Sunday, 9 October 2016

New Vestment

 I was presented with a new vestment this from the altar servers and young people of the parish morning, which is lovely - all the way from Poland, I think. It is my Silver Jubilee of Ordination later this week, when we are celebrating in fine style with High Mass in the presence of Archbishop Malcolm but today was a surprise organised as an event for just the parish family to celebrate.

  My thanks to everyone and especially our musical director, Anthony, who arranged for a little Schola to come and sing at the 10am Mass. Unusually for us here, an English Mass setting today - the Festival Setting of the Eucharist in C by John Ireland, which was rather nice. We also rejoiced in  Arcadelt's Ave Maria and Elgar's Ave Verum, as well as a couple of Newman's great hymns in recognition of his feast day. Thanks to the singers - Emma, Dean, Lynn and Anthony and to David Scott-Thomas as visiting organist, making our organ (with new speakers) sound really terrific.

A blast from the past. Ordination 25 years ago by Archbishop Derek Worlock at English Martyrs parish in Litherland.

Some photos from the Mass this morning.  
Not taking a leaf out of Blessed John Henry's book, with his notoriously long sermons, a very short sermon today on Newman.


 Presentation of the vestment and picture after Mass.

 Blessing the new vestment.

And the splendid picture of St Catherine.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Cardinal Sarah's new book

Robert Cardinal Sarah's new book. Some extracts below need no comment from me!

From “"La force du silence", Fayard, 2016.
English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.


Some priests today treat the Eucharist with perfect disdain. They see the Mass as a chatty banquet where the Christians who are faithful to Jesus’ teaching, the divorced and remarried, men and women in a situation of adultery, unbaptized tourists participating in the Eucharistic celebrations of great anonymous crowds can have access to the body and blood of Christ, without distinction.

The Church must urgently examine the ecclesial and pastoral appropriateness of these immense Eucharistic celebrations made up of thousands and thousands of participants. There is a great danger here of turning the Eucharist, “the great mystery of Faith,” into a vulgar revel and of profaning the body and the precious blood of Christ. The priests who distribute the sacred species without knowing anyone, and give the Body of Jesus to all, without discernment between Christians and non-Christians, participate in the profanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Those who exercise authority in the Church become guilty, through a form of voluntary complicity, of allowing sacrilege and the profanation of the body of Christ to take place in these gigantic and ridiculous self-celebrations, where one can hardly perceive that “you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

Priests unfaithful to the “memory” of Jesus insist rather on the festive aspect and the fraternal dimension of the Mass than on the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The importance of the interior dispositions and the need to reconcile ourselves with God in allowing ourselves to be purified by the sacrament of confession are no longer fashionable nowadays. More and more, we obscure the warning of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill” (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-30).


At the beginning of our Eucharistic celebrations, how is it possible to eliminate Christ carrying his cross and walking painfully beneath the weight of our sins toward the place of sacrifice? There are many priests who enter triumphantly and go up to the altar, waving left and right in order to appear friendly. Observe the sad spectacle of certain Eucharistic celebrations. . . Why so much frivolity and worldliness at the moment of the Holy Sacrifice? Why so much profanation and superficiality before the extraordinary priestly grace that makes us capable of bringing forth the body and blood of Christ in substance by the invocation of the Spirit? Why do some believe themselves obliged to improvise or invent Eucharistic prayers that disperse the divine phrases in a bath of petty human fervor? Are the words of Christ so insufficient that a profusion of purely human words is needed? In a sacrifice so unique and essential, is there a need for this subjective imagination and creativity? “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words,” Jesus has cautioned us (Mt 6:7).


We have lost the deepest meaning of the offertory. Yet it is that moment in which, as its name indicates, the whole Christian people offers itself, not alongside of Christ, but in him, through his sacrifice that will be realized at the consecration. Vatican Council II admirably highlighted this aspect in insisting on the baptismal priesthood of the laity that essentially consists in offering ourselves together with Christ in sacrifice to the Father. [. . .]

