference members in song after the formal dinner at Ushaw on 22/04/09!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Private Masses at Ushaw

I have taken these from the Middlesborough LMS blog for anyone who may not have seen them there. Many thanks to Roydosan.

More pictures from Ushaw

The first two are from the High Mass on Monday:

Fr Elkin, a former student at the college and parish priest of Barnard Castle, celebrates Missa Cantata of St Anselm on Tuesday.

The sacristy ready for private Masses on wednesday

More when I get them. Thanks to Leo Darroch (LMS committee member and president of the International Federation Una Voce) for the photographs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

LMS Conference at Ushaw

Words can`t express how marvellous this week at Ushaw has been. I realise that part of this for me was that having been a student there for five years I never thought to see St Cuthbert`s chapel and the other altars used for the Extraordinary Form Mass. Nor did I ever expect to celebrate a High Mass on the high altar.

There was so much to enjoy: coming down in the mornings and seeing a hive of activity in the sacristy as priests got ready to say their private Masses or others returned from their altars; seeing the Masses in progress as I made my way to an altar, singing the offices of Lauds and Vespers; finally seeing the throne above the high altar used for the Blessed Sacrament during Benediction; the company of about thirty like-minded priests; the dedication of the altar servers; the beauty of the chant; the wonderful organ playing of Peter Locke; Byrd`s four-part Mass today; the fabulous vestments provided by Richard Luzar; the good food and the glorious weather on Monday and Wednesday. I can`t wait to do it all again next year.

Oh yes there was teaching as well. I was teaching an advanced Low Mass group. It is over twenty years since I studied the rubrics so I found it as useful for myself as I hope my group of three found it. I discovered I`d been making quite a few mistakes!
Well done the Latin Mass Society, and especially Paul Waddington, for all his work in making it all happen.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

To Ushaw

On a brighter note I am looking forward very much to the week ahead at Ushaw. Twenty-one priests have signed up for the LMS training course and I look forward to a week with good company. The first item on the timetable is Solemn High Mass tomorrow at 11am and I have the privilege of being celebrant: I never thought I`d see the day when I would do this at the high altar in St Cuthbert`s chapel.
During the week I was contacted by the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge`s organiser of their study weekend at Ushaw in June where I`ll be subdeacon at another High Mass, so that is something else to look forward to.
Let`s hope the LMS conference goes very well and becomes an annual event.

Easter and Holy Week: reaction

Last week I was pleasantly surprised by how many people in the parish came forward and said how much they enjoyed the music at the Easter Masses. This week a very nice lady in the nicest possible way told me she though it was terrible and why couldn`t there have been a Gloria and Sanctus that everyone could join in, like today when we had the Salazar Gloria? Apparently 80% of people in the parish agree with her. (Given that `Chant Sunday` is one Sunday a month that means that the 20% who do like it get 25% of the available Sunday Masses so that seems ok.)
I sighed. Why can there not be some give and take? Why can people not be tolerant of the likes of others and try to accommodate them rather than seek to eliminate anything that is not to their liking. As parish priest I give the green light to all kinds of things I don`t find to my taste but which I recognise are important to others. We have plenty of music with guitar but once a month we have some chant, which, as yet, people don`t join in. Previous to my appointment here this wasn`t a problem as I had a weekly Latin Mass and left the OF Masses alone. That made me happy and those who didn`t want to go to the Latin Mass had the OF Masses to go to. (Although it should be said I had constant pressure from those who regarded the presence of the EF Mass in their parish as a grave embarrassment and they did their best to stop it. However while it was decided to move me, the EF Mass continues in the parish and last Sunday even replaced the 9am English Mass, which if I`d done would have produced a deluge of letters to bishop`s house.)
However it does get rather wearing but I`m afraid I won`t be put off and hope that one day ears and hearts may be opened to the beauty of Gregorian chant.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter and Holy Week

