Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bishop Seamus Cunningham at the Extraordinary Form

Last Sunday our bishop, Seamus Cunningham, went to St Wilfrid`s and St Joseph`s parishes in Gateshead on visitation. These were my former parishes until 2005. The Sunday Extraordinary Form Mass continues under the current parish priest, Fr Dixon. The bishop attended the EF Mass and sat in choir. I am no expert on pontifical ceremonies as I thought the prospect of my ever having to be involved in such were very slim although I have now been assistant priest at two Pontifical High Masses at the faldstool, the first being when bishop Rifan visited St Joseph`s, Gateshead in 2004.

I believe the Mass was attended by a congregation sixty strong. I hope these pictures or others from the event will maybe appear in the Northern Cross.

I still miss very much not having a Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form

Many thanks to Frank for the photos.


Ben Trovato said...

Did the bishop preach? I seem to remember a previous bishop gave a stirring sermon at one of your EF Masses...

David O'Neill said...

Thanks Father. I don't have the expertise to put pictures on my blog. They have been forwarded to Northern Cross & should be published in either February or March issue.

Fr Gary said...

Father, the Extraordinary Form has equal standing in the Church's liturgy, so there is nothing to stop anyone having their Sunday Mass in the EF. I am sure many in my own parish would prefer the Ordinary Form on Sundays, but they come to the EF because they value Mass, Sundays and Holy Communion; they are not closed off to part of the Church's life and worship. I applaud them and have said so publicly, because they demonstrate what the Holy Father called for: openness to the sacred heritage of the Church. I would encourage you to celebrate your Sunday Mass in the EF.

1569 Rising said...

Ben..Yes, the Bishop preached, and greeted everyone after Mass.

Father, I counted, including Schola and Servers, 74.

Also, Father, congratulations on your starring role in the Pugin programme tonight. I was very impressed. Well done.

Finally, St Joseph's, Highfield, sees its last Mass on Sunday. Demolition to follow immediately. The end of 90 years of Catholic life in the building. To be replaced with a weekly 5.30pm Mass on Saturday evenings in St Barnabas CofE church in Rowlands Gill. Noone in a position of authority seems to care. End of the Parish?

Fr A said...

It would have made more sense to have used the new forward looking altar for this mass. The old high altar has become the place of reservation and it is a disrespect towards the new altar to ignore it.

rachel(St.Wilfrids,Gateshead) said...

I hope there is no hint of critisism of Bishop Seamus,as all Bishops have been instructed by the Pope they must be very accomodating for the Latin Mass,which can be very difficult if there are limited priests who can do Latin, Fr.Adrain has helped greatly in this, also the Bishop is having to make tough decisions regarding Parishes which will be very difficult to take in.

No Disrespect said...

Father A has said that it would have made more sense to have used the new forward looking altar for this Mass because the old high altar has become the place of reservation and it is a disrespect towards the new altar to ignore it. This statement opens up a wide debate and just goes to show how attitudes have changed so dramatically, and how logic has been turned on its head.
The old high altar is an integral part of the sanctuary, as designed by the architect, and it is the new altar that is the interloper on the sanctuary. The uncomfortable reality is that it is the imposition of new altars on our sanctuaries that is the cause of disrespect to high altars that have either been ripped out, or are now being used as flower vase shelves - if that.
The desolation of high altars on our sanctuaries, where they stand ignored and unused, is the real scandal, especially when there has never been any mandate from Vatican II, Rome, any liturgical commission, or instruction in the Missal for the celebration of Mass facing the people. This has been the great deception of the faithful. If anyone disagrees then let them quote chapter and verse to prove tbeir case.
Fr A is not taking into account the method of celebrating the traditional form of Mass where the priest faces God in the same direction as the people, leading them in prayer to the Father. All the action, if I may describe it as such, takes place in front of the altar, not behind it, and there has to be room for the priests and the servers to move around in the way that is appropriate for this form of Mass. Most sanctuaries have been redesigned to place the altar as near as possible to the front of the sanctuary which makes it virtually impossible to offer Mass in the traditional form. This, in itelf, is showing disrespect to the traditional form.
And there is yet another reason. In the traditional Mass the priest begins by saying "I will go UP unto the altar of God" and then ascends the steps up to the 'Altar of God', the altar of sacrifice. The new-fangled idea of a flat sanctuary places everyone on the same level; priest, servers, readers, extraordinary ministers and uncle Tom Cobley and all, as if all are of equal value, and as if they are strolling around a room. The priest simply becomes just another person on the sanctuary, whereas in the traditional form he is raised above the level of everyone else, thus emphasising his role as an 'alter Christus' and acting 'in persona Christi'. Every major action of Christ took place on high, His Crucifixion, His Sermon on the Mount, His Transfiguration, His Ascension, etc. and during the holy Sacrifice of the Mass the celebrating priest, acting 'in persona Christi' should be raised above everyone else, and certainly above everyone else on the sanctuary. It has been one of the tragedies of the liturgical revolution that sanctuaries have been re-ordered by architects who have had no idea of Catholic liturgy or history, and have simply designed something that 'looked nice'.
So, I would ask Fr A to consider the other side of the coin and accept that there are many sound reasons for using a high altar if one is available.

Matthew M said...

Have you been banned from blogging? Nothing in quite a while I notice!