Monday, September 12, 2011

Brinkburn Flop

Well we had the annual Brinkburn Mass on Saturday. This event has been going for sixteen years now. I was always intrigued by the large congregation we used to get on a regular basis. In the early years over a hundred people was the norm. More recently this has become about sixty but that was still a good number. Maybe it was the mixed weather forecast but for whatever reason we only drew a congregation of about twenty on Saturday In the past this was always a good family event but this time we saw no young people.

This can`t be put down to a lack of publicity because our LMS reps sent out posters far and wide and informed members of the date.

So while I ponder whether it is worth continuing with this Mass here are some pictures from this year thanks to Frank.


Anonymous said...

I really wanted to attend, but the price of a rail ticket and a hotel was just too much. Sorry.

Fr Gary Dickson said...

I don't think it was just the weather forecast or costs that brought attendance down; for some people Brinkburn is quite a distance.
We might also consider that many of the young people who were in attendance five or so years ago are of an age where they work on Saturdays, and are not yet married with children of their own to bring along, so this may be may be a temporary 'dip'.
I must also wonder however, if the youngsters who populated the LMS Masses a few years ago did so because their parents took them, and that the Traditional spirit has not been able to thrive in the Diocesan Structures and culture in which the Extraordinary Form has been celebrated: the youngsters education in faith has been woefully inadequate; their exposure to Traditional practices such as Corus Christi Processions, Marian Processions, Benediction etc, almost entirely absent in the parishes, and the liturgies they were exposed to more of a mutually-affirming, party-time jamboree than Adoration, Propitiation and Supplication. Add to this the prevailing secular culture in which they live: it holds and offers attractions that are nothing less than distractions from God and holy things. This is why I think that Traditional Orders who have their own parishes where the fullness of Catholic culture and formation can be received are the long-term hope of all Catholics who value, defend and celebrate Tradition.

Anonymous said...

While numbers are useful as an indicator of the health of the faith they should not dictate whether or not a celebration goes ahead, or am I mistaken?

Is this criterion applicable to the E/F in general or solely to Brinkburn?

I must also add, with the deepest respect, the heading 'Brinkburn Flop', and comments such as, 'I ponder whether it is worth continuing', are hardly inspiring. In fact they permeate a sense of defeatism. I'm sure this was not your intention; but defeatism can spread through the faithful like wildfire and give succour to the enemy.

'So then, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter'
(2 Thessalonians 2:15)

'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth' (Acts 1:8)

Melanie Bullivant said...

Sorry to hear that your Mass wasn't very well attended, Father. I live near Birmingham but would have loved to have come if only I were nearer. Please don't give up! I actually went to my first Dominican Rite Mass on Saturday at Leicester Priory, organised by the LMS. It was wonderful!

Fr Michael Brown said...

Anonymous, consider this. I say Mass at Morpeth each month and have done so since 1994 but now numbers are down to two. I don`t think I`ll be continuing that one. We`ve tried advertising in local parishes and it is announced at mOroeth on the Sunday before and in the newsletter. I`m facing the fact that there is no interest there any more.

Brinkburn was depressing. Lots of people talk about wanting the EF but few are prepared to do anything about it.

sympathiser said...

Oh dear. I hope you won't give up too readily. Maybe it was just an isolated unfortunate set of circumstances.

TC said...

Don't worry about it. When the Lefebvrians have their personal prelature those interested in the Tridentine Mass will flock to them and diocesan clergy will just have the NO, new translation, to do.

David O'Neill said...

As 1 of the joint LMS reps in the diocese my question to Anonymous, however he or she is, is 'were you there & if not why not?)
The time spent by Fr Brown & ourselves is not inconsiderable & the weekly Saturday Mass at Forest Hall was cancelled to allow Brinkburn to take place. Admittedly a number of the Forest Hall congregation were at Brinkburn but if they can make the effort why could not Anonymous?
We have to accept Fr Gary Dickson's comment about distance & this certainly does deter some from travelling but where were the rest who normally turn out?

love the girls said...

Fr. Michael Brown writes : "Lots of people talk about wanting the EF but few are prepared to do anything about it."

Distance does matter. And being an actual parish with an organically developed community community matters.

I don't know your circumstance, but I do know that here in Colorado there was a strong latent desire for the mass that blossomed as soon as The F.S.S.P. came here.

When the FSSP personal parish started at Colorado Catholic Academy it was on known ground and most everyone who went was in some manner connected to the orthodox community. So the parish was very homey. And was made even more so because we would drag the tables outside chat and eat while the children ran and played all about us. Sunday Masses were familiar festive and fun. They were a pot-luck social. The parish was a natural organic development out of the orthodox community which had previously existed.

Of course, being a traditionalist I have my own complaints. to wit:

Whereas today it’s half donuts and sparsed out cookies supplied by the parish, and then only on the 1st Sunday of the month. And if food is brought by a family on any other Sunday, that family is forbidden to share it with another family. Sort of the anti-pot-luck social.