I have just about recovered from the last week sufficiently to drag myself to the computer keyboard. According to the Tablet this week I shouldn`t even have the time to do that. Robert Mickens, the Rome correspondent, has this little outburst about priest bloggers:

` is extraordinary that ordained ministers can find so much free time and energy to "feed a blog". Is it possible that they have no housebound, hospitalised or imprisoned parishioners in need of their presence and ministry? It is also extraordinary that their bishops allow this. But then again we are living in extraordinary times.`

This is in the context of the recent happenings in Manila where the Vatican has rebuked Cardinal Rosales for his extremely restrictive interpretation of Summorum Pontificum. Mickens sees Rome`s intervention as a response to the fuss created in the blogosphere rather than coming from the diocese of Manila itself. However I don`t think he has this humble blog with its 200 readers a day in his sights. Half an hour every few days is all it takes to run. Our bishops last year appeared to give their approval to priest bloggers.
Holy Week went well. Alan and Bruce from the Schola Gregoriana of Scotland led Tenebrae. We had quite a good turn out for Good Friday Tenebrae. The Good Friday EF service attracted a good group of singers but only a small congregation. I know it was somewhat short notice but I thought that out of all those who express an interest in the traditional Roman rite in the diocese a few more might have come. While the 1962 Good Friday has its usual oddities (that Pater Noster said in unison drives me wild) on the whole I find myself agreeing with Fr Hunswicke on this as on so many things.
I was determined this year to find a rattle for the Triduum. I went to Fenwick`s in Newcastle thinking they would be bound to have one. No luck. I wanted one of those old fashioned football rattles but didn`t really expect to find one in a sportshop so thought any rattle would do and scoured Eldon Square thinking that I was sure I`d seen a Mothercare there years ago. I found the Early Learning Centre and bought two garish rattles for £3 each which the servers enjoyed using. However I have since done a simple Google search for `football rattle` and found these for £1.99 each, so next year will be better. Our altar servers do like having things to do.
The OF Easter vigil went much better than it ought to as I hadn`t given any thought to the music imagining that it was all in hand only to find out, on Saturday lunchtime, this was not the case. Fortunately the Alan and Bruce proved very adaptable. Bruce made up some responsorial psalm responses and taught them to the congregation before the vigil. It really went very well. On Easter Sunday morning, as it co-incided with the monthly `chant Sunday` we were well equipped to provide chant at the OF Parish Mass. We had the introit `Resurrexi`, Kyrie, Gloria, sung responsorial psalm, English version of O filii et filiae at the offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Now the Green Blade Riseth at Communion and Thine be the Glory to end. The church was very full and I only heard positive comments afterwards although I was worried that this might be more Latin than would prove acceptable.
However it was somewhat draining. Glorious weather on Easter Monday made for a relaxing day part of which was spent tidying up the flower beds with our parish gardening team.
Happy Eastertide.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

More Archbishop Nichols

This is very late but I`ve been rather tied up with Tenebrae and sick Communions and confessions as well as the usual Triduum. I thought this interview yesterday with the archbishop yesterday gave hope. Yes, he side-stepped the difficult question of the `husband with Aids` case but his response to Mr Blair`s attempt to lecture the Pope was worth waiting for. Particularly enjoyable was his statement that he will follow Pope Benedict: we wait to see if that includes the liturgical agenda. Perhaps one of the more hopeful recent episcopal appointments?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Funeral Mass for victims of Italian earthquake

I was interested to see that, according to the BBC, there will be a requiem Mass celebrated by cardinal Bertone on Good Friday for the victims of the recent earthquake. I don`t ever recall hearing of a Mass being celebrated on Good Friday before.
May they rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

More Lindisfarne Gospels

The picture I used for the post on the Lindisfarne Gospels gave rise to quite a few comments as to why the lion, symbol of St Mark, was accompanied by the words `imago leonis` as if it wasn`t obvious. Here`s the picture of St Matthew.

