Sunday 28 September 2014

Tradition to the rescue

I attended the opening of St Walburge's Church yesterday -  as a Shrine given over to the Institute of Christ the King in a bold and inspired move by Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster. I'm sure it must have been a decision that took a leap of faith - given that there is still an unaccountable hostility in some quarters when it comes to making provision for the Mass of Ages.  What a splendid and uplifting sight to see such a vast church packed with people of all ages and celebrating the liturgy for which it was surely built.  Built on the outskirts of Preston city centre, the area has become depopulated over the years and so the parish was struggling valiantly to cope with maintaining this iconic building.  

Its not just about the building, of course, but the living presence of the Church in this particular area.  Just as any family needs a house to call home, the Church, which is the living Body of Christ, needs a home in which to dwell, to grow, to love and to make others welcome.  Here is a home that can call people to it by its size and visibility.  I'm sure the Fathers of the Institute will make the welcome of all who venture in as splendid as the Church which the Bishop of Lancaster has so generously given them.

Great to see a church full of people!
Thanks to Martin Gardener for these photos (which I lifted from his Flickr site - I was unable to find a way of getting in touch to ask formal permission, so I hope that's okay.)  There are plenty of great photos of the day on his site here.

Bishop Campbells' Homily.

The Apostle counsels us today that if we are to boast or glory it should be in the Lord. So it is 
therefore, first and foremost, with a profound sense of gratitude to almighty God that we 
are here today to witness the beginning of a new phase in the history of this venerable 
church of Saint Walburge. To pick up the image of Christ in the gospel parable, in recent 
years, for a variety of reasons, there has not been as much oil as we would have wished for 
in the lamp that is St. Walburge’s church. The city of Preston has rightly taken pride in its 
long Catholic and Christian history, and a powerful symbol of that history has been St. 
Walburge’s, visible from near and far through its unique spire. The question has often been 
asked during these last decades, what is the future of St. Walburge’s, will it continue and
remain open as a house of prayer and worship as originally envisaged by the founding Jesuit 
fathers over one hundred and fifty years ago?

Our presence here today and the fresh initiative now starting give a definite yes to that 
question. St. Walburge’s assuredly has a future for which we thank God, the giver of all good 
things. The church will now be open every day of the week to cater for the spiritual needs of 
those who pass through its doors. Mass will be offered daily, there will be the opportunity 
for quiet prayer and adoration, with regular access to other sacraments and religious 
devotions. St. Walburge’s church will again become a much needed spiritual presence, and 
hopefully a beacon, in this part of Preston where the human spirit will find comfort and 
strength in our often confused and troubled twenty-first century world. The new venture 
now beginning in this magnificent church cannot but bring down blessings from heaven on 
the city of Preston. The common good and the city of Preston will indeed be well served by 
the worship and prayer that takes place daily here in St. Walburge’s.

From today another page in the history of St. Walburge’s is being turned and written, made 
possible by the gracious and willing generosity of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign 
Priest. The Institute has accepted responsibility to ensure that St. Walburge’s continues to 
remain what is was intended to be - the house of God and a place of prayer for all people. 
As Bishop of Lancaster, conscious and grateful to the generations of clergy who have 
ministered here down the years, I thank most sincerely Mgr. Gilles Wach, Prior General and  the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest for their acceptance of my bold and heartfelt 
appeal to assume responsibility for St. Walburge’s. I also place on record the cooperation of 
Canon Amaury Montjean, who has made every effort to ensure that the necessary 
negotiations with my clergy and diocesan officers have been smooth and trouble-free. 
The gospel parable highlights the wise virgins who stayed alert with oil in their lamps and so 
were ready to meet the bridegroom at whatever hour he came. The Church universal is 
constantly on the watch for Christ her bridegroom. The sacramental and spiritual 
nourishment – like that oil of the wise virgins in our gospel - which St. Walburge’s will offer 
to Christ’s people who gather for worship will ensure that they are equipped to meet Christ
as he comes to them in the events of their everyday lives. Mindful of the faith and 
commitment of the past generations who have gathered and worshipped almighty God in 
these sacred surroundings since 1854, we offer sincere thanks in this Mass for their legacy 
of this beautiful building. As we look to the future, with a spirit of renewed hope we entrust
St. Walburge’s and its future to the care and protection of Our Blessed Lady and St. 
Walburghe, and make our own the inspiring words of the ancient psalm: This day was made 
by the Lord, let us rejoice and be glad. Amen.

