Monday, February 21, 2011

Solemn High Mass at Thornley

I have a lot of blogging to catch up on. The most pressing thing is to mention that there will be a Solemn High Mass at Sacred Heart & English Martyrs Church, Dunelm Road, Thornley, Co Durham DH6 3HA at 7.30pm on Tuesday 22nd February 2011 - the Feast of St Peter's Chair. The intention of the Mass will be "In thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI & Summorum Pontificum." In the light of what people are saying about the new document on Summorum Pontificum this will be a timely intention.
The Ordinary of the Mass will be 'Missa de Angelis' & the Proper will be from the Liber Usualis. The music will be provided by the Schola Sancti Baedae.
There will be a buffet after Mass to which all are invited.

The celebrant will be the Parish Priest, Fr Gary Dickson, whom readers may know from his occasional letters to the Catholic press. I think I am correct in saying that this will be the first time Fr Dickson will hacve been the celebrant at a Solemn Mass. The preacher will be Fr Simon Henry, the author of the Offerimus Tibi Domine blog. I remember Fr Henry at Ushaw many years ago when we were students. His blog is always interesting and I look forward to hearing him preach. I`m subdeacon and Fr Phillips of Stella is deacon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Latin is good for you

Forget Mandarin. Latin is the key to success. This is the title of an article in the Spectator this month by Toby Young. The whole article is here.

For a while we ran the Minimus course in St Mary`s primary. I`d like to see it start up again. Here is an extract from the article:

...there is actually a substantial body of evidence that children who study Latin outperform their peers when it comes to reading, reading comprehension and vocabulary, as well as higher order thinking such as computation, concepts and problem solving.

For chapter and verse on this, I recommend a 1979 paper by an educationalist called Nancy Mavrogenes that appeared in the academic journal Phi Delta Kappan. Summarising one influential American study carried out in the state of Iowa, she writes:

In 1971, more than 4,000 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade pupils of all backgrounds and abilities received 15 to 20 minutes of daily Latin instruction. The performance of the fifth-grade Latin pupils on the vocabulary test of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills was one full year higher than the performance of control pupils who had not studied Latin. Both the Latin group and the control group had been matched for similar backgrounds and abilities.”

Interestingly, Mavrogenes found that children from poor backgrounds particularly benefit from studying Latin. For a child with limited cultural reference points, becoming acquainted with Roman life and mythology opens up “new symbolic worlds”, enabling him or her “to grow as a personality, to live a richer life”. In addition, spoken Latin emphasises clear pronunciation, particularly of the endings of words, a useful corrective for many children born in inner cities. Finally, for children who have reading problems, Latin provides “experience in careful silent reading of the words that follow a consistent phonetic pattern.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nuns Aloud

This is the rather inappropriate title of a programme to be shown on BBC at 11.20pm on Tuesday about the making of the the CD Chant from Avignon. Last year I bought a copy of this CD. Not because I really needed another disc of plainchant but because on my last trip to the monastery of Le Barroux back in the 1990`s with Fr Briggs we went to visit the convent of Notre Dame de L`Annonciation which at that time hadn`t built its church but was operating in what was to be the crypt. So I bought the CD to help these good nuns who follow the Extraordinary Form for Mass and Office. I enjoyed the CD too.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some Definite Purpose

Every parish in England and Wales has received copies of a leaflet entitled `Some Definite Purpose` which outlines what we should be doing next after last year`s papal visit. I must sit down and read it and see what we can do. However I must admit that I was motivated to pick up a copy after receiving a text from the mother of one of our children telling me that the picture on the front and on page two from `The Big Assembly` featured her son and another pupil from our school as well as the head Mr Fallon! Good to see St Stephen`s school at the heart of the Church`s mission! They were fortunate to get front row seats.

As from Easter Mr Fallon takes over as head of our school at St Mary`s, Forest Hall too. He has done great things at St Stephen`s and so we look forward to the ideas he will bring to St Mary`s too.
UPDATE 15.02.11 More on St Stephen`s and Mr Fallon in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle tonight here.

Clergy Silent Summer Retreat

The Forest has been not been murmuring much of late. This was partly because of the death of my hard drive on my PC: I don`t find the lap top as easy to use. However there is a lot to catch up with. I have yet to comment on this month`s Northern Cross where there is plenty of material to talk about and there have been further deveoplments at Ushaw. Fr de Malleray has also sent me information about forthcoming events organised by the FSSP in England. So to start with I just wanted to mention this one. I have been on two of Fr de Malleray`s retreats and am happy to say each one has been very fruitful. here is the information about the next one.

Clergy Silent Summer retreat. Starts Monday 4th July 2011, 2pm – ends Friday 8th July 2011, 2pm (4 nights).

Theme: “Priestly meditations on the prayers of the Roman Missal”.

Schedule: Silent retreat; meals with table reading on the theme of the retreat; includes one conference in the morning and another one in the afternoon; possibility of private meeting with the Retreat Master and of confession; Possibility of attending Eucharistic Adoration with the local contemplative religious community. Common recitation of Compline (EF Breviary) and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will also take place.

Location: Cold Ash pastoral Centre, run by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary: The Ridge, Thatcham, RG18 9HU, England.

