Monday, November 29, 2010

Great success at Traditional Rite Confirmations

Bishop George Stack, auxiliary bishop in Westminster, administered Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Rite) at St James's Church, Spanish Place, London W1 on Saturday 20th November. 39 candidates received the sacrament - 30 children and 9 adults. This was the seventh year of the annual ceremony organised by the Latin Mass Society. Permission for the Old Rite Confirmations had been given by the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster. The candidates' day began with a meeting in the Lady Chapel with Bishop Stack. The bishop greeted each candidate individually and then spoke about the importance of Pope Benedict's speech to youth on 17th September at St Mary's University College, Twickenham on the theme of "I have come so that they might have life and have it to the full". The bishop also gave each candidate a prayer card. The Confirmations followed. During the ceremonies the bishop was assisted by Fr Christopher Colven, Rector of St James's, and Fr Andrew Southwell, LMS National Chaplain. Also on the sanctuary, among others, were Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, Fr Simon Leworthy FSSP, Fr Tim Finigan and Fr David Irwin. The liturgical ceremonies concluded with Pontifical Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The choir and organist of Spanish Place provided the music, and a large congregation of almost 300 family and friends joined them in singing the 'Veni Creator Spiritus' (with alternate verses in the setting by George Malcolm) and the 'Veni Sancte Spiritus'. During Benediction the traditional hymns 'Christus Vincit' and 'Tantum Ergo' were sung and the choir sang Elgar's 'O Salutaris in F'. The vernacular hymns sung were 'Come Down O Love Divine' and Blessed John Henry Newman's 'Praise to the Holiest'. After the ceremonies, a reception for the bishop and congregation was held in the crypt. All those present thanked Bishop Stack for his pastoral concern for those attached to the Extraordinary Form by means of an enthusiastic round of applause. Bishop Stack then spoke briefly and cut the celebratory cake. Whilst having a well-earned cup of tea, he met and chatted with the newly-confirmed and their families. Confirmations in the Extraordinary Form are becoming ever more popular. On 31 July, Bishop Peter Doyle confirmed 9 candidates in his cathedral church of Our Lady Immaculate and St Thomas in Northampton and later in November St Philip's School, Kensington, will have its own Extraordinary Form Confirmations with Bishop Alan Hopes, also an auxiliary bishop in Westminster. For pictures please go to, find the Confirmations Story on the home page and follow the link to the picture set. Additional Comment Here in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Bishop Seamus Cunningham has been invited to administer EF Confirmations. This would save great time and expense for candidates by saving them the travelling to London. We await his decision.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Barnard Castle

Please note that over the next few weeks the usual 9.00am EF Mass at St Mary's may not be on due to Fr Elkin's medical problem. Before travelling it is suggested that you telephone Father on 01833 638133. We hope that Father is soon returned to full & blooming health!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Server Training

The LMS in the north is arranging training for servers (adults & boys) in York. The suggested date is 12th February 2011 at English Martyrs Church, Dalton Terrace, York. If that dates proves unviable then the alternative will be February 19th. It is expected to begin at 10.30am and, depending on the attendees, could encompass training for both Low Mass & Missa Cantata. We are looking to attract servers from the northern dioceses. Anyone interested from Hexham & Newcastle diocese please contact me by email at: or by telephone on 0191 264 5771. Paul Waddington (LMS Treasurer) is setting up the session & anyone else wishing to attend should, in the first instance, contact their LMS Diocesan Representative.

Mea Culpa!!!

How did I do that? I omitted Christmas Masses for my own church!! It is St Joseph's, Gateshead & Low Mass will be celebrated at 9.00am on Christmas Day Sorry!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Immaculate Conception of BVM

Missa Cantata will be celebrated at St Mary's, Forest Hall at 7.30pm on 8th December 2010.

