Sunday, 20 April 2014

Very Modern Easter and a Traditional Holy Week

The unusual depiction of the Resurrection above was created by one of our excellent altar servers, who posts his animations under the title of Gilbert Animation Studios

Our liturgical celebrations were more traditional and featured no Lego characters (that I noticed).

Palm Sunday

Mass of the Lord's Supper

 The Altar of Repose

  Good Friday

 The Blessing of the Easter Fire


 First Mass of Easter

Missa Cantata this morning


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dear BBC...

"I'm not the Boss!"

I'm not a Canon lawyer but as far as I understand it, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is NOT the "leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales".  Many media outlets but particularly the BBC nearly always refer to him as such - see here, for example.  Although he is the only Cardinal in England and Wales [un-retired cardinal - thank you too an anonymous pedant in the comments box], he is not the Primate (as the Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh is the Primate of all Ireland). Vincent Nichols is the Chairman of the Bishop's Conference but that is an elected post and he was elected to it long before he was made a cardinal. Westminster, as with other Archbishoprics, has several suffragan sees, which give the Archbishop certain limited duties and responsibilities under certain circumstances, usually when something has gone seriously amiss (Canon 435ff).  Canon 436 §3 says: The metropolitan has no other power of governance in the suffragan dioceses.  Even a Primate has no authority over the faithful outside his own diocese: (Can. 438) The titles of patriarch and primate entail no power of governance in the Latin Church apart from a prerogative of honour unless in some matters the contrary is clear from apostolic privilege or approved custom.

As I understand it, each bishop is the sole authority in his diocese with the next step up being the Pope as his only line manager (to use modern parlance). Again, as I understand it, we are not a "national church" in that way.  I guess that the all pervading conception of the bishops' conference idea is responsible for this way of understanding things.  Thus, when an individual bishop wants to speak out on what seems "out of step" with the rest of the bishops' conference, he might be reluctant to do so. Obviously, it makes sense for bishops to co-operate in individual countries so that there might be common practice. But this doesn't always follow - in the practice of the age of Confession, Confirmation and Holy Communion for example. Such differences don't seem to make us fall apart.  

I do wonder that someone doesn't formally make the BBC aware of its mistake and ask that Aunty Beeb tries to get it right in the future. Perhaps some Monseigneurial  mandarin in the Department of Administrative affairs at Eccleston Square could  find time to do that. I know that this isn't the most important thing in the world but it does lead to a misconception being propagated.  I've certainly heard of folk saying they will "write to the Cardinal" when they haven't had the answer they wanted from their bishop.  

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Palm Sunday actual participation

So, another Holy Week has begun. Over recent weeks I've once again been encouraging the people to attend the Sacred Triduum. How odd it is that so many people go straight from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection on Easter Day, thus missing out all the steps between! 

Fr Z has a post about the prayers for today and makes an interesting note of one of the rubrics which make it perfectly clear that "participation" in the liturgy means primarily interior participation. In other words,we do not need to treat the congregation like primary school children, where everyone has to have a little job to do so as not to feel left out. 

In relation to that, for several years now, I've chosen the shorter Gospel to be read on Palm Sunday (either by priest or deacon) rather than endure the miserable doling out of parts to various readers and the "crowd" voice to the slightly embarrassed congregation, with the attendant inconsequential mutterings of, "cru - ci - fy Him, cru - ci- fy Him" echoing underwhelmingly around the church.  

Here's a bit of Fr Z's point:
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.  The Sacred Triduum (triduum from tres dies – “three day space”) were once days of obligation when people were freed from servile work so that they could attend the liturgies, once celebrated in the morning.  In the 17th century, however, the obligation was removed under the influence of changing social and religious conditions.  As a result, the faithful lost sight of these beautiful liturgies and in general only priests and religious in monasteries knew them.

In 1951 Pope Pius XII began to restore the Triduum liturgies to prominence by mandating that the Easter Vigil be celebrated in the evening.  In 1953 Mass was permitted in the evening on certain days.  A reformed Ordo for Holy Week was issued in 1955 and took effect on 25 March 1956.   That is when the Sunday of Holy Week came to be called “The Second Sunday in Passiontide, or Palm Sunday”.  Matins and Lauds (Tenebrae, “shadows”) was to be sung in the morning.  Holy Thursday Mass was not to begin before 5 p.m. and no later than 8 p.m.  The idea was to make it easier for people to attend these all important liturgies.
Also in the rubrics there is something helpful for our understanding of “active participation”:
“Then as is customary the priest greets the people; and then there is given a brief admonition, by which the faithful are invited to participate actively and consciously (actuose et conscie participandam) in this day’s celebration.” 
Those words actuose et conscie are very important.  The Second Vatican Council, when using the term actuosa participatio or “active participation”, meant mainly interior participation, the engaging of the mind, heart and will.  The Council Fathers did not mean primarily exterior participation.  Exterior participation should be the natural result of interior participation: we seek to express outwardly what we are experiencing within.  While the two influence each other, there is a logical priority to interior participation, which is by far the more important.

