Thursday 29 January 2015

First Vespers of the Presentation

The lovely feast of Candlemass is almost upon us again.  

For anyone within striking distance of Manchester, the Oratorian Community at St Chad's on Cheetham Hill Road is celebrating First Vespers on Sunday at 4pm and the Blessing of Candles, Procession and Solemn Mass at 5.30pm on Monday.

It is always worth a trip to see the new liturgy done well! Unfortunately, I can't get there myself on Sunday as I will be on a Sponsored Walk through Cuerdan Valley Country Park here in the parish.

Friday 23 January 2015

King Richard III

I see that the Catholic Herald has been reporting on a petition for King Richard III to be given a Catholic burial - as he was, in fact... a Catholic.  Seems pretty obvious to me.  The Eponymous Flower also  has a post about it.

As it happens, moved to action by a friend of mine who is a great Richard III devotee, I am already in the midst of organising a Requiem Mass (EF), with the encouragement of the Richard III Society in Manchester, on the day of his interment.  The idea is to give him some Catholic Rites more in keeping with the Mass he would have prayed in his day.

I'm not sure we can run to Tudor dishes such as Swan stuffed with widgeon and Beefsteak from an ox roasted whole in the great fireplace but there will be something afterwards to toast his memory as well.

Click on the poster for details.

Thursday 26th March
At St Catherine’s Church
Stanifield Lane
Farington - Leyland - PR25 4QG
(Off Junction 1 M65 or Junction 28 / 29 on M6)

A Requiem Mass in the style and manner of his day.
Sung High Latin Mass
with Singers of the Laeta Cantoribus  Choir.

A light Buffet with wine will be served afterwards.
All Welcome.

For any further details 
Telephone 01772 421174   

Thursday 22 January 2015

High Mass from Ushaw College

When I was a student at Ushaw College in Durham I recall seeing an old film of High Mass at the College from the 1960's.  I've never been able to find it on the internet but my attention has been drawn to the fact that Fr Peter Kravos, a contemporary of mine at the seminary, has uploaded them to YouTube.  Thank you Peter!

There is also this documentary.

And another High Mass!

What a fantastic sight and sound to see and hear so many in the glorious chapel and how sad that it is now closed as a seminary.

Friday 16 January 2015

What altar boys can do that altar girls can't

I came across this American Blogger - Liturgy Guy. Great post on the link between altar boys and the priesthood. Some of his other posts are great fun too.  Elsewhere he asks, "For a Church that is 2,000 years old, the practice of girls serving at the altar isn’t even as old as Justin Bieber. And yet it is defended as if there is no questioning the practice,"

Here is the post that caught my eye.  I occasionally serve Mass for another priest, which always reminds me that I was an altar boy too - I started at Ss Peter and Paul's in New Brighton. Now home to the Institute!  
This past week the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released the findings from the 2014 Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood. Prepared by Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) for the USCCB, the survey was completed by 365 ordinands, which constitutes a 77 percent response rate. At nearly 30 pages, there is a great deal of data to digest.
While the USCCB press release focused on areas such as the ethnicity and median age of this years ordinands, something far more interesting was tucked in at the bottom of the release.
Of the 365 men surveyed this year, a whopping 80 percent had been altar boys during their formative years. In comparison, only 52 percent of ordinands had been lectors, less than a third had been youth ministers and only 15 percent had ever attended a World Youth Day or a Steubenville Youth Conference.
Don’t just read that and move on. Truly ponder the implications of this statistic: eight of ten ordinands surveyed were altar boys growing up. 80 percent. This is the stat everyone needs to know. In all honesty we must acknowledge the very real correlation between serving and discerning. The survey has revealed this to us in the past, and confirms it yet again this year. 
Now consider this. In August 2010, Rome hosted the International Pilgrimage for Altar Servers, an event organized by Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium and held every five years. For the first time ever, the 2010 turnout had more girls than boys attending. Much like the statistical representation found in many parishes today, the pilgrimage of servers resulted in a 60:40 ratio of girls to boys.
Now here is another number to consider: zero. That’s the number of altar girls who will go on to become priests in the Catholic Church.
As I have written about before, the exclusive use of altar boys serving at Mass is helping to facilitate discernment and vocations within many parishes, often where both forms of the Roman Rite are reverently offered. This is in many ways one of the fruits of Summorum Pontificum, and it must continue. 
As stated earlier, we must honestly acknowledge this correlation between altar boys and vocations to the priesthood. Understanding this, shame on us if we do nothing to reverse the trend in parishes where fewer and fewer boys are serving.
80 percent or zero? Think about it.

Monday 12 January 2015

I am not Charlie...

I've known Prince Charles-Philippe d'Orleans for a number of years now through the work of the Order of St Lazarus.  When he speaks of his Christian faith (as he often does in the Order)  it is always straight forward and powerful.  He's to be commended for not being caught up in some of the strange reaction to the Paris terrorist outrages.  Basically, because of the whole tone of the magazine, he has never been a supporter of it and isn't going to re-write history now. Certainly, the the "cartoons" I've seen don't appear to have been particularly clever or amusing, rather just offensive for the sake of it.  Basically, his attitude is:
To honour the victims - yes.  To honour the magazine - no.
You can read his statement on the Royal Family of France site. The site is in French but the online translation should give you the jist of it.