+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster

Saturday 27 September 2014

Oh Dear! Bishop Conroy of Arundel and Brighton resigns.

This from the Telegraph website.
Best pray for him and for the diocese.
A leading Catholic Bishop announced his resignation on Saturday after confessing to being “unfaithful” to his vows, leading to speculation he has had a sexual affair. 
The Rt Rev Kieran Conry, the bishop of Arundel and Brighton and chairman of the Church’s evangelisation committee in England and Wales, was to make the shock announcement in a letter read to congregations across the diocese at services over the weekend.
It immediately led to speculation that Bishop Conry had broken his vow of celibacy, central to the Catholic priesthood.
In the statement, being read to congregations on Saturday evening and Sunday morning the Bishop apologised for being "unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest".
He explained his actions were not illegal and did not involve minors, but apologised to "all to the individuals hurt by my actions" and "all of those inside and outside the diocese who will be shocked, hurt and saddened to hear this". 
Bishop Conry said he would not be commenting further on the nature of his unfaithfulness.Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, spoke of his sorrow at Bishop Conry’s resignation.
He said: “This is a sad and painful moment. It makes clear that we are always a Church of sinners called to repentance and conversion and in need of God’s mercy. All involved in this situation are much in my prayers today.”

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Why do we single out the divorced and remarried for exclusion from receiving the Eucharist?

Should we be doing this more often?

There's much being written about the forthcoming Synod on the Family.  Of course, its being reduced in the media to a one issue event but I'm sure that it will be much broader than that.  However, on that one issue I wonder why we single out the divorced and remarried as not in the right position to receive Holy Communion.  Perhaps we should be looking at the issue from another perspective.  Why is it that all the other sins, difficulties and human failings that abound among the fallen humanity that fill our churches are not given much attention?  The link between receiving Holy Communion and preparing oneself  for it by Confession seems to have been completely abandoned.   It seems there are no sins left that might exclude someone from receiving Holy Communion. Why is that?

Seems like everyone needs to go to Confession sometime.

We now concentrate on receiving to the exclusion of almost everything else.  The Sunday Obligation seems to be not to be in attendance at Mass but to receive Holy Communion.  As though, influenced by our consumer society, it doesn't count unless we "get something".  

This flows through to those who might receive Communion at home.  It seems an increasingly frequent model that many people  who are listed as "housebound" as far as getting to church is concerned can actually get out to the shops, to the day centre, to visit relatives and even go on holiday, and yet they have been encouraged to expect that they can to receive Communion at home. 

My classic example of this came some years ago when I received a phone call from a lapsed gentleman who told me that a priest he'd met in a church while on holiday in Malta had suggested that, as he had walking difficulties, he might get his parish priest back home to bring him Holy Communion each week.  The gentleman was somewhat put out when I tentatively suggested that as he'd managed to get to Malta all by himself he might just be able to make it to his local parish.

Another incident was told to me by a priest friend who, on asking if the "housebound" recipient might not be able to get up to church as she had not been home on his previous two attempts to call, received the reply, "O Father, its as much as I can do to struggle up to the off-licence these days."

But I digress...

There are many  reasons to abstain from receiving Holy Communion.    Being divorced and remarried is one of them in the Church's teaching.  However, such folk would not feel so marked out if all the rest of us abstained when we were not supposed to receive as well.  The daily gossip who hasn't been to Confession for 20 years could remain with them in the pews making a spiritual communion.  The family that only come to Mass once a month could likewise swell the ranks of non communicants. I'm guessing that there are very many in sin - either serious or habitual - who have not been to Confession for long enough to make it suitable that we should not be receiving Holy Communion every time they come to Mass.

I'm not suggesting that no one should ever come but the desire to encourage everyone up every time seems to cheapen the Sacrament, to make it less awesome and more everyday.  Presumably a concentration on being in a state of grace was what led to so few receiving Holy Communion that the Church came to enforce at least a yearly reception - along with Confession, of course.  What we used to call Easter Duties.  We need not go back to that state of play but perhaps we have travelled too far in the other direction.  The result is that only those whose failings are publicly known - that is, those in irregular marriages - are forced to abstain from receiving Holy Communion.  An honest appraisal of many other failings - real but not recorded in marriage registers - might lead to us taking the reception of Holy Communion with more seriousness.  

Its not the Church's teaching on marriage that is faulty but perhaps Her teaching on receiving the Holy Eucharist, as commonly perceived and lived out in most places, needs a little adjusting.

