Tuesday 29 April 2014

Priestly Ordination

The new priest stands at the altar with the Bishop for his first Mass.
(taken by Joseph Shaw)

Congratulations to Fr Richard Bailey,C.O., who was ordained to the Priesthood on Saturday at St Chad's in Manchester with some excellent music, including parts of Mozart's Coronation Mass.  Great news for the Oratorian communities in this country, who seem to be going from strength to strength, now that they are also looking after St Wilfrid's in York as well.  It was great to catch up with so many priests and others who were in attendance.  There are some further photos from Joseph Shaw here.

The new priest's hands are kissed as he gives First Blessings.

Sunday 27 April 2014

"Be on your guard lest anyone, eager for revolutionary changes, writes against the use of Latin in the Liturgy." - St John XXIII

We celebrated the canonisation of the Popes today with a shrine set up for the occasion.  Certainly there were many reminiscences from those who had seen St John Paul on his visit to this country , as well as those who remembered Pope St John XXIII.  

It was difficult to know how to mark the occasion but we did sing a hymn in honour of the Saints adapted with suitable words, which was much appreciated by the congregation. (To the tune of Lord accept the gifts we offer at this Eucharistic Feast.)

1. Who are these like stars appearing,
These before God’s throne who stand?
Each a golden crown is wearing;
Who are all this glorious band?
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praising loud their heav’nly King.

2. John, a humble peasant’s offspring
From Bergamo’s pleasant land;
Working hard in Christ’s own vineyard,
Feeding all by Peter’s Hand;
Bright, the hope he had in mind,
Showing Christ to all mankind.

3. Poland’s son was raised mid conflict;
Tyranny, he knew so well.
Once on Peter’s throne – he ended
Communism’s thralling spell.
On, he worked, till health t’was spent;
Showing what true suffering meant.

4. These whose hearts were truly riven,
Sore with woe and anguish tried
Who in prayer full oft have striven
With the God they glorified;
Now, their painful conflict o’er,
God has bid them weep no more.

5. John and John-Paul watched and waited,
Offering up to Christ their will;
Soul and body consecrated,
Day and night to serve Him still:
Now in God’s most holy place
Blest they stand before His face.

A reading of the quite short but informative Apostolic Constitution, Veterum Sapientia (On the Promotion of the Study of Latin), one of the Saint's last writings, would seem to give the lie to the idea that he wanted to do away with so many of the things that were done away with in the wake of the Council. Perhaps he already had some inkling of what some wanted to unleash on the Church and was trying to forestall it. Here is a taste of the "reforming" Pope's opinions:

A resolve to uphold Latin

And We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons -- the same as those which prompted Our Predecessors and provincial synods -- are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honour, and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in many quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored.
We believe that We made Our own views on this subject sufficiently clear when We said to a number of eminent Latin scholars:
 "It is a matter of regret that so many people, unaccountably dazzled by the marvelous progress of science, are taking it upon themselves to oust or restrict the study of Latin and other kindred subjects.... Yet, in spite of the urgent need for science, Our own view is that the very contrary policy should be followed. The greatest impression is made on the mind by those things which correspond more closely to man's nature and dignity. And therefore the greatest zeal should be shown in the acquisition of whatever educates and ennobles the mind. Otherwise poor mortal creatures may well become like the machines they build -- cold, hard, and devoid of love."

Provisions for the Promotion of Latin Studies
With the foregoing considerations in mind, to which We have given careful thought, We now, in the full consciousness of Our Office and in virtue of Our authority, decree and command the following:
1. Bishops and superiors-general of religious orders shall take pains to ensure that in their seminaries and in their schools where adolescents are trained for the priesthood, all shall studiously observe the Apostolic See's decision in this matter and obey these Our prescriptions most carefully.
2. In the exercise of their paternal care they shall be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction, eager for revolutionary changes, writes against the use of Latin in the teaching of the higher sacred studies or in the Liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See's will in this regard or interprets it falsely.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Very Modern Easter and a Traditional Holy Week

The unusual depiction of the Resurrection above was created by one of our excellent altar servers, who posts his animations under the title of Gilbert Animation Studios

Our liturgical celebrations were more traditional and featured no Lego characters (that I noticed).

