Friday, 15 July 2016

Mass in Lydiate with Archbishop Malcolm

The Church of Our Lady
Southport Road
L31 4HH

I'm looking forward to Mass tomorrow celebrated by Archbishop Malcolm for the Order of St Lazarus. We will also welcome our Grand Master from the Czech Republic, HE Jan Count Dobrzenský z Dobrzenicz. 

Our Lady's church is a very attractive edifice from 1854 built in rural surroundings with a long Catholic history. The music should be very splendid - Mozart's Mass in C (the Spatzen - Sparrow - Mass) for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (one of the Patrons of the Order).

It all starts at 11am tomorrow (Saturday 16th), so come along if you can - Mass is open to everyone. You might even get a drink afterwards - cocktails will be served after Mass - emulating the colour of the Order's decorations, it's a bright green cocktail!


Friday, 8 July 2016

Summer Féte tomorrow


Well, the weather forecast suggests rain for tomorrow but preparations for our Summer Féte must continue regardless. 
If you are nearby, do come along, 
Saturday 9th July.
Stanifield Lane
PR25 4QG

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Go East, young priests!

Cardinal Sarah is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Congregation of Divine Worship.

Cardinal Sarah was appointed to that role by Pope Francis.

Cardinal Sarah comes with a background in social welfare, caring for those in most need (Cor Unum) and in working for the Evangelisation of the Peoples.

Cardinal Sarah is in the UK this week.

Cardinal Sarah has AGAIN called for us to return to worship ad oreintem.

Cardinal Sarah suggests this be implemented on the First Sunday of Advent this year.

How many bishops and priests will heed him?

Well, at least one. Bishop Dominique Rey of  Fréjus-Toulon (a diocese where vocations are frequent) has said that he will do so. In replying to Cardinal Sarah he says:
Your Eminence, I am only one bishop of one diocese in the south of France. But in response to your appeal I wish to announce now, that certainly on the last Sunday of Advent of this year in my celebration of the Holy Eucharist at my cathedral, and on other occasions as appropriate, I shall celebrate ad orientem—towards the Lord who comes. Before Advent I shall address a letter to my priests and people on this question to explain my action. I shall encourage them to follow my example. I shall ask them to receive my personal testimony, as the chief pastor of the diocese, in the spirit of one who wishes to call his people to rediscover the primacy of grace in their liturgical celebrations through this practice. I shall explain that this change will help us to recall the essential nature of Christian worship: that it must always be oriented to the Lord.

How many others will follow his lead?

Advent is indeed a good time to implement this practice, with all its theology of going forward to meet the Lord when He comes again in glory - from the East! In my previous parish - fifteen years ago now - it was the occasion for my venture leading God's people ad oreintem. With catechesis, we had tried it on other occasions - I found that high points in the Church's calendar could be marked out by this practice, especially when other parts of the liturgy were different for some great feast. The Easter Vigil stands out as pre-eminent in this, as is Midnight Mass and, somehow, the solemn celebration of All Souls Day.

At that time, all those years ago, it was a practice seen much less than in these days and I thought the roof might cave in or some other disaster befall - but no. Contrary to what I had been taught at seminary and what the modernist zeitgeist suggested, parish life continued as normal: no one walked out and people came back the next week.

We have been inculturated against this practice by the modernist zeitgeist because it is the one thing that alters the relationships the Mass most profoundly, even more than the use of Latin, in my experience. The relationship between priest the Lord; the relationship between priest and people; the relationship between the worshipping community and the Lord.

If this is not official encouragement to all those who would like to travel the ad orientem path, breaking out of the closed circle of worship and actually heading somewhere, then I don't know what is. I look forward (no pun intended) to the workshops and catechetical resources that will hopefully issue forth from diocesan liturgy commissions up and down the country to assist in this process.

You can read an account of his speech on The New Liturgical Movement and in the Catholic Herald. Here is the meat of what he said:
Cardinal Sarah ended with an appeal to all priests, which will be familiar to those who have read his recent articles and interviews in L’Osservatore Romano and Famille Chrétienne: it is very important that as soon as possible we return to a common orientation of priest and people eastwards in those parts of the liturgy where we are addressing God. This is a very important step to ensure that, in our celebration of the sacred liturgy, God rather than man is at the centre of it. The Cardinal implored all priests to implement this with suitable catechesis, and confidence. He suggested that the 1st Sunday of Advent this year would be a good time to start!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Ordination of James Mawdsley, FSSP

Recently at St Mary's Warrington with Bishop Scnieder.

My friend Deacon James Mawdsley will be ordained priest today in Bavaria today. I'm very sorry not to be able to be there due to parish commitments but ask you to pray for him on this great day. He has had a long and hard road in journeying towards the priesthood and I've great admiration for his faith and courage. If we could ordain more such as him, what a blessing that would be.

Sharing in beer in Bavaria with Leon Pereira O.P. in 2012.

Fortunately, Fr Mawdsley (as he will then be) will be celebrating Solemn Mass next Sunday 10th July at St Mary's in Warrington, which I will be able to attend and look forward to a joyful celebration.


James' book about his time in Burma.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Ad Multos Annos, Father Ratzinger.

Joseph, left, and Georg Ratzinger, at the welcome ceremony 
in their home parish in Traunstein after their priestly ordination.

