Tuesday 31 March 2015

Mass of the Lord's Supper

Music for the Mass of the Lord's Supper. 
(Click on the picture to enlarge for details)

It is to be offered in the Ordinary Form 
but with Latin Canon and other parts. 
As always, Ad Orientem here at St Catherine's 
(Father prefers to be facing Jesus when he's talking to Him)

Sunday 29 March 2015

A Call To Action

A round of applause for Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster. This from his Blog:
"As Bishop of Lancaster and thus as a Successor of the Apostles, I am charged, in accord with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, with a special care in my ministry as ‘overseer’ to uphold the unity of the Church in this Diocese of Lancaster and so to guard against any attempt to confuse the faithful regarding authentic Catholic teaching and ministry in this Diocese.
 There appears at times a momentum for certain pressure groups in the life of the Church Universal. Amongst these at the present moment is a small but vocal interest or lobby group self-styled A Call to Action (ACTA) which happens to meet within the Diocese of Lancaster and other dioceses and appears to espouse positions – at times and among others – in opposition to the defined teaching of the Catholic Church on faith and morals.
I need to make it clear here that in my judgement, as Diocesan Bishop, ACTA moves well beyond its self-described aim of ‘dialogue’ on controversial issues on its agenda and so does not provide an assured authentic forum or interpretation of sound Catholic teaching and sound pastoral practice in this Diocese. Accordingly great care is required here from priests and people.
Furthermore, although individual Catholics are quite entitled to meet and express themselves and certainly discussion within perimeters can be important and valuable, I have a duty at the same time to clarify for the faithful the status of such groups: This particular pressure group has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Lancaster nor has it ever requested, as other groups do, as a matter of courtesy, formal ecclesial recognition from me."

Friday 27 March 2015

Requiem fit for a (Catholic) King

Thought I'd post some photos of Mass last night - our Requiem for King Richard III. There was a great turnout, with people coming from across the Pennines in Yorkshire, local folk who had heard about it but were not Catholics and members of the Richard III Society, as well as LMS members and parishioners.  After Mass - with full Umph! from organist David-Scott-Thomas - we all thoroughly enjoyed singing a rousing rendition of Jerusalem! Followed by a themed buffet with such tasty morsels as Yorkshire pudding with venison sausage or duck in port sauce, Pye of pork meat made with paest royall, Ribbes of beef, Quail eggs and roasted chicken calf. So together with Traditional Latin Mass and good food and wine, we felt that we gave King Richard a properly Catholic send off. This was rather the point of the exercise, as my own stand is that wherever he was re-interred, it should really have been in a Catholic setting. He lived as a Catholic (including whatever sins he may - or may not have committed) he died as a Catholic and was exhumed from a Catholic burial site. 


A special mention must be made of the music - the singing Quartet was excellent.

The rest are all photos of the Absolutions and procession out. I think the photographers - Mike and Alan (thank you!) were sensible of not taking too many photos during the actual Mass, while they and others were praying.

Some final points, before any comments get posted:

1. Music and vestments were not an historically accurate recreation of the Sarum Rite circa 1485. We are the living Church not an historical re-enactment society.

2. Yes, I did remove the veils on the sanctuary statues just for this Mass.

3. Yes, there were some flowers in evidence despite Lent and it being a Requiem.

After all, it wasn't a Requiem Mass in quite the usual way and, having consulted others, decided that the occasion warranted such extravagances!

Tuesday 24 March 2015

King Richard III Mass

A reminder that we are offering High Mass (Requiem) for King Richard III this Thursday - the day of his interment at Leicester. While it is styled as being “in the manner of his day”, the intention is not to create an historically accurate re-enactment, like some set piece of theatre preserved forever in aspic. We are the living Church, not an historical re-enactment society, praying for one who was baptised into that Church. 