If the offertory is seen as nothing other than a preparation of the gifts, as a practical and prosaic action, then there will be a great temptation to add and invent ceremonies in order to fill up what is perceived as a void. I deplore the offertory processions in some African countries, long and noisy, accompanied with interminable dances. The faithful bring all sorts of products and objects that have nothing to do with the Eucharistic sacrifice. These processions give the impression of folkloric exhibitions that disfigure the bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and distance us from the Eucharistic mystery; but this must be celebrated in sobriety and recollection, since we are immersed, we too, in his death and his offering to the Father. The bishops of my continent should take measures to keep the celebration of the Mass from becoming a cultural self-celebration. The death of God out of love for us is beyond all culture. 

“FACING EAST” (par. 254)

It is not enough simply to prescribe more silence. In order for everyone to understand that the liturgy turns us interiorly toward the Lord, it would be helpful during the celebration for us all together, priests and faithful, to face the east, symbolized by the apse.

This practice remains absolutely legitimate. It is in keeping with the letter and the spirit of the Council. There is no lack of testimonies from the first centuries of the Church. “When we stand up to pray, we face the east,” says Saint Augustine, echoing a tradition that dates back, according to Saint Basil, to the Apostles themselves. Churches having been designed for the prayer of the first Christian communities, the apostolic constitutions of the 4th century recommended that they be turned to the east. And when the altar is facing  west, as at Saint Peter’s in Rome, the celebrant must turn toward the orient and face the people. 

This bodily orientation of prayer is nothing other than the sign of an interior orientation. [. . .] Does the priest not invite the people of God to follow him at the beginning of the great Eucharistic prayer when he says” “Let us lift up our heart,” to which the people respond: “We turn it toward the Lord”?

As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, I am intent upon recalling once again that celebration “versus orientem” is authorized by the rubrics of the Missal because it is of apostolic tradition. There is no need for particular authorization to celebrate in this way, people and priest, facing the Lord. If it is physically not possible to celebrate “ad orientem,” a cross must necessarily be placed on the altar, in plain sight, as a point of reference for all. Christ on the cross is the Christian East.


I refuse to waste time in opposing one liturgy to another, or the rite of Saint Pius V to that of Blessed Paul VI. What is needed is to enter into the great silence of the liturgy; one must allow oneself to be enriched by all the Latin or Eastern liturgical forms that favor silence. Without this contemplative silence, the liturgy will remain an occasion of hateful divisions and ideological confrontations instead of being the place of our unity and our communion in the Lord. It is high time to enter into this liturgical silence, facing the Lord, that the Council wanted to restore.

What I am about to say now does not enter into contradiction with my submission and obedience to the supreme authority of the Church. I desire profoundly and humbly to serve God, the Church, and the Holy Father, with devotion, sincerity, and filial attachment. But this is my hope: if God wills, when he may will and how he may will, in the liturgy, the reform of the reform will take place. In spite of the gnashing of teeth, it will take place, because the future of the Church is at stake.

Damaging the liturgy means damaging our relationship with God and the concrete expression of our Christian faith. The Word of God and the doctrinal teaching of the Church are still listened to, but the souls that want to turn to God, to offer him the true sacrifice of praise and worship him, are no longer captivated by liturgies that are too horizontal, anthropocentric, and festive, often resembling noisy and vulgar cultural events. The media have completely invaded and turned into a spectacle the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the memorial of the death of Jesus on the cross for the salvation of our souls. The sense of mystery disappears through changes, through permanent adaptations, decided in autonomous and individual fashion in order to seduce our modern profaning mentalities, marked by sin, secularism, relativism, and the rejection of God.

In many western countries, we see the poor leaving the Catholic Church because it is under siege by ill-intentioned persons who style themselves intellectuals and despise the lowly and the poor. This is what the Holy Father must denounce loud and clear. Because a Church without the poor is no longer the Church, but a mere “club.” Today, in the West, how many temples are empty, closed, destroyed, or turned into profane structures in disdain of their sacredness and their original purpose. So I know how many priests and faithful there are who live their faith with extraordinary zeal and fight every day to preserve and enrich the dwellings of God.