The bad news is that the symbolic figure of a man is accompanied by the words `imago hominis`. I`ve no idea why this is necesssary. Is there an expert on Anglo-Saxon art out there who can provide some enlightenment? And who is that peeping out from behind the curtain?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Ok, something about archbishop Nichols

Rebecca asks why I haven`t posted anything on the appointment of archbishop Nichols. So here goes. Here`s a video from the press conference. I enjoyed the first half in particular.

So that`s where it was!

Hardly a day goes by in St Mary`s presbytery without the parish priest spending time hunting for something he`s lost. It`s usually the diary but not always. Last night I spent half an hour looking for my car key until I began to think where I`d last seen it and decided that the best place to look was in a pile of papers on a chair in the kitchen and there it was.
So I have a lot of sympathy for people who lose things. In today`s Times there is a story of how the Turin Shroud was lost for over a hundred years but recent research has now revealed where it was: the Templars had it. The Vatican is backing up the story in L`Osservatore Romano:
Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican Secret Archives, said the Shroud had disappeared in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and did not surface again until the middle of the fourteenth century. Writing in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Dr Frale said its fate in those years had always puzzled historians.

However her study of the trial of the Knights Templar had brought to light a document in which Arnaut Sabbatier, a young Frenchman who entered the order in 1287, testified that as part of his initiation he was taken to “a secret place to which only the brothers of the Temple had access”. There he was shown “a long linen cloth on which was impressed the figure of a man” and instructed to venerate the image by kissing its feet three times.
Now to relax after a long Palm Sunday.

Ushaw throws light on Henry VIII

Another Telegraph story. A prayer roll, kept as Ushaw since the mid-nineteenth century and unknown to Tudor historians, is going on loan to the British Library. It reveals the sincerity of the young King`s Catholic faith. Here`s an extract from the article:

Dr Starkey said: "I knew nothing of its existence until I began my research for the exhibition, so it has been a very exciting discovery.

"Many academic historians have long argued that Henry was sceptical of religion from his youth, and that this scepticism ultimately led to the break with Rome and the Reformation.

"But what we have here, for the very first time, is absolute concrete evidence to the contrary. The Ushaw roll shows just how conservative and pious he was as a young man and how he was, in fact, two very different men before and after his divorce.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Good morning!

I have never started Mass by saying `Good morning` after making the sign of the cross. Sometimes I have been asked why I don`t do it. Well, because it brings the sacred liturgy down to the level of a purely secular encounter. I can hardly wait for the new ICEL translation to come into force where we will have the greeting`The Lord be with you`: `And with your spirit`. It will be worth it for that alone.
Now I see that I have been getting it right all these years after all. According to the Telegraph there has been a meeting for priests in the diocese of Leeds where it has all been explained. Sounds great. Will we be due such a meeting in Hexham and Newcastle? Is this something that is doing the rounds?

Here is an extract from the Telegraph`s report. Yes, the debate has been going on a long time about whether we are `doing a cabaret or are we actually celebrating the Eucharist`

A spokesman for the diocese said: "The review of the liturgy is looking at whether there are elements of the service that have become a bit too distracting.

"People might argue that if you go in to a house, you say 'hi', but the priest is not going in to a house. He is going in to a sacred service. We need to emphasise that the priest is president of the community and is presiding at the service.

"It is a debate that has been going on in the Church for a long time – are we doing a cabaret or are we actually celebrating the Eucharist?

"The fear is that if some guidance is not given and general decisions are not put down, the interpretation of the liturgy leads to unsuitable things, like strobe lights and girls in hotpants. The aim of the new translation is to bring more dignity to the service."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Holy Week at SS Peter and Paul`s Longbenton

For anyone who was wondering whether there will be any Extraordinary Form events this year at Longbenton I can confirm that Tenebrae will be sung at 10am on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Also there will be an EF Good Friday service at 5pm. Many thanks to our Scottish friends for making this possible.