Not that I would be adverse to wearing a Sarum vestment loaned by the V & A or Sir Harry Christophers turning up with the Sixteen but we will manage a good showing, none the less.  In fact, I'm very pleased that the singing and chant is now being provided by a new young singing group based in Manchester - the Manchester Singers - an exciting new a cappella vocal ensemble whose members include talented young artists just embarking on their professional careers. 

There is a buffet and wine afterwards - again with a Ricardian theme, although I can't guarantee there might not be some more prosaic fare amongst the swan stuffed with widgeon!

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said at his Mass for King Richard this week:
"We know that Richard was a man of anxious devotion who kept and marked his own book of prayers and who must have attended Mass throughout his life.
During this week, Mass is being offered in many Catholic Churches for the repose of the soul of King Richard III. Rightly so. That is exactly what he would have wished."

So, its the intention to offer King Richard Catholic rites that more closely resemble what he might have expected on the day of his death. Those we hope the Fransiscans at Leicester gave him, no matter what the defeated and unceremonious arrival at their gates.  Our intention is to offer the grace of Christ’s sacrifice that every soul would surely wish for and stands in need of in approaching the Gates of Heaven and the Judgement Seat of the Creator.

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

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

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

For any further details 
Telephone 01772 421174   
E-mail: simonphenry@hotmail.co.uk

Monday 23 March 2015

Warrington Choral Society and Orchestra

I went to the concert performed by the Warrington Choral Society and Orchestra yesterday evening and what a delight it was. I have to admit that I was not familiar with the music but the choice of Lenten music managed to be both powerful and charming.  The Society has only being up and running for about eighteen months, so full marks to Michael Wynne, its founder and Director and a special mention for the First Violin - Matthew Fields, I think -  for the solo during the Rosary Sonatas, though the standard throughout was very high. We listened to:

Buxtehude: Jesu meines Lebens Leben
Biber: Rosary Sonatas. Sorrowful Mysteries
Schutz: Die seben letzen Worte Jesu

The music was enhanced by the beautiful setting of St Mary's Church in Warrington town centre. Formerly a Benedictine parish but now being looked after by the Archdiocese. In a side note, I'm glad that the parish priest there follows my own line of thinking  - that church's don't have to be cold. The heating system was obviously in full working order and made for a comfortable visit, even in this big church. Like quite a few others, I had taken a warm coat with me, expecting the usual freezing ecclesial edifice - they were all shed pretty quickly!

A closer view of the High Altar.

There is also a charming side chapel dedicated to the English Martyrs.

A detail of the English Martyrs.

Saturday 21 March 2015

New Bishop for Arundel and Brighton

FROM TH VATICAN BULLETIN FOR TODAY. I don't know much about him at all. I pray that he is orthodox and looks after his priests.

Appointment of the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton (England)

The Pope appointed Bishop of Arundel and Brighton (England) Msgr. Charles Phillip Richard Moth, until now Bishop Military Ordinary for Britain.

Msgr. Charles Phillip Richard Moth

Msgr. Charles Phillip Richard Moth was born on July 8, 1958 in Chingola (Zambia). He completed his primary and secondary education in Catholic schools in Kent. He received priestly formation at the seminary St. John's in Wonersh, Surrey, and St. Paul at the University of Ottawa, he obtained a licentiate in canon law and the Master.

Or was ordained July 3, 1982 for the Archdiocese of Southwark.

Later he held the following ministries: Assistant pastor, Judge of the Metropolitan Court of First Instance of Southwark, Chaplain "part time" of the Army Medical Corps in Kennington, private secretary Archbishop Mons. Michael Bower, Master of Ceremonies, Director of 'Vocations Office and Vice-Chancellor, President of the Metropolitan Court of Second Instance of Southwark.

In 2001 he was appointed Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Southwark and Prelate of Honor; in 2003 Parish Administrator of Holy Cross , Plumsteas; in 2006 Parish Administrator of St. Joseph's , St. Mary's , Cray.

July 25, 2009 he was elected Bishop Military Ordinary for Britain, receiving episcopal consecration September 29, 2009.