The book:

Robert Sarah avec Nicolas Diat, "La force du silence. Contre la dictature du bruit", Fayard, Paris, 2016.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Mother Marie Adele Garnier, the foundress of the Tyburn Nuns, cause for Canonisation

I see from news reports today that Mother Marie Adele Garnier, the foundress of the Tyburn Nuns, is to have her cause for canonisation opened in Rome. The Catholic Times has a report. One of my favourite spiritual writers,  Blessed Columba Marmion wrote to one of her spiritual daughters, saying, “The special characteristic of your Mother is heroic confidence in the midst of impossibilities.” 

If "By their fruits you shall know them" holds true, her heroic confidence continues, as in a time of decreasing Religious vocations, I think they now have eight daughter houses founded from Tyburn. Heroic confidence in our own times is perhaps also a grace we are all in need of! Perpetual adoration is one of the works that the Sisters are engaged in, so perhaps that has kept them on the receiving end of so many graces.

The Martyrs altar in the crypt of the convent, 
shaped as a replica of the gallows - the Tyburn Tree.
The original site is just a hundred yards or so away form the Convent. Although it is marked with a plaque in the paving, it is marooned on the hugely bust traffic island opposite Marble Arch. It would be a great improvement and cause for celebration if the London authorities could find a way to make it more accessible.

FATHER, all-powerful & ever-living God,
we give you glory, praise and thanks for the life and virtue
of your beloved daughter, Marie Adele Garnier.

Filled with the riches of your grace
and preferring nothing to the love
of the Heart of Jesus Christ,
she devoted her whole life
to the adoration, praise and glory of your Name;

she sacrificed herself by prayer and penance
for the unity & holiness of your Church;
she loved her neighbour with a charity
full of humility and compassion.

Above all, she found the SUN of her life in the Holy Mass,
and so was consumed with zeal for liturgical worship
and Eucharistic adoration, and abandoned herself with all her heart
to your most Holy Will in all things.

In your mercy Lord, hearken to our prayer
"Glorify your Servant Mother Marie Adele Garnier,
that your Servant may glorify YOU".

We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.  AMEN.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

In hock to the devil


Two depressing stories of great powers in the world whose appalling record on the human rights - allegedly held in such high honour by western secular governments - is ignored, I guess for the sake of filthy lucre (cf Titus 1:11.  For there are also many disobedient, vain talkers, and seducers who must be reproved, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre' s sake.)  I presume that buying oil and selling coca cola justifies the turning of blind eyes. 

EWTN carries this story about 27 Lebanese Maronite Christians, including women and children, who have been deported for celebrating the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady in their home. This in a country where Muslims converting to Christianity can be punished by death. Christians make up about 3% of the Saudi population. Where any Muslim, not just the religious police, has the right to take away any Christian religious object or symbol from Christians, such as Bibles, rosaries or crosses. Read the full report HERE.

The Catholic Herald reports the story of the trade in human organs in China, horrifically  carried out as part of punishment for those who disagree with its communist government. thousands of prisoners of conscience – potentially including unregistered “house church” Christians – are strapped to operating tables and cut apart by force. Their vital organs are then extracted and sold for use as transplants.


O Mary, merciful Refuge of Sinners and Mother of all mankind! Behold how many souls are lost every hour! Behold how countless millions of those who live in barbarous regions do not yet know Our Lord Jesus Christ! See, too, how many others are far from the bosom of Mother Church which is Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman! O Mary ... life of our hearts ... let not the Precious Blood and fruits of Redemption be lost for so many souls!

Grant that a ray of Heavenly light may shine forth to enlighten those many blinded understandings and to enkindle so many cold hearts. Intercede with thy Divine Son, and obtain grace for all pagans, heretics, and schismatics in the whole world to receive supernatural light and to enter with joy into the bosom of the true Church. Hear the confident prayer of the Supreme Pontiff that all nations may be united in one faith, that they may know and love Jesus Christ, the blessed fruit of thy womb ... And then all men shall love thee also, thou who art the salvation of the world, arbiter and dispenser of the treasures of God . . . And, glorifying thee, O Queen of Victories, who, by means of thy Rosary, dost trample upon all heresies, they shall acknowledge that thou givest life to all nations, since there must be a fulfillment of the prophecy: "All generations shall call me blessed." Amen.

-----Pope Pius XI

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Monthly Clergy Recollection Evenings at Warrington

Archbishop Malcolm at St Mary's last year.