From the beginning, there were new comers unknown to the orthodox community, but the leaven was the previously known community with the added enjoyment of meeting all the dispirit families that were spread from Ft. Collins to Castle Rock that I had only heard of but never met. Or met only briefly. The parish provided the setting to meet and get to know everyone on a weekly basis.

Even with those pot-luck socials, the parish wasn’t a neighborhood where we can meet our neighbors on the sidewalk, or at the local deli or invite them to sit and chat on the front porch, but given modern society which spreads us to winds, it was a good medicinal solution. It was a comfortable solution and better than we had ever had.

Whereas today, it’s as if that natural organic development when the parish first began has receded and been replaced by a contrivance of conflicting leavens all seeking to find stability and place.

Perhaps the answer to the change in comfort is as simple as the smoker principle. When the parish began virtually every parishioner smoked. Where as today, smokers are far and few between.

The surest way I know of to spot a traditionalist at a Motu Proprio or FFSP parish. As opposed to meeting the new comers who want to be Catholic but are missing the nuances.

As with any rule there's exceptions, but if you want to meet the Catholics who live Belloc's ditty :

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

Look for the smokers. Who are also the ones I know who from the formation of the parish have always driven the farthest and made the most sacrifices.

Anonymous said...

"succour to the enemy. "

Maybe "comfort to the separated brethren" ?

Sadie Vacantist said...

Things are not significantly better elsewhere in the UK and it is difficult to know how to advance all of this? Our LMS is defeatist in its approach and will not bare a single tooth towards diocesan authorities. Even its name is now looking stuck in the 1970's. Roll on the SSPX reconciliation!

David O'Neill said...

If only we were as fortunate as Colorado! If only we had FSSP in the diocese! But what about our faithful priests who celebrate the EF Mass for us? Often they can be sidelined by fellow clergy, perhaps even by the hierarchy. So if we have the FSSP or ICKSP do our priests simply 'jump ship'? If only the hierarchy would react positively to the Holy Father we could have many more EF Masses. The hierarchy should be encouraging young priests & seminarians to become familiar with this more spiritual form of Holy Mass, instead we hear that seminarians are being actively discouraged from learning the EF.
I hope most sincerely that the SSPX does see that unity with Rome is the only way forward but resolution of the present impasse will not (and should not) preclude those of the Faithful who have remained faithful from enjoying the right to have the EF celebrated for them by diocesan priests.
Fr Brown hits thenail squarely on the head when he states that few are prepared to go the extra mile in support of the EF.
Yes, as Fr Dickson says, distance is a difficulty and we are reasonably fortunate in our diocese of Hexham & Newcastle to have Sunday Masses as far south as Barnard Castle with other Masses in Thornley in Co Durham, Gateshead and Newcastle but we still need a wider spread.

1569 Rising said...

Off topic, I know, but....

To lift some of the gloom on this blog, I thought I could share this experience with Murmurers.

I attended a family funeral on Tuesday in Northumberland. My cousin's wife was only 51, and had been ill for some considerable time. The church was fairly full, she had many friends and family members present.

The celebrant, during his sermon, recited a prayer which he explained was said every Sunday in the church, just before, as he said, the Communicants approached the Altar, knelt at the Altar rails, and received the Lord.

The atmosphere in the Church, among the congregation, was devotional and dignified. The hymns and music excellent, and the Celebrant conducted the liturgy with reverence.

Before traditional Catholics get too excited, can I say the church was St Andrew's at Bothal (nr Morpeth), very much pre-Reformation, and very much middle of the road Anglican.

It was the altar rails, and the reference to kneeling to receive the Lord that struck me.

Em said...

So does transubstantiation take place in Anglican services or not?

1569 Rising said...

I was once told that it was always a good idea to put the brain into operation before writing things down.

I ought to have made it quite plain that the reference "receiving the Lord" was the words of the Vicar. No, Em, I do not believe that the CofE accept the theology of Transubstantiation - indeed the 39 Articles specifically deny the doctrine. My point really was that in that particular Church, the people approached the Altar and knelt at the altar rails to receive communion. This was to contrast their practice with the instructions from our Bishops to receive the Blessed Sacrament standing.

One final point - Bothal church did not look very "high", which makes their method of receiving communion even more interesting.

Ben Trovato said...

I think Fr Brown has a good point: I was at the EF Mass at Lancaster Cathedral this morning. That's right, in a Cathedral, on a Sunday in the middle of a city.

Admittedly at an awkward time (12.15) but nonetheless (especially as it's a regular Mass, every 4th Sunday..) one would have expected a few people to turn out.

One would have been right: a few. About 12 in fact at the start of Mass, almost outnumbered by the 9 in the Schola in the organ loft. A further two or three arrived during Mass, but it peaked at 15...

roydosan said...

The problem is that you need regular Masses at sensible times to build up the numbers e.g. a Mass at 1600 on one Sunday a month is likely to get a far smaller congregation than one at 1100 every Sunday. This doesn't explain the low numbers at Brinkburn where you'd hope that there would be far larger numbers for an annual Mass. Part of the problem has to be the often abysmal advertising, etc put out by the LMS. Though thankfully the LMS is now doing much more on that score and we are no longer limited to the sole advert in the Catholic Herald every week.