Saturday, 4 July 2015

First Church in UK for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter

It has now been publicly announced that St Mary's Church in Warrington is to be looked after by the FSSP - the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. 

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

From the St Mary's Church website:

“I have invited the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter to come to the archdiocese and to have responsibility for St Mary’s Church, Warrington. In due course this will become a centre for the celebration of the extraordinary form of Mass and the sacraments. The priests of this fraternity will not, however, assume pastoral responsibility for St Mary’s parish, which will be the responsibility of Fr David Heywood [soon to be PP of the neighbouring parishes] from September.”

St Mary's is a fine church with a strong and intact musical tradition. The church was designed by E. W. Pugin and its construction started in 1875, just before Pugin's death. It was completed by Peter Paul Pugin in 1877. The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner considered it to be one of their best churches.

It was looked after by the Ampleforth Benedictines until 2012, It is in a good site, right in the centre of Warrington town centre, which is a particular help for any church without a geographical territory.  Great news for the FSSP, as they have a number of English vocations and until now have been based only in their house in Reading, with access for Mass to the local church.  I know some of their excellent priests and visited their seminary in 2012.  May the Lord bless this new venture in the Archdiocese of Liverpool.  It is now the third church in the Northwest to be given over to the Mass and Sacraments celebrated in the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite.  The Institute in New Brighton in Shrewsbury Diocese and the Institute in Preston in Lancaster Diocese are about forty minutes driving time in opposite directions from Warrington.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Religious Life is not for girls

Sr Emanuela's Vocation Testimony

The Missionaries of Divine Revelation, whom I have posted about before (here, for example) have a number of testimonies on their site. Sr Emanuela is from Wigan and speaks very forthrightly about her vocation.  If you watch the video you will hear her say - at about three minutes in - that "Religious Life is not for girls... you have to be a strong woman."  Further advice to anyone contemplating a vocation is stop thinking about it and do something concrete about it. 

Now if only we could all recapture a little more of the joy and grace she is obviously brimming with...

Good News for Good Friday in the Czech Republic

The Infant of Prague in the Church of Our Lady of Victories

It seems that the Czech Republic is on the verge of re-instating Good Friday as a national day off, despite 86% of its citizens proclaiming no religious affiliation. It gives hope that it is possible to reinstate some aspects of Christian tradition into societies that have become secular - including here in Britain. Certainly keeping Christian festivals as part of the ebb and flow of the year does - even for those who  no longer proclaim any faith - at least keep a door open to the Faith and an opportunity to explain the message behind the "day off".  

I'm particularly struck by the unity and cohesion that follows from keeping the Christian festivals having just last night celebrated Missa Cantata for the feast of Ss Peter and Paul - for the second time round, having done it on Sunday for the transferred feast. I was concerned that keeping a feast after the Sunday might feel like a damp squib but actually, we had our best turnout for these Masses we have been celebrating on actual feast days this year.

I do feel that it was a failure of nerve to transfer the holydays of Obligation. Its not so obviously peculiar for the feast of Ss Peter and Paul, but it does feel rather odd when it comes to the feasts that by their very nature are tied directly to particular dates, like  the Epiphany and the Ascension.

Another good thing would be to do something with the calendar of the 1962 Missal and the new Missal for the increasing number of priests and parishes where both forms of the Roman Rite are offered. A little organic development in the old calendar could certainly help - and, of course, quite a lot of cross fertilization of the old calendar into the new!  

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Ss Peter and Paul

Missa Cantata
on Monday 29th June
for the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul.
Celebratory refreshments afterwards.

For some time now we have been offering a Mass in the Traditional Form on the actual feast day, where the obligation has been transferred to the nearest Sunday. Mostly, these have fallen in the run up to the Sunday transfer but Ss Peter and Paul falls after the Sunday. I'm not sure if this will make a psychological difference to the desire to attend - we shall see. Whoever comes, we always have a prayerful celebration of Mass by dint of the chant being sung to uplift us and an enjoyable social occasion afterwards as well. So if you burst in upon us, you're more likely to find beer and bacon than delicately poised teacups. Properly Catholic!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Mass at Sizergh Castle

I'm celebrating Low Mass at Sizergh Castle this Friday 26th June at 12 noon.  Anyone who can get along there would be very welcome. 

Sizergh, near Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8AE Sat Nav : LA8 8DZ

Sizergh has been associated with the Strickland family since 1239, when the heiress Elizabeth Deincourt married William de Stirkeland.The solar tower of the castle was a potent symbol of the Stricklands power during the Middle Ages, when they played a leading role in the wars with Scotland and France. Prominent as Catholic royalists throughout the 17th century, the Stricklands went into exile in 1688 with the court of James II at Saint-Germain in France. They returned to Sizergh by the early 18th Century as impoverished Jacobites, but thanks to the careful efforts of Winifred, Lady Strickland, they were able to afford a few baroque-style alterations to the house. Sir Gerald Strickland, later Lord Strickland of Sizergh (1861-1940) along with his second wife Margaret Hulton, installed the famous rock garden which was laid out in 1926-8. In 1931 the estate transferred to Lord Strickland's daughter Mary and her husband Henry Hornyold. They and their son Lt-Cdr Thomas Hornyold-Strickland gave the house to the National Trust in 1950.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Solemn High Mass for New Priest - Invitation

Newly ordained Fr Ian Verrier FSSP will celebrate his First Solemn High Mass in England this Saturday 20th June at 11:00am in St James Church, Spanish Place, 22 George Street, London W1U 3QY. 

