Friday, June 28, 2013

A new altar

Last night I was invited to St Robert`s Morpeth for the dedication of the new altar and the re-dedication of the altar rails ( more on that later). The sanctuary at St Robert`s is tiny. The parish was founded by Benedictines from Douai. High Mass must have been a bit of a squash. Actually I`ve taken part in a few EF High Masses there and it was a bit of a squash. I never enjoyed preaching there as a curate as the lectern was right up against a wall. However following a fire in the sacristy during an eleven o`clock Sunday Mass last year repairs needed to be done and the parish priest, Fr Lawrence Jones decided to alter the altar.

Here is a photo of the new altar

The arches are based on those of the ruins of the cloister of nearby Newminster abbey. Which means they fit in quite well with other overall Gothic look of the church. This interested me because the last new altar dediction I went to was a few years ago at Our Lady and St Cuthbert`s in Prudhoe. I attach a picture of the dedication Mass

Here the altar is a white block of Chinese marble which does not blend in with anything else. On asking Fr Zielinksi, the then parish priest, why something more sympathetic to the style of the church was not made he told me that he had been told the new altar was not to blend in on the principle that each age adds it`s own contribution to a church and so the altar should look modern. Well it`s true you can find Gothic churches with baroque altars I suppose but I still thought it a terrible clash which made the rest of the church look out of place: a pity as it had been restored at great cost and was rather splendid otherwise.

The observant may notice that the old high altar is also still in place in Morpeth. This did surprise me but I was told that it had to be left. In front of it you will see the altar rails moved from the entrance of the sanctuary. The altar rails were commissioned as a memorial to parishioners who fell in the First World War and so as a war memorial could not be disposed of. The altar rails were rededicated last night after communion. It`s the first time in my twenty-five years as a priest I have ever known there be any official recognition that such things as altar rails exist! There is a plaque in the church porch with the names of the fallen. 

So all in all more of a nod to continuity than normally is the case. Here`s something else in matters liturgical to be getting on with.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It`s started.

It`s fair to say that Summorum Pontificum has not been enthusiastically received in some quarters. Today we read that Cardinal Lehmann has gone public and has said it was not a good idea. Let`s hope Pope Francis continues to be as robust in its defence as he was to the bishops of Apulia.

First Sunday Mass in July

There will be no EF Low Mass at St Mary`s on July 7th. I expect many people will want to be at St Dominic`s, Newcastle for the last of the EF Masses there. I will however celebrate the monthly Sunday Mass the following Sunday at 5pm.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why we need festivals

I`ve just heard Tom Shakespeare on Radio 4`s Point of View regretting the lack of festivals in English society. Blame it on the Reformation I say. You can hear it here for seven days from Sunday. He even talks about Gateshead. Now if only we could start by getting the Epiphany and Ascension on the proper days! I used to encourage the local branch of the NACF when I was chaplain many moons ago to make something of the Birthday of St John the Baptist. A visit to Santiago de Compostella on the feast of St James in the Holy Year of 2004 convinced me of the possibility of evangelisation through fireworks. However no-one seemed very interested.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blog Title

I`m still thinking about a blog title for when I move. At lunch today with seven other clerics I mentioned this. No sooner had I said it than one of the brethren, the Reverend Bunce, came up with `Gateshead Revisited`. Rather good I thought!

A Google search reveals Gateshead Revisited has been used many times but I can`t find a link wih a Catholic connection so I think it is still a good idea.

Friday, June 07, 2013

New background

For anyone wondering where the new background picture was taken it is from an LMS training conference at Ushaw and is one of the two chapels on either side of the door into St Cuthbert`s chapel. Those conferences were wonderful and I often wish we could have something similar without the need for training but just a residential conference on the Extraordinary Form such as happens elsewhere. 

While on the theme of redundant seminaries I was interested to read on the Eponymous Flower blog about the attempt by the Institute of Christ the King to buy an ex-seminary in Sardinia. I`ve only been to Gricigliano once and that was way back in 1992. It was beautiful but rather small. I understand there is an extension and new chapel but that they are looking for extra space is all to the good. As usual there is some local clerical opposition.This seminary closed in 1976 so maybe things will work out well for Ushaw in another forty years or so when the FSSP or another buy it!

A Google search on `Cuglieri seminario` brings up this webpage with two pictures of which this is the better. I think this is the right place as the article talks about the seminary closing in the 70`s and now belonging to the state.
The story first appeared on MessainLatino.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Forest to Murmur no more.

At the weekend I was able to reveal that the bishop has asked me to move parish. I have been eight years in Forest Hall and wondered if I might be reaching my sell-by date. However I was surprised to hear I will be moving back to my former parishes in Gateshead: St Wilfrid`s and St Joseph`s although this time I`ll be living at St Joseph`s. A community of sisters now lives at St Wilfrid`s presbytery.

Not being in Forest Hall made me think that it would be pointless still to continue Forest Murmurs. As this year we are celebrating Wagner`s two hundredth anniversary of his birth he might like his title back again!

Things are changing on Tyneside with the Extraordinary Form. The Mass which started at St Dominic`s in Newcastle in 1992 and which I used to celebrate twice a month for the first couple of years is going to stop. This means the only Sunday Mass on Tyneside will be the Gateshead one which I started at St Wilfrid`s in about 1997 before moving it to St Joseph`s where it has carried on being said by my successor Fr Adrian Dixon. Fr Dixon is having a sabbatical year so I`ll be taking on the weekly Sunday Mass again which I am happy to do. If the St Dominic`s congregation transfers across the river then there should be a sizeable congregation.

I will miss life at Forest Hall and Longbenton. My successor here will be Fr Sean Hall. While it has been a bit bumpy at times here I have also had good support and will miss many people. However I`m only going across the river to Gateshead. I look forward to working again with my former parishioners.
Bishop Seamus Cunningham at St Joseph`s

I will continue to blog but I need another title. Ite ad Joseph occurred to me first but it seems to be too general. One feature of St Joseph`s is that the site of the martyrdom of Blessed John Ingram is in the parish and his death is commemorated each year with a procession from Newcastle so `Doing the Ingram Walk` occurred to me but might be thought of as flippant. So I`m still waiting for inspiration. 

This isn`t the last post here. I`ve had in mind to do one on The Disappearing Glories of Killingworth but it requires me getting out with my camera and I`ve not got round to it as yet.

I move parish about the end of August. Going back to where you were seems popular at the moment

Saturday, June 01, 2013

First Sunday Mass

To avoid confusion this is to confirm that there will be the usual First Sunday Extraordinary Form Latin Mass at St Mary`s Forest Hall on Sunday 2nd June at 5pm. This will be preceded by Exposition  of the Blessed Sacrament from 4pm to coincide with the Holy Father`s request for all the Catholic world to have an hour of exposition at that time for the Year of Faith.