Saturday 27 February 2021

Second Sunday of Lent


The Transfiguration by Lodovico Carracci.

St Catherine's remains open for Mass and Devotions this week. On Sunday we hear the description of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. The Transfigured Lord, risen, ascended, glorified - even in Lent - awaits us at every Mass whenever we can return to Him.





Monday 9.30am. Saint David, Patron of Wales

Tuesday 12 noon (EF). Lenten Feria

Wednesday  9.30am.  Lenten Feria


Confessions following on from Stations

Friday 9.30am. Lenten Feria

Saturday 12 noon (EF). Ember Day

Confessions between 11.30am & 11.50am

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Archbishop Arthur Roche and the TLM


Una Voce Scotland has the details of an attack on the celebration of the Mass of Ages by Arthur Roche, Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Una Voce article rightly describes the Archbishop's misunderstanding of the Extraordinary form of the Mass and you can read further at Gloria TV News

You can read the document here: 

 The Roman Missal of Saint Paul VI. Roche (courtesy of Una Voce Scotland).  

It is only this week just gone that his boss at the Congregation for Worship, the very able and well respected Cardinal Sarah, has just had his resignation accepted by Pope Francis. I do hope His Grace's views are not the the Congregation will move in the future, now that Cardinal Sarah has gone. Having met the Cardinal and heard him speak, he had a much more positive view of out liturgical Tradition.

NB: I have amended this post, noting that Archbishop Roche's paper was written last year in 2020.

Saturday 20 February 2021

First Sunday of Lent



The traditional form of Stations of the Cross each Thursday evening at 7pm.





Monday 9.30am. Feast of the Chair of St Peter the Apostle

Tuesday 12 noon (EF). Lenten Feria

Wednesday  9.30am.  Lenten Feria


Confessions following on from Stations

Friday 9.30am. Lenten Feria

Saturday 12 noon (EF). Ember Day

Confessions between 11.30am & 11.50am

The only feast day this week is on Monday - that of the Chair of St Peter. Nothing really to do with a piece of furniture but a powerful symbol of the teaching and authority given by Our Lord to His Church for the salvation of souls. As always in our incarnational faith, it is en-fleshed in concrete human things to convey it to us in ways we can take hold of in the world - in people and things to speak of the spirit and eternity.

The Dedication of England to St Peter may seem at first glance rather an old-fashioned prayer these days but on reading it, we find it speaks of some very apposite qualities for Lent:


To steadfastly confess the Faith in the face of persecution

To strive for unity

To flee from apostasy, from disunion and from religious indifference

To be aware of ignorance and temptation to which we are exposed

That we might have true repentance for our sins

All framed in the setting of where we can do these things most successfully - within the bosom of our Holy Mother, the Church.


O Blessed Prince of Apostles, Vicar of Christ,

Shepherd of the whole flock, Rock on whom the Church is built.

We thank the Prince of Pastors,

who in the ages of Faith,

did bind this country so sweetly and strongly to you

and to that holy See of Rome from which her conversion came.

We praise and bless our Lord for those steadfast Confessors

who laid down their lives for your honour and prerogative

in the hour when schism and heresy broke upon the land.

We desire to revive the zeal, the devotion and the love of ancient days.

We consecrate our country, as far as in us lies, 

fervently and lovingly to you.

We offer you our homage.

We renew our loyalty to the Pontiff, your successor,  

who now fills the Apostolic See.

Confirm and strengthen, by your powerful intercession,

the faith of the Pastors and people who invoke you.

Save us from apostasy, from disunion, from religious indifference,

& from the losses to which ignorance & temptation expose our little flock.

O most sincere and most humble penitent,

obtain for us tears of true repentance for our sins,

and a strong personal love for our Divine Master;

O Key-bearer of the Heavenly Kingdom,

open to us the gate of Heaven, 

that we may enter into the joy of the King of Glory.

Remember this realm of England,

which grew in grace and unity under your blessed apostolic influence for a thousand years.

Pray to Jesus that all may see the and be brought back to your Fold, which is the One Fold of Christ. 


V. Thou art Peter.

R. And upon this rock I will build My Church.

PRIEST: Let us pray.

Raise us up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, 

by the apostolic might of Thy blessed Apostle, Peter;

that the weaker we are in ourselves,

the more powerful may be the assistance

whereby we are strengthened through his intercession;

that thus, ever fortified by the protection of Thine Apostle,

we may never yield to sin

nor be overwhelmed by adversity.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Saturday 13 February 2021

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Masses continue as usual this Sunday at St Catherine's (although the 11.30am EF Mass is still suspended).

Lent begins this week, so there is Mass with the distribution of Ashes at 9.30am and 7pm on Ash Wednesday. 

Following the publication of guidelines by the Holy See, the Archdiocese has directed parishes to administer Ashes in accordance with Covid 19 safety precautions. The main part of this is that Ashes will be sprinkled on the head, rather than administered to the forehead with the priest’s thumb. This means that the Ashes can be given without physical contact. Whilst this may seem strange to us, it is in fact an ancient way of administering Ashes and is still the usual form in some countries today - Poland is an example I know of - and it is the usual form in the Vatican. Perhaps you may have noticed this in pictures or TV footage in the past when the Pope administers Ashes.


The traditional form of Stations of the Cross begins on Thursday evening - and each Thursday of Lent - at 7pm.





Monday 9.30am. Feria

Tuesday 12 noon (EF). Feria

ASH Wednesday  9.30am Mass & Ashes

                                7pm Mass and Ashes


Friday 9.30am. Lenten Feria

Saturday 12 noon (EF). Lenten Feria

Confessions between 11.30am & 11.50am


It’s always good to think ahead to how we might keep a good Lent and make some plans - to pray, to give alms, to make acts of penance.