The modern world is very confused about freedom of speech and all our other freedoms.  Often its presented as the freedom to do whatever anyone pleases but this is never really the case.  

However, without a basic philosophy - which used to be the Christian Faith - the limits imposed on people's freedoms become arbitrary.  Thus, there is no freedom for a devout Catholic (or a devout Muslim or a devout Jew) not to have their deeply cherished beliefs viciously ridiculed for no reason whatsoever.

There is no freedom for Muslim women to wear the burqua in France.  

There is freedom in this country to terminate an unwanted child more or less on demand; while there is no freedom for midwives to continue working in their jobs  in the NHS without being involved in abortions. (a freedom promised them when the abortion act was introduced). To say nothing of the curtailment of the freedom to actually be born and live for those unwanted in the womb.

So, like Prince Charles-Philippe, I'm uncertain what freedoms are being called for by some of the reaction in France and elsewhere.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Reflection Document for the Clergy on Marriage and Family

In many places clergy are being asked to comment on the snappily titled "Reflection Document for the Clergy on Marriage and Family", relating to last year's Synod on the Family. A cursory reading might incline you to think that the tone is perhaps a tad on the patronising side, possibly a little fudged in presenting the issues and certainly unrealistic in what it hopes for from the possibilities of meeting people where they are and then trying to get them to move on to a deeper living of the Christian vocation.  However, if you want an analysis of the document that pulls no punches, go over to Fr Gary Dickson's blog at Catholic Collar and Tie.

You can read the full document on the Catholic Herald site.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Is God Pastoral?

The Telegraph today carries an article headed "Pop songs banned from Catholic funerals in the Channel Islands."  It states that "Personal eulogies, non-biblical readings and pop songs have been banned from Roman Catholic funerals... in the Diocese of Portsmouth.  Further on it says that "the ruling has been accepted by the Church in Jersey and Guernsey" A local funeral director who is interviewed believes that "people will find it difficult to adapt."

The Channel Islands are part of the Diocese of Portsmouth, where Bishop Philip Egan has the mandate from the Holy Father to protect, teach and promote the Catholic Faith.  The report in the Newspaper is by "a Telegraph Reporter".  No wonder whoever it is was too ashamed to put their name to this drivel passing as news.  You can read Bishop Philip's pastoral Guidelines on the diocesan website. A cursory glance or indeed any passing acquaintance with the norms of the Church will allow you to see that what he suggests is nothing new at all.  Each part is supported with extensive quotes from the Order of funerals, the "new" one has now been in use for 25 years since 1990.

Why is it that the most basic of Church teaching are so often misrepresented in the press?


In this case because in many instances across the country the norms about what is to happen at a Catholic Funeral are regularly ignored.

Because the re-issuing of some of the guidelines comes in this case from a bishop who is perceived to be "traditional" or "orthodox". Very nasty - imagine trying to uphold the teaching of the Church . How old-fashioned and out of date.

Because the liberal press can't be bothered to check out their stories when it comes to getting things right about the Church.

Sadly, many Catholic funerals have become little more than memorial services and celebrations of life, in line with secular thinking.  The actual prayers of the rite speak very much of the forgiveness of sins and the need for God's mercy. These Truths, however, are no longer much in the consciousness of those attending, as they are not Truths that are much expounded in the day to day catechises and preaching of the Church. "Not pastoral", we're often told but surely, these are lost opportunities, as God's Truths are always "pastoral" - in proper sense of the word. 

Thursday 8 January 2015

Treasure and Tradition

The owners of the on-line bookshop and Catholic Store The Cenacle come to Mass here at St Catherine's and just recently a customer who had purchased the book "Treasure and Tradition" very kindly also bought a copy for me, which the Cenacle.  I've no way of getting in touch with the thoughtful donor but offer my thanks through the blog.

Actually, when it was first published, I had read about the book on Rorate Caeli and the New Liturgical Movement  and had tried to order it through the link on the NLM site but seemed to run into a technical problem in completing the purchase. If you happen to have had the same problem, the Cenacle has it on its site here

As the other reviews suggest, its a very good book for explaining the Traditional Mass and beautifully presented.

Wednesday 7 January 2015


Apologies for the Blog being off-line today - or rather, immediately redirected to some site that hacked in or something of the sort.  I think I have solved the problem with assistance from the on-line help board - especially from KobusNL, who found the final part of the solution.  Thanks to those who got in touch to let me know as well.

Saturday 3 January 2015


We will be keeping the wonderful Feast of the Epiphany here tomorrow - the Magi in our crib arrive on elephant and camel!  In recent years I have reintroduced the blessing of chalk for people to take away and inscribe their homes with the traditional blessing:  20 + C + M + B + 15

It seems a popular sacramental going by all the chalk that disappears.

Fortunately we will have the Introit, Offertory and Communion chanted, along with some of the usual Epiphany hymns at the 10am Mass. Not forgetting the Proclamation of the Date of Easter as well!

There is the usual EF Mass at 11.30am but we will also keep the Twelve Days of Christmas by offering a Missa Cantata on Tuesday - although please note at 7.30pm. Please note as well that there will not be the usual refreshments afterwards as our hall is pre-booked for a local community event that evening.