It might also remind us that the Mass is not just about receiving, about "getting something" but it is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and about us giving something to Him -  our worship of Almighty God.  It is a thing in itself.  Simply being in the presence of it is a source of grace, of comfort and of hope.  In itself, it is the act of Our Lord on Calvary - we can "get" plenty form it just by being there and acknowledging it as such.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Extraordinary Church!

The East end and High Altar

A reminder that this Saturday 27th September the impressive church of St Walburge just up the road from me in Preston is to be opened as a shrine church administered by the Institute of Christ the King in the Diocese of Lancaster.  It will be a church dedicated the celebration of the Sacraments in the Usus Antiquior and will act as a centre for Eucharistic Devotion.

Solemn High Mass at 12 noon will be celebrated by Mgr Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute, with Pontifical assistance of the Right Rev. Michael Campbell, Bishop of Lancaster.
Gregorian chant by the Seminarians of the Institute of Christ the King

Mass will be followed by a Reception in the hall next to the church to which all are welcome.

An old photograph showing part of the stunning hammer beam roof, supporting life-sized carving of the saints.  Designed by Joseph Hansom, it was opened in 1854 and extended in 1873. St Walburge's is dedicated to Saint Walpurga, an English saint, born 710 AD., daughter of St. Richard, a Saxon King. With her two brothers St. Willibald and St. Winebald, she went to Germany as a missionary, following in the footsteps of St Boniface. She was renowned for her miraculous healing of illnesses and is hailed as the first extant female author in both England and Germany (in her Latin account of St Wilibald's journey to the Holy Land). 

Of interest from the standpoint of my belonging to the Order of St Lazarus, with its leper origins, is that St Walburge's Church is situated in the Maudlands district of Preston, so called because of its association with St Mary Magdalene of which name the word "Maudlands" is a corruption. St Walburge's is located near the site of a 12th-century leprosy hospital dedicated to St Mary Magdalene, which stood nearby (on a hill outside the town boundaries) from 1293- 1538.  You can guess what happened to it in 1538! 

Friday 19 September 2014

A full translation from my last post...

Dear Brothers,

I am happy to meet with you now personally, because in truth I must say that in some way I already know you. Not long ago you were presented to me by the Congregation of Bishops or that for the Eastern Churches. You are the fruit of assiduous work and the tireless prayer of the Church that, when she must choose her Pastors, wishes to actualize that whole night passed by the Lord on the mountain, in the presence of his Father, before calling those who he wished to be with him and to be sent out into the world.

Therefore, in the persons of the Lord Cardinals Ouellet and Sandri, I thank all those who have contributed to prepare your choice as Bishops and spent themselves to organize this day of meeting, surely fecund, in which one feels the joy of being Bishops, not isolated but in communion, of the co-responsibility of the episcopal ministry and of solicitude for the entire Church of God.

I know your curriculum and I harbour great hopes in your potentialities. Now I can finally associate the first knowledge from the papers to the faces, and after having heard talk of you, I can personally hear the heart of each and set my gaze on each one to discern the many pastoral hopes that Christ and his Church place in you. It is good to see the mystery of each one mirrored in the face and to be able to read what Christ has written to you. It is consoling to be able to see that God does not let His Bride lack Pastors in keeping with his heart.

Dear Brothers, our meeting is held at the beginning of your episcopal journey. The wonder aroused by your selection has now passed; the first fears have been overcome, when your name was pronounced by the Lord; even the emotions lived in the consecration are now gradually deposited in the memory and the weight of the responsibility adapts itself, in some way, to your fragile shoulders. The oil of the Spirit poured on your head still perfumes and, at the same time, is descending on the body of the Churches entrusted to you by the Lord. You have already experienced that the Gospel opened on your head has become a house where one can dwell with the Word of God; and the ring on your right hand, which sometimes is too tight or sometimes risks slipping, possesses nevertheless the strength to unite your life to Christ and to his Bride.

In meeting you for the first time, I ask you never to take for granted the mystery invested in you, of not losing your wonder in face of God’s plan or the fear of walking in conscience in His presence and in the presence of the Church, which is His, first of all. In some part of yourselves, it is necessary to protect this received gift, avoiding its being strained, impeding its being rendered vain.

Now allow me to speak to you with simplicity about some topics that I take to heart. I feel a duty to remind the Pastors of the Church of the indispensable link between the stable presence of the Bishop and the growth of the flock. Every authentic reform of the Church of Christ begins from the presence, that of Christ which is never lacking, but also that of the Pastor who rules in the name of Christ. And this is not a pious recommendation. When the Pastor hides or is not available, at stake is the pastoral care and the salvation of souls.  (Decree De reformation of the Council of Trent IX). The Council of Trent said this, with so much reason.

