Wednesday, June 30, 2010

High Mass Pictures

Here are some photos of the Coxhoe Mass on the 21st June and one of the Mass for SS Peter and Paul last night at Longbenton. Many thanks to Frank and Pat for the photos and to Ken for sorting out the resolution on the Coxhoe photos.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


At this year`s Ushaw conference it was announced that I was to be the chaplain to the LMS for the North of England, following the LMS` decision to have regional chaplains as well as a national chaplain. When approached about this I asked what it would involve and was told it was to be available for LMS events for the North of England area. As there haven`t been any of these in recent years I thought it sounded safe to accept and enjoy the kudos without any responsibility.

No sooner than I had accepted I was asked to be the speaker at this year`s AGM and then to be assistant priest at a pontifical Mass at Westminster cathedral. I remember LMS AGM`s of old as being rather lively where the speaker might even be heckled by SSPX supporters or worse. However I thought it would be an interesting experience and agreed. I had been assistant priest to bishop Rifan on his British tour of 2004 and thought I could mug it up again. It is one of the benefits of the liturgical revolution that opportunities arise that probably wouldn`t have before `the changes`. For example, if a member of what we used to call the `indult community` (but now I suppose is the EF community), dies, then whereas before the council a person may have had a Requiem consisting of a Low Mass (maybe with hymns) now you get a full sung Mass and sometimes even a Solemn High Mass! So I get to be an assistant priest at a Pontifical High Mass at Westminster cathedral which may not have happened before the changes.
So I set to work on my talk which was to last 20 minutes and talk about the papal visit, the beatification of Cardinal Newman and the 2010 report by the world`s bishops requested by the Vatican on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. On arriving at Westminster Cathedral Hall I sensed that this was not to be an AGM like I remembered. In the past the Mass was in the morning and the AGM after lunch. Now it is the other way round. This seems to have had the effect of reducing the attendance at the AGM which was about half full. I felt relaxed and after the reports from the secretary, treasurer and chairman, I spoke and found it much less nerve-wracking than I had feared.

We had had a rehearsal for the Mass on Friday afternoon. I had I thought learned my moves over the previous weeks but still found I went blank a couple of times. Bishop Hopes remained very calm throughout. In fact he seemed so assured I asked him afterwards whether he ever celebrates the EF apart from the LMS events at Westminster Cathedral but apparently he doesn`t. An added difficulty was that the bishop did not know by heart many of the prayers for blessing incense or at the foot of the altar etc., so our MC Gordon Dimon had not only to remember the usual things for a pontifical Mass at the faldstool but also ensure that various bits of laminated plastic with extra prayers were brought to the bishop. The pictures however look very good and the one of the consecration I am going to print off and frame!

After Mass bishop Hopes invited the clergy into cathedral house for a cup of tea. Fr Hayward our subdeacon had gone but Fr Irwin and myself went in. Fr Iwrin is a priest at St James, Spanish Place where he says the Sunday EF Low Mass. We also met the cathedral dean who is going to Downside in August to learn the EF.

I was glad of this opportunity to speak at the AGM and assist at the Mass. I thought the Mass was well-attended and enjoyed, amidst the heat and trying to remember what to do next, the singing of Victoria`s O Quam Gloriosum Mass.
I was grateful to Fr Briggs of Chislehurst for giving me accommodation on Friday night and enjoyed going out for a pizza with him and Fr Tim Finigan, Britain`s most eminent Catholic priest blogger. Many thanks to Joseph Shaw for the photos of the Mass.

Now for High Mass tonight with Haydn`s Little Organ Mass. My next visit to Westminster Cathedral will be to concelebrate Mass with Benedict XVI in September!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Glorify God by your life

While on the train to London on Friday ( more about that later) I checked Luke Coppen`s very useful Editor`s Briefing: Morning Catholic must-reads site and found a talk by Archbishop Chaput which I think is well worth reading. I see the NLM has also noticed it. For those who don`t know Archbishop Chaput is the archbishop of Denver in the USA who has been outspoken in defence of pro-life issues.