Concert of Lenten Music

Buxtehude: Jesu membra nostri
Buxtehude: Jesu meines Lebens Leben
Biber: Rosary Sonatas. Sorrowful Mysteries

A concert of Lenten music at St Mary's church in the centre of Warrington with the Warrington Choral Society and Orchestra, conducted by Michael Wynne. This Sunday 22nd March at 7.30pm.

St Mary's is a fine church, 
all the interior fittings were designed by Peter Paul Pugin.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Ways to celebrate Holy Week and Easter even more gloriously this year!

On February 14, 2015, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, gave a talk in Washington, DC.  During the talk, he proposed concrete actions — ten essential elements — which should be implemented to accomplish liturgical renewal. I like them all!  Of course, many of these can be accomplished immediately in the Ordinary Form of the Mass by simply following the rubrics and exercising the variations that are allowed.  Ways to celebrate Holy Week and Easter even more gloriously this year!

1.  The tabernacle, where Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God, is really present under the species of bread should be placed in the centre of the sanctuary, because in no other sign on this earth is God, the Emmanuel, so really present and so near to man as in the tabernacle. The tabernacle is the sign indicating and containing the Real Presence of Christ and should therefore be closer to the altar and constitute with the altar the one central sign indicating the Eucharistic mystery. The Sacrament of the Tabernacle and the Sacrifice of the Altar should therefore not be opposed or separated, but both in the central place and close together in the sanctuary. All the attention of those who enter a church should spontaneously be directed towards the tabernacle and the altar.

2.  During the Eucharistic liturgy – at the very least during the Eucharistic prayer – when Christ the Lamb of God is immolated, the face of the priest should not be seen by the faithful. Even the Seraphim cover their faces (Isaiah 6:2) when adoring God. Instead, the face of the priest should be turned toward the cross, the icon of the crucified God.

3.  During the liturgy, there should be more signs of adoration — specifically genuflections — especially each time the priest touches the consecrated host.

4. The faithful approaching to receive the Lamb of God in Holy Communion should greet and receive Him with an act of adoration, kneeling. Which moment in the life of the faithful is more sacred than this moment of encounter with the Lord?

5. There should be more room for silence during the liturgy, especially during those moments which most fully express the mystery of the redemption. Especially when the sacrifice of the cross is made present during the Eucharistic prayer.

6.  There should be more exterior signs which express the dependence of the priest on Christ, the High Priest, which would more clearly show that the words the priest speaks (ie., “Dominus Vobiscum“) and the blessings he offers to the faithful depend on and flow out from Christ the High Priest, not from him, the private person. Not “I greet you” or “I bless you” but “I the Lord” do these things. Christ. Such signs could be (as was practiced for centuries) the kissing of the altar before greeting the people to indicate that this love flows not from the priest but from the altar; and also before blessing, to kiss the altar, and then bless the people. (This was practiced for millennium, and unfortunately in the new rite has been abolished.) Also, bowing towards the altar cross to indicate that Christ is more important than the priest. Often in the liturgy — in the old rite — when a priest expressed the name of Jesus, he had to turn to the cross and make a bow to show that the attention should be on Christ, not him.

7.  There should be more signs which express the unfathomable mystery of the redemption. This could be achieved through the veiling of liturgical objects, because veiling is an act of the liturgy of the angels. Veiling the chalice, veiling the paten with the humeral veil, the veiling of the corporal, veiling the hands of the bishop when he celebrates a solemnity, The use of communion rails, also, to veil the altar. Also signs – signs of the cross by the priest and the faithful. Making signs of the cross during the priest by the Eucharistic prayer and by the faithful during other moments of the liturgy; when we are signing ourselves with the cross it is a sign of blessing. In the ancient liturgy, three times during the Gloria, the Credo, and the Sanctus, the faithful made the sign of the cross. These are expressions of the mystery.