The Fraternity Fathers at St Mary's, Warrington are starting up Clergy Recollection evenings once a month. Any opportunity for clergy to get together for mutual support and encouragement is very welcome. I know from experience that you will receive a warm welcome.

They will take place every third Wednesday in the month: i.e. 21st September; 19th October; 16th November; 21st December 2016.

·         6pm-7pm Holy Hour with Confessions
·         7pm-8pm: doctrinal/spiritual talk and questions and answers
·         8pm onwards: refreshment/dinner

Please confirm your attendance, in advance,for the meal for catering purposes.

THEME for 21st September: Fr de Malleray, FSSP will give a talk on Divine Mercy and Holy Mass. As the Year of Mercy initiated by Pope Francis is nearing its end, we will go through the prayers of the Mass in the EF Missal and follow the thread of Divine Mercy. In fact, St Faustina attended Mass daily in the Usus Antiquior, and it is very fitting that her revelations on Divine Mercy were supported and inspired by the liturgy of the Church, from which she would draw her spiritual energy.

Access by train: 5mn walk from Warrington Central, 15mn walk from Warrington Bank Quay (under 2h from London Euston direct).
By road: driving up Mersey Street from the river, turn left into Smith Street just before the Borough Arms pub and park onto our church car park at the end.
Air: 25 minute drive from either Liverpool or Manchester airport.
Contact and Google Map:!contact/c24ju

Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP
Rector, St Mary’s Priory, Smith Street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 2NS, England

01925 635664 –

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

EF Mass at Sizergh Castle

For anyone within travelling distance, Sizergh Castle (Kendal LA8 8DZ) is host once again to the Lancaster LMS Society for 

Low Mass at 7pm this Friday 9th.

It is the commemoration of St Gorgonius, an officer in Diocletian's household, who converted many at the imperial court. He was condemned to a horrific death in AD 302.

The Castle is home to the Hornyold-Strickland family (who always make us very welcome), and to the Strickland family since 1239. It's possible that Catherine Parr lived here for a while, and Sir Thomas Strickland was a member of the court of James II in exile.  While it's probable that the pele tower contained an oratory, the current chapel is at the end of one of two wings forming a courtyard, so you need to proceed along the driveway , which takes you along the left hand side of the building, and park in the second courtyard.

St. Gorgonius, St. Dorotheus and St. Adrian, Martyrs
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 

The Roman Martyrology commemorates St. Gorgonius and St. Dorotheus, on 9th September. St. Gorgonius, though chamberlain of the heathen Emperor, Dioclesian, was secretly a Christian, and with the assistance of Dorotheus, who occupied a similar position, he gradually converted all the chamberlains of the court to the Christian religion. 

One day, when both had witnessed the cruel torturing of a Christian, condemned by the emperor, their hearts were filled with the desire to suffer martyrdom for their faith, and addressing Dioclesian they said: "Why do you torture only him? We profess the same religion, and we wish to suffer for Christ's sake as he suffers." The Emperor was highly incensed at these words, and both were immediately barbarously scourged, after which, salt and vinegar were poured upon their wounds. When this had been done, they were chained upon a gridiron, placed over a fire, and having been thus roasted for some time, they were at length hung. Thus died these two holy martyrs, animated to endurance by witnessing the martyrdom of others. 

St. Adrian was converted in a similar manner. He was about twenty-eight years old, descended from the first Roman nobility, and was one of the most distinguished of the imperial courtiers under Maximian Galerius. He was often a witness of the sufferings of the Christians when they were tortured in the presence of the emperor. Considering the constancy and joy with which they suffered the most cruel pains, he came to the conclusion that such strength must be more than human, and that there must be a God who imparted it, and further, that this God must be the only true one. Having arrived thus far, he would no longer hide the change that had taken place in him, and he confessed publicly that he was a Christian, and desired to live and die as such. No sooner had the Emperor Maximian been acquainted with this, than he commanded him to be cast into a dungeon, where twenty-three others were already confined. Natalia, the wife of Adrian, who, for a long time, had been a Christian, was greatly rejoiced when she heard of his conversion. She hastened to the dungeon, threw herself upon his neck, kissed the chains that fettered him, and praised him that at last he had recognized the truth of Christianity. Having encouraged him to remain firm in the approaching combat, she had to leave him as she was not permitted to stay any longer. 

