Saturday, February 27, 2010

North East Catholic History Society

I`ve remembered to give a little more notice for the next meeting this time. The next talk will be on Wednesday 3rd March at 2pm at St Andrew`s, Worswick Street, Newcastle. The talk was meant to be given by Mr George Thornton on the topic of St Robert of Newminster and the Early Cistercians. However Mr Thornton has had to withdraw this time for personal reasons and we are fortunate that Dr Leo Gooch can step in to give a talk on Lord Lumley (1537-1609) who is the subject of his latest book.

Big Surprise?

Rorate Caeli reports a rumour seen on a Spanish blog that the Holy Father will, during Holy Week,  unveil a surprise which will be for the good of the whole Church. It is speculated that it could be the withdrawal of the indult for Holy Communion in the hand or that the Pope will celebrate the Mass that day in the Extraordinary Form. The day suggested for this is Maundy Thursday.

I`m slightly worried because Maundy Thursday is April 1st! Let`s hope the announcement is made in the afternoon.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sainte-Marie de La Garde

Thirteen monks from the abbey of Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux, near Carpentras, which I first had the joy of visiting in 1984 ( it had its origins in 1970 as an extraordinary form monastery), were sent by their abbot in 2002 to found the new monastery of Sainte Marie de la Garde near Agen. I mention this as they offer a widget which apparently allows you to be united with the monks in prayer as it rings a bell for Lauds, Sext and Vespers. This is offered as an opportunity to live your Lent according to the routine of the monks of St Marie de la Garde. Apart from anything the site offers information on the building of the new monastery. Makes a nice change from continuing stories of closure.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I`m sorry but I don`t understand how a Catholic school can provide information about how to have an abortion. According to canon law, anyone whose co-operation in procuring an abortion is an essential part of it coming about incurs an automatic excommunication.

I look forward to hearing how this can happen in a Catholic school.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Former assistant bishop of Newcastle becomes a Catholic

I read last night on Damian Thompson`s blog about bishop Paul Richardson, the former assistant bishop of the Anglican diocese of Newcastle, being received into the Catholic Church at Durham university Catholic chaplaincy last month. (The Telegraph also has the story.) I came across him in 2007 at the induction of the new vicar of Killingworth back in September 2007 and blogged about how impressed I was by his sermon on St Gregory the Great. I`m only sorry to read that he no longer lives in the North  East but in London. Damian also reports that Paul Richardson has said he is not looking to be part of the ordinariate which is a shame given the provision for former Anglican bishops to maintain their episcopal insignia which is one of the more intriguing parts of the provision.

Congratulations to the former bishop!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent Retreat

Fr de Malleray is giving a retreat for lay people next month. Full details below.

Come and meet us soon at the Lenten week-end of recollection: 5-7 March 2010
on ‘The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven’.

*Address: All Saints Conference Centre, Shenley Lane, London Colney, Herts, AL2 1AF.

*Starts on Friday 5th March 2010 at 5pm (later arrival possible) – ends on Sunday 7th March 2010 at 4pm.
*Holy Mass in the EF on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.

*Confession / spiritual direction on request.

* Retreat Master: Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP

*Price: £126 everything included (for: £116 as Centre’s fees + £10 as FSSP fees).

*Please bring your traditional hand missal + your own towel and soap.

*Booking: please send to us a £15 deposit cheque made payable to FSSP ENGLAND. Please kindly book now.

Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP

Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in England

179 Elgar Rd, RG2 0DH, Reading, Berkshire, UK

Tel: +44 (0)118 987 5819 - E-mail: -

Community: - Youth: - Culture:

FSSP England is a registered charity n° 1129964

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pilgrimage to Lyon and Ars

On Monday I set out for Stanstead to meet the rest of the party of priests heading out to Lyon for a pilgrimage under the direction of Fr de Malleray of the FSSP. After an epic journey from Lyon airport which took three hours using a bus, tram, underground and (very crowded) bus again we reached our base: the FSSP house at Francheville on the outskirts of the city. This house also accomodates a small primary school and when we arrived workmen were still busy on the refurbishing of the house. It is dedicated to St Padre Pio and has a rather nice stained glass window in the chapel dedicated to him. On the hill behind the house is a seminary of the diocese of Lyon which is now up for sale.