The Mass setting in this splendid church will be Byrd's Mass for Four Voices.

Born in Birmingham in 1982, Fr Verrier grew up as an Anglican and read Music at Manchester University. After which he taught at the well-known Chavagnes International College in the Vendée Region of France. There he found a thriving close-knit Catholic community. He entered the FFSP American seminary in 2008. 

There is an open invitation to all to come and give thanks to God for another new priest, who will begin his ministry in Reading this summer.

He will administer his First Blessing after Mass and there will be Refreshments afterwards in church basement. 
A Plenary indulgence granted to those attending the Mass, so do go along if you can get to central London this Saturday.

You can read his story at The Path less taken.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Cardinal Robert Sarah - Bravo!

Like Rorate Caeli and Fr Ray Blake, I had intended posting about the astounding words of Cardinal Sarah reported  in L'Osservatore Romano - but they were quicker off the mark than I was!  I say "astounding" because what he suggests is still looked on as "heresy" by those who follow the the hermeneutic of rupture theology of post Vatican II liturgy - sadly, although gradually changing, still the vast majority in this country.

From the point of view of orientation, like Fr Blake and a growing number of priests, I have quietly gotten on with trying to implement what is actually written in the Missal and elsewhere in the Church's liturgical instructions, having grown tired of waiting for the likes of the Bishops' Conference or the diocesan liturgical commission to bring these things to the fore.

Pope Benedict's masterful liberation of the Traditional Form from its Babylonian captivity in the years after the Council has perhaps been the single most influential act in getting people and priests to look again at how the Mass is celebrated in a wider context.  Cardinal Sarah, Pope Francis' appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, is now making it utterly plain that the Ordinary Form of the Mass MUST be celebrated in a manner that shows its continuity with the Traditional Form of the Mass - and indeed, calls for this to be embedded more strongly in the Missal of the Ordinary Form.  We can hope for this line to be made clear and publicised particularly in the English speaking world, as the Secretary at the Congregation is still the English Archbishop Arthur Roche, formerly Bishop of Leeds.

The original L'Osservatore Romano article isn't online in English but Catholic Culture has this report of it:

(Actually, having just posted this,  I discover there is an automated English translation on Chiesa.)

Paying tribute to the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy as a liturgical “Magna Carta,” Cardinal Robert Sarah called for a more faithful implementation of its text, lamented misinterpretations of its teaching on “active participation,” and suggested an appendix to the Roman Missal that might better manifest the continuity of the extraordinary and ordinary forms of the celebration of the Mass.

“The liturgy is essentially the action of Christ,” the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship wrote in the June 12 edition of L’Osservatore Romano. “If this vital principle is not received in faith, it is likely to make the liturgy a human work, a self-celebration of the community.”

He continued:

To speak of a ‘celebrating community’ is not without ambiguity and requires real caution. The participatio actuosa [active participation] should not therefore be understood as the need to do something. On this point the teaching of the Council has often been distorted. It is instead to let Christ take us and associate us with his sacrifice.
Citing the teaching of Pope Francis, Cardinal Sarah criticized the attitude of priests who make themselves the focal point of the liturgy.

“It is entirely consistent with the conciliar constitution, it is indeed opportune that, during the rite of penance, the singing of the Gloria, the orations, and the Eucharistic prayer, everyone, priest and faithful, should turn together towards the East, to express their will to participate in the work of worship and of redemption accomplished by Christ,” he continued. “This manner of doing things could opportunely be put into place in cathedrals, where liturgical life must be exemplary.”

Continuing his discussion of “active participation,” Cardinal Sarah criticized the “contemporary Western mentality” in which the faithful are to be “constantly busy” and in which the Mass is to be rendered “convivial.”

On the contrary, “sacred awe” and “joyful fear require our silence in the presence of the divine majesty. It is often forgotten that sacred silence is one of the means set forth by the Council to encourage participation.”

Cardinal Sarah recalled the Council’s teaching that the faithful should “be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them,” and said that the liturgy “must stop being a place of disobedience to the requirements of the Church.”

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, he emphasized, should not be read with a “hermeneutic of rupture.”

“It would be wrong to consider the extraordinary form of the Roman rite as coming from another theology,” he said. To manifest that the ordinary form and the extraordinary form are “in continuity and without opposition,” it would be “desirable” that there be an appendix in an upcoming edition of the Roman Missal that would permit celebrants in the ordinary form to use the penitential rite and the offertory of the extraordinary form.

“If we live in this spirit, then the liturgy will cease to be the place of rivalry and criticism,” and instead be the place in which we participate actively in the heavenly liturgy, the cardinal concluded.