Palm Sunday

Mass of the Lord's Supper

 The Altar of Repose

  Good Friday

 The Blessing of the Easter Fire


 First Mass of Easter

Missa Cantata this morning


Tuesday 15 April 2014

Dear BBC...

"I'm not the Boss!"

I'm not a Canon lawyer but as far as I understand it, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is NOT the "leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales".  Many media outlets but particularly the BBC nearly always refer to him as such - see here, for example.  Although he is the only Cardinal in England and Wales [un-retired cardinal - thank you too an anonymous pedant in the comments box], he is not the Primate (as the Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh is the Primate of all Ireland). Vincent Nichols is the Chairman of the Bishop's Conference but that is an elected post and he was elected to it long before he was made a cardinal. Westminster, as with other Archbishoprics, has several suffragan sees, which give the Archbishop certain limited duties and responsibilities under certain circumstances, usually when something has gone seriously amiss (Canon 435ff).  Canon 436 §3 says: The metropolitan has no other power of governance in the suffragan dioceses.  Even a Primate has no authority over the faithful outside his own diocese: (Can. 438) The titles of patriarch and primate entail no power of governance in the Latin Church apart from a prerogative of honour unless in some matters the contrary is clear from apostolic privilege or approved custom.

As I understand it, each bishop is the sole authority in his diocese with the next step up being the Pope as his only line manager (to use modern parlance). Again, as I understand it, we are not a "national church" in that way.  I guess that the all pervading conception of the bishops' conference idea is responsible for this way of understanding things.  Thus, when an individual bishop wants to speak out on what seems "out of step" with the rest of the bishops' conference, he might be reluctant to do so. Obviously, it makes sense for bishops to co-operate in individual countries so that there might be common practice. But this doesn't always follow - in the practice of the age of Confession, Confirmation and Holy Communion for example. Such differences don't seem to make us fall apart.  

I do wonder that someone doesn't formally make the BBC aware of its mistake and ask that Aunty Beeb tries to get it right in the future. Perhaps some Monseigneurial  mandarin in the Department of Administrative affairs at Eccleston Square could  find time to do that. I know that this isn't the most important thing in the world but it does lead to a misconception being propagated.  I've certainly heard of folk saying they will "write to the Cardinal" when they haven't had the answer they wanted from their bishop.  

Sunday 13 April 2014

Palm Sunday actual participation

So, another Holy Week has begun. Over recent weeks I've once again been encouraging the people to attend the Sacred Triduum. How odd it is that so many people go straight from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection on Easter Day, thus missing out all the steps between! 

Fr Z has a post about the prayers for today and makes an interesting note of one of the rubrics which make it perfectly clear that "participation" in the liturgy means primarily interior participation. In other words,we do not need to treat the congregation like primary school children, where everyone has to have a little job to do so as not to feel left out. 

In relation to that, for several years now, I've chosen the shorter Gospel to be read on Palm Sunday (either by priest or deacon) rather than endure the miserable doling out of parts to various readers and the "crowd" voice to the slightly embarrassed congregation, with the attendant inconsequential mutterings of, "cru - ci - fy Him, cru - ci- fy Him" echoing underwhelmingly around the church.  

Here's a bit of Fr Z's point:
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.  The Sacred Triduum (triduum from tres dies – “three day space”) were once days of obligation when people were freed from servile work so that they could attend the liturgies, once celebrated in the morning.  In the 17th century, however, the obligation was removed under the influence of changing social and religious conditions.  As a result, the faithful lost sight of these beautiful liturgies and in general only priests and religious in monasteries knew them.