We will have the guests’ wing available for us, with access to the 19th century chapel (with three eastward facing altars); there are also nice grounds and woodlands.

Cost per person: £220 (includes: £200 for Cold Ash Centre for single room full board, and £20 for FSSP).

Booking: please send a £50 cheque made payable to FSSP ENGLAND as a non refundable deposit – the remainder can be paid during the retreat or as one global payment with the deposit (in which case please send us a £220 cheque made payable to FSSP ENGLAND).

Specifications: please mention with your booking any special diet or mobility requirement.

N.B. Priests choosing to offer their private Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite should either bring with them all the items they need or contact Fr de Malleray well in advance

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Ushaw College announces closure (again).

There is an article in the Catholic Herald today about the latest developments regarding Ushaw. I may be missing something but it doesn`t seem to add a great deal to what we already know: that the conference centre closed on December 31st and the seminary will close in June. There are new details about a steering group to be chaired by bishop Mark Davies who will consider what will happen to the buildings and their contents.

Here is the full statement from the college. I was interested to read the comments about the interest in the larger community.


A spokesman for Ushaw College said: “We can confirm that the commercial activities of the Conference Centre have ceased, and the Centre closed, with effect from 31 December 2010. A number of teaching and non-teaching staff remain at Ushaw College, where the activities of St Cuthbert’s Seminary will continue until June 2011.

“The seminarians currently engaged in study at St Cuthbert’s Seminary will continue with their studies as planned. It is proposed that those with studies which are to continue after June 2011 will be transferred to another seminary although the future of their studies is a matter for their respective dioceses.

“The Trustees have established a Steering Group, chaired by Bishop Mark Davies, which includes Bishop Tom Williams along with members of teaching and non-teaching staff at Ushaw College. The Steering Group will also have a representative of the Patrimony Committee of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, who have indicated that Sophie Andreae, Deputy Chair of the Patrimony Committee, will be asked to support the work of the group. There have also been several offers of assistance from eminent individuals and charities, and further formal announcements may be made in due course should the individuals or charity wish to make their support a matter for public knowledge. The remit of the group is to look strategically at the entire estate, including its buildings, land, libraries, archives and collections, and provide a report to the Trustees about options for its future.

“We are aware that Ushaw College has considerable support within the Roman Catholic community and are grateful for all of the offers to assist at this uncertain and distressing time. It should, however, be said that whilst there are proposals to be discussed, no firm solutions are available at this time. We will not engage in speculative conversations with any organisation or individuals not directly involved in those discussions until the appropriate time. Private meetings and conversations will remain confidential so as not to raise false hopes should discussions fall through and also to allow for full and frank discussions to take place away from the public eye.”

Archbishop Patrick Kelly, Chair of Trustees said: “The proposal to close Ushaw College was one of the most difficult the Trustees have had to contemplate but was one which was based on the inability to sustain Ushaw College’s future. We are working with potential partners to identify a viable solution for the future of Ushaw and are hopeful that a solution can still be found.”

Monsignor John Marsland, President of Ushaw College, added: “We are aware there has been some debate among the wider community about the future of the historic collections of Ushaw College and of the buildings. We are acutely aware of the historical importance and heritage value placed upon the buildings, collection of books, manuscripts, letters and other items we have within our various collections and we are committed to ensuring that they remain intact.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Nuncio lambasts bishops

This appeared on the NLM blog today. Unfortunately the Nuncio in question is not our new man in Wimbledon but the Nuncio to the Antilles Islands, H.E. Most Rev Thomas Gullickson.

Why, even three years after the issuance of Summorum Pontificum (just to name one example), are well-meaning lay folk still treated with such great disdain by no less than bishops, bishops in communion (of heart, soul, mind and strength?) with the Successor of St. Peter when they ask for Mass in Latin? Is this anything other than blind hypocrisy (the plank!)? You tolerate no small amount of bad taste, bad music and caprice, while begrudging some few a port in the storm of liturgical abuse which seems not to want to subside? Can we be after His own Heart and not just claim to be members of Christ’s Body while still acting so at odds with the example set by the Holy One of God, meek and humble of heart? Such prelates are at counter or cross purposes to the sense in which the Church wants to go; they are ignoring what the Spirit is saying to the Churches and doing so with a backhand to some who are branded common and contemptible, but certainly not in the eyes of Christ... Let me say it more clearly! My issue is with the contempt shown for an outstretched hand, contempt such as would not be shown toward someone asking for some other benefit.

When the Holy Father speaks of his will to see these two forms of the Roman Rite (ordinary and extraordinary) enrich each other, when he and others express eagerness for a recovery of the sense of the sacred in our churches and in how we worship, I am convinced that he has indicated the true nature of the rupture which has indeed occurred and needs to be mended or healed. You would think that those in communion with the Pope would seek to understand him and embrace his point of view. There is too much room for caprice and hence the need to reform contemporary Catholic worship. This is evidenced time and again, by way of one example, in the sense of helplessness many priests experience when confronted by musical groups moving into church with inappropriate repertoires, not to mention the dance and puppet troupes which should have been banished long ago. If a bishop does not want to discipline at least he can respect and foster those seeking good order.
Well said Archbishop Gullickson!!
The full text of this homily can be found here.