He acknowledges that he is not personally interested in the Extraordinary Form. He writes:

By the way, for the record, I’m also very grateful that the Holy Father has allowed wider use of the older Tridentine form -- not because I personally prefer it, in fact I find the Novus Ordo, properly celebrated, a much richer expression of worship; but because we need access to all of the Church’s heritage of prayer and faith.

(I`m always intrigued when people speak about the OF `properly celebrated`. When I was at the English College in Rome there were earnest young priests who believed this was the way forward but when it came to them celebrating Mass it didn`t seem very different to the way others celebrated except that they didn`t smile or tell jokes. Some of those priests, but not all of them, are now happy to celebrate the EF.)

Nonetheless the archbishop makes very good points in explaining the Eucharist through the lens of the early Church and its martyrs.

A few good quotes. The first is in reference to a Fr Barron who took up Guardini`s idea that modern man is incapable of a liturgical act:

Barron puts the issue this way: “The project is not shaping the liturgy according to the suppositions of the age, but allowing the liturgy to question and shape the suppositions of any age. Is the modern man incapable of the liturgical act? Probably. But this is no ground for despair. Our goal is not to accommodate the liturgy to the world, but to let the liturgy be itself -- a transformative icon of the ordo of God.”

Barron suggests that in the post-conciliar era, the professional Catholic liturgical establishment opted for the former path, trying to adapt the liturgy to the demands of modern culture. I would agree. And I would add that time has shown this to be a dead end. Trying to engineer the liturgy to be more “relevant” and “intelligible” through a kind of relentless cult of novelty, has only resulted in confusion and a deepening of the divide between believers and the true spirit of the liturgy.

If our liturgies strike us as pedestrian, narrowly parochial, too focused on our own communities and needs; if they lack a powerful sense of the sacred and the transcendent, it’s because we have lost the sense of how our worship participates in the heavenly liturgy.

Some of the worst liturgical ideas since the council have been based on a woolly romanticizing about what the early Christians believed and how they worshipped. It has been argued, for example, that the early Church had no sacramental priesthood and that the Eucharist was celebrated with limited ritual, essentially as a meal shared among friends.
I won’t take the time here to rebut these claims. The problem with all such nostalgic-primitivist reconstructions can be summed up in one thought: Nobody risks torture and death for a meal with their friends. And torture and death were the frequent penalty for being caught celebrating the Eucharist in the world of the early Church.

The liturgical act becomes possible for modern man when you make your lives a liturgy, when you live your lives liturgically -- as an offering to God in thanksgiving and praise for his gifts and salvation. You are the future of the liturgical renewal

Sunday, June 27, 2010

High Masses

We have a small group of priests of the diocese who are interested in the Extraordinary Form and who meet once a month for lunch. This has born fruit in that we have got to know each other better and from that we are co-ordinating our activities. So for the Year Of the Priest it was our intention to have High Mass in each of our parishes which we mostly achieved, with some Masses occurring after the close of the Year. For example, last Monday we had a High Mass at Coxhoe. Fr Swales, the parish priest, celebrated the Mass in thanksgiving for his fiftieth birthday and in thanksgiving for life. Given that the Mass was on a Monday at 12 noon it was good to see a congregation of almost 60 people. Some of these were people I`d not see for a long time. Fr Swales is a regular celebrant at the Sunday Mass at St Dominic`s, Newcastle and people from that Mass often make the journey to Co. Durham on a Thursday for his regular EF Mass at 12 noon. However that particular group seldom come to any other EF Masses in the diocese so it was a long time since I had seen many of them.
The Mass went very well and I hope Frank might send some pictures. We are becoming more familiar with High Mass. There will be another opportunity this Tuesday when Frs Swales and Phillips are joining me at Longbenton for High Mass for the feast of SS Peter and Paul. The next occasion will probably be the Mass at Brinkburn in September but I hope that after that we will continue to organise High Masses and go to new venues.
I`m a great believer in frequent High Masses. It was therefore interesting to read what actually happened before the Council in parishes in Lancaster in a post which Fr Paul Harrison made on his blog a while back. Fr Harrison is the diocesan archivist and revealed that his search of visitation reports for Lancaster diocese from 1924-1962 showed for two of the biggest parishes the following:
St Ignatius a very vibrant Jesuit parish in Preston, which usually had 6 priests. High Mass was on the principle feasts only and Missa Cantata once a month.
English Martyrs an equally vibrant secular parish which also had 6 priests. High Mass was, again, only on the principle feasts of the year. Missa Cantata was offered "only seldomly"
So it seems that liturgical life in even the best equipped parishes was very impoverished. It is consoling in a way to know that even before the Council I would have been dissatisfied with the liturgical life of the Catholic Church in England!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moving Forward Together