8.  There should be a constant sign which expresses the mystery also by means of human language – that is to say, Latin is a sacred language demanded by the Second Vatican Council in celebration of every holy Mass and in each place a part of the Eucharistic prayer should always be said in Latin.

9.  All those who exercise an active role in the liturgy, such as lectors, or those announcing the prayer of the faithful, should always be dressed in the liturgical vestments; and only men, no women, because this is an exercise in the sanctuary, close to the priesthood. Even reading the lectionary is directed towards this liturgy which we are celebrating to Christ. And therefore only men dressed in liturgical vestments should be in the sanctuary.

10.  The music and the songs during the liturgy should more truly reflect the sacred character and should resemble the song of the angels, like the Sanctus, in order to be really more able to sing with one voice with the angels. Not only the Sanctus, but the entire Holy Mass. It would be necessary that the heart, mind and voice of the priest and the faithful be directed towards The Lord. And that this would be manifested by exterior signs and gestures as well.

Thanks to One Peter Five, where I found the report of the Bishop's talk.

I was fortunate enough to meet Bishop Schneider for the second time last year in London.

Tuesday 17 March 2015

A.W. Pugin Church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid

The church little church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid at Warwick Bridge just outside Carlisle is making a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding and is setting up a Friends Group. It is a beautiful little church, still in use. It is part of the parish of Our Lady of Eden. I assisted at Mass there last year. There are a few further photographs here.  

A group of parishioners has formed a Repairs & Fabric Committee with the aim of making a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to restore this beautiful Augustus Pugin church. We have no way of knowing at this stage how successful we might be, but part of the process asks us to demonstrate our community links and with that in view we wish to establish a Friends of the Church group. This is not a new idea, and indeed the formation of the group will not be tied to the restoration only. We have the support of Our Lady of Eden Parish, the Diocese and Wetheral Parish Council.

There will be different sorts of Friends, but all in one group:

-  Those who wish to show solidarity but due to age, time or distance can do little more.
-  Those prepared to assist in particular tasks.
-  Those prepared to offer specialist advice.
- Anyone who wishes to support the community & congregation in keeping this unique church open and in good condition.
-  Parish, village councils; societies & historical groups.

The sort of tasks the Friends will be able to assist with:

-  Opening the church to the public on Saturdays.
-  Assisting our gardener to keep the gardens under control.
-  Assist in fundraising.
-  Learning about the church in order to become a guide for visitors.
-  Research on the history of the church.

Website; Newsletter: it is the intention to keep the Friends informed of developments and news. 

Please register your approval by joining the Friends:

To register please send your address, email address and phone number to:
Friends of the Church, The Rectory, Warwick Square, Carlisle CA1 1LB 
01228 521509 

Monday 16 March 2015

Blessing of a car

I blessed a car this morning. A parishioner, who is also an altar server has just acquired this Citroen DS (dating back to sometime before 1975, when they went out of production). Riding in it feels a bit like being on board a boat - the suspension is very "cushioney"!

Its not often that I'm asked to bless a car, but have done it on occasion. Once in London a taxi driver, seeing his passenger in a cassock, asked me to bless his black cab. I don't think he was a Catholic - he'd been having a run of bad luck, he said. He didn't lift a penny from the cab fare - so definitely not a Catholic, I guess!

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who has made heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

Lend a willing ear, Lord God, to our prayers, and bless + this vehicle with Your holy right hand. Direct Your holy angels to accompany it, that they may free those who ride in it from all dangers, 
and always guard them. 
And just as by Your deacon Philip You gave faith and grace to the man of Ethiopia 
as he sat in his chariot reading the Sacred Word, *
so, point out to Your servants the way of salvation. 
Grant that, aided by Your grace, and with their hearts set on good works, they may, 
after all the joys and sorrows of this journey through life, 
merit to receive eternal joys, through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

(And it is sprinkled with holy water.)

* Health and safety warning: Please do not read any text, even the Scriptures, whilst driving a vehicle. £100 instant fine and three pooints on your license.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Has the introduction of the vernacular led to a flourishing of spiritual life, as Pope Paul VI hoped?

