Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cathedral Mass

The plans are ongoing for the Solemn High Mass at St Mary's Cathedral on SATURDAY 20th NOVEMBER 2010 at 11.30am. One great disappointment is that our diocesan bishop Rt Rev Seamus Cunningham will not attend since his "diary is extremely busy and unfortunately due to other engagements" he is unable to attend. Are we second class citizens in this diocese? Has Bishop Seamus attended ANY EF Masses? I recall him once sitting in choir during Sunday Low Mass at St Joseph's, Gateshead when carrying out a visitation as Vicar General.


  1. So, it is his "diary" that is busy - but wehat about His Lordship peronally?

    I am not surprised, where you, (really)?

  2. No, but one has to APPEAR surprised.

  3. If I were Bishop Seamus, my priority would be to attend the Diocesan Retreat Day in Washington, rather than the Extraordinary Rite Mass at the Cathedral. And that, I suspect, it what he will be doing. As also will I, because I've already committed to attend it.

    It is a pity that the organisers of the Cathedral Mass booked it on this particular day. The date of the Diocesan Retreat Day was announced a long time ago. There is also a "Looking towards Advent" event in Durham on the same day, at which Fr Adrian Dixon will be speaking.

    In future, please can we have the Extraordinary Mass on a more suitable date, so that more of us can attend? Diocesan and other Catholic events need to be taken into account when making the arrangements.

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    I have checked the official diocesan website for November and there is no mention of anything for Saturday 20th. The Diocesan Calendar has the heading 'ALL main diocesan events' ('ALL' is in upper case). Saturday 6th mentions the 'Laity Council', Saturday 13th shows 'Children's Liturgy Day' and also 'Thanksgiving for Marriage'. Friday 19th shows 'Remembrance Mass' in Sunderland and Sunday 21st shows 'Light in Darkness'. Saturday 27th is a 'Day for Cathechists' and Saturday 20th is completely blank. I do not question the importance of a Diocesan Retreat Day but it does not seem important enough to merit any mention on the list of diocesan events.
    The LMS has been trying for more than 5 years to get an annual Mass in St Mary's Cathedral so that all members in the diocese can meet together on a special day, and during the day, ans also enjoy a social occasion, just as all other associations in the diocese do. In my opinion, this special Mass for all those who love the traditional form has just as much importance as a Children's Liturgy Day or Light in Darkness, or a Day for Catechists, and certainly merits a mention as a main diocesan event. Many of those who love the traditional Mass are elderly and have supported their parishes for 50 and 60 years; who have paid year after year into the priest training fund, and they deserve much more respect than they have been shown through the years. I quite agree that bishops are very busy and their diaries are always filled well in advance but in 30 years of traditional Masses in this diocese I cannot remember any occasion when a senior member of the clergy in the diocese has attended to show some degree of support for members of their flock. The celebration of the traditional Mass in our cathedral, the mother church in the diocese, is a major event in this diocese so why should this date have to fit in with everyone else's arrangements. Why can't the opposite apply for a change? In any event I don't think this Mass was booked for this particular day, it was a question of which day was available. With a busy cathedral you sometimes have to take what you can get.

    Leo Darroch

  6. I agree that the EF Mass in the cathedral is a major event that ought to be supported by senior members of the clergy... provided they don't have prior commitments.

    It's also worth saying that various other major events in the cathedral haven't been well supported by clergy or laity, including the beautiful Mass on the memorial of Bl John Henry Newman on 9 Oct. I had thought the cathedral would've been packed for that, both in the nave and in the sanctuary. Sadly only 2 priests were present, but maybe most other priests had Saturday morning Masses to celebrate in their own parishes? And it has to be said that the event wasn't publicised much in advance.

    It's a mystery why the Diocesan Retreat is not mentioned on the website. It was listed in the May edition of The Northern Cross, and possibly even earlier.

    As it seems to be a case of "first come, first served", maybe now is the time to book the Cathedral Mass for 2011 and even 2012? That way, a date can be chosen when the bishop is available.