Monday, 7 April 2014

New Traditional Latin Mass Church

Some great news announced yesterday by the diocese of Lancaster. St Walburge's Church near the centre of Preston is to be given into the care of the Institute of Christ the King. This iconic church has been under threat for some time due to the movement of population in the the area.  It means that the Institute will have two large churches in the North West of England.  St Walburge's will follow the pattern of Ss Peter and Paul's in New Brighton under Bishop Mark Davies. It will be a "shrine" church within the ordinary local Catholic parish. In a pastoral letter this weekend Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster says that he has been determined to keep a Catholic presence in the city centre area, which seems to me to be a necessary project. The church is listed and so cannot be pulled down and so it is entirely inappropriate for it to  be turned to some other non-Christian use. When that happens to well-known churches it proclaims to the world that we have failed and have given up on ever retrieving our ground there. I'm sure the Institute with their hard work and zeal will establish a very active presence in there, as they have done on the Wirral.

It great for me, as although Preston is in a neighbouring diocese, it is only four miles away from me here in Leyland.  Locally in the Liverpool Archdiocese (not large geographically) we are fortunate in that there are four regular EF Sunday Masses - all in the morning at reasonable times when people want to go to Mass (two of these, including my own, embedded in the parish and said by the parish priest). Fortunate as well that our new Archbishop, Malcolm McMahon, offers the Traditional Mass.  Ss Peter and Paul's is just across the river Mersey from Liverpool city centre and now there will be a high profile presence in Preston as well.

You can see some photos of this fantastic church taken by Lawrence Lew OP.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Clergy Retreat

For any clergy - bishops, priests or deacons - looking for a break after Easter the FSSP are running a CLERGY RETREAT with MARY 5th-9th May 2014 in Bavaria at a cost of just £270.

I had a wonderful visit to the exceptional Seminary there two years ago.

Further information at their website.

"The Retreat will be on the theme: ‘The Blessed Virgin Mary and the priest’. In reference to Pope Francis’ decision to consecrate the World to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, we will strive as priests to deepen our relationship to God through Mary. We will meditate on the mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us be configured to her Son the Sovereign High Priest. This will include: the role of Mary in the Incarnation and Redemption; her purity and humility at the Annunciation; her charity at the Visitation and at Cana; her hope and faith on Calvary; her spiritual motherhood in relation to the beloved disciple St John. Our Lady will help us deepen the love of our priestly celibacy and our sponsal relationship to the flock entrusted to our pastoral care and to the Church in general. The retreat will be held at the Marian Shrine of Wigratzbad in Bavaria, from Monday 5 May to Friday 9 May 2014 (third week after Easter)."

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Order of St Lazarus in Liverpool

Some members gathering for the procession into church.

Members of the Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem gathered for the annual Chapter Meeting at Our Lady, Star of the Sea church in Seaforth Village last weekend.  It was great to hear that our Priory, which is numerically very small in Great Britain compared with many other countries, has given £20,000 to charitable causes over the course of the last year. Some further photos and details here.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Chuck out the chintz

With all the excitement (?) about a new Archbishop here in Liverpool diocese last week I almost missed a little snippet on the Bishops' Conference website reminding us that this coming Pentecost is the end of the period of grace allowing the old English translations for musical setting of the Mass to be used. From Pentecost all musical settings in English must conform to the new translation.  I'm sure those parishes who have been behind the times in moving over to these will be putting lots of effort into keeping up with the times and chucking out all those rather dowdy chintzy old 1970's melodies.
"The Bishops of England and Wales have fixed the end date of the transitional period for implementing music in the new translation of the Roman Missal which was introduced in 2011. As from Pentecost Sunday, 8 June 2014 only settings of the Ordinary of the Mass using the new translation are permitted to be sung at Mass. Settings using the previous translation or paraphrased texts may no longer be used in our parishes, schools and communities."

A quick search on You Tube will give you a great many examples. This one below is an example of settings which were not faithful even to the old translation!

After that you may need something more uplifting.  So the simplest thing is just to learn the Mass in its "proper" setting and then the words never change. This setting seems to have lasted for a few years.  Not chintzy at all - more noble simplicity!


avandia recall