In fact, in the Pastors that Christ gives to the Church, He himself loves his Bride and gives his life for her (cf. Ephesians 5:25-27). Love renders similar those who share it, therefore, everything that is good in the Church comes from Christ, but it is also true that the humanity glorified by the Bridegroom has not scorned our traits. They say that after years of intense communion of life and of fidelity, in human couples also the traits of the physiognomy of the spouses are communicated gradually to one another and both end by being similar.

You have been bound, by a ring of fidelity, to the Church that has been entrusted to you or that you are called to serve. The love for the Bride of Christ allows you gradually to imprint traits of yourselves in her face and at the same time to bear in yourselves traits of her physiognomy. Therefore, intimacy, assiduousness, constancy and patience are useful.

Of no use are Bishops content just on the surface; one must dig in depth to retrace what the Spirit continues to inspire in your Bride. Please, do not be Bishops with an expiration date, who always need to change their address, as medicines that lose their capacity to cure, or like those insipid foods that are to be thrown out because they are now useless (cf. Matthew 5:13). It is important not to block the healing force that flows from within of the gift you have received, and this defends you from the temptation to come and go without a goal, because “no wind is favourable to one who does not know where he is going.” And we have learned where we are going: we are always going to Jesus. We are seeking to know “where he dwells,” because his answer given to the first is never exhausted`; “Come and see” (John 1:38-39).

To dwell fully in your Churches it is necessary to dwell always in Him and not flee from Him: to dwell in his Word, in his Eucharist, in the “things of his Father” (cf. Luke 2:49), and above all in his cross. Not to pause on passing, but to stay for a long time! As the lamp of the Tabernacle of your majestic Cathedrals or humble Chapels stays inextinguishable, so may the flock not fail to find in your look the flame of the Risen One. Therefore, you must not be spent or pessimistic Bishops who, leaning only on themselves surrender to the darkness of the world or are resigned in face of the apparent defeat of the good, who now cry in vain that the fort is assailed. Your vocation is not to be guardians of a failed mass, but custodians of the Evangelii gaudium; hence, you cannot be deprived of the only richness that we truly have to give and that the world cannot give itself: the joy of the love of God.

I pray you, moreover, not to allow yourselves to be deceived by the temptation to change the people. Love the people that God has given you, even when they have “committed great sins,” without tiring of “going up to the Lord” to obtain forgiveness and a new beginning, even at the price of seeing many of your false images of the divine face cancelled or the fantasies that you nourished about the way of arousing their communion with God (cf. Es 32:30-31). Learn the humble but irresistible power of vicarious substitution, which is the only root of redemption.

Also the mission, rendered so urgent, is born from that “seeing where the Lord dwells and staying with him” (Cf. John 1:39). Only one who encounters, stays and dwells acquires the fascination and the authoritativeness to lead the world to Christ (cf. John 1:40-42). I think of so many people to be led to Him -- of your priests, in primis. There are so many that no longer seek where He dwells, or who dwell in other existential latitudes, some in the dregs of society. Others, forgetful of episcopal paternity or perhaps tired of seeking it in vain, now live as if they were no longer fathers or deceive themselves about not needing fathers. I exhort you to cultivate in yourselves, Fathers and Pastors, an interior time in which you can find room for your priests: receive them, welcome them, listen to them, guide them. I would like you to be traceable Bishops not for the quantity of the means of communication of which you dispose, but for the interior room that you offer to receive persons and their concrete needs, giving them the wholeness and breadth of the teaching of the Church, and not a catalogue of regrets.  And may the reception be for all without discrimination, offering the firmness of authority that makes for growth and the sweetness of paternity that generates. And, please, do not fall into the temptation of sacrificing your liberty by surrounding yourselves with cliques, groups or choruses of consensus, because on the lips of the Bishop, the Church and the world have the right to find always the Gospel that renders one free.

Then there is the People of God entrusted to you. When, at the moment of your consecration, the name of your Church was proclaimed, the face reflected of those that God was giving you. These people need your patience to take care of them, to make them grow. I know well how our time has been rendered a desert. It is useful, therefore, to imitate Moses’ patience in guiding your people, without fear of dying as exiles, but consuming up to your last energy not for yourselves but to make those that you guide enter into God. Nothing is more important than to introduce persons into God! I recommend to you especially the young and the elderly: the former because they are our wings, and the latter because they are our roots. Wings and roots without which we do not know who we are and much less where we must go.