On Tuesday morning we woke to find it was snowing: it continued to snow most of the day. I had hoped to leave the snow behind in England!  Our programme began with a visit to the Gallo-Roman museum which was quite spectacular. There was a special exhibition on Roman burial rites which was very well done. After this we made for the basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, which has one of the most breath-taking interiors I have ever seen. After a bouchon lunch we headed off to see the church of St Georges where the FSSP had their original apostolate in Lyon, the cathedral of St John the Baptist and the church of St Nizier which was built on the site of the first Christian place of worship in the where Mass was celebrated from 150AD.

On Wednesday we had a day of silent retreat in the house. Fr de Malleray gave us four conferences on the priestly life and we had readings at meals from St Pius X`s exhortation on the priestly life Haerent animo. Fr de Malleray recommend to us Bl. Columba Marmion`s Christ the Ideal of the Priest as the best book he has read on the priesthood. I have had a copy for many years and intend to read it in this Year of the Priesthood. Father`s talks were both practical and challenging and gave me at least, much food for thought.

On Thursday we headed of to Ars for the day. I`m delighted to report that not only was there no problem arranging for our group to celebrate the EF in the church at Ars but the sacristy even provided altar cards and missals. As we entered the church I could hear a Missa Cantata being celebrated on the altar above which the body of the saint is on display. This was being celebrated by a priest of a new group, the Missionaries of Divine Mercy from Toulon,  which seem to be modelled on the White Fathers. There were a number of priests of the group with a large group of faithful. I`d never been to Ars before and hadn`t realised that while the nave of the original parish church has been preserved the sanctuary has been removed and replaced with a much larger, elaborate one which included the shrine of the saint on the right hand side. This shrine is not visible from the old nave. In the sacristy the first four of our group prepared to celebrate their Masses. I was lucky to be allotted the altar with the relic of St John Vianney. Once I left the sacristy and entered the new part of the church I caught sight of the altar for the first time and found it a most moving experience to see his body above the altar. There is not a lot to see in Ars but we made a visit to the presbytery where the saint lived. Later in the day the archbishop of New York and a group of his priests celebrated Mass at the altar of the saint. I looked through the book in the sacristy where priests who have said Mass sign and saw there had been a group of priests from Hexham and Newcastle there a fortnight before our visit and also a pilgrimage of priests from Nottingham diocese with their bishop had been in January.

And so on Friday afternoon we left Lyon ( and the snow) to return to England. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to visit Ars in the Year of the Priest and seek the intercession of St John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. Many thanks to Fr de Malleray for organising it and making it possible.

News from Ecclesia Dei

For anyone who missed yesterday`s clarification from Ecclesia Dei yesterday, these are the five points which were clarified in a response to the diocese of Rzeszów. ( Many thanks to the NLM for this.)

1. If there is no other possibility, because for instance in all churches of a diocese the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum are already being celebrated in the Ordinary Form, the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum may, in the same church in which they are already celebrated in the Ordinary Form, be additionally celebrated in the Extraordinary Form, if the local ordinary allows.

2. A Mass in the usus antiquior may replace a regularly scheduled Mass in the Ordinary Form. The question contextualizes that in many churches Sunday Masses are more or less scheduled continually, leaving free only very incovenient mid afternoon slots, but this is merely context, the question posed being general. The answer leaves the matter to the prudent judgement of the parish priest, and emphasises the right of a stable group to assist at Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

3. A parish priest may schedule a public Mass in the Extraordinary Form on his own accord (i.e. without the request of a group of faithful) for the benefit of the faithful including those unfamiliar with the usus antiquior. The response of the Commission here is identical to no. 2.