On Saturday the latest in the series of consultations of the diocese by the bishop took place at St Robert`s school, Washington. There is a report on the day here. Readers may be interested to look at the topics discussed and see the feedback that came from the meeting. You will find this here, here and here. My favourite suggestion was that we have `locally grown priests`, which I thought was a very odd remark for a number of reasons! Needless to say no-one mentioned the Extraordinary Form ( we are used to that) but there was some discussion about the new translation which didn`t seem hostile at all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Earliest icons of Ss Peter and Paul found

There is a story out today that the oldest known icons of Ss Peter and Paul, dating to the second half of the fourth century, have been found in a catacomb in Rome. I`m quite interested in this as following the Pantocrator at Longbenton, the plan is to have an Peter and Paul on either side of Christ. I hope we see a photo of both the saints in the newly-found icon soon

A good idea

In the days when I used to go on the Paris to Chartres pilgrimage the question used to arise among the British pilgrims about whether this could be done at home. We don`t have the numbers of faithful attached to Tradition that exist in France and so anything would be on a small scale but the organisation would still be formidable.
However I was pleased to get an email to see that there is going to be an attempt to launch something similar in England by Paul Smeaton. I think it is particularly appropriate that there will be a Mass at Downham Market.
Here is the text in full.

Dear Friends,
With the help of Joseph Shaw and the Latin Mass Society I have been organising a pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham over from Friday 20th August to Sunday 22nd August. The pilgrimage has been inspired by the traditional pilgrimage which takes place each Pentecost from Paris to Chartres and will follow a similar three day model.
As this is the first time we have attempted anything like this in England, as well as a spiritual journey, this will no doubt be something of a learning experience. For that reason we are limiting this year's pilgrimage to thirty pilgrims and adults only. We hope that this will be the start of great things.That being said we expect that this year will be a rich and beautiful expression of the treasure's of our Church. We are blessed to have a priest walking the entire pilgrimage with us and there will be sung Mass in the traditional form each day: in Downham Market on Friday evening, in the chapel at Oxburgh Hall on the Saturday and in Walsingham on Sunday. We would love for you to join us.
What do you need to know?
- Pilgrims will meet at Ely campsite on the evening of Thursday 19th August. All pilgrims must have a tent to stay in. We will begin walking early on Friday morning.
- Pilgrims will be required to bring their own food. Water will be provided at regular intervals.
- There will be a bus that will take your main bag with tent etc in each day. Pilgrims are advised to bring a day bag to carry food, water etc.
- The final Sunday Mass will take place in Walsingham at 2.30pm on Sunday 22nd August. Following the Mass a coach will be available to bring pilgrims back to Ely.
- Should pilgrims be unable to walk for whatever reason there will be some vehichle support. However, as this first pilgrimage we are trying to minimise potential problems and ask that pilgrims wishing to come this year be confident walkers without any major health difficulties.
- Pilgrims will be asked to help cover the costs of the pilgrimage and pay for the camping facilities. The total cost of each pilgrim will be £60. We ask that pilgrims please pay what they can afford.
Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me on
In Christ,
I have other plans in August this year but would like to support this next year if it happens again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Solemn High Mass for SS Peter and Paul

I am glad to be able to say that there will be a Solemn High Mass again this year at SS Peter and Paul`s, Longbenton on June 29th at 7pm. This year the choir of St George`s Anglican church, Cullercoats will sing Haydn`s Little Organ Mass and the proper will be sung by the Jarrow schola. Refreshments afterwards.

Downside Training Conference

I`ve received this press release from the LMS today about the next training conference. I would have liked to go, not as a tutor or even tutee but because these conferences are very uplifting and it is good to meet other priests striving for the same goals and to take part in beautiful liturgies. Unfortunately I can`t make this one but I would urge anyone thinking about it to give it a try.