At the end of our meeting, allow the Successor of Peter to look at you profoundly from the height of the Mystery that unites us irrevocably. Today, seeing you in your different physiognomies, which mirror the inexhaustible richness of the Church spread throughout the earth, the Bishop of Rome embraces the Catholica. It is not necessary to recall the individual and tragic situations of our days. How much therefore, I would like to have resound in our midst, in every Church, a message of encouragement. On returning to your homes, wherever they are, please take the greeting and affection of the Pope and assure the people that they are always in his heart.

I see in you the watchmen capable of awakening your Churches, rising up before dawn or in the middle of the night to reawaken faith, hope and charity, without letting yourselves doze off or be conformed with the nostalgic lament of a fecund past but now fading. Dig now into your sources, with the courage to remove the incrustations that have covered the beauty and vigor of your pilgrim and missionary ancestors who implanted Churches and created civilization.

I see in you men capable of cultivating and maturing God’s fields, in which young sowers await hands ready to water daily to expect generous harvests.

I see in you, finally, Pastors able to recompose unity, of weaving nets, of re-sewing, of overcoming fragmentation. Dialogue with respect with the great traditions in which you are immersed, without fear of getting lost or without need to defend your borders, because the identity of the Church is defined by the love of Christ that knows no borders. Guarding jealously the passion for truth, do not waste energies to oppose or collide but to build and to love.

So, watchmen, men capable of taking care of God’s fields, pastors who walk ahead, in the midst and behind the flock, I give you leave, I embrace you, wishing you fecundity, patience, humility and much prayer. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]

To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.

"In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often."

These are the words of Blessed John Henry Newman speaking of the development of ideas.  Over time, an idea is tested, argued, confronted, changed: 

"It seems in suspense which way to go; it wavers, and at length strikes out in one definite direction. In time it enters upon strange territory; points of controversy alter their bearing."    "It is elicited and expanded by trial, and battles into perfection and supremacy."

The phase is often quoted as referring to people but in context it refers to ideas - although in the sentence the Blessed Cardinal does write "to live is to change...".  Certainly, it appears that our Holy Father Pope Francis does not see it as applying to people.  In speaking to an audience of newly ordained bishops, among many good things he says something that caught my attention in particular as hard to understand:

“I also beg you to not let yourselves be deceived by the temptation to change the people. Love the people that God has given you, even when they will have committed great sins,”

Have I been going about my ministry with a false premise?  Have I been looking at my own moral and spiritual life in the wrong way?  For I am constantly praying and hoping for change for those entrusted to my pastoral care and for myself.  

In fairness, I read it first on the Catholic Herald site, which only quotes selectively.  The Vatican site carries it but only in Italian - and mine isn't great.  Pope Francis goes on to say  in reference to this something about learning the power of "vicarious substitution, which is the only root of redemption."  (Imparate il potere umile ma irresistibile della sostituzione vicaria, che è la sola radice della redenzione.)

If this means offering yourself for the sins of others, as Our Lord did, then all well and good. But surely even this form of self offering implies a desire for change in the other, that your love of them will move them to change.  Our Lord often seems to forgive the sinner but goes on to give instructions for them to change their ways - go and sin no more.

Or have I got it all wrong?  

Monday 15 September 2014

New Bishop for Leeds Diocese

Congratulations to Mgr Marcus Stock 
whom Pope Francis has announced is to be the new bishop of Leeds.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Beautiful Budapest

I spent a few days in Budapest last week and it was as architecturally striking as I have been told.  This is St Stephen's Cathedral.  However, be warned, if you go on a Sunday, having looked at their website advertising a Latin mass at 10am - it's only once a month (I think that's what was explained to me!)

The Cathedral puts on concerts in the evening and I went to hear Mozart''s Requiem.  The trick, I find, at concerts of religious music in church is to look at the art works and statues or close your eyes - otherwise the facial contortions of the singers are rather off-putting to any sense of being moved by the music.  What seems strange to me is that a concert of classical music all in Latin filled the church with visitors. I wonder when many in the Church will catch on to the fact that Latin is not a bar to attracting people!  In fact, they will actually pay to come in and listen to it.

The High A;tar is dominated by a statue of St Stephen - and very splendid it is.

 All the churches I went into were immaculately kept.  No plastic chairs stacked up in side chapels or the remains of last years CAFOD display festering in the porch.