A few days later, Adrian was informed that the emperor had sentenced him to die. Not in the least terrified at this message, he bribed the jailer to allow him to go to his wife and communicate to her this joyful news, promising to return in a few hours. When on his way, he met an acquaintance, who hastened before him to prepare Natalia for the coming of her husband. She was terrified when she heard of his coming, thinking that he must have become faithless to Christ. Running hastily to the door of the house, she closed it against him, saying that she neither could nor would recognize as her spouse, one who had become an apostate. Adrian called to her to listen, as he had not renounced the true faith, but had only returned to bring her the joyful news that he had been sentenced to die. Quickly opening the door to him, Natalia, falling at his feet, begged his pardon, and after some conversation, she returned with him to the prison, where she renewed her exhortations that he would remain firm, and she prayed to God to give him strength in his approaching martyrdom. 

The day on which Adrian was brought before the Emperor, Natalia, going to him, said: "The time has now arrived, my beloved spouse, to manifest your noble resolutions. Think of the Almighty. Your sufferings will end, but the reward which you will receive in heaven has no end. If you have been brave in combating for your Emperor, who could give you only an earthly recompense, how much braver ought you to be when fighting for Christ, who will give you an eternal crown." Adrian, filled with Christian heroism, went to the Emperor, and as he fearlessly confessed Christ, the tyrant ordered him first to be scourged with rods, then beaten with clubs, and after this, to be torn with small iron hooks. Having suffered all this, he was led back to the dungeon, where Natalia and some other matrons waited for him. Embracing him most tenderly, she congratulated him on having so courageously withstood the first assault. She wiped the blood that flowed from his wounds, and endeavoured in every possible way to give him some comfort. 

The tyrant, hearing of it, forbade them henceforth to admit women into the prison. Natalia, going home, cut off her hair, put on male attire, and thus returned unknown to Adrian. Soon after came the imperial command to cut off the hands and feet of all the imprisoned Christians and to burn their bodies. The invincible confessors of Christ praised God and prepared themselves for the cruel martyrdom. Natalia requested the executioners to begin with her husband, that the sight of the sufferings of the others might not give him fear. Encouraging him to bear his pain with fortitude, she accompanied him to the place of execution, and there manifested a heroism such as perhaps the world had never before beheld. She herself laid the feet of her husband upon the block, and constantly animating him, she held them there until the executioner had cut them off. She then did the same with his hands. Adrian remained fearless to his last breath. Natalia reverentially kissed his feet and hands, but was not allowed to take them home with her. The fate of Adrian was shared by all those who had been imprisoned with him, and when they had all gloriously ended their combat, the executioners threw their bodies and limbs upon a pile of wood to burn them. 

But a terrible storm arose, every one fled, and the rain extinguished the fire, which gave the faithful an opportunity to carry the bodies and limbs, as yet untouched by the flames, into the nearest Christian dwelling. They also bought for a large sum, the garments which the martyrs had worn and which the executioners had divided among themselves. Placing these and the sacred relics in a vessel, they brought them from Nicomedia, where these holy martyrs had suffered, to Constantinople. One arm of her husband was kept as a priceless treasure by Natalia, that incomparable Christian heroine. Some days later, Adrian appeared to her, and directed her to leave for Constantinople in order to escape the danger of becoming the wife of a heathen, as the Emperor desired. Natalia obeyed, went to Constantinople, and served God with great fervour, until Adrian again appeared to her in her sleep and said: "Come, thou zealous servant of Christ and of the Martyrs! take possession of the glory prepared for thee in Heaven!" She awoke, related her dream, again closed her eyes, as though she would sleep, and calmly and peacefully expired.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Journeying towards the Lord together

This video has been posted in one or two other places but it puts the arguments very well, so I thought it worth sharing here. I know that celebrating ad orientem is still very rare in ordinary parish life (with a few notable exceptions) but the continuing suggestion of its efficacy in assisting the decline of reverence and continuity (to say nothing of its ecumenical import with our Eastern brethren) from increasing numbers of liturgists, bishops and cardinals is certainly a sighn that it is "on the agenda" more than ever than in the last fifty years.