I've read some interesting pieces recently connected to marking the fiftieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI celebrating the first Mass in the vernacular.  Of course, it quickly became much more than introducing a little vernacular language into the liturgy.  The whole feel and texture of the Mass has changed since the reforms. As many authors have pointed out, reforms to an extent that were not anticipated by the Council Fathers and many individualistic and ad hoc adaptations that are seen in everyday practice but can nowhere be found in ecclesial instructions and rubrics.

What I've also noticed is how some commentators - from laity to cardinals (and indeed popes) - envisage that to move forward from where we are now means that we cannot simply turn back the clock but rather we can recapture the full Catholicity of our Tradition in Faith and liturgy by making concrete the expression of those riches in everyday liturgy.  It is suggested that this was Pope Benedict's great aim in making clear the celebration of the Mass in its traditional form is completely legitimate and indeed, desirable.  That the two forms of the Roman Rite should not be seen as being in competition with one another, let alone used as weapons to bash the "opposing" side with.

The integration of the Extraordinary Form in parishes, communities and cathedrals is supposed to be the exemplar of reintegrating the riches of our Tradition into the life of every Catholic.  In my own parish, as in others, celebrating the two forms side by side means that those long attached to the traditional form can find a true home, not isolated from the rest of the Church, not ostracised from parish functions, not alienated from their fellow Catholics.  It also means that those who have never experienced a liturgy obviously so connected with our Tradition can find new depths and understanding in their faith. Thus in a parish such as St Catherine's here, some who exclusively once attended only the "old" Mass will come to the "new" on occasion and quite large numbers of those who had only experienced the "new" will attend the "old".

Of course, some of the resistance to integrating the traditional Mass into the lived experience of the Church today is that the old and the new do not remain separate. Celebrating the Traditional form of the Mass usually means that priests, and then people, celebrate the New form of the Mass in a way that is much more in touch with its historical roots, more faithful to the rubrics and without ad hoc individualistic oddities.  I think it is this influence that worries those who seem to have a hatred to the things our forefathers and mothers held sacred.

Alcuin Reid, writing on the New Liturgical Movement site writes very perceptively calling for what we must presume the Council Fathers and the true promoters of the Liturgical Movement before them were really getting at. Not a quick fix (by, for example, putting everything into the vernacular) but a real effort to deepen faith:
The Christian East has never forgotten, the Sacred Liturgy is not in the first place a comprehension exercise. It is the ritual worship of Almighty God employing multivalent symbols which thus become privileged sacramentals—sacred language included. Certainly, penetrating the meaning of the rites and prayers is fundamental, but this is facilitated by the work of liturgical formation (or more effectively, by liturgical habituation over a lifetime)—no short cuts, such as the quick rendering of the liturgy in the vernacular, are viable here. Even the liturgical proclamation of the texts of Sacred Scripture is not simply a didactic exercise, although certainly, the vernacular can be of immense help with participation, as indeed in some other parts of the liturgy (such as the prayers of the faithful). The Second Vatican Council knew this. But the wholesale removal of Latin from the liturgy and liturgical celebrations completely in the vernacular are contrary to what the Second Vatican Council desired and approved.
Not eighteen months after promulgating Sacrosanctum Concilium, Paul VI regarded this day as marking “the beginning of a flourishing spiritual life.” It would appear in retrospect that he was, by and large, wrong. Neither the introduction of the vernacular or the ritual reforms that this date saw (or their successors) has led to a “flourishing” ecclesial life in the decades since. (My highlights.) There are many causes for the decline we have suffered, and there are generations of Catholics who love and hold the vernacular liturgy dear, but it remains a fact that the modern liturgy has not filled our churches. Indeed, apart from the committed and well-formed laity (who are few), there are numerous mute, extraneous spectators in our churches today who are just as disengaged from the vernacular liturgy as their forebears were from the liturgy when it was in Latin.
The issue is not fundamentally one of language—which is why, perhaps, the celebration of 50 years since the first Italian Mass in history is a little disingenuous. Rather, the issue is the nature of Catholic liturgy, and of the formation in it which is necessary to enable widespread fruitful participation in and connection with the action of Christ in the liturgy.
Fifty years ago, instead of prompting and processing requests for more and more vernacular, and pushing the pope for their extension, the Consilium might have spent its time and energy more profitably had it turned its attention to the a priori condition for fruitful participation in the Sacred Liturgy, namely liturgical formation. Today we may do well to turn ourselves to the same work—while not forgetting the enormous question of the effect not only of the vernacularization of the liturgy, but also of its radical ritual de- and re-construction at the Consilium’s hands.
The opening words of Blessed Paul VI’s homily at [the Roman parish in] Ognissanti declared: “Today’s new way of prayer, of celebrating the Holy Mass, is extraordinary.” Indeed it was. Perhaps, though, it is now time to look to recover the manner of Catholic liturgical prayer and life that is truly ordinary in respect of our tradition and that is in accordance with the wishes of the Council. 
Young people on the Chatres Pilgrimage

Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship, in an interview carried on the Eponymous Flower says:
Yes, that is the meaning of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Benedict XV. has put a lot of energy and hope in it. Unfortunately, it's not quite succeeded since  both the one and the other is "held fast" to their rites and are mutually exclusive. In the Church everyone should be able to celebrate after their own sensibility. This is one of the conditions for the reconciliation. You must lead the people to the beauty of the liturgy to its holiness. The Eucharist is not a "meal with friends", but a sacred mystery. If it is  celebrated with fervour and beauty, we arrive at a reconciliation that is self-evident. 
The congregation at the opening of the Shrine of Ss Peter & Paul in New Brighton.

Dr Joseph Shaw of the Latin Mass Society, recently made gave a reminder of Evelyn Waugh's words that:
Evelyn Waugh’s concerns about Vatican II and the liturgical reform are recorded in his diaries and letters, and in a famous Spectator article at the onset of the Council...  He wrote in the Spectator article:
‘Participation’ in the Mass does not mean hearing our own voices. It means God hearing our voices. Only He knows who is ‘participating’ at Mass. I believe, to compare small things with great, that I ‘participate’ in a work of art when I study it and love it silently. No need to shout. …If the Germans want to be noisy, let them. But why should they disturb our devotions?’
 Ordinary parish life in Leyland

Jared Silvey writing in Crisis Magazine makes some good points as well - not least the desireability of the integration of the old and new calendars:
During the past few decades there has been a sharp rise in the number of Catholics attracted to what Pope Benedict XVI called the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman rite. This phenomenon has manifested itself in the foundation of traditional orders, the vocation boom that these orders are experiencing, the establishment of new parishes and oratories where the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated, and the increase in the number of people attending these masses. If we are really attentive to the Second Vatican Council’s call to heed the “signs of the times,” then we can only say that this phenomenon signals the fact that the “Mass of the Ages” still has much to offer to the people of our own age.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Cardinal Burke offering Low Mass

Some further photos from Sunday's Mass at the Shrine of Ss Peter and Paul & St Philomena in New Brighton on the  Wirral.  My thanks to Nike Barnsdall for allowing me to use his photographs (they are copyright to him).

 With Canon Montjean, Director of the Shrine.

 Entering the church.

 Blessing the crowds.

 Prayers on arrival at the sanctuary.

 The vesting.

 Prayers at the foot of the altar.

 The Collect.

 The Gospel.

 The Homily.


 Holy Communion.

 The Blessing.

 Being assisted out of the Mass vestments.

 The Cardinal pauses to greet a member of the congregation.


But only out into the rain...

Here is a link to the Cardinal's talk in Chester last Friday - organised by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. " Even within the Church, there are those who would obscure the truth...."