Saturday 22 July 2017

Marian Conference at Chavagnes College. Last few places.

If anyone is free at short notice, I understand there are still just a few places left at this conference.

The Chavagnes Studium (sitting alongside Chavagnes International College) offers a Catholic Liberal Arts BA, set in the historic Vendée region of France in the stunning setting of the college
 - originally the junior seminary of the diocese dating from 1802.

The Conference runs from the evening of 

Monday 31st July 

to the morning of 

5th August 2017.

Accommodation can be arranged at various levels 
in the college itself or at the nearby Chateau or hotel.

Meals included and a visit to a local shrine with luncheon out on one of the days.

Nearest airport is Nantes,
transport can be arranged for you.
Certainly last year was very enjoyable, with excellent speakers and the opportunity to relax informally with an aperitif on the cloister terrace and chat over a good dinner with the other guests and the speakers.

You can book online here:

The College Chapel in its seminary days.

Friday 21 July 2017

Parish Anniversary

Our parish of St Catherine Labouré was established seventy years ago, so we have been celebrating with various events, including a "Last Night of the Proms" on Midsummer's Day, which was great fun. Also with a Mass, of which a few pictures here.

In light of Cardinal Sarah's remarks on the mutual enrichment of ancient and newer forms of the Roman Rite recent and his other liturgical clarion calls, it seems that we are on the right track, liturgically speaking. 

The Mass here was celebrated in the newer Form on this occasion, though as always here, ad orientem
I was assisted by two deacons (thanks you to two of my friends in the diocese). 
On this occasion we processed in to a hymn (Jesus my Lord, my God my all!) but incensed the altar to the sounds of the Introit in Latin (as each Sunday at the man Mass - along with the Offertory verse and the Communion). 
The Schola sang Mozart's Jubilate Deo after the Offertory verse.
The people joined in the Mortem tuam and the Pater noster, as well as hymns at Communion and recessional.
We were fortunate to be able to lift our hearts and minds in prayer to Mozart's Coronation Mass (Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus). Though on a ordinary Sunday all join in singing either Mass XVIII or the Missa de Angelis, as a norm. Mozart's Agnus is a tad lengthy, so we had Casali's Missa Brevis in G for that.

I might add that the mutual enrichment goes both ways, we do, for example, proclaim the Reading and Gospel in English at Low Mass in the EF and manage to find a place for a hymn or two at Sung Mass. Of course, if the newer form is celebrated in a spirit of continuity with the past, it feels much less jarringly different, whichever form is being celebrated.

The church was turned around 360 degrees some 25 years ago, which led to the remains of the High altar being used as a backdrop to the celebrant's chair in a rather gloomy recess that was the former entrance porch. You can now see the reredos re-instated at the high altar, giving a little bit of a sense of height to our slightly squat church. At the opening of the parish, this was intended as a temporary church and to become a hall when funds were raised to build a "proper" church. The funds never materialised!

The opening ceremony with Archbishop Robert Downey.

The original sanctuary 
(now the parish Hall, the Pope John Paul  Room)

At the end of Mass, I was delighted to be able to present our music maestro, Anthony Dickinson, with the Papal award, the Benemerenti medal. Not just for his excellent work in music and many other things here in the parish but for service to the wider Church over many years. The whole parish knew it was coming, except him, so thanks to everyone for keeping the secret.

After Mass 
we had some further celebrations 
and one of our most senior parishioners(still a reader in her 90's) 
and one of our youngest 
assisted me in cutting the cake.

Friday 14 July 2017

More Tradition!

Many of you will have read the news that Bishop Campbell in Lancaster Diocese is asking the Institute of Christ the King to take over the care and administration of  another historic church in Preston: St Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs. 

Two things struck me. That the Bishop sees the Institute priests as having the ability to breathe new life back into areas of the diocese where it has been in decline. Indeed, he speaks of the Institute as "evangelizing through use of the extraordinary form". That they have “shown tremendous energy in conveying a sense of the sacred through their proven ministry at St Walburge’s and around the world." Inspired by their patron, St Francis de Sales, the Institute strives to form its people in holiness according to their motto of “teaching the truth with charity”.