Christmas Masses

The following Masses will be celebrated over the Christmas period. Barnard Castle, St Mary's, Christmas Day, Low Mass at 9.00am Coxhoe, SS Joseph, Patrick & Cuthbert, Christmas Eve, Low Mass at midnight Thornley, Sacred Heart & English Martyrs, Christmas Day, Low Mass at 9.30am Forest Hall, St Mary's, Christmas Eve, Missa Cantata at midnight. This Mass will be preceded by Readings & Carols at 11.30pm. Sunday Masses over the period will remain as normal.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Solemn High Mass in the Cathedral

Despite a terribly wet day in Newcastle and despite the usual parking problems a congregation of some 150 attended today at St Mary's Cathedral for only the second EF Solemn High Mass since Vatican II. The celebrant was Fr Shaun Swales of Coxhoe, deacon Fr David Phillips from Stella and sub deacon Fr Michael Brown from Forest Hall who is also the Northern Chaplain for the LMS. The serving team was myself as MC, Aidan McGregor as thurifer, Martin McGregor and Frank Walker as acolytes and Keith McAllister as crucifer. Fr Chris Warren from the cathedral was in choir on the sanctuary. We had expected Fr Wilfrid Elkin from Barnard Castle and Fr Gary Dickson from Thornley to join him but illness prevented it. We wish them both improved health quickly. The newly named Schola Sancti Baedae from Jarrow sang the plainchant Proper for the feast of St Felix de Valois under the direction of Dr Michael Dunn and the choir of St George's Anglican Church in Cullercoats under their director Shaun Turnbull sang Victoria's Missa 'O Quam Gloriosum' with Agnus Dei I & II taken from 'Missa de Angelis'. Their motets were Viadana's 'Exultate Justi in Domino' at the Offertory and Franck's 'Panis Angelicus' at Communion. The organ played Muffat's 'Toccata' at the Offertory and J S Bach's 'Piece d'Orgue' as a Recessional. As is usual at celebrations of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form Holy Communion was received kneeling and on the tongue by everyone communicating. Thanks are due in no small measure to Cathedral Dean, Fr Peter Leighton, who so readily granted permission for the use of the church, Fr Chris Warren of the Cathedral, who has liaised tirelessly during the preparations, and we must not forget the Cathedral Sacristan, Eileen Mitchell & her staff, who made vestments etc available to us with great generosity of their time. Lastly those attending must be thanked for coming out on such an awful morning in such numbers thus showing our detractors that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite with it's prayerfulness does mean so much to us.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last Reminder

Please remember the Solemn High Mass to be celebrated at St Mary's Cathedral, Clayton Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne at 11.30am on Sunday 20th November 2010. Those of us drawn to the EF of Mass have been accused in the past of not fully supporting Masses arranged and, perhaps, this might be true. Let us show our detractors that we are willing and able to attend this most important celebration in the mother church of our diocese. Sadly Bishop Seamus Cunningham cannot be with us for the Mass but the cathedral authorities have been most helpful with all of the arrangements. The Diocesan Chancellor, Fr Peter Stott, has also been most accommodating and has sent a copy of our poster to all parishes in the diocese. A great deal of thought and effort has gone into this Mass from many sources and it would be a great pity if that effort is not translated into a large congregation. It is also an excellent opportunity to see the cathedral following the work which was carried out over a number of months. The Cathedral Cafe is also now operating again so the chance for coffee or lunch after Mass is there. Parking - as always - will be a nightmare close to the cathedral with many Christmas shoppers thronging the city. Wherever possible we would suggest using public transport as parking charges in Newcastle are horrendous. We look forward to seeing you all supporting the Mass of Ages.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Prayers (& more) needed to save Ushaw

As many of you will be aware Paul Waddington (Treasurer of LMS) is privately trying to put together a business plan to save Ushaw College. I am led to believe that the matter may be drawn to the attention of the Curia as we have to have faith that the college can be saved but that it must be re-constituted so that Latin is a required subject and that both forms of the Mass are taught. We all expected that 'Summorum Pontificum' would solve most of the problems existing for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite but, sadly, not all bishops have taken Pope Benedict's wishes to heart. Some archbishops and bishops have shown support for this form of the Mass and have celebrated it within their dioceses but, again sadly, these prelates are in the vast minority. It seems as if we, the laity, must show more Faith in the future of our Church than do most of the hierarchy (or at least those who are Trustees of Ushaw College). We should be prepared to offer prayers and Masses for the intention of retaining Ushaw College as a seminary wherein our future priests will be trained. We, the laity, pay for the training of our priests through the Priests' Training Fund but we may have to do more, we may be asked to, again, contribute to the support of our seminaries. Please pray for this intention and watch for news of other avenues which might be explored.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Westminster bishop celebrates the Latin Mass Society's Annual Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral

The Rt Rev John Arnold, auxiliary bishop in Westminster, celebrated a Pontifical High Mass of Requiem in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 6th November for the repose of the souls of all deceased members and supporters of the LMS. Fr Nicholas Schofield was Assistant Priest, Fr Andrew Southwell, LMS National Chaplain, was Deacon and the Sub-deacon was Fr David Irwin. Gordon Dimon of the LMS was MC. A congregation of some hundreds heard the men of the Cathedral Choir sing the plainsong Requiem Mass. The Mass was followed by a homily by Bishop Arnold and then the traditional ceremonies of Absolutions at the Catafalque. The coffin for the occasion was supplied by the Fairways Partnership, funeral directors. Before Mass, a wreath was laid by Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the LMS, and other LMS Committee members on the grave of Cardinal Heenan in the cathedral nave in thanksgiving for the Cardinal's efforts to preserve the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Fr Patrick Hayward read prayers for the occasion. Dr Shaw said afterwards: "This was the second time that Bishop Arnold has celebrated the LMS's annual Requiem Mass and we are most grateful to him. We also thank Canon Christopher Tuckwell, the Cathedral Administrator, and Fr Alexander Master, the Cathedral Precentor, for their help." Note: The Extraordinary Form has now returned to many of our cathedrals throughout England and Wales and the LMS is actively seeking to introduce further Masses. For further information, please contact John Medlin in the LMS office. Tel: 020 7404 7284 Fax: 020 7831 5585


We are delighted to announce that our Diocesan Chancellor - Fr Peter Stott - has circulated all parishes within the diocese of Hexham & Newcastle with copies of our poster giving details of the Solemn High Mass in St Mary's Cathedral on 20th November 2010 at 11.30am. This contrasts well with the reported comment of 1 diocesan parish priest that he was "not interested". Knowing that Fr Peter is a reader of this blog may we say a heartfelt "Thank you" to him and assurances of our prayers for the diocese.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cathedral Mass

It has been suggested that those of us committed to the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass do not make sufficient efforts to attend those Masses which are available. Whilst I can see that this might be the perception in fact it is far from the truth. With our Mass in St Mary's Cathedral on 20th November we have the opportunity to show the lack of fact in that perception. You are being asked to turn out in force to show your support. Not only that but you are encouraged to bring along Catholics who, through no fault of their own, have little knowledge of the Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum' or, even worse, have been given only those snippets of information which it was felt were sufficient for them. It is often said that an informed decision or opinion can only be formed if information is made available and it must be said, sadly, that this information, at best, has not been made available or, at worst, has been witheld. We have asked those diocesan clergy with an email address to put up a poster advertising the Mass and to mention it in their parish newsletters. One priest has already responded that he 'has no interest' but, sadly, is still unwilling to give the information to his parishioners. It will be very interesting in the run up to the Mass to see how much - or probably how little - information is disseminated through the parish network. Please make the effort to attend and ask your parish priests whether they are prepared to advertise a perfectly legitimate Mass.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Saints & All Souls

On the Feast of All Saints Fr Brown celebrated a Low Mass at St Mary's, Forest Hall and today, the Feast of All Souls, a Sung Requiem was celebrated at his other church, SS Peter & Paul, Longbenton. The Mass was sung in plainchant by our own schola. The next High Mass will be celebrated in St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle at 11.30am on Saturday 20th November - the Feast of St Felix de Valois.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Feast of Christ the King

Yesterday at St Joseph's in Gateshead we celebrated the feast of Christ the King with Missa Cantata celebrated by our parish priest, Fr Adrian Dixon. We used a beautiful new set of gold vestments made by parishioner Margaret Barnes. The Proper and Ordinary were sung by our own schola and at the end of Mass we sang the 'Te Deum' in thanks for our priests and to honour our God and King. We did this as we are entering a month of fund raising for the Priests' Training Fund. Our bishop's letter must have been written before the sad decision to close Ushaw College was made as he looked forward confidently to the future. As this feast followed the Feast of the Blessed Douai Martyrs it was poignant that just as we are aiming to educate and train future priests we are closing Ushaw which follows so closely in the footsteps of Douai where so many of our English priests were trained for a mission that led only to hardship and martyrdom for so many of them. We should pray that in some way Ushaw will be brought back from the precipice and be taken on by those who still believe in the future of the Church.