4. The calendar, readings or prefaces of the 1970 Missale Romanum may not be substituted for those of the 1962 Missale Romanum in Masses in the Extraordinary Form.

5. While the liturgical readings (Epistle and Gospel) themselves have to be read by the priest (or deacon/subdeacon) as foreseen by the rubrics, a translation to the vernacular may afterwards be read also by a layman.

I can think of a number of parish priests of my acquaintance who will feel supported by this as they have introduced an EF Sunday Mass where there was an OF one before. It is also very useful to read that a parish priest may introduce an EF Mass without waiting for a request from a `stable group`.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ushaw Conference

I received this notice from the LMS regarding the forthcoming Ushaw training conference. I`m sorry to hear that there have not been so many applications so far. It was a marvellous week last year and I hope we can repeat it this year. Even if many priests learnt how to celebrate Low Mass last year, surely there must be still quite a few who would enjoy learning how to celebrate Missa Cantata or how to be a subdeacon or deacon at High Mass.Apart from anything there was the company of good priests and wonderful liturgies and the splendid architecture of Ushaw. There is also a notice about training for Masters of Ceremonies.

Latin Mass Society
Priests’ Training Conference
Ushaw College
12th to 16th April 2010

The Latin Mass Society has announced that, although a good number of bookings have been received for the Priests’ Training Conference to be held at Ushaw College in Co Durham during Low Week, about 12 places are still available; and it is expected that these will be taken in the next few weeks.

The conference will provide tuition for priests wishing to learn to celebrate Mass in the usus antiquior, or traditional form, with classes for beginners and more advanced students, as well as those wishing to learn to sing at a Missa Cantata or to celebrate a Solemn Mass. The conference will also include a range of liturgies which will be examples of best practice in the traditional rites. There will also be a spiritual lecture.

Ushaw College is an ideal location for this conference because of the range of facilities it offers, including numerous chapels and side altars for practice Masses. A schola and polyphonic choir will be in attendance to provide the music at all services which will take place in the magnificent St Cuthbert’s Chapel.

As an innovation this year, a simultaneous course will be run for servers wishing to learn how to be an MC at a Missa Cantata or Solemn Mass. Applications are invited from men or boys who already have a basic knowledge of how to serve at Low Mass.

The conference fee is £115 inclusive of full board and lodging. Further information and application forms can be obtained from:
The Latin Mass Society
11 -13 Macklin Street
London WC2B 5NH
020 7404 7284

Latin Mass Society
Training for Masters of Ceremonies

The Latin Mass Society will be providing training for men and boys who wish to learn to be Masters of Ceremonies at Sung and Solemn Masses. The first training course will take place during the Priests’ Training Conference which will be held at Ushaw College in Co Durham from 12th to 16th April 2010. A further training opportunity is planned for later in the year in a more southerly location.

The rubrics of the Roman Rite require that there is a Master of Ceremonies at a Missa Cantata and at a Missa Solemnis. It is his job to take charge of all that happens on the sanctuary, including giving discreet directions to the priest. In the case of a Solemn Mass, there is also a deacon and a sub-deacon and generally more servers who may require some supervision. This requires a level of knowledge of the rubrics far in excess of that needed to serve at a Low Mass. It also requires a degree of confidence beyond that of ordinary servers.

As more priests are being trained in the usus antiquior, and more Masses are occurring in the traditional rite, the shortage of servers is becoming more acute. This is especially so in the case of Sung Masses which require a greater number of servers, and also servers with greater skills. At present, it is very difficult to find a well qualified and experienced MC in most parts of the country.

Men and boys who have already mastered the art of serving at Low Mass, and who think they may be able to cope with the job of MC, are invited to attend one of the training sessions. In the case of the one at Ushaw College, which is residential, there would normally be a fee; although in cases of hardship, this may be waived.