In 1951 Pope Pius XII began to restore the Triduum liturgies to prominence by mandating that the Easter Vigil be celebrated in the evening.  In 1953 Mass was permitted in the evening on certain days.  A reformed Ordo for Holy Week was issued in 1955 and took effect on 25 March 1956.   That is when the Sunday of Holy Week came to be called “The Second Sunday in Passiontide, or Palm Sunday”.  Matins and Lauds (Tenebrae, “shadows”) was to be sung in the morning.  Holy Thursday Mass was not to begin before 5 p.m. and no later than 8 p.m.  The idea was to make it easier for people to attend these all important liturgies.
Also in the rubrics there is something helpful for our understanding of “active participation”:
“Then as is customary the priest greets the people; and then there is given a brief admonition, by which the faithful are invited to participate actively and consciously (actuose et conscie participandam) in this day’s celebration.” 
Those words actuose et conscie are very important.  The Second Vatican Council, when using the term actuosa participatio or “active participation”, meant mainly interior participation, the engaging of the mind, heart and will.  The Council Fathers did not mean primarily exterior participation.  Exterior participation should be the natural result of interior participation: we seek to express outwardly what we are experiencing within.  While the two influence each other, there is a logical priority to interior participation, which is by far the more important.

Monday 7 April 2014

New Traditional Latin Mass Church

Some great news announced yesterday by the diocese of Lancaster. St Walburge's Church near the centre of Preston is to be given into the care of the Institute of Christ the King. This iconic church has been under threat for some time due to the movement of population in the the area.  It means that the Institute will have two large churches in the North West of England.  St Walburge's will follow the pattern of Ss Peter and Paul's in New Brighton under Bishop Mark Davies. It will be a "shrine" church within the ordinary local Catholic parish. In a pastoral letter this weekend Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster says that he has been determined to keep a Catholic presence in the city centre area, which seems to me to be a necessary project. The church is listed and so cannot be pulled down and so it is entirely inappropriate for it to  be turned to some other non-Christian use. When that happens to well-known churches it proclaims to the world that we have failed and have given up on ever retrieving our ground there. I'm sure the Institute with their hard work and zeal will establish a very active presence in there, as they have done on the Wirral.

It great for me, as although Preston is in a neighbouring diocese, it is only four miles away from me here in Leyland.  Locally in the Liverpool Archdiocese (not large geographically) we are fortunate in that there are four regular EF Sunday Masses - all in the morning at reasonable times when people want to go to Mass (two of these, including my own, embedded in the parish and said by the parish priest). Fortunate as well that our new Archbishop, Malcolm McMahon, offers the Traditional Mass.  Ss Peter and Paul's is just across the river Mersey from Liverpool city centre and now there will be a high profile presence in Preston as well.

You can see some photos of this fantastic church taken by Lawrence Lew OP.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Clergy Retreat

For any clergy - bishops, priests or deacons - looking for a break after Easter the FSSP are running a CLERGY RETREAT with MARY 5th-9th May 2014 in Bavaria at a cost of just £270.

I had a wonderful visit to the exceptional Seminary there two years ago.

Further information at their website.

"The Retreat will be on the theme: ‘The Blessed Virgin Mary and the priest’. In reference to Pope Francis’ decision to consecrate the World to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, we will strive as priests to deepen our relationship to God through Mary. We will meditate on the mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us be configured to her Son the Sovereign High Priest. This will include: the role of Mary in the Incarnation and Redemption; her purity and humility at the Annunciation; her charity at the Visitation and at Cana; her hope and faith on Calvary; her spiritual motherhood in relation to the beloved disciple St John. Our Lady will help us deepen the love of our priestly celibacy and our sponsal relationship to the flock entrusted to our pastoral care and to the Church in general. The retreat will be held at the Marian Shrine of Wigratzbad in Bavaria, from Monday 5 May to Friday 9 May 2014 (third week after Easter)."