The Feast of Ss Peter & Paul this year sees the 65th anniversary of the priestly Ordination of Pope emeritus Benedict.   In his biography “Milestones, Memoirs 1927-1977,” the retired pontiff described the date as a “radiant summer day,” of which he wrote: 
“We should not be superstitious, but at the moment when the elderly archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird - perhaps a lark -  flew up from the high altar in the cathedral and trilled a little joyful song.”  “And I could not but see in this a reassurance from on high, as if I heard the words, ‘This is good; you are on the right path’.”
Before we even begin to talk of his extraordinary body of writing and his great witness in the Church, I was reminded of an incident redolent of his holiness, of which I wrote here, about the cure of  a young American after receiving his blessing. 

Masses at our little parish for the Feast are at 9.30am (OF) and a Missa Cantata at 7pm.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying priests...

This is an ideal place from which to work 
for Justice and Peace.

I came across this below on the Liturgy Guy site and thought it worth sharing, as it has often been my own experience over the years. The sign of the cassock somehow indicates that you are hardly a Christian and any exhibition of things traditionally Catholic puts you "living in the past" - never mind that the "past" was the Church that nourished a thousand saints, many of whom seemed to have been able to combine the wearing of a cassock and  bit of Latin with defending the poor, founding hospitals and schools etc etc.

I recall some years ago when campaigning in the parish with parishioners to keep an asylum seeking family in the county looking for help from the powers that be in the Church and getting none. Our school children marched from the parish to the town centre with placards and banners and got us into the local media; I was threatened with being thrown out of the town hall (in cassock) for interrupting the a council meeting from the public gallery, when the case came under discussion(even the two  Catholic Labour councillors from the parish towed the party line). Sadly, (under Mr Blair's kindly government) the family were whisked away from their home in the parish in the dead of the night and eventually deported via a holding centre (back to the African country where their father had been murdered) even though we had got wind of it several times and though bombardment with phone calls and e-mails, they were three times taken off the plane. The parish set up a fund to put the children through school, once they had been sent back.

It sounds like a social justice issue, doesn't it? But it really couldn't have been, after all, the children sang Latin at Mass and Fr was wearing a biretta.

Father Kyle Doustou finds that the same attitude is still alive and well but good for him in making a hearty response.


This past week Sulpician Fr. Phillip J. Brown, rector of the Theological College, the national diocesan seminary of the Catholic University of America, thought it a good idea to grant an interview to the dissident media outlet the National Catholic Reporter. The topic? Is there a “Francis effect” noticeable to Fr. Brown among the current crop of seminarians, and if so, what does it look like?

In the article, Fr. Brown and the NCR present the all too common false narrative of the Catholic Left: namely, that those already ordained to the priesthood in recent years are not really interested in works of mercy and pastoral care, but rather only about traditionalism, and matters such as wearing the cassock and Communion on the tongue.

The following response is courtesy of Father Kyle Doustou, a priest of the Diocese of Portland, Maine. It is presented here with his permission.

A Young Priest Sets the Record Straight for the Catholic Left

The National Catholic Reporter article, written from an interview given by the out-going Rector of my former seminary, is very hurtful. The men who were formed in and ordained from Theological College over the past 10 years are some of the best and most pastoral men and priests that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Inventing a false dichotomy between a love for the Church’s traditions and a love for the people of God is a manipulative, ideological tool used to push forth one’s personal agenda.

I have known Father Brown for many years, and have a great deal of respect and admiration for him personally, but this public interview he gave with an openly dissenting “Catholic” publication warrants an alumnus response.

As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you.

You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men.

You gossip about us, ensuring that we are “put in our places” and “taught a thing or two” by your confreres.

You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.

But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it.

Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital?

Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily?

Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner?

Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day?

Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry?

Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry?

Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to?

The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.

As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.

Myself and the other men who were indirectly insulted in this interview are the ones on the battlefield. As parish priests, we work hard, sacrifice hard, and try daily to live solely for God in Jesus Christ. Instead of insinuating that Theological College had to somehow put up with a decade or more of rigid, overly-conservative, and ideological seminarians, why not offer us a word of encouragement and perhaps even a prayer or two?

Friday, 17 June 2016

Mass at Sizergh Castle this evening

I'm celebrating Low Mass at Sizergh Castle this today - Friday 17th June at 7pm.  Anyone who can get along there would be very welcome. The castle is one of the longest inhabited houses in the country - lived in by the same family since 1239.

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

The gentleman pictured above sporting the trendy beard is St. Gregory Barbarigo. According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII, today is his feast day. He was only canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1960. He was the Bishop of Bergamo and of Padua. St. Gregory was noted as a distinguished churchman and leading citizen whose charities were on a princely scale. He worked for unity of the Latin and Orthodox Churches.

St. Gregory was born on September 16, 1625, and he died in 1697. His family lived in Venice and were held in high repute by the people there. He was the fourth son. He excelled in his studies at an early age and became interested in diplomacy and statesmanship. He knew Contarine, the Venetian ambassador, and went with him on at least one ambassadorial mission.

After he was ordained a priest in 1655, he organized care for the plague-stricken people of Rome. In 1657, Pope Alexander VII made him the first Bishop of Bergamo. He was a leader in promoting the reforms of the Council of Trent. He visited parishes, organizing the teaching of Christian doctrine and also worked with seminarians and clergy to raise their standards. His work was so respected that in 1660, he was made the Cardinal of Padua.

St. Gregory was extremely interested in higher education and worked for the development of seminaries and libraries. He established a printing press that printed pamphlets for Christians under Moslem rule. He was active in labouring to bring about a reunion with the Greek Church. St. Gregory took part in five papal Conclaves and was a candidate in three of them. It is recorded that his congregation thought him to be a man filled with wisdom.