On the hill of Buda stands the Mattias Church.  A vision of glory, with every surface ablaze with frescoes.

I wouldn't mind preaching from this pulpit - and as I've no Hungarian, the congregation wouldn't be able to make any complaints!

An extraordinary window in the baptistery, off-set in the wall mouldings.

A statue of Our Blessed Lady adorns the High Altar - crowned with a replica of the Hungarian crown, blessed by Pope St John Paul.

Actually, I didn't specifically go to see the churches. What drew me was the prospect of all the glorious Art Nouveau and Secessionist architecture - which abounds all over the Pest side of the city.
here are just a few examples.

Sunday 7 September 2014

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

The Northern District of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is hosting a talk by barrister Neil Addison.  As well as being a barrister he writes on law and religious freedom and blogs at the Religion Law Blog

He will be speaking on the subject of Religious Freedom this Wednesday 10th September, in the parish hall at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Harrogate Road, Moortown, Leeds LS17 6LE. 

The talk should begin around 11.00am. All clergy would be welcome and its good to meet brethren in a supportive atmosphere - the talk will be followed by lunch. If you would like to come along, please contact the Northern District Organiser:   

Fr. Stephen Brown on  01274 721636

Saturday 6 September 2014

When you're REALLY fed up

Michael Voris' Church Militant TV has been carrying this episode.  Mr Voris is his usual outspoken self (good for him!).  Although I have seen this speech of Mother Angelica's before, I haven't in the past been able to find this clip on-line.  

The occasion of her outburst was the rather surreal and heavily modernised depiction of the Stations of the Cross for a World Youth Day (as Mr Voris describes).  She pulled the plug on the feed, the screen went blank and then she came on.  I'm told that almost immediately afterwards she and her nuns went into the much more traditional habits they still wear.

I like the TV station she founded - Eternal Word Television Network (for the most part) but it could do with re-capturing some of this spirit shown by Mother here!

That being said, there's no shortage of nuns at Mother Angelica's Monastery.  Some of the Sisters speak in this video.

Friday 5 September 2014

Traditional Mass in the world's largest seminary

The world's largest seminary is in Mexico.  I'm not aware that Mexico is a particular hotbed of the Usus Antiquior but the seminary at least seems to be able to allow its seminarians to experience and learn about the ancient form of the Mass without running terrified at the prospect.  I am amazed at just how many seminarians this one seminary has.  Enough to provide priests for two or three of the major diocese here in England and Wales.

Guadalajara is the see of one of the principal Mexican archdioceses. It is solidly anchored in the Catholic tradition and still numbers over 2000 priests. Add to that the largest major seminary in the world, which was founded in 1696 and numbers over 600 seminarians. This means that this seminary alone has one half as many as all the seminaries in Spain and nearly as many as all French diocesan seminaries combined.

 On 2 June 2014, for the first time since the liturgical reform, a priest went up to the altar of the Lord in the Saint Joseph of Guadalajara Seminary chapel, there to celebrate Mass according to the missal of St John XXIII. It was celebrated by Father Jonathan Romanoski, one of the Fraternity of Saint Peter priests stationed in Guadalajara, in the presence of close to 300 of the Seminary students. Mind you, the diocese of Guadalajara had already made room for the traditional liturgy even before the Motu Propio Summorum Pontificum, and so the two liturgical forms have been cohabitating without a snag.  


Father Romanoski, who is originally from Pennsylvania and was ordained by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos in 2008, had already conducted introductory extraordinary form workshops at the seminary. These workshops only went so far, however, while the June 2 Mass gathered close to half the seminarians and was—very officially—sung by the seminary schola. 

Father Romanoski was able to give a brief outline of the principal characteristics of the extraordinary form of the rite just before celebrating this Mass, which had been organised at the seminarians’ request. It’s a safe bet that this June 2, 2014 Mass will be a milestone since it allowed many future priests, in a very official and very “normal” setting—their seminary—to discover the beauty and richness of the traditional liturgy.

In his account of the event, Spanish columnist Fernández de La Cigoña, who runs a well-known Spanish-language blog, noted that the Mass celebrated in Guadalajara was the  Mass of the Cristeros*: “They knew no other Mass. From it they received the grace to be Catholics. But not just Catholics like us. They were heroes, martyrs, saints.”

*(The Cristero War (1926–1929), also known as La Cristiada, was an attempted counter-revolution against the anti-clericalism of the ruling Mexican government. The background setting for Graham Greene's novel "The Power and the Glory".)

 Further photographs on the Una Voce Facebook page.