Contact: The Latin Mass Society
Tel 020 7404 7484

Fr Carola`s Book

I got back last night from Lyon where I had been with eight other  priests from England on a pilgrimage/retreat led by Fr de Malleray FSSP. I hope to write a report soon. Among my emails I found one from the Midwest Theological Forum with the news that Fr Carola`s book which I mentioned in writing about the Rome conference is available from their website for $10. You can find the details here.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Lent Course

Last year I reviewed bishop O`Donoghue`s Fit for Mission? Church for the LMS magazine Mass of Ages. This year I`m proposing to see how it works and to run it as a Lent course for the parish. Meetings will take place on the Thursdays of Lent at 7.30pm at St Mary`s and I hope we have some lively discussion and deepening of our understanding of the faith in a relaxed atmosphere.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Rome Conference Day 4: the talks, Day 4

Sorry to say that this blog has somewhat ground to a halt over the last couple of weeks. Part of the problem was thinking about this post. The trouble is that I never thought to take notes during the conference. If I had thought about it at all I would have realised I should have for the purposes of blogging but I hadn`t given any thought as to how I was going to write about it.

So here goes with the fourth day. The first talk was given by the Irish Dominican, Fr Paul Murray. I had first come across Fr Murray at Ushaw in probably 2001 ( although I could be wrong on the date) when he gave the annual retreat to the priests of this diocese. I remember enjoying his talks more than I usually enjoy these things and was delighted to see him in this context. I had the chance to talk to him a couple of times during the week and found him most encouraging. Father`s talk to us was entitled `Preaching to priests: wisdom from the Middle Ages` in which he focussed on St Bernard of Clairvaux and St Catherine of Siena.

The next talk was gioven by Fr Paul Gunter, a monk of Douai who is a professor at the Pontifical Institute S. Anselmo in Rome as well as Consultor of the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff since 2008 and a member of the Editorial Board of "Usus Antiquior", a journal dedicated to the Sacred Liturgy. Father spoke on `The Genius of the Roman Rite in the identity of the priest` the first half of which was devoted to looking at the work of the nineteenth century liturgist Edmund Bishop in identifying the `genius` or guiding spirit or essence of the Roman Rite, which was the subject of his doctorate. The second half of the talk I mainly remember for the happy way it spoke of the Extraordinary Form as much a part of the everyday life of the modern church as the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
Apologies to both speakers for my sketchy recall of their talks. I did have a conversation with Fr Gunter after his talk and was impressed by his knowledge of all the parishes in Hexham and Newcastle which were formerly staffed by Douai monks and the details of the church buildings with their good and bad points.

That was the last of the talks in the conference. At 11.30 we split into national groups to discuss what we could do next.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Latin Mass Society Full-Time General Manager

From the LMS.

The LMS wishes to appoint a full-time General Manager will be responsible for the day to day administration and development of the Society as directed by the Committee. The post is based in the LMS’s office in Holborn, London WC2. Applicants will have excellent managerial and communication skills and a proven track record of success. They will also have a knowledge and love of the Traditional liturgy and movement. The salary and pension package is in the range of £35K to £40K.

Much of the work involves the co-ordination and organisation of flagship national/international events including training conferences, the LMS AGM and the production of the annual Accounts, major Masses and liturgical events with national importance. It also involves maintaining and developing contacts with the hierarchy, diocesan authorities, Traditional Catholic bodies in England and abroad and the Traditional priestly and monastic orders. The General Manager will develop the LMS’s Seminarians Fund in order to assist vocations.

The General Manager will also make strategic recommendations to the Committee, particularly concerning development, the generation of increased publicity, membership and income, and the timely control of expenditure. He/she will oversee and administer legacy generation work and will support the Society’s network of diocesan representatives.

This position will entail some evening and weekend work, and travel, both UK and internationally.

A job description and details of the application process are available from the LMS office at 11-13 Macklin Street, London WCB 5NH. Tel: 020 7404 7284.

E mail:

The closing date for receipt of applications is Thursday 4 March 2010. Interviews will be held in London from mid to late March.

British government retreats after Pope's critique of Equality Bill :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

British government retreats after Pope's critique of Equality Bill :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

For a useful look at the issues see this article by Br Lawrence Lew OP.