10 June 2010


For Immediate Release

LMS Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Downside Abbey, Somerset.

The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS) is organising a residential training conference for priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Downside Abbey, one of England’s most prestigious monasteries.

The conference will run from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 August 2010 and will feature Traditional liturgies in Downside’s beautiful chapel together with a Gregorian Chant schola and polyphonic choir.

Expert tuition in the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior will be provided on a small group basis. There will be tuition in Low Mass, Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis and there will be streams for beginners and more advanced students. Tuition will also be given in the other sacraments and in Latin.

There will be opening and closing High Masses, daily Mass, Offices and Rosary. There will also be a closing Conference dinner with guest speaker.

The subsidised fee to participants is only £115.00 which includes all accommodation, meals and training materials. There are limited places and priests are asked to register as soon as possible.

Further details and registration forms can be obtained from the LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284, e mail: or from the conference organiser, Mr Paul Waddington (Tel: 01757 638027, e mail:

Running alongside the training for priests, the Society of St Tarcisius (the LMS’s newly-formed sodality for Traditional altar servers) will organise a residential training course for servers and MCs. Further details can be obtained as above.

Paul Waddington said, “This is the sixth training conference the LMS has organised and we are delighted to be going to Downside Abbey. The Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ has recently praised our work which makes us more determined than ever to provide training to every priest in England and Wales who seeks to learn the Usus Antiquior.”

Latin Mass Society, 11-13 Macklin Street, London WC2B 5NH
Tel: 020 7404 7284
E mail:

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


For those who are wondering and have been asking me, there will be the annual Solemn High Mass at Brinkburn on Saturday, September 11th at 12noon. More details about music etc later.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

News from the FSSP

Fr de Malleray emailed to send the following items of news. The first is about the DVD of the solemn dedication of the Denton seminary chapel:

EWTN presents: Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary chapel solemn Dedication 2-DVD set, in NTSC# Region 0 format now available: can be watched on any UK computer. Consecration ceremony and Pontifical Mass which followed. With commentary by Rev. Calvin Goodwin, FSSP and Rev. Justin Nolan, FSSP. Recaptures the beauty and solemnity of the consecration of the heart and jewel of the seminary. UK orders only: price: £7 (postage included). Please send cheque made payable to ‘FSSP England’ to: St John Fisher House, FSSP DVD, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading RG1 5RU. Running time is 4.5 hours. Orders from outside the UK:

The next is about the first Masses of Fr Harkins:

· Cardinal Primate to attend First Solemn High Mass of newly ordained British priest Fr Simon Harkins, FSSP, in St. Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral, Picardy Place, Edinburgh, on Saturday 5th June 2010, at 1pm. His Eminence Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien will be in attendance and will preach the homily. This is the first time in the UK and possibly in the world that a Cardinal Primate will attend a First Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in his own diocesan cathedral and preach. The St Andrews Camerata will sing Joseph Haydn’s ‘Missa in tempore belli’ also known as ‘Kettledrum Mass’. Very Rev Frs Josef Bisig and Franz-Karl Banauch, Rectors of the international seminaries of the Fraternity of St Peter in America and in Europe, will be in attendance, as well as many other clergy.

· If you live too far south the Hadrian‘s Wall, you are welcome in London instead on Saturday 12th June 2010 at St James, Spanish Place, 22 George Street, W1U 3QY, where, kindly welcomed by Parish Priest Fr Christopher Colven, Fr Simon Harkins, FSSP will offer his first Solemn High Mass in England – starting at 3pm. Director of Music at St James Spanish Place Dr Terry Worroll will conduct Tomás Luis de Victoria’s ‘Missa Simile est regnum coelorum’ and the ‘Gaude Virgo Maria’ motet also by Victoria. Refreshments afterwards. Nearest underground: Baker Street, Bond Street. Please come and pray in thanksgiving for a new British priest (formed according to the usus antiquior). Deo gratias.
Thanks to Fr de Malleray for the news. I look forward to seeing the pictures of these Masses.