To make some time for prayer or spiritual reading of the Bible or the lives of the saints or some other area of the Faith that might interest us - but this takes a little forward planning, perhaps to buy a book or dig out our bible. 

Perhaps to attend Mass more frequently (weekday Masses here, certainly, leave plenty of space for social distancing) or take part in the Stations of the Cross.

In these times especially, to make an effort in works of charity - that is to say, works of love - which covers charitable giving as well as practical acts of kindness to our neighbour.

Ash Wednesday remains a Day of Fasting and Abstinence. Fasting means to eat less and abstinence means to refrain from eating meat. What about the origin and history of fasting in the Church? There's an ancient practice of fasting in sorrow and repentance for sins found in the Old Testament. Fasting also accompanied fervent prayer to God. The idea was that fasting made one's prayer more acceptable to God. It was a way of demonstrating one's level of commitment before the Lord. These ideas remain valid today. God desires that we prove our love for him. As the old adage goes, actions speak louder than words.

In the New Testament, Our Lord does not seem to emphasize fasting while his disciples are with him. When questioned about this by John's disciples, Jesus insists that fasting is inappropriate in times of joy. In saying this, he compared himself to the bridegroom and his disciples to wedding guests (Matt 9:14 ff; Mark 2:18 ff; Luke 5:33 ff). In other words, while Jesus and his disciples are together, it is a time of joy like a wedding feast, not a time for fasting. Jesus notes that when the bridegroom is taken away, then there will be fasting, which seems to imply fasting as a sign of mourning the loss of the bridegroom and also in anticipation of and preparation for his return. In the early Church, we find that the apostles were familiar with fasting and did so prior to making important decisions to gain divine assistance (Acts 13:2 ff; 14:23).

In the concepts of anticipation and preparation for the Lord Jesus we find a connection to the practice of fasting and abstinence during Lent. Lent is a time of penance and atonement for sin in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord. Fasting and abstinence are integral to that preparation for several reasons, such as building virtue, self-mastery, and helping to avoid sinful tendencies that may ultimately lead to spiritual death in the case of mortal sin.

The practice of fasting during Lent finds its genesis in our Lord's journey into the desert where he fasted and prayed for forty days and nights in preparation to begin his public ministry. The forty days of Lent are in imitation of Christ's time in the desert. During Lent, the Christian walks into the desert with Christ and fasts so as to have the strength to avoid temptation with the help of God's grace. Lent is also a penitential season in which we strive to atone for our sins and purify our lives in preparation for the celebration of Christ's glorious rising from the tomb on Easter Sunday.

Fasting is listed as the fourth precept of the Church, which states: "You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.”. This means that Catholics are under grave obligation to substantially observe these laws. Christians are required by divine law to do penance for their sins--penance is not optional.

The Church, as a caring mother, is providing us a specific means and season for completing acts of penance. Her goal is to see to it that her children attain eternal life. Her precept on fasting, then, is for our spiritual benefit. Catholics who intentionally neglect and/or reject all forms of penance violate divine law and thus would be guilty of grave sin. Grave sin committed with full knowledge and full consent is by definition mortal sin and thus places a soul in peril.

Because the season of Lent is of penitential character, the Church sets forth the days of penance as Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. Catholics are obliged to both fast and abstain from flesh meat on Ash Wednesday and Friday of the Lord's Passion and abstain from flesh meat on all other Fridays during Lent. These requirements are binding on Catholics of the following age ranges:

Catholics from age 18 up through to the beginning of their 60th year (their 59th birthday) are required to fast, unless they have a serious reason for not doing so. Catholics who have reached age 14 are required to abstain from flesh meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. If a solemnity happens to fall on a Friday, abstinence is not required on that day. Notice there is no upper age limit on the requirement to abstain.


Saturday 6 February 2021

Masses this week in the Parish

Thursday is the Feast of our Lady of Lourdes, we will celebrate with our Marian Novena and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The apparitions, so closely linked with the healing of those who are sick, perhaps speak more powerfully than ever in this time of pandemic. Though we should recall that Our Blessed Lady's words have an even more important meaning - the call to Faith, to repentance and to holiness. 

Many of those malades (the French word for the sick) who go to Lourdes and are not healed and yet they leave there stronger spiritually, if not physically. They know that their various ailments still have a redemptive character, much like our Lord’s did at Calvary in His Passion and, as long as they do not lose faith in Him, their sufferings will not be in vain!

Bernadette herself entered the convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers in 1866, serving our Lord with dignity, grace, and love in what was left of her short life. She passed away from tuberculosis in 1879 and was canonized as a saint in 1933. To this day her body remains incorruptible (that is to say, it shows no signs of decomposition or decay), another sign of the miracles associated with her. Another sign that spiritual health is the master of the physical world.

St. Bernadette once said of the spring she discovered that “one must have faith and pray; the water will have no virtue without faith.” Let us all be inspired by this prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes approach her with faith, hope and love!

O ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, health of the sick, refuge of sinners, comfort of the afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests. I will endeavor to imitate your virtues, that I may one day share your glory, and bless you in eternity. Amen.





Monday 9.30am. St Josephine Bakhita - the African slave girl who became a saint

Tuesday 12 noon (EF). St Cyril of Alexandria

                                        - the Egyptian theologian who helped us to understand the nature of Christ

Wednesday 9.30am. St Scholastica - the Italian foundress of Benedictine monasticism

Thursday 7pm Novena of the Miraculous Medal & Benediction. - Our Lady of Lourdes

Friday 9.30am. Feria

Saturday 12 noon (EF). Our Lady's Saturday 

                                      - the beautiful tradition of dedicating Saturday to the Mother of God

Confessions between 11.30am & 11.50am