I know for a fact that the priests in Preston work extraordinarily hard and their dedication is to be admired. As with other communities led by priests who still see a future for the Church and believe it has something to offer, they set about their work presuming it will be successful and believing that it can grow. If they do the work, the Holy Spirit will bring the fruits. Too often, we seem to have succumbed to the spirit of the age, believing that the Church can only decline and plan merely to manage "inevitable" decline. That can only become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

One of the ways the Traditional movements in the Church manage this is that they are now the ones offering something "new", something that offers a challenge to the secular culture all around us. They offer an alternative to the spirit of the age and that holds an attraction where people have become disenchanted with the banal - be it in politics or religion. Beauty ever ancient ever new.

The altar dedicated to the English Martyrs.

The second thing that struck me is that the church is to be a centre for devotion to the English Martyrs. We have been slightly embarrassed, I think, by the English and Welsh Martyrs of the Reformation period. By the time they were canonised in 1970, the mood of the Church had changed and they seemed a little out of place at just the time when it appeared that reconciliation with the groups and denominations outside the Church was a hopeful goal. Nevertheless, the example and sacrifice of ordinary men and women in the face of persecution of the Faith seems actually a great draw in these days when the Faith is persecuted anew by the powers that be.

I understand that there will be regular weekly devotions to the Martyrs, alongside a full programme of Mass and Confessions etc, once the handover of the building takes place in the autumn. The Canons will be glad of extra help coming in the form of a Deacon from the Institute to lend a hand.

Bishop Michael Campbell 
with priests of the Institute of Christ the King.

The sanctuary 
in St Thomas of Canterbury & the English Martyrs, Preston:
 a) pre-1887; 
b) after rebuild and refurnishing by Pugin & Pugin, 1887-88.
This was not a re-ordering for the sake of it
(sometimes seen today!)
but part of enlarging the church for a growing congregation at the time.

Friday 7 July 2017

Summer Fete on Saturday 8th July

Even the clergy are set to work at St Catherine's.

Busy day preparing for our Summer Fete. 
All the usual entertainments 
and refreshments. 
Come along if you can!
1pm start.

Monday 3 July 2017

Pilgrimage to St Winifrede's Well

 I took part in the annual LMS Pilgrimage 
to St Winifride's Well on Sunday.

She was the daughter of a wealthy resident of Tegeingl, Flintshire, Wales, and the sister of St. Beuno. She was most impressed by Beuno, beheaded on June 22nd by one Caradog when she refused to submit to his advances, she had her head restored by Beuno, and sometime later, became a nun of the convent of a double monastery at Gwytherin in Denbigshire. She succeeded an Abbess Tenoy, as Abbess and died there fifteen years after her miraculous restoration to life. A spring gushed forth where Winifred's head fell, and is called Holy Well or St. Winifred's Well; becoming a great pilgrimage centre where many cures have been reported over the centuries, including all through the Reformation period.

Is all this merely legend? All we know is that great and unusual works were expected in the early Church, indeed Our Lord had promised they would be the signs associated with believers.
A place of pilgrimage since the time of St Winifride's  earthly life, continuously used as a place of worship and attested miracles for all those centuries, even during the time of the Reformation and still a place of prayer and hope today.
What a legend!

Preparing in the sacristy.
Fr James Mawdsley, FSSP, Celebrant
Fr Simon Henry, Deacon
Fr Sean Riley, Subeacon.

Inroibo ad altare Dei.

These splendid vestments are used every year for the pilgrimage Mass.

In reflective mood for a moment.

De rigueur for the biretta to be worn at a jaunty angle this year!



Dominus sit in corde meo et in labiis meis: 
ut digne et competenter annuntiem evangelium suum.

The sermon on the purity of St Winifride 
and the purity of the Catholic Faith;
always under attack, yet never defeated,
for sacrifice brings God.

And so to the main business.

Offerimus tibi, Domine!
The lovely ritual of the Deacon assisting at the Offertory.

Let my prayer, O Lord, come like incense before You.

Pax tecum.

 Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi 
custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam.

The obligatory group photo.

The procession to the Well.


The Relic of St Winifrede.

 Arriving at the Well, the relic is venerated.

It was great to see a lot of children taking part;
at the Mass 
and then in the procession and coming to venerate the Relic.

My thanks to John Aaron 
for kind permission to use his fabulous photographs.